7 tips To Choose the Perfect Backpack

by | Mar 17, 2017 | Luggage & Packing, Trip Planning | 1 comment

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A backpack or rucksack is an essential purchase for any traveller heading overseas. Choosing the perfect backpack can be a hard decision. The backpack, once seen as the budget traveller’s best friend has evolved making it the ideal companion for the modern traveller. Their biggest advantage is they are easy to carry around. So what do you look for in a pack? I have had a couple of backpacks (and suitcases) that I have travelled with over the years and I love them all. Here is what I consider when I look at buying a new one and how you can choose the perfect backpack for your travels. I have updated this post May 2021.


Things to consider when Choosing a Backpack




New travellers are notorious for filling their luggage with clothes they might wear and knick-knacks they might use and so purchase the largest pack possible. Big is not always best. The bigger the pack, the more likely you are to over pack and end up with a very heavy pack which can hinder your well-being while travelling. Buy too small a pack and you won’t be able to fit in everything you need to take.

Most packs are measured by their litre capacity which, if you’re like most, doesn’t mean very much at all. Therefore, a visual evaluation and some guidance from a specialist outdoor attendant in a specialist travel and adventure accessory store will be your best bet to help you choose the size of your perfect backpack.




Not everyone is the same height or size so try the pack on first. The only thing worse than a heavy pack is an uncomfortable heavy pack so choosing the perfect backpack is essential for your travelling comfort. Your pack should fit you like a glove because the more comfortable you are the better you travel. You never know what you might do, like jog up a mountain, walk around town for hours or stand in a que waiting to get on to your transport – your backpack needs to be comfortable.




As well as being the right length straps should be adjustable. They should be padded for comfort, particularly the shoulder straps). Also with removable straps making them easier to store in a compartment in the pack. Most packs have straps and handles that you can change around enabling you to carry the pack like a suitcase. Having this feature helps making your chosen backpack very versatile.




There are many styles of backpack available. One that has an inner frame is best because you cannot see the frame and it won’t get caught on anything while you are travelling. In my opinion, having an internal frame also makes it look nicer.

Some packs unzip like a suitcase while others open at the top. A pack that unzips like a suitcase is much easier to pack and re-pack than top-opening ones which are mostly used by hikers. This is because people with top opening ones may have to dig deep or unpack their belongings to find what they are looking for.


Detachable day-pack


Many packs come with a detachable day-pack which will be handy for overnight stays and for carrying knick-knacks around. Some packs include a removable toiletries bag. The more compartments the better because you will be able to categorise your gear, ie. underwear, sleeping gear, toiletries, digital nomad electronics, etc. and make them easier and quicker to find.




The quality of the pack will determine its strength and sturdiness. In particular, a lot of strain is exerted in the zip area. A pack with a heavy-duty lockable zip is a good investment. Also consider the type of material the pack is made from. Strong material that isn’t heavy is a good investment to help keep the pack in tact and free of tears and holes which can only get bigger with wear and tear. I would also look for a pack that is waterproof as you never know when you will be caught in the rain. And if your things get wet, they get heavier to carry.




Packs can and do vary in price. It is really up to you to do your research and purchase a pack that will suit your needs and your budget. Speak to staff in adventure gear, camping and disposal stores. They will usually ask you how much you want to spend and show you what they have available in your price range.


Final Words on Choosing Your Perfect Backpack


So if you are considering purchasing a new backpack for your travels then my biggest tip is try different backpacks on first before your buy. I suggest you visit a store that specialises in backpacks and travel gear and get the advice you need. As I mention, a backpack is a big and important purchase as when you travel you will have most of your life packed into your backpack. Then you can either purchase your backpack from the store or online.


Female Sitting On Mountain Looking At View With An Orange Backpack On Her Back.

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!


Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, Booking.com is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from raileurope. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers and World Normads has policies for general and adventure travel.


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Hi. Sharyn here. Savvy Australian female with a passion for travel and working abroad. I’m on a mission to provide you with my best tips, tricks and hacks to work abroad and travel the world. If I can do it, so can you!  Read more.


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Hi, Sharyn here. I’m the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve travelled all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline – thanks dad! I’ve been a travel writer/blogger and living a location independent lifestyle since 1993. My aim with Live Work Play Travel is to provide you with the info to start living, working and travelling around the world like I do. I currently live in Melbourne with my partner and 2 kids. 

1 Comment

  1. Dearne

    I have just bought my son a new backpack for his trip overseas but after reading this great information I will be returning my purchase, reassessing his needs and buying a more appropriate style for his holiday!


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