How To Choose The Best Travelling Backpack

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Backpack shopping can be pretty daunting, especially if you’re going away for a long time, or want one to last. How will you know which is the best travelling backpack? Which are only good for hiking? You wonder which will be right for you. And if you’ve ever had the misfortune, like I have, of an ill-fitting backpack, the importance of getting it right is tenfold!

So what should you do when you’re shopping around for the best travelling backpack, and what do you need to look for?

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links on my blog are affiliate links. And at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I have experienced all of the companies that I link to, and recommend them because they are the websites that I myself choose to use, and trust. Please do not spend any money on these sites unless they meet your needs and specifications.  

#1 Make sure you’re buying for your gender.

I know that we live in the age of gender neutrality, so maybe number one should say ‘buy for your body type’ or something along those lines. But unbeknown to me before my first real trip, backpacks come in his and hers. This isn’t just a colourway marketing ploy either. It can change where the straps are placed on the chest and waist, the shape and size, padding, and the height of the bag. So chances are that if you are female, or were born female, you will be better off with a female backpack. This will ensure that everything sits in the correct place, and distributes the weight evenly. Don’t forget to check the recommendations for sizing too.

#2 Less is more.

One rule the ex had for me was if I can carry it, I could take it. That meant for him that if I can carry it, he would be able to carry it with his when I struggle to put one foot in front of the next, never mind carrying a bag too. But it is a great way to pack regardless.
If you’re going on a year-long nomadic experience and travelling through various different climates, taking an array of types of clothing, then an 80L or 90L bag may be the one for you. However, for a short term holiday, say under a month-long, in a hot climate, a 40L bag will have room for your needs. Just remember – you can always wash clothes or get them laundered.

travelling backpack - how to find the perfect one for you - 3 backpacks in back of truck on open road - thiswitchtravels.co.uk

#3 How do you get in?

You have two main types of openings when it comes to backpacks, top and front. They are as they sound. The top tends to open with a drawstring and clips at the top – similar to those bags that footballs were kept in at school. And front, well they tend to zip open like you would a normal suitcase, but in a softshell. This really comes down to personal preference. But as someone who will live out of a bag even when I stay in the same place for a week… the front loading is so much easier than the top. Personally, I find with top I have to pull everything out to find anything. Whereas the front is a zip, rustle and find kind of scenario. I also feel like I get more into a front-loading bag, and they tend to have better pockets and compartments for laptops, and bits and pieces.

#4 How long do you want it to last?

Really. Are you planning on using it for every holiday going forward? Does it need to do you for a year on the road? Or, is this a one time only kind of trip? Hell, if it is a one time only – and it’s a month or two tops, just go get a cheap one. I won’t lie. You don’t need to find the best travelling backpack. If it doesn’t make a second trip it won’t matter, and you won’t be wasting your money on a backpack you never use! But if you want one that will stand the test of time, go for a decent brand. Osprey Europe, Berghaus, and Deuter are all good brands. But as always, do your own research too. And one last point for #4, expensive isn’t always better, find a tried and trusted hiking brand over designer or pretty, no one will judge if your bag isn’t beautiful.


#5 What are your luggage restrictions?

Most long haul flight tickets come these days with free check-in baggage, the weight of which can vary. However, if you’re intending on taking any short-haul flights, you may not be so lucky. In which case, taking a bag which sells itself as a carry-on is highly beneficial. Though bear in mind, this may not be when stuffed to the brim. So if your plans are to hop on and off planes, plan ahead!

The internet isn’t the be-all and end-all for finding the best travelling backpack.

Read as many reviews, articles and options as you can when it comes to buying your bag. But don’t miss this crucial step if you can – go try it on. You don’t have to buy there and then! But go get a feel for them on your back, for the openings and fastenings, the compartments. Then buy. All the research in the world won’t tell you that the hip strap feels funny on you, but on no one else. Or that the fabric gives you electric shocks. Do the footwork first when trying to find the best travelling backpack. You’ll almost certainly reap the reward.

hot to choose the best travelling backpack - backpack wearer looking out at green rolling hills - thiswitchtravels.co.uk

If you want to know what I opted for, after lots of considering the above, here you go. The Osprey Europe, Fairview 40 (women’s version). I love my backpack, and the ex loved his Farpoint 40 (men’s version), which is the boy fit version of the Fairview. They claim to be carry on size, though some airlines restrictions are smaller than the bags, *cough,Ryanair,cough* so always check before flying. They have a great padded section for laptops and are front opening, so I feel you can fit a lot into a relatively small area.

However, knowing what I now know, the 55L Fairview (women’s version) and Farpoint 9 (men’s version ) may have won out in the battle. The reason? They come with a removable 13L kangaroo style backpack. The only thing about the 40s I dislike is that it is extremely difficult to carry a hand luggage with it at the same time, without a bag on either side of you. And while sometimes I don’t mind, other times it would just be nice to stick it all on as one. Again though, the best travelling backpack is… all down to personal preference.

See you next time!
Katey

Leave a comment down below if this post has helped, I’d love to hear from you! And if you’ve already got your bag, do you consider it the best travelling backpack?

Are you unsure if you need a backpack or a suitcase? Check out this post to help you decide.


Disclosure: Please note that some of the links on my blog are affiliate links. And at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I have experienced all of the companies that I link to, and recommend them because they are the websites that I myself choose to use, and trust. Please do not spend any money on these sites unless they meet your needs and specifications.  

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