How Big of a Backpacking Backpack Do I Need?

By Anna Duncan

Backpacks come in all shapes and sizes, from small daypacks to expedition-sized behemoths. But if you’re a beginner backpacker, you may be wondering: how big of a backpack do I need?

The first step to finding the right backpack size is to consider the type and length of trips you plan on taking. For example, if you’re planning weekend backpacking trips, you’ll need a different pack size than if you’re planning a month long trek across Europe. For weekend trips, look for a pack that can hold 30-50 liters of gear, whereas for multi-week trips, opt for something in the 50-80 liter range.

In addition to length of trip, also consider the type of terrain and climate. If you’ll be heading into cold climates or carrying winter camping gear, opt for something with more capacity so that you have room for extra layers and warm sleeping bags. For hot climates or lightweight treks on well-maintained trails, smaller packs will do.

When it comes to fit and comfort, there are many factors to consider. Make sure to try on several different packs at an outdoor retailer so that you can find one with the right torso length and waist belt fit for your body type. Also check out features such as pockets and straps – these can make or break your comfort level while carrying a heavy load.


Backpack size is an important consideration when it comes to backpacking – too big and your bag will be heavier than necessary; too small and you won’t have enough room for all your gear. When choosing a pack size, consider both the type and length of your trips as well as the terrain and climate.

Try several different packs at an outdoor retailer so that you can find one with a comfortable fit for your body type. With careful consideration of all these factors, you’ll find the perfect backpack size for your next adventure!