7 Tips To Help You Choose The Right Travel Backpack

You know that thing you’ll be living out of for the next few months.

$238, available on Jetset Times Shop.
$238, available on Jetset Times SHOP

So, you finally made the decision to hit the road and experience the freedom that is backpacking (congrats!). By this point, you’ve probably made all your travel arrangements, booked all your flights and hotels, have your itinerary set and ready to go, and dreaming of all the cool places and people you’ll eventually meet. But, how much thought have you given to your bag? You know that thing you’ll be living out of for the next few months!

Here are some easy tips on how to choose the right travel backpack for you!

1. Leave the Rolling Luggage at Home

Though there are plenty of practical reasons to travel with a rolling bag or suitcase for a long-term trip, there are many more suitable options on the market if backpacking is your preferred style of traveling. Travel backpacks and duffel bags are the best and most versatile bags to invest in, given the storage space and variety of compartments it has to offer.

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$185, available on Jetset Times SHOP

2. What Kind of Trip Are You Planning?

The type of trip you plan on taking will determine what kind of bag you should get. If camping and outdoor excursions are more on your itinerary then I would suggest a closed top duffel bag, given its rugged design to withstand the natural elements. If cities and towns are big on your must-see list, then a reliable suitcase or carry-on bag is a better option, since it tends to feature multiple compartments and easy access pockets.

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$258, available on Jetset Times SHOP

3. Versatility is the Key

Any great travel backpack should emphasize versatility as a key component of its design and appeal. Look for backpacks that feature a variety of compartments to store all your items, sturdy and strong zippers that won’t break when your bag is packed to the max (by the way, this should never be the case!), shoulder straps that can be fully enclosed and zipped away (especially helpful when passing through airport security checks), durable reinforced bottom, overall lightweight design, water resistant or waterproof fabrics, lockable zippers, internal frame to maintain structure and stability, and easy-to-access side pockets for travel documents and more.

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$148, available on Jetset Times SHOP

4. Give Your Arm a Rest

Rolling luggage and handheld bags are great for short distances and flat surfaces, but it’s definitely not ideal for traversing rough terrain, exploring city streets or long trips in general. A backpack with comfortable shoulder straps is crucial, so your back can do all the work and your hands can be free.

$185, available on Jetset Times Shop.
$185, available on Jetset Times SHOP

5. Get a Backpack with Extra Space

If you’re traveling, chances are you’ll be packing plenty of souvenirs for sure, so a bag that offers ample space is a plus. We’ve all been guilty of over packing at least once (myself included), but it’s important to avoid this cardinal sin as much as possible.

Rule of thumb: Lay out everything you want to bring, remove half of what you see and bring twice as much cash. This simple approach will help you avoid over packing and leaves you with plenty of room in your bag to buy clothes, souvenirs or any other cool items you may find on your trip.

$235, available on Jetset Times Shop.
$235, available on Jetset Times SHOP

6. Extra Handles for Easy Travel

In addition to reliable shoulder straps, any backpack that features a strong and sturdy handle grip is a must-buy. Whether you’re hiking, camping, or traveling from city to city, reliable handle grips are an amazing and underrated feature. If you plan on taking a series of trains or buses on your trip, for instance, you’ll probably get tired of zipping up the shoulder straps each and every time you board, which is where the handles come into play.

When I go backpacking, I personally like to travel with my shoulder straps zipped up, so I can carry the backpack either in my hand or rest the backpack atop my shoulder with my hand through the handle as I walk around a city. If I’m camping or trekking, however, then the shoulder straps are definitely on!

$111, available on Jetset Times Shop.
$111, available on Jetset Times SHOP

7. Does size matter?

No! In fact, the smaller and more proportional your bag is to your body type the better. You don’t want a bag that will tower over you, with every conceivable item you may or may not need, or a bag that’s too small, where the weight becomes an issue and keeps you imbalanced. Instead focus on a bag that is comfortable and distributes the weight properly, so you’re always in balance.

For this reason, I highly recommend visiting an REI store in your area. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful and they can help you choose the right backpack for you, including how to properly adjust the backpack to fit your body type, which is incredibly important. Not to mention, you can bring in your own bag and they’ll help you out, no questions asked!

$175, available on Jetset Times Shop.
$175, available on Jetset Times SHOP

Jerry Alonzo Leon

Contributor

Jerry's favorite country to travel to is Spain. When he's on the road, he keeps it real simple with a pen and a pad. His travel style is spontaneous, easygoing, and always in search of a great adventure.

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