How to Find the Right Backpack

For travelers, your luggage/backpack is your office. Literally. That’s where you’ll have your whole setup, along with your clothes.

Once extremely convenient type of bag that’s super versatile for avid travelers who like to keep mobile as well as keep your hands free are backpacks.

Backpacks come in all sizes so you can choose several use them for whatever type of travel you’ll be doing.

Use anger backpacks for when traveling abroad for any length of time like Europe travel, asia travel, South America travel and so on.

What you’ll want to do is go to an outdoor type store like REI, Dicks Sporting Goods, Decathlon stores, etc… They’ll have a a big selection of backpacks to choose from and you can try them on and see just how much space you’ll need.

Some backpacks are “top loaders” where it opens up on the top like a paper bag. The problem with “top loaders” is that if you have something in the bottom of you bag (like a pair of jeans/shorts, shoes, tshirt, etc…) that you really want to use, then you have to take everything out in order to get what you want.

This can be extremely inconvenient and it can be a pain to unload it, especially if you’re right smack in the middle of traveling on a train, bus, plane, walking through the city, etc…

The alternative to this is get a backpack that zips from the front. This is definitely more convenient as you can lay your backpack down and unzip it, revealing everything you’ve packed in your back right in front of you. so, id you need something, you can quickly unzip it and get what you want without rummaging through everything you’ve packed.

What else is important is a “spinal chimney.” That’s where there’s an indent from top to bottom on the part of the backpack that touches your back. The indent allows for your back to “breathe” as your body heat will escape through the spinal chimney.

Most regular backpacks don’t have a spinal chimney so if you have it packed and start sweating on a hot day, all the backpack material will be touching your back and when you take your backpack off your shirt will have a big wet spot.

Spinal chimneys are designed to prevent that and allow your back to expel the heat through the chimney.

backpacking backpack with air stripe

You can see in the photo above that there is an indent from top to bottom, right in the middle of the padding. The padding on both sides fit firmly alongside both sides of your spine.

REI and all the other sporting goods that have a big variety of backpacks should have many backpacks with and without these spinal channels.

The other little indents on the padding are little channels that allow your body heat to escape as well, allowing your back to breathe as you’re on the move.

spinal air vent diagram backpacks

Here’s a great diagram that shows how the air channels work for backpacks that have these great air channels.

So, keep this feature in mind when you are shopping for backpacks. You might not think that it makes a difference, but it is a tremendous asset when you are on the road.

how many pockets do you need? This is a great question to keep in mind when you are shopping for the ultimate backpack that will house everything you own while you’re on the road.

Side pockets that are big enough to hold a regular bottle of water will be extremely handy. It’s very shocking to see just how many of these big backpacks don’t come with side stretchable net pockets that you can carry bottled water. They may come with many zip pockets, but those won’t be big enough to carry bottler water.

backpack without water bottle pocket

The backpack above doesn’t have stretchable packets or pockets that open up with stretchable pockets for water bottles.

The picture below has a common stretchable pocket big enough to hold most types of water bottles. These pockets allow the person wearing the backpack to simply reach around and take the water bottle out without breaking you stride as you’re on the move.

You’ll never have to take your backpack off in order to find your bottle of water.

backpack with stretchable pocket for water bottles

So keep these pockets in mind when you are backpack shopping because really, there’s no point in having to take off the big backpack and having to unzip it to grab your bottle of water when you can just as easily get a backpack with a side stretchable pockets that can carry bottled water.

Other pockets spread out throughout the design of the backpack are also very helpful. Some are great to carry documents (passport, wallet, train/bus/plane tickets, etc…), and some are good for your electronics and travel guides.

Just make sure you think about what’s import to you when you’re half way around the world on your travels.

Also, remember to not over-pack when you’re on the go. Do you really need to pack that hair dryer or 4th pair of shoes?

Keep it simple. That’s the motto you should have in mind when you’re assembling your travel necessities. Your backpack is going to be your office bag. Many travel bloggers travel using a backpack because it literally houses everything you need when you’re still on the clock while you’re traveling. Your bag is your office when you’re on the go.

Today, one common shopping trend is to go to the nearest sporting goods store and try on as many backpacks as you see fit. Once you find the one that you really want, write down the model number and brand name of the backpack, or simply take a photo of it with your cell phone. Then, go to and find the same backpack and you’ll most likely find the same backpack at a discounted price.

Amazon also has a great return policy so if you’re not satisfied with your backpack because of a defect or for any other reason, you can return it for a refund.

What you’ll do is login to your account then click on your orders. Then there will be options, so choose the return option and follow instructions. Usually, you can just print the single page they instruct you to print, then pack the backpack back into the same box it was sent in (so keep your box just in case!). You can choose the option for the delivery man (UPS, Fedex, etc…) to stop by and they will pick up the box and bring it back to Amazon for you so you don’t have to stop by the post office. Awesome.

You ‘ll get a refund sent to your credit card within a couple of days of sending it back. Again, awesome.

So, keep all this in mind when you are shopping for a backpack!


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