How To Choose a Backpack by Activity

How To Choose a Backpack by Activity

A backpack is an ideal way to store and carry your gear, no matter what activity you have in mind. If you need a backpack recommendation, the first thing to consider is how you will be using it.

Are you looking for a pack to take to work, on travel, or for camping and surfing? You’ll need to think about features, capacity, materials, and more, but your activity will determine the type of gear you need. Let’s take a look at the various backpacks you will find.

Backpack Capacity

what size backpack

Backpack capacity is a big factor in deciding on the right pack. Consider how long your trip will be, the types of activities in which you will use the backpack, and the features you prefer.

You can find specific packs for your interests, including everyday, surf, travel, hiking, camping and those for school or carrying laptops. Here are some general guidelines.

Type of Backpack Capacity Types of Activities General Features
Everyday/Commuter 15-35 L Walking around town, commuting, transporting computers and camera gear Durable, sturdy, comfortable, secure
Surf 30-50 L Surf trips, nature adventures, beach days Multiple pockets, wet/dry storage, water resistance, functional layout
Travel 25-45 L Day trips, overnighters, longer vacations, flight carry-ons Ample storage, practical, unstructured style for easy packing
Hiking 10-35 L Hiking, climbing, canyoneering, fishing Rugged, comfortable, many pockets, sternum strap, clips
Camping 35-70 L Backpacking, extended travel, trips in nature Quality materials, durable, padded straps, waist belts, loops
Laptop/School 10-30 L School, work, meetings Slim and efficient, anti-theft zippers, hidden pockets, laptop straps


How To Choose an Everyday or Commuter Backpack

Everyday or commuter backpacks are versatile and straightforward, making them ideal for daily use. They offer a variety of styles, features, and storage options.

How To Choose a Surf Backpack

A surf backpack may look similar to an everyday pack, but there are some key differences. You’ll find specific features made for surfers and their accessories, making these packs perfect for carrying wetsuits and all the gear you need for surfing.

How To Choose a Travel Backpack

Travel backpacks are perfect for carrying clothes and necessities on vacation. Whether you plan a weekend getaway or an extended trip overseas, you need to be aware of travel backpack dimensions.

Besides being able to accommodate all your things, these packs need to adhere to specific regulations when traveling. In general, you can bring up to a 45L backpack as a carry-on on domestic flights, while international flights often max out at 40 L, but we always recommend checking with your specific airline first.

How To Choose a Hiking Backpack

Hiking backpacks are essential for keeping your important items together when you’re on the trail. They are designed with comfort, performance, and reliability in mind, with functional and convenient components to keep your items safe.

camping backpack

How To Choose a Camping Backpack

Camping backpacks allow people to carry all they need to set up camp in the wilderness. These packs are large and spacious, providing plenty of room for tents, sleeping bags, clothes, and cooking gear.

Camping backpacks range in storage size and style, but share many features:

  • Capacity: Camping backpacks provide a wide range of capacities. If you’re planning on an overnight trip or prefer lightweight hiking, a 35-50 L capacity is sufficient. For multi-day trips, a 60 L pack is optimal, while 70 L packs are excellent for trips lasting more than five days.
  • Molded shoulder straps: When you’re carrying this much gear up a mountain, you need all the comfort you can get. Molded shoulder straps offer excellent weight dispersion across your shoulders, and you can adjust them to fit your body type as needed.
  • Insulated cooler: These coolers will keep food and drinks cold, letting you prepare meals and have refreshing breaks on the trail or in the campsite. As a bonus, many are leak proof and waterproof.

How To Choose a Laptop Backpack or School Backpack

Laptop or school backpacks are designed for transporting books or small computers. They are made for daily use, streamlined to fit just what you need and easy to maneuver around town.