your guide to picking a backpack for travel

I recently bought a new backpack for my upcoming trip to Asia. And let me tell you — it was not easy. After traveling Europe with a huge pack, I knew I needed to downsize but didn’t know where to start with shopping. There are so many brands, price ranges, sizes and features to consider. I spent several days learning all about backpacks so you don’t have to.

1. Amazon is your best friend.

You can find brand new packs on Amazon at discounted rates (sometimes it’s an old model, or a color or size is less popular than a brand anticipated, so it’ll sell for less on Amazon). You can go to an outdoor store and try on backpacks, but check Amazon before paying full price for one you love. There’s no reason to spend $50-$100 more on a pack just because it’ll ship from an REI warehouse instead of an Amazon warehouse. Just check the reviews on Amazon to make sure you’re getting the real deal.

2. Smaller is better.

If you’re buying a backpack for travel, you don’t need anything bigger than 60L (this is a measurement of volume in liters). Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise! You should be packing for a week, maybe a little more. So regardless of your trip length, your pack should be small. You’ll regret going bigger when your shoulders and back ache constantly on your trip. A 35L-50L pack is large enough for a smart packer.

3. Look for deals on high-quality backpacks.

You don’t always have to skimp on quality to save money on a pack. I purchased a pack from Gregory, a pretty pricey brand, because it was on sale on Amazon. Anyone will tell you that quality in a backpack is important; you don’t want the added stress of broken zippers or ripped fabric while traveling. Look for savings on North Face, Patagonia, High Sierra, Gregory and Osprey packs. Also, check out for new discounts daily.

4. Features you want: an internal frame and lots of compartments.

And the more things that are adjustable (think: frame, shoulder straps, hip belt), the more comfortable the backpack will be. Make sure the shoulder straps and hip belt are padded. Also, an included rainfly and breathable material on the straps/back area are icing on the cake.

If you’re curious, I got this 35L Gregory pack for $88. It’s now back to full price, but it just goes to show that you can definitely find deals on Amazon! I love the pack so far.

Did my tips help? Let me know in the comments!



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