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WHAT CAN YOU FIT IN A BACKPACK?

A Backpack Sizing Guide

More often than not, it is hard to know what you can fit in a certain sized backpack, especially if you’re buying it online. While the litre capacity guidelines do give a rough indication, some might still be unclear of how much you can fit in a bag.

How big is 25L?
What size should I get if I’m planning to pack for a short trip?

To help out, we’ve put together a backpack sizing guide, including suggested packing lists and sample images of what you should be able to fit into some of the common backpack sizes out there. We have categorised them into 3 types of backpack sizes for you:

SMALL BACKPACKS (< 20L)

Suitable for everyday carry, tech carry, day travel, tablets…

While a capacity of <20L is considered a compact size for a backpack, don’t let that fool you. If the backpack is built well and is fully utilized, you should still be able to fit lots of essentials into it.

Here’s a sample packing list of what you can fit into a 16-18L backpack: 

• Keys
• Passport
• Wallet
• Sunglasses
• Pen
• Headphones

• Make-up
• Powerbank
• Cords & Cables
• Pocket Notebook
• Tablet
• Book

• Umbrella
• Water bottle
• Perhaps an 11’’-13’’ laptop (depending on dimensions)

What might this look like in real life? Here’s one example…

Featuring Pacsafe Citysafe CX Anti-Theft Backpack (Nightfall)

SHOP OUR TOP SELLING SMALL BACKPACK (< 20L)

MEDIUM BACKPACKS (20 – 35L)

Suitable for school, camera, work, gym, short travel, cabin luggage …

This capacity range is considered a medium-size backpack and is probably the most popular bag capacity out there. It’s great for taking to school or work, depending on the styling, and can also be a great travel pack for taking on a plane.

Here is a potential packing list for that size depending on where you’re headed:

• Up to 15’’ laptop
• Rolled-up jacket or sweater
• Some snacks
• A4 Notebook
• A Magazine
• Keys

• Passport
• Wallet
• Sunglasses
• Pen
• Headphones
• Make-up/Toiletries

• Powerbank
• Cords & Cables
• Tablet
• Book
• Umbrella
• Water bottle

What might this look like in real life? Here’s one example…

Featuring Pacsafe Venturesafe 32L G3 Anti-Theft Backpack (Black)

SHOP OUR TOP SELLING MEDIUM BACKPACK (20 – 35L)

LARGE BACKPACKS (> 40L)

Suitable for large laptops, travel carry-on, long hikes, backpacking…

These backpacks are more commonly used as a carry on alternative for travellers. Anything around the 40-45 litre mark should still be carry-on compliant depending on the dimensions and the airline. They make for great travel bags when you don’t want to check in luggage. Even if you’re a heavy packer, you should be able to take a 45L pack away for a weekend. A light packer could easily do with a bag like this for a week.

With that in mind, here’s a packing list for what you can fit in a 40+ backpack:

• Up to 15’’ laptop
• 2-3 spares set of clothes
• A spare pair of shoes
• A warm jacket
• A towel
• Make-up/Toiletries
• Headphones
• Powerbank

• Cords & Cables
• Tablet
• Some snacks
• A4 Notebook
• A magazine or two
• Maps
• Keys
• Passport

• Wallet
• Sunglasses
• Pens
• Book
• Umbrella
• Water bottle

What might this look like in real life? Here’s one example…

Featuring Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP55 Anti-Theft Travel Pack (Black)

SHOP OUR TOP SELLING LARGE BACKPACK (> 40L)

Tips when purchasing your next backpack…

Some features you can consider other than capacity: shape, weight, pockets, padding, attachment points, material, anti-theft features etc. You should also consider your torso length and your hip size when looking for a suitable backpack.

Lastly, hopefully this guide has helped you understand what you can fit into a specific capacity backpack. Of course, everyone carries different things, so apply your own necessities to similar-sized items above and you should be able to get a good sense for your personal needs.

Have fun packing and travel safe!

The Planet Traveller provide a huge range of bags in multiple sizes. Check out our backpack series for more colours and model options here!

This article is referenced from Pacsafe’s Travel Blog. 

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