The most effective journey backpacks of 2023 tried and examined

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After years of lockdown, the world is open again.

Holidays and long weekends are back on the agenda and we look forward to exploring places, food and people beyond the island we call home.

For some, this post-pandemic world could be their first opportunity to do real travel in years, whether it’s finally ending a stalled gap year, making the decision to take a career break, or moving from a sabbatical in to dream of the sun

If you are planning to make longer journeys or to cover many destinations in a short amount of time, there are a few things you need before you set off. Topping the list is a decent backpack that can comfortably stash all your worldly possessions (with room for a few assorted souvenirs, of course) as you criss-cross continents.

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Which backpack size is best for backpacking?

Somewhere between 60 and 70L is a decent backpacking volume, giving you enough room for a reduced travel wardrobe, an extra pair of sneakers, and some amenities to make life more comfortable while you’re away from home. If you’re traveling in winter, consider increasing this number to account for the bulkier and heavier clothing you’ll need.

What should you look for in a good backpack?

  • Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or car, you want a bag that is comfortable to wear for long periods, so look for wide padded straps and make sure you know how to set it up before you go. Proper buckle up with the hip belt – with most of the weight firmly on your hips – will take the pressure off your shoulders.
  • subjects are your new best friend. Look for a design with a couple of external pockets to make it easier to grab essentials like your passport, tickets, and travel tech. They also help organize your bag so you don’t have to turn all the contents upside down when you need something specific.
  • Look for something that offers easy access to the main compartment, like a main zip that goes all the way around or one that allows you to access things from the bottom so you don’t have to rummage through to find your stuff. packaging cube are also helpful for keeping similar items – pants, tops, shorts – in one place.
  • A backpack with a smaller bag attached Plus is a useful extra and means you have the option to go on day trips once you reach your main destination.

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Choose wisely and you will have a backpack that will last for years and miles. To help you with your search, we have compiled a list of possible contenders.

Shop the best backpacker backpacks below

Mountain Warehouse Nevis Extreme 65 + 15 liter backpack

mountain camp

With wide zip access to the main compartment, this backpack is perfect for travel and allows you full access without having to dig your stuff off the floor. The 65 liter main bag comes with a 15 liter mini day pack which increases capacity when needed and also doubles as an extra backpack for day trips.

Both feature numerous pockets and straps to store and attach the design to you, making it as easy to transport as possible. We like the fact that the side of the main bag has handles that make it easy to remove from a luggage rack. The rip-stop fabric prevents minor nicks and cuts from ruining the overall design, and there’s even built-in cable access to plug in your headphones when your device is securely packed.

If you’re working remotely while traveling, a dedicated laptop sleeve protects your tech until the next shift. Comes with a rain cover.

buy now £159.99, mountain camp
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Lixada hiking backpack 60L

messed up

You can’t miss this backpack on the baggage carousel: The bright orange screams for attention from afar.

The large-capacity backpack is lightweight at 1.12kg empty, giving you more space for all your belongings, but it’s also a durable bag with details like breathable mesh padding, a wide waistbelt with zippered pockets, and adjustable straps to keep you comfortable, when you’re out and about.

There are plenty of zippers and pockets, with the top one being able to expand the overall capacity. There’s even a rain cover to protect your belongings in the event of a downpour. Besides backpacking, it is also an excellent option for camping, hiking and festivals.

Also available in the less exciting colors of black, blue and green.

buy now £49.98, Amazon
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Mountain Warehouse Ultra Traveler 65 + 15 liter backpack

mountain camp

Made from durable ripstop nylon, this backpack is built to go the distance while looking stylish. The 65L backpack comes in a chic teal blue and comes with a detachable 15L backpack, perfect for day trips and general exploration. Design elements like a sternum strap, padded airmesh back and compression straps ensure comfort by keeping things streamlined and secure, and the back system is adjustable so you can customize it to your frame. This design also features lockable zippers to give you extra security when you’re on the go.

buy now £114.99, mountain camp
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OEX Vallo 70 backpack

OEX

Built for long-distance backpacking adventures, this design offers up to 70L of valuable storage space. The lightweight backpack shares its capacity with a 10L pocket at the top and the rest in the main compartment, safely under a durable and water-resistant shell that survives short downpours (reach for the built-in rain cover in case of heavy downpours).

This blue whale has all the bells and whistles you could hope for in a serious backpack, from squishy straps and adjustable harness system to U-shaped zippers that are easy to use even with gloves.

buy now £95, Go outside
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Doshwin 70L backpack

Doshwin

With this backpack from Doshwin you have to reach all areas. Store most of your clothing in the main drawstring compartment and use the top, side and side mesh pockets to keep important documents, water bottles and money close at hand. There is even a special pocket for shoes, which will perfectly prevent them from soiling the rest of your clothes. The total capacity is 70L, a good option for up to six months of traveling with careful and considered packaging.

buy now £48.98, Amazon
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Forclaz Symbium 50 + 10L women’s backpack

Forclaz

Make the decision to travel light and you’ll be rewarded with less stuff to lug around on your trip. This light blue backpack features zip openings and pockets with additional storage in the hip belt to keep essentials close at hand. It was originally designed for female trekkers, but there’s no reason it wouldn’t work for longer-term backpacking as well. The carrying system makes it easier to carry heavy loads on the way from A to B.

buy now £109.99, decathlon
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Osprey carrier 30

osprey

Interrailing or city hopping in the EU? In that case, you might not need anything seriously bulky. Stop by Osprey for this duffel/backpack that’s more than up to the task. The shell-like design has a number of outstanding features, from a front pocket to keep your passport and tickets organised, a padded compartment for your laptop and quick access to the main compartment with lockable zips. StraightJacket straps work like shapewear to compress your bag into a smaller, more compact size.

buy now £160, osprey
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Eagle Creek Migrate 110 wheeled holdall

Eagle Creek

Wear it, twist it, roll it. There are multiple ways to carry this colorful Eagle Creek duffel/backpack, something your future self will thank you for when your shoulders start to ache from the weight.

It can carry a maximum of 110L in a central compartment, although there is a slim side pocket that can hold papers, tickets and cash, making it a good top candidate for your travel adventures. In fact, the manufacturers are so confident it will last that this bag comes with a lifetime guarantee. Another plus: It’s made from recycled polyester, a much better choice for the planet. Also available in black, red and grey.

buy now £171, Wardow
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