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How To Choose The Right Backpack For Travel?

Choosing and buying the right backpack for your trip is an important thing to be considered. Too big and you will need to carry extra weight around or you can’t get the bag into the cabin and sometimes, it will cost you extra money. Too small; it can’t fit all your belonging that you need.

Choosing the right travel bag is not as easy as before. There are so many brands out there and the prices can be varied according to the quality, size and other factors.

First of all, there is no right or wrong in choosing ‘the’ perfect backpack but with all the choices, brands, materials, you might be confuse and end up not using the backpack. Technically; you might go for something that can last the longest and stay in good and ‘ready-to-go’ condition.

There are a few things you need to consider before picking and buying your travel backpack :


If you are a frequent traveller, by frequent we are looking at maybe twice a month, we suggest that you opt for a 'carry-on' size and this also might differ from one airline to another. Most of them agree for backpacks that are not more than 7kg.

For AirAsia (as an example), you may want to keep to the regulations below :

There's a lot of opinions on the 'correct' backpack sizes to be considered 'carry-on' size. If you are going by the 'rule book', obviously the length of the travel backpack will be considered 'oversize'.

According to a cabin crew, as long as the backpack is secured on your back (without any part going out from your body frame), it is good to go. But again, this will differ between airports security or destinations. Some of them will allow, some of them might create a scene before allowing and some just ask you to pay for it.

As for now, I’ve been travelling with 40L (as per photo above) and 55L Deuter and there is no problem carrying it on the flight.

You may refer to the tips provided by AirAsia (again) on the cabin baggage size :

Panel Access

Most backpack will come with a top-loading compartment and they will have an elastic band to secure your belongings. Honestly, this is impractical.

Just imagine you want to take out your stuff at the immigration and the item if way further down, yes, you need to literally take out everything and this will surely take a lot of time and tedious as well.

Go for backpacks with clamshell design or the ‘ordinary’ backpack.


Backpack feature is a crucial thing to be considered as well. Not only the size, but a feature like padded strap, back-frame as well as the hip belt is something that you might want to look for.

A backpack with a hip belt (padded or not) will help to reduce the burden on your shoulder especially the backpack weight a lot. Of course, the padded belt will make supporting the weight more comfortable as it will provide support and distribute the load evenly.

While a backpack with a frame (the support rods and frame are built into the backpack and hidden from view) and padded will makes carrying it more comfortable and effortless since it helps to distribute weight evenly. This feature also will ensure you will have no back pain if you carry it for a long time.


Make sure each compartment has two zippers so you can lock them together. This will ensure that nobody can break into your bag or worst; people putting things at the airport.

For locks. Try to find anything that says they are TSA-friendly locks.

These locks usually have a special release valve that allows the TSA to open the lock without breaking it while they check your bag.


A good travel backpack should or we would say must have multiple compartments especially one for your laptop and its better well-padded to ensure that your laptop is safe.

On another note, some airports (including KLIA) require you to separate all the electronic related products such as camera, laptop etc for the security screening. With the 'special' designated compartment for all your electronics, you will pass the security check, in no time.


The material that you’re looking for is treated nylon fibre, you may able to pour a cup of water without the insides getting wet.

The ideal backpack does not need to be 100% waterproof; just make sure that the bag is made out of semi-waterproof material so that it won’t get wet in a drizzle.

As an option, try finding a backpack/daypack that comes with a rain cover or, brings an extra plastic bag just in case. I'll always have one to protect my laptop and camera while travelling.



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