How to choose a travel backpack


Tourism is a magic word that makes our imagination give us pictures of properly set up tents, a well-built fire and cozy songs with a guitar. However, not everything is so romantic and simple. If we approach tourism from a purely utilitarian point of view, then this is a rather costly type of activity, although the costs are often one-time. Such as, for example, camping utensils or a tourist backpack, which will be discussed in this article.

Yes, in order to get ready for a hike, it is important to choose the right things and no less correctly choose the container for carrying them. Otherwise, your trip will not turn into an adventure, but into an exhausting test of your nerves. For tourists, there are several types of things that do not tolerate savings, and a backpack is just one of them. Trying to save money on a hiking backpack is like trying to save money on shoes. You won’t go hiking in ordinary sneakers, as your companions in just a few hours will be true calluses and excessive foot fatigue due to improper distribution of body weight along with a backpack. In addition, without special shoes, you risk injury on wet or dry stones or sand.

It is important to understand what kind of backpack you need and how you can save on purchasing it. If you are a beginner tourist, then you cannot avoid visiting a sports or tourist store. But your goal should not be to buy a backpack for tourism specifically for the type of your trip, but to purchase the most versatile backpack possible, which can be useful to you later if you decide on a more extreme type of tourism. Let’s talk about what backpacks are, and you decide for yourself what you need, based on your financial capabilities. Many take a universal backpack, which can be taken on a three-day hike, and on a two-week trip. And some prefer comfort and stock up on several models suitable for any length and type of hike.

A roomy, but light and comfortable backpack is a real dream of any tourist, and we will tell you as much as possible about the right choice of this accessory.

Backpack volume

The required capacity of the backpack determines the duration of the trip and its purpose. It is measured in liters, it already depends on how much equipment, things and other useful things you can put there. The volume of a backpack often determines its belonging to a particular purpose. The volume depends on what hike is ahead, so consider:

Duration and nature of the upcoming trip

Is your goal a short, one- or two-day hike? Or are you planning to spend a week or more in nature? Will the backpack be used only on the beaten paths in the summer or year-round with varying difficulty?

Equipment type and weight

Will your equipment be professional, insulated and versatile, or as light as possible and minimal in volume? These two factors make it possible to single out two types of backpacks — easy-moving and traditional, if we use approaches to picking.

The traditional tourist option involves the use of full-fledged equipment, not lightweight layout, including food. This will provide the traveler with complete comfort when resting on halts, with changes in the route schedule and the vagaries of the weather. An easy-to-move backpack, or otherwise “Fast & Light”, is used by tourists who seek to lighten the weight of the backpack as much as possible, sometimes even at the expense of their own comfort. This approach will require a lot of self-discipline and organization from you, as well as careful planning of the route itself, in order to minimize even small deviations that may entail new inconveniences. But if you succeed, the reward will be a light step and fast movement along the route with a minimum of fatigue.

How does the volume of a backpack depend on the duration of the route with a standard load and traditional equipment?

1 day or one overnight stay — backpack volume 30-50 liters

2-3 days — 50-60 liters

3-5 days — 60-80 liters

a week or more — from 80 liters

The most versatile volume is a backpack with a volume of 60-80 liters, as it is suitable for a two-day trip, and for a week-long hike. That is why manufacturers of tourist backpacks produce exactly this volume in the most diverse models and colors, complementing them with various details. Due to their versatility, such backpacks are used not only on hiking routes, but also in long ski trips, as well as in mountain climbing, when an overnight stay is expected on the way.

A multi-day hiking trip will require more impressive backpack volumes from the tourist — from 80 liters or more, as the amount of food that you have to carry on yourself increases, as well as other necessary things that you can do without for two or three days, but with a longer trip they will be needed. Such a voluminous backpack is useful not only on a hiking trip. It will perfectly cope with the task when a winter route with a couple of overnight stays is planned. Indeed, in this case, you can not do without warm clothes and additional equipment. for example, a winter sleeping bag alone can easily take up a third of a backpack, even such a huge one, and you also need a thick sleeping mat and a warm puff. If your children are traveling with you, then most of their equipment and things will have to be carried by their parents, provided that the children are still small. Older students are quite capable of coping with such a load.

And what will be the volume of the backpack in trips of different durations with an easy-to-run unloading option?

1 day or one night — 20-30 liters

2-3 days — 30-50 liters

3-5 days — 45-55 liters

a week or more — from 55 liters

What are backpacks

Backpacks have many parameters according to which they can be divided into several groups. The first two are frame or anatomical, and frameless soft. Already from the name it becomes clear that a frameless backpack is, in fact, a bag with straps and all kinds of pockets and compartments. The disadvantages of such backpacks are that it is difficult to evenly distribute the weight inside it, since the center of gravity is invariably at the bottom. But on the other hand, modern soft backpacks are made of very light materials, their weight is about one kilogram.

Frame backpacks are distinguished by a rigid frame consisting of metal or durable plastic elements inside the product. Thanks to him, the backpack securely holds its shape, the weight can be distributed over the entire back, and the packing itself is greatly simplified. Such backpacks are much more convenient and versatile, but they weigh more than their frameless counterparts — about three kilograms.

Purpose of backpacks

Backpacks can also be divided according to belonging to a particular sport or activity:

Hiking backpack.

The design of a hiking, or otherwise — trekking backpack can be any — with or without a frame. Comfortable volume — 30-50 liters. This is a full-fledged hiking backpack, a durable, waterproof companion that carefully stores your things from rain, mud and other disasters.

On an expedition — only with a backpack!

Of course, that such a serious event as an expedition requires a high-quality backpack with a large capacity. In addition, the design of such a thing is different from others — the fabric is even stronger, there are various ties that allow you to tighten the backpack, internal frame, storm cover, waist belt for fixing the lumbar region, top valve adjustment, as well as separate access to the lower compartment. Actually, these characteristics apply to any large backpacks. The average size of an expeditionary backpack is considered to be at least 100 liters. And lovers of water tourism use more voluminous models — 110-150 liters.

Storm backpack.

Indispensable for short mountain climbs and short outings in extreme conditions — wind, rain, snow, mud or slippery ice. This type of backpack is characterized by a streamlined shape for more comfortable movement in strong winds and the absence of external pockets with rare exceptions. The volume of such backpacks usually does not exceed 50 liters. They make assault models of backpacks from durable materials that can withstand exceptional loads even in extreme conditions. Another feature of the assault backpack that distinguishes it from other types is that its design allows you to hang assault equipment on top of it — crampons, ropes, an ice ax and much more.

When choosing a backpack, pay attention to its elements. Your comfort almost always depends on them.

Backpack straps

The straps of tourist backpacks should be strong, soft, but resistant to deformation, that is, they should keep their shape well. It is better to choose anatomical straps, rather than ordinary straight ones, since the first ones sit on the body more tightly, which means that they will not rub when carrying and it will be more convenient to carry the backpack. The length of the straps is adjusted using the lower strap of each strap. For a tighter fit of the backpack on the back, many have adjustable shoulder straps. It is better if the straps are ventilated, this is especially true for athletes in the summer. Pay attention to the presence of a chest screed. It is a must if you plan to carry a heavy backpack. The straps are fixed on the chest, and the backpack becomes even more comfortable.


This element transfers almost half of the backpack’s weight to the hips. The inside should be soft and the outside should be hard. The width of the belt should be at least 10 cm. Such a waist belt will do its job perfectly. The buckle should be conveniently and quickly unfastened with one hand.


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