How To Choose A Backpack: A Detailed Instruction

How to choose a backpack?  Buying a backpack has never been easier with so many models in the market. But not everyone is suitable for you! Based on their usage, each backpack will have a different design with various sizes, capacities, materials, etc. A good backpack is one that will suit your needs and preferences down to the smallest details.

Let’s find out everything you need to watch out for in this article. From how to pick the right design to which kind of backpack will suit your specific requirements, CabinZero has got you covered!

What To Look For In A Backpack

To choose a backpack, first, you have to know what to look for. Some backpacks were designed for multiple purposes, while some were made for specific needs like protecting cameras, hiking, camping, etc. 

These factors all affect your final decision of which backpack to choose because they play vital parts in their usage. There are many other factors you should consider, like designs, your characteristics, etc. Some signature physical factors that can help you choose every backpack are size, material, compartments, and adjustment.


The size of your backpack affects how much you can carry. So this is the first factor to consider when buying a backpack, especially if you are choosing a backpack to travel because you might need one that is carry-on compliant

With each need, you can choose a corresponding size. For example, do you want to buy a backpack for school or hiking? Will you carry all your heavy belongings in it or just keep it light and simple? Small backpacks are good for everyday essentials, while bigger ones are better for long trips.

How To Choose A Backpack - CABINZERO

To choose a backpack, you can look for its size, material, compartment, and additional adjustments.


Material is another factor to consider when choosing a backpack. This factor will impact the weight, the ventilation ability, and the durability of the backpack.

If you intend to use your backpack for casual activities like going to school, going to work, etc., then this factor might be insignificant. But if you are thinking of using the backpack to travel or for sports, then you should be more careful to choose one that is durable and even waterproof or water-resistant.


The number of compartments allows you to divide your belongings into different sections, making it more convenient for you to pack or unpack. This factor is important if you tend to have small accessories or equipment like keys, chargers, make-up, etc.

You should choose a backpack with at least one small compartment beside the main one in case you need it in the future. For backpacks that focus on travel purposes, the number of compartments should be as many as possible.

Additional Features

Some backpacks have special designs to suit their purposes or improve the usage of the backpacks. For example, some have a frame, wheels, belts, etc.

Usually, backpacks for travel or sports will have these add-ons, while those for fashion or casual use might not. If you have special use or want a specific feature that brings comfort to your back, this factor is extremely important.

Security features are another important factor to consider. For instance, an RFID-blocking pocket can save you from someone stealing your credit card or passport information. Main compartments with lockable sliders serve the same purpose in enhancing physical security.

How To Choose A Backpack For Your Needs

How to pick the best backpack depends on your needs and who is wearing the backpack. You should consider your personal liking along with the physical features to find a suitable one. But here, we will only focus on the physical features above to give you an overview of what you might need.

How To Choose A Backpack For Travel

How To Choose A Backpack - CABINZERO

Travelling requires a certain set of priorities when choosing a backpack. IG: @debbiefortes

Travelling Backpacks

What To Look For


  • Should be carry-on friendly ( 22 x 14 x 9 inches/56 x 36 x 22 cm)
  • Medium (35-50L) or Large (50L+)


  • Lightweight and water-resistant


  • Dedicated clothing/toiletries compartments
  • TSA lockable.

Additional features

  • Expandable sections, removable daypack, laundry bag


The size is actually the factor you should pay the most attention to if you are looking for a backpack to travel. The reason is that there are specific rules applied to backpacks if you intend to carry them on a plane.

To get your backpack as carry-on luggage, the requirement might vary in different airlines, but usually, the size will be 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 22 cm). There will be more rules regarding the weight of your backpack, but there is a high chance the airlines won’t check it carefully as long as it fits the aeroplane compartment.

If you are looking for a backpack to travel long trips without carrying it on the plane, then the answer is the bigger, the better. Even if you tend to pack simply, a big backpack will be more advantageous in the long run in case you need to bring more luggage.


To enjoy your trip to the fullest, the backpack for travel should be made of water-resistant material. You might carry your personal belongings a lot during the trip, and there is a high chance you will catch the rain. Moreover, it should also be light, as the weight of your luggage will affect your shoulders the entire trip. 

And don’t forget to pick one with good durability. This will ensure your backpack survives after the transportation. Not to mention, in some cases, you might need to put your backpack under the seat of the plane, so it’s best if it can be squashed a little bit.


The number of compartments can depend on your liking, as you might not need to take things out as casually as during a hiking trip. However, we would still recommend you choose one with separate compartments in case you need them in the future.

If you still don’t feel like it, prepare a set of packing cubes to divide your belongings your own way. Packing separate categories is the best way to save space and organize your belongings, so you won’t regret it.

Additional Features

If you don’t intend to carry your backpack along all the time during the trip, then additional adjustment might not be that important. All you need to care about is whether the compartments are lockable to avoid losing your stuff during transportation.

However, if you intend to bring it along everywhere you go, choose one with compression straps and padding to support the weight. It should also be designed to open conveniently from every angle.

The Best Backpack For Travel: CabinZero Classic Backpacks

The CabinZero Classic Backpack is versatile with a simple design. It can be used as carry-on luggage on the plane or as an accessory to bring along your personal belongings during the trip.

Made of water-resistant material and equipped with an RFID-blocking pocket and a tracking tag, this backpack will surely be a helpful companion to protect your stuff when travelling.

How To Choose A Backpack For School And College

How To Choose A Backpack - CABINZERO

Is picking the perfect backpack for classes as easy as it sounds?

School Backpacks

What To Look For


  • Medium (25-35L)


  • Lightweight


  • Laptop compartment, organisation pockets

Additional features

  • Water bottle pockets, comfortable straps


If you are looking for a backpack for toddlers and you only need it to keep some clothes or snacks, go for one that is around 10,75” tall. The bigger your child is, the bigger the backpack can be. But it should be at waist level and not higher than the shoulders.

If you are looking for a backpack for teenagers or adults, the options are more varied. All you need to keep in mind is to choose one that can fit all the books and paper. We would recommend one that is bigger than A4 paper size to keep the needed documents nice and flat.


The material of a backpack for school should be light, as people will carry them around a lot. This will help you avoid feeling heavy every time you have to carry them around and ensure you don’t hurt their back.

Putting the backpack down to the ground at school or playing something dirty with friends is normal behaviour, especially for children. So you should also consider waterproof and stainproof materials to save the effort of cleaning the backpack every once in a while.


Usually, you can keep everything you need in a school backpack with one big compartment and one small compartment. Some backpacks also have a mesh compartment to keep water bottles. And that is enough.

However, if you are a college student, choose one with a laptop compartment, as you will surely have to bring it along a lot. And if you want some secrecy with your money or accessories, choose a backpack with a hidden compartment.

Additional Features

To be honest, if you only use your backpack to go to school, then you won’t need much adjustment. All you should look for is the padding and ventilation. 

These two details will ensure you carry the backpack with ease without sweating or backache. The padding will provide weight distribution, while the ventilation helps dry the sweat.

The best backpack for school: CabinZero Classic Tech Backpack

With a simple design, water-resistant coating, and a laptop sleeve, CabinZero Classic Tech is perfect for minimalist college students. This backpack even has shoulder straps airflow system to ensure the best experience while wearing it.

How To Choose A Backpack For Hiking

How To Choose A Backpack - CABINZERO

Hiking backpacks should be comfortable as they have to deal with heavy loads. IG: @turistaboy

Hiking Backpacks

What To Look For


  • Medium (35-50+L)


  • Lightweight, water-resistant, ripstop


  • Internal hydration sleeve, gear loops

Additional features

  • Compression straps, trekking pole loops, breathable back panel


The perfect size for a backpack to hike depends on the length of your trip. The longer your trips usually are, the bigger backpack you should choose. The backpack for hiking should be able to carry at least 25L to ensure you have everything you need. 


The material is one of the key factors that make a good backpack for hiking. The best material should be water-resistant, ultra-light, and durable to avoid damage in use.

You will not only carry everything you need but will also carry them all the time. Having a light and durable backpack will ensure you can pack and carry it easily. The water-resistant feature helps you protect your belongings better, as you might not be able to avoid the rain during your trip.


If you use your backpack for hiking, then the number of compartments should be bigger than the one for school, as you will bring much more stuff.

The backpack should be designed with various compartments in the front, back and side to utilize its capacity as well as make it more convenient to pick things out on the go. All these compartments need to be lockable with zippers or cords.

A compartment for water is no longer optional. It’s a must. You will surely find this extremely helpful later when you are so tired during the trip.

Additional Features

This factor is also important if you are looking for a backpack for hiking. When going hiking, you will carry the backpack constantly, not to mention the weight of it. You need something to support your back, or else you will feel uncomfortable or, worse, injured.

Besides padding and ventilations, choose one with extra compression straps to secure the backpack in place and avoid it hitting your back while moving. If you need to carry extra heavy for a long trip, you can choose one with a frame to support the weight better.

The best backpack for hiking: CabinZero ADV Pro Backpack

ADV Pro Backpack is designed with a main compartment that can be loaded from the top or the front, zip pockets for quick access, and many other compartments to pack and take things out more easily. 

The backpack has an EVA foam mould back panel with air channels, an airflow system in shoulder straps and extra compression straps that will ensure a comfortable experience while carrying.

ADV Pro is perfect for anyone who is looking for a hiking backpack. But you can also make use of it as an everyday backpack, as it also has a laptop sleeve and is not too big to carry around.

How To Choose A Backpack For Work

How To Choose A Backpack - CABINZERO

Your work backpack should double as a suitcase. IG: @umbelentini

Business Backpacks

What To Look For


  • Professional look
  • 15-25L for minimal carry or larger if needed


  • Durable, weatherproof


  • Laptop compartment, document sleeve

Additional features

  • Trolley sleeve, detachable shoulder strap


Choosing a suitable backpack size for work is almost the same as for school and college, as you will bring a lot of similar stuff. However, you might want to choose something that fits your laptop in case you need to bring that along. 


As you will carry a lot of important documents or electrical devices inside, you should choose a backpack with waterproof material. High-quality fabric with a minimalist design should also be prioritised to keep a professional image and be versatile in any social circumstances. 


The number of compartments in a backpack for work entirely depends on your needs. If you don’t usually carry various things like chargers, make-up, pills, etc., then you can go with something simple like a laptop sleeve and a big compartment.

However, you should definitely choose a backpack with a bottle compartment to carry your own drink to work. It’s best that your backpack has at least some small compartments in case you need to bring your chargers or use them for different circumstances.

Additional Features

A backpack for work can be much more convenient if it has an airflow system with various handles. These features ensure your comfort while carrying a heavy backpack to work and avoid causing troubles like sweats.

You should also consider choosing one with an easy-to-access pocket to keep your tickets, phone, wallet, etc. Going to work in a rush can happen to anyone, and you won’t like it when you have to struggle to take out your train ticket.

The Best Backpack For Work: CabinZero Military Backpack

We recommend our Military Backpack as your work backpack. This model is designed with every feature you need for everyday use, like various compartments, spacious zip pockets, a tracing tag, a laptop sleeve, etc.

Moreover, with additional features like front webbing, a front-loading backpack with a clamshell opening, etc., you can easily utilise this backpack for picnics, hiking, etc.

How To Choose A Backpack For Day Trips

How To Choose A Backpack - CABINZERO

Day trip ruck is the middle child between travelling and hiking backpacks. IG: @drinkingteawithme

Day Trip Backpacks

What To Look For


  • Small (15-25L)


  • Breathable, quick-drying


  • Internal organiser, external attachment points

Additional features

  • Hydration sleeve, rain cover, sunshade hat (optional)


A backpack for day trips shouldn’t be too big, as you won’t pack too many things inside. You can use a shoulder bag for convenience or use your normal backpack. They can fit almost anything you need for a short day trip (1-2 hours). When you want to spend a day away from the city’s hustle and bustle, pick a 20-30L backpack.


Though you won’t pack much inside, you might carry this backpack a lot during your trip. Therefore, choose one that is made of water-resistant and light material. It will reduce the chance of your belongings getting wet and ensure you feel comfortable all day long with heavy luggage on your back.


A backpack designed with various compartments will surely be convenient for your day trips. To prepare for a long day out, you need versatile essentials such as a backup charger, tissue, umbrella, etc. 

These things aren’t heavy but small and easily lost inside a big backpack. Having different compartments can help you find them easier to use and protect them from damage.

A backpack with a water compartment is also good for a day trip because you will surely need to keep hydrated throughout the day.

Additional Features

For a day trip backpack, you won’t need many additional features. However, if possible, choose one with an airflow system on the straps and back panel. These features will help you feel more comfortable and convenient while carrying them around.

The Best Backpack For Day Trips:  CabinZero Classic Backpack And Crossbody

The CabinZero Crossbody is easy to carry around yet big enough to put all the essentials like a wallet, phone, water bottle, and even an iPad. It is designed with an easy-to-access pocket, key clip, various zip pockets, and a tracking tag.

Our Classic Backpack is already famous. Simple, minimalistic and will surely meet all your requirements for a backpack. Made of Denier Polyester and water-resistant coating, these backpacks are a practical companion on your trips with various compartments, compression straps, highest quality primary zips, etc.


1. How Do I Know What Backpack To Buy?

To choose a backpack, first, you have to identify your needs. What will you use it for? When will you use it? What will you carry with it? After answering these questions, you will have an overview of what you need in a backpack.

This is the time when you go looking for a backpack with the physical features that suit your needs. Start with the right size, then track down the other elements like material, compartment and additional adjustment. Finally, you can add your liking to choose the designs, colours, etc. and make the final decision.

2. How Do You Size A Backpack?

Most backpack producers will provide the parameters of the backpack in the product description. These numbers are measured according to the length, width and depth of the backpack.

To see how well the backpack fits you, you should measure your torso. Start with your hip size, and then measure the length from your hip to the end of your neck.

3. Is It Better To Size Up Or Down A Backpack?

If you are wondering between sizes, we would recommend you size down your backpack. The reason is that the straps should be tight around your body to support the weight and posture. If you choose a bigger backpack, they might loosen up, and you will have a hard time carrying them around.

4. How Much Should You Pay For A Good Backpack?

Expensive doesn’t mean good quality. But usually, nothing with good quality comes at a low price. A good backpack can accompany you for years, so investing a generous budget in it won’t be a waste. 

Depending on the type of backpack you choose, you will find a common price for that type. Choose something a little above that price. Normally, you can find good backpacks for around $100-$150.

5. What Size Backpack Do I Need For A 4-Day Trip?

For a 4-day trip, you can usually use a 50-80L backpack. Of course, it depends on the place you go, which season it is, your specific needs, etc. But with little tips on how to pack your stuff, you might be able to fit a lot more than you need inside of those.

Good luck

Above are all the tips on how to choose a backpack. We hope that this has given you the overall picture of what to expect when choosing a backpack that suits your needs.

Do you have other tips to help fellow travellers pick the right backpack easier? Comment down below to discuss with CabinZero, or share this post to spread the ideas!

Claire Thuc

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