How to Choose the Right Backpack

Before I set out on my trip, I took a considerable amount of time researching and choosing the best backpack to bring for my travels. One should know that it is also one of the most important things to consider and best investment for your trip.

To save you time and energy, I’ve created a list of the factors to consider when choosing your pack.


(Photo: On our way to Bali from Gili Trawangan, Indonesia)

1. Trip Length

Consider how long will your trip be 1 week, 1 month, a year?

2. Location and Weather Conditions

Where are you heading to? Are you going to hot or cold destinations?

Is it winter, spring, summer or fall where you intend to go?

In my case, I was going to South East Asia so I knew it wouldn’t be cold and I can pack light clothes.

3. Body Fit

Consider your body size, height, weight.

I’m petite and didn’t want to carry a pack bigger and heavier than me.

You don’t want to hear people saying: “Hey there’s a backpack! Wait, there’s somebody underneath.” ;)

4. Personal Style

To some people, this might not be important. But I’m a woman and if I’m carrying one pack every single day in my trip I want it to be a good one.  I like to have some style.

5. Backpack features

Here is the list you may want to consider

- front panel loading or top loading

- zippers/ locks

- internal frame

- shoulder or chest strap

- hip belt

Why Carry A Backpack?

I used to be a suitcase traveler. In the past, I brought big suitcases on my business and leisure trips. But I have learned that a backpack is the best thing to bring in any kind of travel. In long term travel you’ll be climbing stairs, temples, mountains, riding buses, trains, ferries, and going to beaches (unless you’re not going to a beach, which I highly doubt!). It is a lot easier to bring a backpack and travel light!

My Backpack and Why I love it

I carry a 60L Gregory Jade which I brought from REI in the US.*

I love it  because I’m a size zero, Gregory Jade was the only backpack I found with an XS hipbelt. It fits me perfectly and supports my back well. It also offers both front and top panel loader. It’s quite important especially when I need to pull some stuff from my pack an not having to open on top and pull everything out of the pack.

During my trip to South East Asia, I only really needed a few clothes, and I packed and travel light. I didn’t want to get back pains and headaches carrying a heavy pack. What you see on the top picture was the pack I carried with me for months. It’s a 60L pack but I could have gone with 32-40L. Trust me, no traveler ever gets jealous with a bigger pack!

*I  will only recommend products that I personally use in this site. But a lot of travelers have been carrying brands brands like Northface, Deuter, REI or Osprey. Choose whatever is best for you and good luck!

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6 Responses to “How to Choose the Right Backpack”

  1. February 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Hi Anna!

    Congratulations on your new site. You sure traveled light! Did you bring a DSLR camera or a laptop?

    Let us know when you’ll be dropping by Singapore again! It would be great to catch up with you again.

    Here’s a travel blog I visit quite a lot, too :-)


    • February 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

      Jenny!! Wow! First comment! :) Thank you thank you!
      Nope, I didn’t bring a DSLR, only a point and shoot camera. I’ll be posting more about my travel stuff soon! I definitely want to go back to Singapore and catch up with you girls!

  2. gary mac
    February 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Hi anna, congratulations on your new site. Hope to see u again in one of the airports but not in the same situation as before ;) ill be in bkk this friday. Tc

    • February 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

      Thanks Mac! Hahaha! Not in that kind of situation! Happy and safe travels to you! :)

  3. May 2, 2012 at 3:35 am #

    So imagine my surprise when I was researching travelers’ backpacks online and out popped an article called “How to Choose the Right Backpack.” I thought to myself, “Hmm, a few tips wouldn’t hurt (especially since my last backpack was from 4 years ago)” so I clicked on it and – surprises of surprises! – it’s Anna Z!

    I see you’re still traveling – and I’m still very jealous. When will you be back in NY to catch up? We need to expand our horizons and backpack through Europe next!

    Anyway, if you’re still in SEA by January of next year, I’ll be home to backpack through the coast, researching resorts for my business. Maybe I’ll bump into you on one of the islands!

    Happy Traveling!

    • May 3, 2012 at 8:17 am #

      Denise! Glad you stumbled upon it! I’m on my last month here in SEA and will be back in NY next month. We should catch up soon! Big hugs from Vietnam! :)