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The right backpack – which one is best for your travels?

You’re going on your first backpacking adventure, and it’s time to look for the right backpack for your travels. Or maybe you just want a new one to take with you on future adventures around the world. The search for the ideal backpack can often be tiresome. After all, you want to be sure that everything is perfect, and it fits right.

When choosing a pack, you should keep in mind that this backpack will accompany you daily during your travels, and you will have to walk long ways with it. That’s why comfort and functionality play are extremely important. It often sounds easier than it actually is, so we’ll help you with your search by introducing you to the clear favorites.

This guide will make your choice easier, so you’ll be able to head out for distant countries with your new companion soon.

What to consider before buying

The most important thing before buying a backpack is to try it on. That’s the only way you can really check how it feels and whether you like it. Buying it online should only be an option if you have already tried it on in a shop and maybe even gotten expert advice from the seller.

Typically, high-quality backpacks are more expensive; that’s why you should think long and hard before buying one. Try to look at this purchase as a serious investment; carefully consider which model and which size is right for you. If you do this right and buy a high-quality model, your backpack will stay with you for many years.

Different backpack sizes

You can buy backpacks in various sizes. Depending on the brand or model, you have lots of choices, and you can adjust the size to what you need. Standard sizes begin at 50 liters and go up to 90 liters. If you really need more space, you can buy a much bigger backpack, but most backpackers find that unnecessary.

You might even come across models with information about additional liters, for example, “60 plus 10 liters”. That means that there is a bit more space and the pack can be expanded if needed.

Choosing the right size is critical. This will determine how much you can take on your trips and how much will fit into your luggage. The following sizes are available:

  • 50 liters – 60 liters
  • 70 liters – 80 liters 

If you primarily go on shorter trips, the smaller bag is the right choice for you. It’s enough to pack clothes and equipment, and you’ll have plenty of space for souvenirs and other purchases on your trips.

Backpackers who travel for longer periods of time and potentially want to do a work and travel adventure, should choose the bigger ones. This one has much more space, which is especially useful if you have to prepare for various climates and plan to bring a coat and warmer clothes with you. You can also fit a small sleeping bag into the bigger backpacks. The backpack with 70 liters is also useful for special gear like trekking equipment or a camera.

Choosing the right size depends on what kind of backpacker you are. While many bring a lot of stuff on a trip and like to pack more than they actually need, others like to travel rather minimalistic and manage with less. Try to think about that as you look for the right backpack, and you’ll surely pick the right size.

The five most popular models in Europe

You have many options when you buy a backpack. Apart from classic brands, you’ll find some new ones too, and online, there is one website after the other. It seems impossible to keep track of them all. Even in stores, at a specialty store of your choice, the selection can be quite extensive. However, here you can be certain that you’ll only find bestsellers and quality is practically guaranteed.

We recommend that you do your research online first, and get a rough idea of what the best models are. Write down the brand names before you visit a specialty store. In most sporting goods stores, you will find a big selection of packs. Get some advice and check whether the models you saw online are available here; you can also ask the salesclerk for their opinion. That way, you are guaranteed to buy a pack that is not only of high quality, but also one that is functional and reliable. The latter is especially important when choosing the right backpack.

Deuter Aircontact: a classic

Deuter has a number of backpacks to offer. Often, they have different models for men and women. You can tell them apart by color, because typically, the women’s packs are light purple and the men’s are blue or black. The selling point with Deuter backpacks is that you can extend the volume. That means that a bag with 55 plus 10 liters is perfect for anyone who wants to keep it as light as possible but still wants a bit more space for the trip. Deuter has three different models in big sizes; the Aircontact has been a popular model among German backpackers for several years now.

Price: €200-250

Fjällräven Kajka 65

Fjällräven is known for its colorful day packs, but their backpacks aren’t bad either. The Kajka 65 is another favorite among backpackers; it is available in neutral colors. The weight is supported by two wooden sticks in the back, which protect your body and provide support. Here you can choose between 65 and 70 liters – definitely on the safe side.

Price: €250-300 

McKinley RS Yucon

McKinley is another popular brand for backpackers. The RS Yukon offers a size of 50 liters that can be extended up to an additional 10 liters. In contrast to Fjällräven, the McKinley models are much smaller and more compact, which is more practical for a long journey.

Price: starting at €100 

Salewa Cammino

Salewa has a big selection of neutral colors. Here you pay much less, but you still get good quality. Their sizes range from 50 to 65 liters – there’s the right bag for every backpacker. 

Price: €100-150 

Work and Travel Backpack

While researching on the internet, you have probably seen the work and travel backpack. It is made by the brand Outdoorer; you can find it online at auslandsjob.de. There’s a model for women, as well as for men. The backpack is quite cheap, and it has a lot of space for all important things.

Price: €100

Features your backpack should have

The final choice is up to you as a backpacker. However, here are a few features worth keeping in mind:

  • waterproof
  • integrated rain cover
  • outside pockets
  • possibility to attach bottles or a jacket on the outside
  • useful division (at least two openings)
  • good back support
  • padded straps

These criteria are important, because you’ll benefit from these features on your journey. Back support and cushions will protect your body, since you’ll often carry many kilograms. As much stabilization and support as possible are important here.

Also, consider a practical division in the pack. If you want to get something out of your backpack quickly, multiple openings are useful. Side pockets or little compartments can help you organize and keep your backpack in order as well.

When buying a pack, the most important factor is quality. As soon as you have found the right one, nothing will be able to keep you from your next adventure together.

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