And don't trust your friends' recommendation on this one. A backpack might be perfect for them, but not for you.
Even an expensive one does not guarantee it's the best for you.
So how do you pick a good travel backpack? Save yourself the trial and error with this list of tips from seasoned travelers.
Here are some features you should look into before buying a travel backpack:
Find a travel backpack that's not too big that you'll overpack, but also not too small to fit your essentials.
Most budget airlines have a 45L limit for carry on bags. If you intend to bring your backpack as a carry-on, refrain from buying a backpack with a 70L capacity.
You will most likely overpack.
When you hear ‘travel' and ‘backpack' you probably think about long, big, backpacks that open from the top like a sack. These are called top-loading backpacks.
However, you'll find it inconvenient given that narrow opening at the top.
To get something that is at the bottom, you will have to take out all the stuff on top of it.
In contrast, a front-loading backpack allows you to open the entire front part like a suitcase. This makes it easy for you to pack, unpack, or simply retrieve something.
Compartments or Organizer
It will be hard to keep all your stuff neat and secure without compartments. It's risky to pack toiletries near your electronics and have them mixed and jumbled together.
Furthermore, you wouldn't want your smelly laundry mixing with your clean clothes.
This is why a good travel backpack needs to have compartments, pockets, or organizers.
However, if you find a good travel backpack but it doesn't have enough compartments, you can use packing cubes.
Padded Shoulder Straps
The shoulder straps should have sufficient padding so even when you're carrying a heavy load for long periods of walking, it won't hurt your shoulders.
Support Frame and Lumbar Back Support
Find a travel backpack with an internal support frame to protect your back.
Also, look for backpacks that have lumbar support to provide that much-needed support for your lower back.
There should be a padded hip belt. This is where most of the weight of your backpack is expected to fall.
Having a padded hip belt makes a lot of difference. It allows you to carry your backpack in comfort and ease.
Does the backpack fit you well? Try it on. See if it's not too long for you.
Are you comfortable with it on your shoulders?
Did you know that there are backpacks specially made to fit a woman's body? If you're a woman reading this, you might want to look into it.
When you travel, you are vulnerable to theft. The best way to protect yourself is to do what you can to keep your backpack safe.
Therefore, when you're looking for a travel backpack, check to see if it has security features.
What security features does the backpack have? Does it have provisions for a small padlock on the zippers? Is the backpack made with slash-proof materials?