So you’re planning on taking a trip? Not sure which backpack to take? Backpacks are amazing, I love them. Of course they remind me of traveling and they give me the incredible feeling of freedom. Backpacking is freedom in many ways. When I am on the road I share everything with my backpack in a way. If my backpack could speak it would tell many stories of hitchhiking through the Balkans, walking through Spain, bus and train rides trough Asia and road trips through Australia. My dear backpack has seen it all from a different perspective than me. A backpack is kind of a travelers’ companion when discovering the world and that’s why it is so important to choose the right one! I personally use a 22 liter Deuter. (It’s probably more like 30 liters now because it stretched out a lot)
Me and my companion!
Never buy a backpack the first time you have a look. Go to a travel store and see what the posibilities are. When you more or less have an idea of what is available, it is a good idea to gather everything you want to take to see how much space you need. This is not an easy decision because you never know how much you need when you are actually on the road. Especially when you are not sure where you will go. Luckily nowadays there are many backpacks that you can make bigger. It’s better to have one that is too big than too small.
In my experience most girls carry backpacks of around 50 to 60 liters. Most guys need less than that. The thing is there is no perfect bag. It is important to have a backpack that can carry all of your stuff but what’s more important is that is fits your body. It’s simply not good for your back to carry around 20 kilo’s although a good backpack can make it more bareable.
A good backpack will set you back around €150. The price depends on fabric, brand and size. Nowadays in most European countries there is a chain called Decathlon. They offer affordable travel gear. You are probably able to buy a good backpack for €70, the quality might not be as good though.
Most really expensive backpacks are hiking backpacks that are meant to be taken into the woods for days in a row. If you are going to travel you probably only carry your backpack short distances. There is no need to buy an incredibly expensive bag unless you are planning on going hiking of course.
Important features to take into account when looking for a backpack are:
- A rain cover. They can normally be found on the bottom of the backpack. If your backpack does not have one. Don’t worry, most travel stores sell ran covers. It’s just easier when your backpack has one because you are sure it fits.
- Water-resistant material. It doesn’t have to be 100% waterproof but is comfortable when it doesn’t get soaking wet immediatly.
- A separate bottom part can come in handy when you need to store dirty clothes because you don’t want your clean and dirty clothes all mixed together. I find compartments handy to store separate things like electronics. I put them in one compartment so I don’t need to use an extra bag.
- A strong hip belt. If you are planning on taking more than 10 kilo’s it is advisable to buy a backpack that has a strong hip belt to support the weight better. This is also a comfortable feature.
A flightbag is a bag in which you can put your backpack in for when you take a flight. I bought one when I took my first trip but never used it again. I didn’t think about having to carry it around for months after taking a flight once. If you do decide to buy a flight bag make sure you calculate that you need extra space to carry it.