How to choose a tourist backpack

We need a backpack both in town and on the road. In this guide we will tell you what backpacks are, how they differ and what nuances you should pay attention to in the first place. There are no universal backpacks for all occasions, you can not take a beach bag and go hiking with it. So we will focus on the tourist models of backpacks.

Tourist backpacks

A good tourist backpack wants to buy once, immediately “guess” with the model and use it for many years. Beginners can easily get lost among many similar models, so the basic differences and characteristics are better to learn before you go to the store.


Backpacks for tourism by design are divided into three types: soft, anatomic and machine tools. In the “back” of soft tourist backpacks there are no hard elements, they can be folded to relatively compact sizes. Such a backpack becomes rigid after packing things in it. Proper packaging requires skill and experience, so to simplify the process in such models first put rolled up tourist mat.

In the back of the anatomic (frame) backpack there are stitched or inserted metal plates that give it rigidity. Such models are less sensitive to the quality of luggage storage, keep the shape even empty. Now it is the most common type of tourist backpacks. In addition to metal plates, curved tubes or frames made of several elements can be used for stiffening.

Tourist backpack is an all-welded metal structure to which a suspension system and a duffel bag are attached. Such models are highly specialized, first of all they are used for carrying very heavy loads – that’s why they are popular among speleologists. Because of their narrow orientation and high quality requirements for frame construction, they are rarely available. A classic example of a machine backpack with an all-welded aluminium frame that can carry loads of up to 50 kg. The bag will have to be found separately.


The unspoken rule of the tourist is that no matter how big the backpack is, it is always packed to the bone. Most tourist models of backpacks have a volume from 60 to 100 liters. For women and children choose smaller models – 60-75 liters, for men – 75 liters or more. If the backpack is too small, it will not fit all things and will have to hang something from the outside or leave it at home. It is not only that hanging a large number of things from the outside is considered bad for experienced tourists, in hiking in the woods everything that is not in the backpack will cling to the branches, in addition, with such a backpack just do not fit through the doors of public transport.

System (belt, straps, back)

Once you have determined the design and volume, pay attention to the backpack suspension system and its shape. The most comfortable s-shaped and arched straps – they better hold on the shoulders, do not slip, evenly distribute the load. Although properly adjusted straps should hold on their own well on the shoulders, some backpack models have a special breast tie. This holds the straps in place to prevent them from slipping, but can squeeze the chest while walking, preventing you from breathing.

In addition to the shape of the straps, the padding of the straps is also important. The simplest straps are fabric, rigid, easy to twist, they are found in budget models. It is much better if the straps have foam-like foam inserts. Modern models use inserts with varying degrees of rigidity – they provide maximum comfort and correct load distribution. Pay attention to the width of the straps – too narrow will hurt your shoulders and wide ones can slide.

You can also look after your backpacks not for tourism purposes. For example, these clear backpack can be a great solution in different situations.

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