Your destination is set. Travel and lodging are booked. The itinerary is planned down to the hour. All that remains is figuring out how much to bring — and it’s a decision that might have you scratching your head.

Packing too much means lugging dead weight. Pack too little and you’ll find yourself scrambling to find essentials on your trip. So what’s the answer to the packing puzzle?

One important travel tip is choosing the right size bag. And for many people, it’s a travel backpack.

Travel backpacks make organizing, accessing and carrying your items easier than typical travel luggage — while still offering enough storage space. Plus, it makes for a great carry-on bag.

Choosing the Right Travel Backpack

When it comes to choosing a good travel backpack, it's important to consider things like size, materials and features. Look for a backpack that’s durable, lightweight and comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, including our own best-selling travel backpacks.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing one:

  • Size: The backpack's dimensions must be taken into account. Choose a backpack that is big enough to accommodate everything you need, but not so bulky that it becomes difficult to carry. For most long-weekend journeys, a 25-liter backpack like our Never Check Expandable Backpack is a great option. For longer trips, 7 or more days, you’ll probably want to grab a larger bag, such as our Impulse Travel Backpack Duffel, which has 45-liters of carry capacity.
  • Material: The backpack's durability depends greatly on its material. Look for backpacks constructed of strong fabrics like canvas, nylon, or polyester. These fabrics have the added benefit of also being lightweight.
  • Features: The backpack's features can make a significant difference in its functionality. Look for backpacks with features such as padded shoulder straps and back panels, adjustable waist and chest straps (as well as interior compression straps), multiple compartments, and - of course - the ability to be carried as a duffel bag.

Tips for Packing Like a Protips for packing a travel backpack

Packing can be one of the least fun, most stressful parts of travel. But with the right tips and techniques, you can pack like a pro and make the process so much easier. Here are some tips for packing efficiently and maximizing space:

  • Roll clothes instead of folding them: Rolling clothes instead of folding them can help you save space in your backpack and reduce wrinkles. Roll each piece of clothing tightly, and then stack them vertically in your backpack to save even more space.
  • Choose your shoes wisely: Shoes take up a lot of space in a backpack, so choose wisely. Opt for shoes that can be dressed up or down and try to limit yourself to two pairs at most.
  • Use the backpack's compartments strategically: Most travel backpacks come with several compartments, so use them strategically to organize your belongings. Use the smaller compartments for items such as toiletries, electronics and travel documents. Use the larger compartment for clothing and bulkier items.

  • Organize items by weight and size: When packing your backpack, organize items by weight and size. Put heavier items at the bottom of the backpack, closer to your back, to distribute the weight evenly. This will help prevent back strain and discomfort.

Traveling with your Backpack

Once you're all packed, it's important to know how to travel with your bag safely and comfortably. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Adjust the straps: It's important to adjust the backpack straps to fit your body properly. The shoulder straps should fit snugly and evenly distribute the weight of the backpack, while the waist strap should sit comfortably around your waist and take some of the weight off your shoulders.
  • Distribute weight evenly: As mentioned in the section above, organize items by weight and size! When wearing your backpack, make sure the weight is distributed evenly across your body. Keep heavier items closer to your back and distribute them evenly between the compartments to prevent back strain.

If you plan to use your backpack as a carry-on item on airplanes, or as your primary luggage for extended trips, make sure to check your airline's carry-on size and weight restrictions before traveling. Depending on the airline, a backpack's TSA-approved carry-on size can vary. Most airlines demand that carry-on luggage not exceed 22 inches long, 14 inches broad and 9 inches height.

Here are the maximum carry-on bag dimensions for a few of the larger US airlines:

  • American Airlines: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm)
  • Delta: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 35 x 23 cm)
  • Southwest: 10 x 16 x 24 inches (25 x 40 x 60 cm)
  • United: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 35 x 22 cm)

Time to head out!

When you want to pack like a pro and travel in style, using a travel backpack is the ultimate solution — especially now that you’ve solved all of your packing problems. But before you plan your next trip, take a look at Timbuk2 travel backpacks. There are a lot of great options to help you gear up for your next adventure, and you can get 10% off your first order by signing up to our email below.