What to Look for in a Travelling Backpack

Getting prepped for a long stint of travel? Buying all of the items that you need can be fun, but buying a travel rucksack/backpack is a serious business! This is going to be your best friend for your journey. It will be slept on, thrown around, stuffed to breaking point and shoved in tight compartments. Therefore, it has to be just right. Here are things to look for!

Size and Weight

Unless you are travelling somewhere with extreme cold temperatures (and therefore a lot of equipment is required), you do not need a bag that is over 60l. Go smaller if you can. Even if you have seen a bag that you love at 70l, it’s not worth buying something that big. Picture the scene: it’s a swelteringly hot day, and you have been travelling by train for 24 hours. You alight at your destination. Being the savvy traveller you are, you know that you’re going to walk through the city to find your hostel, map in hand, to save money and experience the location. The last thing you need is to drag a rucksack that’s too heavy from the train and onto your already perspiring back. Packing light is key here. We are planning on going away for a year in the future, and are looking at different types of rucksack. Daniel has gone for a 60l, and I am looking at 40l maximum. Why? Because you don’t need to carry around a lot of stuff when travelling, even when planning a year long adventure. Our Instagram isn’t the sort where either of us gets dressed up for photographs. Don’t start to hate your backpack – pack light and love it! You can see more packing tips here – Preparing to Go…

Essential Features

There are many features that will make your life so much easier.
Hidden pockets in hard to reach places: Ideal for important documents. You don’t want to have to worry about the safety of items, and you need to protect them from pickpockets. As an example, in Daniel’s rucksack has a handy pocket on the inside of the top of the bag, making it difficult for anyone to access without having to unclip/unzip and make a big scene.


Rain cover: This is a great feature to look for, as you never know when you could be caught in a storm, or even splashed by water. A rain cover will usually be hidden at the bottom of the backpack, and is easily unzipped and hooked over the entire bag. This is also great for safety from pickpockets.


Whistle: A whistle can be used in many situations – to get your travelling companions attention, to alert others to danger, to say that you are in trouble. It’s great to look for a whistle like this one that is a part of the clasp on the front of your backpack. This way you can easily blow it when needed.


H2O Hole: Perfect for camel packs. If you haven’t yet invested in one of these, it really is recommended. Carrying litres of water around without having to use plastic bottles, and easy access to drinking is essential in any climate. Most modern bags should now have these ready-made holes for camel packs – just look for the H2O symbol!


Quick Adjust: Being able to adjust where your backpack sits on your back is perfect for creating the most comfortable experience possible. Quick adjust features mean that you can keep on changing it if needed, and as comfort is key in long journeys, it’s the ideal feature to look for.


A Bowed Back: Can you see daylight between my back and the backpack? Perfect! That’s the way it should be, keeping your back as cool as possible during a difficult and sweaty journey.

Don’t Forget!

When trying on backpacks in a shop it is easy to get excited, and carried away with how great they all feel. Take a moment to imagine them full to the brim of essential items, with a saucepan tied to the front and a sleeping bag strapped to the top. Keep it small, and make sure you can carry it.

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