How to choose the right sized backpack

How to choose the right sized backpack ?

The criteria that apply to choosing the right size of backpack are very important, irrespective of how you use it. Find out how to choose the right size. 

Backpacks are an essential accessory to carry all your belongings. You inevitably have a backpack, for daily use, hiking, trekking in nature or travelling. But is the size of your backpack suited to your uses and your body shape? Your activities and physical fitness are important criteria that you must consider when buying a backpack. The volume, use, and the equipment you carry... Decathlon explains how to choose the right sized backpack

How to choose the right sized backpack

Why do you use a backpack?

A backpack is a multi-purpose accessory that allows you to carry all the belongings you want, provided you choose an appropriate volume. It evenly distributes the weight carried on your two shoulders, thereby significantly reducing the pressure to which your back muscles are subjected every day.

A backpack is a comfortable accessory, which is also highly practical. Unlike many other types of bags, backpacks leave your arms and hands free, offering unparalleled freedom of movement.

In addition, backpacks usually have several storage compartments of different sizes that you can use to easily store and quickly find your various accessories. Finally, there are very varied types of backpacks available today to match your look and meet your aesthetic preferences.

Why is it so important to choose the right size?

The size of a backpack, which is measured by its volume, is an essential criterion that you must consider when buying one. A backpack whose size is not suited to your use will be neither useful nor practical. If the backpack is too small, it will be uncomfortable to wear and will require you to do without some of the equipment you intended to carry, and if the backpack is too big, it will be too cumbersome. 

Therefore, carefully choosing the right size will guarantee comfort and safety, and will avoid having to carry several bags, which is not very practical when travelling.

How to choose the right sized backpack. For which use?

The size of your backpack depends on several criteria. Amongst these criteria, the main reason why you will use the backpack is important. The ideal size for your backpack is not the same for daily use, long hikes or long trips.

For daily use You prefer to carry your belongings in a backpack, because it is more convenient on public transport. In this case, two sizes of backpack could be right for you. In a 10-litre backpack, you can carry a book, a Thermos flask or a bottle of water, an e-book reader, a notebook, etc. This volume can contain small objects and accessories. On the other hand, if you want to carry a laptop computer, then you should opt for a 20 to 25-litre backpack. This capacity may also be suited to carrying your picnic, your drinks and your sun cream on walks lasting a few hours.

- Long hikes or two-day treks If you are planning a one-day hike or a weekend trek, then the volume of your backpack must be at least 30 litres, but only if you have accommodation on the spot and you do not have to carry any camping equipment. If there are more than two of you and you intend to carry everyone's gear, especially for the children, then a 40-litre backpack will be more suitable.
For an expedition lasting several days or a long trip Are you planning to go camping for several days or spending your nights in a bivvy or refuge? In this case, your backpack must be large enough to contain you day and night time clothing, your duvet and the basic equipment for eating and drinking. The 50 and 60-litre models are ideally suited to this situation. These sizes are also suitable for backpackers who are planning a long trip in many stages.

How to choose the right sized backpack

How to choose the right sized backpack. For which use?

While activity and use may be similar criteria, it is worth noting some slight differences between the two. The type of equipment you carry significantly impacts the size of the backpack you need.

To carry basic equipment If you want to use your backpack to carry some clothes and a few accessories on a weekend expedition, then a 40 or 50-litre model is large enough. You should also consider who is wearing the backpack. Will you be the only one carrying everything, or will you share this job with another person? In the latter case, a 30 or 40-litre backpack for each person is amply sufficient.

Carrying bedding equipment If you are taking your bedding equipment (duvet, mattress) with you on your expedition, then you will need a 50-litre, or even 60-litre, backpack. This will be large enough to carry all the belongings you need, as well as your equipment, provided it is sufficiently compact. If this is not the case, don't panic. Most hiking or trekking backpacks have accessories that can be used to fasten your equipment on the outside.

Carrying a complete set of camping equipment You are setting off on an adventure with all the equipment you need for camping or bivouacking. A gas stove, gas canisters and various utensils... In this case, a 70 or 80-litre backpack is right for you. These volumes are ideal for adventurers who want to be independent and to manage every aspect of their expeditions themselves.

How to choose the right sized backpack

How to choose the right sized backpack. The importance body shape and size

When choosing the size of your backpack, your physical fitness and the specific shape and size of your body are also important.

Height Short people will not choose the same size as tall people. Carrying a backpack that is too big can be uncomfortable.

Weight The weight of the backpack you carry should ideally represent between 10% and 15% of your body mass. To carry a backpack in comfort and safety, a 10% load is ideal for children, while slightly less than 15% is suitable for a light adult. On the other hand, people who are physically fit and have a high muscular mass can carry heavier loads, but it is preferable to avoid exceeding 20%.

How to choose the right sized backpack

Other criteria to be considered when choosing a backpack

While it is crucially important to know how to choose the size of your backpack, you must also take other equally important characteristics into account.

Waterproofing Certain models have a waterproof protective cover that protects your backpack against rain or any contact with water (splashing water at sea, etc.).
Wicking When you carry your backpack for a long time, you will tend to sweat, even in mild weather. Perforated padding on the back and straps provides ventilation and wicks away your perspiration.
Adjustment options Check that the backpack is equipped with different straps in order to wear it in the greatest possible comfort. These accessories help to adjust the position and to distribute the load over your entire body. In this way, your shoulders and hips will carry less weight.

How to choose your backpack The important options

It is not easy to carry a full backpack without hurting your back or shoulders. Therefore, it is important to only carry articles that are really necessary, and to adopt a few good habits.

- Adjust the straps, belt and lashes
Adapt your posture
Take regular breaks, if you carry the backpack for several hours
Carefully distribute and store your belongings in the backpack

It is necessary to learn how to choose your backpack in order to wear it in comfort and safety. You need to know exactly which equipment you will be carrying. Therefore, you are advised to plan and prepare your purchase carefully. Do not hesitate to try out the models in the store. This is the best way of finding out whether the backpack is right for you or not. Finally, you can supplement your backpack with different accessories. By carefully studying and adapting your equipment, you will really make the most of your outdoor activities, such as hiking and trekking.

How to choose the right sized backpack

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