Your Backpack is a Matter of Personal Preference

Have you started planning your adventure but don’t know which backpack to bring?

The two main types of backpacks you’ll want to consider are travel backpacks and hiking backpacks.

Travel backpacks often come with multiple compartments that keep your belongings organized while you’re on the move. These are good for day trips around town or for carrying things in the front seat as you drive up to the lake house.

Hiking backpacks, on the other hand, are your preferred option for those thrilling treks in the woods, through the mountains, and along the coastlines. 

Both types of backpacks come in various sizes, styles, colors, and qualities. Each brand will have something unique to offer. With so many choices, how do you find the best backpacks?

Consider your needs, both for your upcoming trip, and how you may wish to use the backpack after you return to home. Let’s jump into it! 

Types of Backpacks

Picking the right backpack can make all the difference. Whether you need a safe spot for your laptop, a sturdy companion for hiking, or a convenient carry-on for your travels, there’s a specific backpack tailored to your activities and lifestyle. Let’s jump into the variety of backpacks available to find your perfect match!

Travel Backpacks

Looking for a bag to carry your books, computer, water bottle, and other miscellaneous goods as you start your journey? Travel backpacks are your go-to choice. They come with features aimed to ease your journeys such as a dedicated laptop sleeve which keeps your tech secured as well as various compartments and pockets to ensure your belongings stay organized. They often come with weather-resistant materials, able to withstand short outings in rain, wind, or snow. Padded straps and a smart suspension system comes in handy; travel backpacks make your load feel lighter.

Lightweight Backpacks

If what you need is versatility with a lighter touch, lightweight backpacks are a sound choice. They strike a balance between being functional and easy to carry. These usually have enough room for your daily essentials like books and a laptop, making them an excellent option for a day or two on the lake.

Ultralight Backpack

For minimalist adventurers, an ultralight backpack takes the idea of lightweight to the next level. We’re talking about stripping down to the bare necessities—just enough space for the essentials, often employing materials that barely register on the scale. Ultralight backpacks usually skip the traditional structure and framing to shave off weight, challenging you to pack smart and light.

Hiking Backpacks

Ready to take on the wilderness? Hiking backpacks are built to withstand the elements. Most hiking backpacks have water-repellent fabrics and plenty of mesh pockets for quick access to water bottles or snacks. These backpacks offer advanced support systems to distribute weight effectively, so you can go further without much strain. Depending on the model, you may also be able to hang tools and equipment from loops on the exterior of the bag. With all of these perks, hiking backpacks are perfect for a weekend trek or a more extended expedition.

Daypacks for Hiking

Of course, not all outdoor excursions require a heap of gear—sometimes a simple daypack will do. For those beautiful day hikes, daypacks are compact with just enough space to carry food, clothing, and hydration for the day. With focused design elements like comfort, ease of access, and enough storage to fit your travel needs, a daypack can be your faithful companion from dawn till dusk.

Heavy Duty Backpacks

If you are going on a long outdoors adventure or you wish to carry bushcraft tools and a tent, a larger backpack or rucksack will be the way to go. With numerous pouches, pockets, straps, loops, and even attachments, you’ll be able to carry much more equipment. These also have support systems to minimize the burden, though you may want to practice carrying a loaded rucksack before going on a long hike. 

Models like the ALICE (All-purpose, Lightweight, Individual, Carrying Equipment) pack or the MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) pack were historically, or are currently being, used in military and survivalist settings specifically for their reliability and functionality. If you need a strong, durable, high capacity backpack, these models are the way to go.

Backpack Features

When you’re on the hunt for the perfect backpack, it’s the features that make all the difference, right? Find one that not only looks good but also has all the bells and whistles to cater to your specific needs. Let’s dive into what you should look for to ensure your next backpack is up to the task!

Storage and Compartments

Ever opened your backpack to find an endless abyss where finding your keys is like searching for a needle in a haystack? Let’s avoid that. Look for a backpack with compartments that keep you organized. Having internal dividers and multiple pockets will allow you to find your items quickly.

Generally, there should be a main compartment for your larger items, side pockets or pouches for items you need to grab frequently, and smaller internal pockets for storing items like cameras, laptops, wallets, coinage, keys, or whatever else you wish to find quickly.


You don’t want to be caught in the rain with a poor quality backpack. Water damage can have all sorts of negative consequences, such as soaking your rations, drenching your firestarter, or ruining any paper you’re carrying. A backpack with water-resistant or weather-proof fabric will keep your gear dry and safe inside. Look for materials like nylon or polyester with a waterproof coating for that extra layer of security against the elements.

  • Materials: Nylon or polyester
  • Coatings: DWR (Durable Water Repellent)

Straps and Comfort

Nobody likes a backpack that jabs and pokes. Comfort is king, and that’s where the shoulder straps come into play. They should be wide, padded, and adjustable to distribute weight evenly without digging into your shoulders. Some backpacks also offer a sternum strap or waist belt for added stability—especially useful if you’re lugging heavier loads.

Laptop Protection

If you have everyday use in mind, look for a backpack with a dedicated laptop sleeve—ideally padded and snug to cushion against knocks and bumps. Ensure your laptop fits nicely.

Specialty Pockets

Who doesn’t love a smart little nook for each of your items? A backpack with specialty pockets could have a lined spot for your sunglasses, a hidden stash for your cash, or even a USB port for charging on the go (just add a power bank). It’s these clever extra features that transform a simple bag into your trusty sidekick for every adventure.

  • Sunglasses pocket: Fleece-lined for scratch protection
  • USB port: Connect a power bank for charging devices on the move

Materials and Durability

Your backpack’s durability is determined by the material it is composed of and how well it was put together. Nylon backpacks are the crowd favorites, boasting incredible toughness. 

Check out these common material ratings used in today’s backpacks:

Material RatingDescription
600D NylonRobust and durable
100T PolyesterLight yet strong
150GSM PolypropyleneGood for lighter packs

If you want to compare other materials, look for high ‘denier’ count materials. The higher the denier count, the stronger and thicker the material will be.

Looking at the material and quality of the backpack can save you a fair bit of change, and also ensure your bag doesn’t give out on one of your adventures.

Backpack Brands and Models

While this is not an exhaustive list, we hope it helps you see each brand so you can choose for quality, comfort, and style. Let’s look at some popular brands and their standout models to help you decide.

The North Face

Looking for a backpack that can take on the elements? The North Face has got your back. One of their top picks is The North Face Recon 30L. It’s versatile, durable, and perfect for both the trails and the city streets.


JanSport is a name you’ve probably heard before, right? They’ve been around for ages and continue to make reliable bags. Take the classic JanSport SuperBreak; it’s simple, iconic, and has been hauling gear for casual adventurers for years.


When it comes to a brand that balances environmental ethics with stellar products, Patagonia stands out. Their Patagonia Refugio 26L backpack is a great choice for daily commutes or the occasional day hike.

Under Armour

Under Armour backpacks, like the Under Armour Hustle 4.0, are often water-resistant with plenty of pockets, making them a solid choice.


If you’re tough on your gear, then you probably need something that can handle a beating. Carhartt backpacks are known for their rugged construction. Their bags, like the Carhartt Legacy Standard Work Backpack, are ideal for any rough-and-tumble environment.

Safety and Security

Your safety and the security of your belongings are paramount. Have you ever wondered how your backpack can protect you from theft or ensure you’re seen at night? Let’s dive into the ingenious designs that keep your gear secure and make you more visible to others.

Anti-Theft Design

In the world of backpacks, anti-theft design is a game-changer. You want to feel confident that your belongings are safe, right?

Manufacturers have thought of that and created backpacks with features like:

  • Lockable Zippers: These keep pickpockets at bay, ensuring that only you have easy access to your own gear.
  • Hidden Pockets: Perfect for stashing important documents or cash securely out of sight.
  • Slash-Proof Materials: Some backpacks are made with materials that can resist knife cuts. These are especially handy when you’re in crowded places or using tools like hunting knives and hatchets.

Take, for instance, the Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Backpack available on Amazon for about $50. It packs several of these safety features, designed with your peace of mind in mind.

Visibility and Reflectors

Now, let’s talk about being seen because your personal safety also depends on visibility, especially at night.

Some backpacks are equipped with:

  • Reflective Strips: These bounce light back to its source, making you more visible to vehicles when you’re out and about after dark. These can also come in handy if you get lost in the woods and need a reflector to signal to rescuers.
  • Built-In LED Lights: Some bags come with lights to enhance visibility.

These features are worth considering if you’re a cyclist or if you enjoy a late-night stroll. Safety isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity! And thankfully, backpack manufacturers are putting these concerns at the forefront of their designs.

Styling and Personalization

Backpacks can be more than just a practical accessory. By personalizing your backpack and looking for one that fits your aesthetic tastes, you can stand out and share some of your personality.

Color Variations

Did you know that the color of your backpack can say a lot about you? Maybe you’re a fan of classic tones like black and brown, which pair well with just about anything in your wardrobe. These shades exude a timeless style, don’t they?

But if you’re feeling more adventurous, a splash of color or a mix of hues could be just what you need to brighten up your day and stand out.

If you are looking for something that blends in with your natural environment, consider a camouflage or natural tone, such as a darker green in the forest or gray in the mountains.

Designer Backpacks

Of course, when we talk about style, we can’t forget designer backpacks.

By having one tailored to your needs, you’ll find that high-quality materials can be combined with attention-grabbing designs. Though some might disagree, investing in a designer backpack can be a fashionable choice that lasts through the seasons.

The best part? These days, you don’t have to stick with off-the-shelf designs. Many brands allow you to add a personal touch to your designer backpack, ensuring your style is as unique as you are. Isn’t it great when fashion allows you to choose your own style?

Backpacks for Various Users

You know what’s great about the backpack market? With such a wide variety available, the right backpack is out there for you, no matter your demographic.

Let’s take a look at options tailored for different needs and preferences.

Backpacks for Women

Features to consider:

  • Interior organization: For women who balance work, fitness, and leisure, interior organization is key. Bags with a variety of compartments, like those from Away, allow you to separate your laptop, water bottle, and personal items.
  • Comfort: Women’s backpacks often come with adjustable straps designed to fit a narrower set of shoulders for added comfort during a busy day.

Backpacks for Men

Durability and Style:

  • Tough material: Men’s backpacks are often built with durability in mind. The North Face Recon 30L is a testament to a backpack that can handle rough use while providing ample space.
  • Sleek designs: You want to look good when you’re out and about, right? Backpacks like Dakine Campus 33L deliver on functionality without skimping on a stylish, masculine appearance.

Backpacks for Kids

Safety and Functionality:

  • Size appropriate: Backpacks for kids should be proportionate to their body size to prevent strain. Pockets at their level make it easy for them to grab snacks or toys.
  • Visibility: Bright colors or reflective materials are not only fun but also keep them visible during those long hikes in the woods.

Backpacks for Seniors

Comfort and Accessibility:

  • Lightweight: As you mature, a heavy pack won’t do – check out ultra-light options like the REI Flash 55, which weighs in at 3.0 pounds or less.
  • Easy to open: Zippers and compartments should be easy to handle, something that the Gregory Focal 58 is noted for, ensuring quick access to essentials without any fuss.

Backpack Accessories

When you pack your bag for the day’s adventure, are you geared up with all the essentials? Let’s talk about the accessories that can take your backpack from “just a bag” to home base for your adventure.

Hydration Systems

Are you constantly on the move and find it hard to keep watered? Hydration bladders, like a 1.5-3 liter water reservoir, can be game-changers. Here’s what you need:

  • Capacity: Choose from 1.5L, 2L, or 3L based on your hydration needs.
  • Material: Usually made from BPA-free material for safety.
  • Compatibility: Fits most hiking backpacks. Be sure yours can accommodate it.

With a hydration system, you can sip on the go without stopping to fumble with water bottles.

Care and Maintenance

Like most things, backpacks require some simple maintenance to keep them clean, functional, and extend their lifespan. Here’s a guide on keeping your fabric friend fresh.

First things first, check your backpack for detachable parts. Does it have any? If it does, remove hip belts, shoulder straps, and metal frames if possible—just check your manual first. 

To wash, backpacks usually require a hands-on approach. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Empty and open all compartments.
  • Shake out the crumbs and dirt.
  • Spot clean with a sponge or cloth and mild soap.
  • Submerge in lukewarm water and give it a gentle scrub. No washing machines please—they can be a bit too rough.

To dry, just hang it up and let the air do the work. Avoid direct sunlight, as this helps to prevent fabric fading.

For those little nooks and crannies, zippers and hardware need some love too. Brush them with an old toothbrush to keep them dirt-free. 

Finally, don’t forget about routine care. Wipe down your pack after each adventure to prevent buildup. It’s like brushing your teeth; doing it regularly makes the big cleans way easier.

Consumer Information

When you’re scouting for a new backpack, it can feel like navigating a wilderness of options, right? You’re looking for that perfect balance of cost-effectiveness and reliability.

Have you ever wondered how much you should be investing in a reliable backpack or what kind of backup you get from warranties? Let’s break it down.

Price Points

Budget-Friendly Picks:

  • Under $100: Basic, no-frills bags. Ideal for car trips and short walks along the beach.
  • $100 – $200: Added features like water resistance, comfort, style.

Premium Selections:

  • Above $200: Advanced materials, innovative designs. Think travel and specialized gear.

Did you see that Cotopaxi pack for under $200, and all the rave reviews it’s snagging? It’s a smashing hit for savvy travelers who appreciate a mix of quality, style, and value. Remember, the right price point isn’t just about the lowest tag—it’s about what fits your needs and gives you the best bang for your buck!

Warranty and Repairs

Quick Checks for Warranty Clarity:

  • Duration: How long does the promise last?
  • Coverage: Are you covered for both defects and wear and tear?
  • Repair or Replace: Will they patch things up or give you a new bag if something goes kaput?

For example, Deuter makes a smashing hydration backpack and is known for their solid warranty policy. Got a leaky bag? They’ve got your back. It’s reassuring to know that you won’t be left high and dry!

Investing in a great backpack doesn’t just carry your gear—it carries peace of mind too. Isn’t it great when you can rely on a warranty to patch any trouble?

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating the world of backpacks can be tricky with all the different options out there. You’re bound to have questions on how to pick the perfect one for your needs. Whatever activity you wish to do, be it hike or drive to a lakefront property, you need the right info so you can get the right backpack.

How do I pick the best travel backpack for international adventures?

For international travel, your backpack should be compact enough to meet airline carry-on requirements yet spacious enough to hold all your gear.

Security features like lockable zippers and hidden pockets can keep your belongings safe. Additionally, an adjustable and padded harness system can make long transits more comfortable.

Which features are most important in a women’s backpack for daily use?

When selecting a women’s backpack for daily use, prioritize ergonomics tailored to the female form, such as contoured shoulder straps and a hip belt for even weight distribution.

Also, consider convenience features like easy-access compartments and sufficient organization to keep your essentials in order.

Can you recommend a durable backpack that’s suitable for outdoor activities like hiking?

For the trailblazers, a backpack like the Mountainsmith Scream 55 shines with its ultralight design and durable build.

Key features include ample storage capacity, adjustable straps for a customized fit, and an integrated hydration sleeve to keep you quenched on the move.

What makes North Face backpacks a preferred choice for many?

North Face backpacks have a reputation for their resilience and functionality.

Designed with the outdoors in mind, they often feature robust materials, weather resistance, and innovative storage solutions – all wrapped up in a stylish design.

How can I determine the right size backpack for my needs?

The right size backpack hinges on your activity’s duration and the equipment you need to carry. A day pack ranges from 20 to 35 liters. This size is suitable for daily commutes or short trips. Meanwhile, a multi-day backpack veers towards 50 to 70 liters. This size is great for longer adventures where more gear is necessary.

Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.