10 Things you Should Know When Choosing a Backpack

Backpacking is a great way to see the world, but it can be hard on your body if you’re not careful. To help you avoid injury and make sure you have all of the right gear for your trip, we’ve put together 10 things every backpacker should know before they hit the road.

things you should know when choosing a backpack

Choosing a backpack can be overwhelming. There are so many out there and they all seem to have different features that may or may not work for you. This blog post is designed to break down the 10 things you should know when choosing a backpack. We’ll cover everything from types of packs, size, weight, and more! this list covers everything you need to know about making sure that your backpacking trip is as comfortable as possible!

Also Read: 10 Best Hydration Pack for Hiking in 2021

Let’s get started!

1. How Heavy?

Let’s get this out of the way first shall we? Now, I am not suggesting you fill your bag up to the brim and run around with it as fast as possible to test its limits… But with that being said, there is no denying that a properly loaded backpack will feel heavier than an empty one. But you shouldn’t feel bad about it! The weight of a fully packed backpack is important because it determines its durability and how well it will distribute the weight across your body. Tip: If you’re carrying around a lot of camping gear while backpacking, then be sure to check out this article on ” How To Choose Backpacking Tents “.

things you should know when choosing a backpack

2. Size Does Matter

Typically, a backpack’s size and capacity are directly related to each other. What I mean by this is that a 50L pack can hold more gear than a 30L pack. But the thing is, you don’t actually need that extra 20L for an overnight trip if you plan your gear right (see tip #6 below). Also, the extra capacity will make your bag seem even heavier… and it’s not as if you can stow away those “useless” 10L in a pocket or anything!

That being said, for purposes of this article I’ll be referring to backpacks within the 30-60L range because at that size they are (in my opinion) large enough to work for a 3-5 day trip, but not so big that they become cumbersome.

3. The Weight Distribution Myth?

When it comes to backpacks the most common advice you’ll find is to make sure that your backpack’s weight (the stuff inside) is distributed evenly across your body… and I agree! However, it is just as important to note that the weight of your backpack itself should be distributed evenly across your body. Why do I say this? Well simply put, if the pack’s weight isn’t spread out well then you’ll have a really uncomfortable and tiring experience on your hands.

backpack buying help

So what’s my advice on how to achieve this? One of the best ways to achieve weight distribution is by carrying a water bladder (hydration pack). These things are really great for evenly distributing your bag’s weight because it helps keep the center of gravity low. To see what I’m talking about here you can check out my article on ” How To Choose The Best Hydration Pack “.

4. Why Not A Shoulder Bag?

Some people choose to go with a shoulder bag for their trek… and while this may seem like an okay option at first, you should think again. These bags tend to be too narrow to carry all the gear you need and they aren’t as easy to get in/out of when you’re sitting down. In fact, if you watch videos of people hiking with these things you’ll find that they tend to lean forward a lot, making it uncomfortable.

Also, shoulder bags can’t carry nearly as much gear as a backpack can since all the gear you need ends up being loaded from the top of your bag. You’re inevitably going to have an uneven weight distribution and possibly end up straining your shoulders.

5. The 3 Most Important Features Of Your New Backpack


When it comes to backpacks the size of the bag is pretty much irrelevant (see Tip #2 above). The important thing to consider when choosing a backpack is how well it fits your body AND how easily accessible the main compartments are. If the bag is too small or the zipper is hard to reach then it will feel like an inconvenience every time you try to get something out. Backpacks are not one size fits all! Even if two different bags have the same volume, they can still be completely different when it comes to fit… And if this doesn’t make sense right now, it will once you read tips #8 and #9 below.


The next most important thing to consider when choosing a backpack is how many pockets are on the inside of it. Why? Besides helping you organize your gear (see Tip #6 below), pockets can also make access easier while on the go… Especially pockets that can be accessed without having to unzip the bag.


You’ll also want to consider how durable and strong the material is. For example, backpacks made with rip-stop nylon are great because they’re lightweight but highly resistant to tears… A must when you’re dealing with sharp objects like climbing gear! This is just one reason why the bags listed below are great choices.

6. How To Make Your Trekking Rucksack Work For You

(i) Organize Gear By Purpose

If you have a lot of gear, then you’ll want to organize it by purpose… Doing so will help increase the organization and ease of access while backpacking. For example, you may divide your gear into sections such as cooking supplies, winter wear, or emergency equipment. Below is a picture of my backpack organized by purpose.

(ii) Organize Gear By Use

How To Make Your Trekking Rucksack Work For You

The second way to organize your gear is by use… For example, this method divides the items based on how frequently they will be used. In this case, you might organize the items by frequency of use such as “everyday use”, “once a week” or “never used”.

7. Backpack For Travel Or Backpacking?

If you are backpacking, your backpack should be big enough to fit everything you need for 3-5 days. However, if you are traveling, you’ll want a small bag to be used as carry-on luggage. Another thing to keep in mind if you are traveling is the type of travel activity that you will take part in such as sightseeing or hiking… because this will determine what kind of extra equipment you’ll need (such as trekking poles, etc.).

Also Read: How to Choose a Backpack for Hiking 2021 Ultimate Guide FOR YOUR ADVENTURES

Also Read:10 Best Travel Backpack For Fat Guys 2021 With Buying Guide

8. Shoulder Or Hip Belt?

When it comes to backpacks, there are two different styles that you can choose from: pockets and can access the inside of your backpack. While this may not seem important at first, I have found that hip belts are much more effective when hiking rough terrain because they provide much more stability than a shoulder strap. Why is this a big deal? Because when hiking rough terrain you need to be able to move your body and your legs quickly with balance… Without stability from a hip belt, you’ll have much more difficulty doing this. In fact, a poorly fitting hip belt can actually cause pain or even injury!

9. Frivolous Pack Features

(i) Extra Compartments:

A pocket or two is okay, but don’t get a bag with so many compartments that you’re digging around inside for what you need. This defeats the purpose of having an easy-to-use backpack!

(ii) Hydration System:

Unfortunately, I have seen too many backpacks that are designed to hold a hydration bladder on the outside of it (like a water bottle). Not only is this inefficient, but it also defeats the purpose of having a backpack in the first place!

(iii) Zippers:

And while we’re talking about zippers… don’t go for anything that has small zippers such as the ones found on sunglass cases or coin purses. Instead, you should buy a bag with big zippers that are easy to grab even if your hands are full. (See Tip #5 above.)

(iv) Frame:

You’ll want to steer clear of bags that have frames… because unless it’s for mountain climbing then you don’t need it. The reason for this is because they’re usually less comfortable… so why carry around the extra weight?

(v) Hydration Packs:

Another type of bag that I would avoid buying is any sort of hydration pack. These are packs that are made to hold a water bladder on your back… But carrying around water in your bag defeats the purpose of using a backpack!

10. And The Winner Is…

(i) Low Cost: Prices for these types of bags range from $30 to $300 depending on the size, material, and brand that you choose.


Since I’m a backpacker, I thought this information might be useful. In my opinion, there are 3 categories to consider: long-term travel (month+), short-term travel(1-3 weeks), and backpacking/hiking (weekend-2 week).

Each one has different needs. For example, for long-term travel, I prefer a bag that is one solid color so it won’t stand out as much and can be used to check it on airplanes as needed(Osprey Atmos 50 or some other “grey” style bag). These bags are larger than backpacking/hiking ones but most have more room in the larger sizes. Since I don’t know what your needs are, the best way to answer your question is: “What do you want it for?” long term travel (month+), short term travel(1-3 weeks), and backpacking/hiking (weekend-2 week).


After reading this blog post, you should be able to choose the right backpack for your needs. Now go find that perfect bag! We know it’s hard to narrow down which pack is just right so we’ve put together a list of 10 key points to consider when choosing the best backpack for yourself or your loved one. Let us help you decide on a new backpack today and see how much easier outdoor adventures can become with our expert advice at your side. Check out these top tips before buying any backpack!

3 thoughts on “10 Things you Should Know When Choosing a Backpack”

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