How to Pick the Right Backpack Size for You (2023)

If you personal as many backpacks as we do, you might need observed that they are categorized by liters reasonably than their inch-by-inch dimensions. The quantity, or bag capability, is a important issue to have in mind when buying a backpack. For instance, a 15-liter backpack is okay for day-to-day actions, but it surely’s in all probability not going to be large enough for an in a single day journey.

It’s surprisingly troublesome to convey a bag’s quantity given its dimensions. Let’s examine two of my favourite baggage: The Rains Mini measures 15.7 inches by 11.4 by 3.9, and the Herschel Heritage measures 18 inches by 12.25 by 5.5. Given a side-by-side visible comparability, they appear fairly comparable, however the Rains holds 9 liters, whereas the Herschel holds 21.5.

So how precisely are liters measured and what quantity is correct for you? We talked to backpack manufacturers to get the solutions. Once you have decided what liter quantity is correct for your wants, we’ve got extra suggestions than anyone individual may presumably want. Check out our guides on the Best Backpacks, Best Messenger Bags, Best Recycled Bags, and Best Camera Bags, in addition to choices for those that choose purses and totes.

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How Volume Is Calculated

Photograph: Herschel

Photograph: Rains

When you consider liters, you may take into consideration water. While there could also be manufacturers filling their baggage with liquids and including up the quantity as they go, there is a drier manner to do it. According to Ahren Bonnema, product design supervisor at JanSport, most manufacturers use small plastic balls (assume Ping Pong balls). 

“We fill a bag with them, zip everything up tight, then pour the balls into a very large, graduated cylinder with lines on the side marking liters,” Bonnema says. “It sounds a bit primitive, but it is surprisingly accurate, and the industry standard used by most pack brands.”

Since one thing like quantity needs to be common, you’d hope that interprets from model to model. “I’ve personally probably measured dozens of competitor packs, and it is not uncommon to come across inaccuracies,” Bonnema says. Countless message boards and Reddit threads agree. The reviewers at Tree Line Review discovered that the claimed quantity versus the quantity they measured have been totally different. (Instead of balls, they used pinto beans!) JanSport was not amongst the baggage they checked out.

This is irritating, particularly since most of us haven’t got lots of of pinto beans readily available. Luckily, most of us do not want such a exact capability measurement. If all you want is a running backpack to maintain your cellphone, jacket, and a few snacks, you possibly can comfortably assume that an 8- to 10-liter capability will in all probability work. Now all you’ve to do is work out what you want the bag for. 

How Many Liters Do I Need?

What will you be doing? If you are taking your backpack to work, and all you want to carry is a laptop computer, pockets, chapstick, and pocket book, look for a backpack that has the correct-size laptop computer pocket. I exploit the Rains on this state of affairs to carry my 13-inch MacBook. But if you happen to want a backpack to double as a diaper bag, to maintain a full semester’s value of books, or to take mountain climbing and tenting, the quantity it holds begins to get extra important.

Backpackies has a great video guide evaluating sizes. With that recommendation and our testing in thoughts, that is the broad measurement information we advocate:

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