What backpack size do i need

What Backpack Size Do I Need – Ultimate Backpack Size Guide

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Are you planning to buy a backpack for your school, Traveling, hiking, etc? If yes, then you will need to pack some stuff for your commute, and to carry that stuff you need an appropriate pack for this. There are various types and sizes of backpacks available in the market. But, have you ever wondered, what backpack size do I need? because picking the right size can often get confusing.

Therefore, you have to select your bag depending on your type of commute and how much volume you need. A carelessly chosen backpack can spell discomfort, inconvenience, and just an overall bad experience.

Choosing the right backpack is a significant part of planning your trip. You will have too much extra weight to carry around if you opt for a large one or you might not get your bag on an airplane. On the other hand, too small a pack and you will never fit all your stuff in the thing.

Moreover, for both your physical and mental health choosing the correct backpack size is important. Incorrectly carrying weight on your back can affect negatively your shoulders and spine, causing lasting aches and pains.

Hence, this backpack size guide is geared to provide essential information in helping you on what size backpack do you need? It will give you a simple way to determine the best possible fit based on your personal style preferences and body preferences. Also, you can look at an ultimate guide on How To Make Backpack Lighter.

Backpack Size Chart Liters Guide:

What is the difference between backpack sizes? What backpack size do I need? Whether you are replacing luggage for a more convenient carry, about to do some around the world travel, or going on a backpacking trip to a nearby park, there are a number of important differences in terms of fit and capacity. And knowing right for you in both functions can make or break your entire adventure

Any backpack size guide should consider the correct fit and backpack size for you and this involves measuring yourself. The chart below can seem daunting at first but is essential in establishing what backpack size and dimension you need because we are not all built for the standard backpack size.

Size Guide for backpack

Extra Small:

The hip measurement should be shorter than 55 cm and torso length should be shorter than 40 cm.


Torso length should be within 40 and 44 cm, and hip measurement should be within 55 and 69 cm.


The hip measurement should be between 70 and 87 cm and torso length should be between 45 and 49 cm.


Torso length should be in mid of 50 and 52 cm and hip measurement should be between 88 and 100 cm.

Extra Large:

The hip measurement should be larger than 101 cm and the torso length should be greater than 53 cm.

How to Measure Your Body:

1. Measure Torso Length:

Measure Torso Length For Perfect Backpack Size

Measure the torso length by finding the distance between the C7 Vertebra and the Iliac Crest. The C7 Vertebra can be discovered where your neck interfaces with your back – follow your shoulder line. The Iliac Crest can be found at the base of your hips. Utilize a measuring tape to acquire a vertical estimation along your spine.

2. Measure Hip Size:

Measure Waist For Backpack Fit

Wrap the estimating tape around your abdomen/waist. Measure your hip size by tracking down the broadest part of your hip, additionally the highest place of the Iliac Crest. This is your measurement.

How Is Backpack Volume Measured:

How Is Backpack Volume Measured

The backpack’s volume is measured using two different methods. First, in cubic inches or liters. In other words, assume filling a pack and the entirety of its compartments with water and afterward estimating how much water (in liters) is spilled back out.

Secondly, a backpack size is measured through the specific dimensions of the bag which include width, length, depth, or height. If only dimensions are given, then multiplication of the dimensions will give you cubic inches, which would then be able to be changed over into liters. For example, a pack that is 24″ by 16″ by 9″ would be 3456 cubic inches, which is 56.63 liters.

However, Backpacks are usually measured in terms of liters. By measuring the available capacity including all pockets and sections of the bag, you can also identify the size of the rucksack.

Also, Hip and torso measurements help to identify the correct backpack size for your body type. And when it comes to a backpack’s measurement every outdoor company uses slightly different methods so there is no guarantee that two different 35L rucksacks will have identical capacities.

Thus, while depicting capacity and volume different backpack companies can utilize various units of measurement as they will all commonly communicate the volume of their packs in liters or cubic inches. A few organizations will be more pleasant than others and simply do both on measuring diagrams for more widespread customer comfort.

Backpack Size and Capacity Explained:

Backpack size chart liters

Usually, Backpack capacity is measured in terms of either liter (L) or cubic inches (in³). Each rucksack organization will measure this somewhat diversely so there is no assurance that two distinctive 30L backpacks will have similar limits.

The range of the packs comes in 15-85 liters and that is the range of available bags in the market. Despite the fact that, while picking a rucksack for your outing, if you just rely upon this reach, you may wind up committing an error.

For instance, you are going on a weekend trip and you have chosen a daypack, it would be a failure. There is no standard size that will fit nicely for every type of travel, your journey will choose which size do you need for your commute.

Here is a chart that shows which size is standard for various events.

O to 10 Liters:

When you are carrying a pack of fewer than 10 liters it means you are going to be packing light. These sorts of rucksacks are streamlined and skintight that permits you to move unreservedly. They reasonably balance weight around the body and incorporate hydration sleeves and ports for use with hydration bladders.

This capacity is large enough for a hydration supply, some snacks and gels, minimal survival kit, and light, packable layers. 0-10 liter rucksacks are mostly utilized for Running, Cycling, mountain trekking, or more limited climbs and scrambles. This could be just about as basic as a hydration-style pack or a small daypack that is comfortable to you.

Small rucksacks are very adaptable and also suitable for shopping trips as they are for day trips or walks. Their compact size also means they make great Children’s backpacks. Further, If you want to know what size backpack for kindergarten, an 8-10 liter backpack makes the ideal school bag and will easily accommodate a packed lunch, drink, and some packable waterproofs.

10-29 Liters:

Backpacks consist of these sizes are the smallest of the overnight workhorses. They are considered as essentials only backpacks or overnight Hiking Backpacks designed to accommodate enough gear and food for a light packer for one or maybe two nights.

If you are planning for a one-day backpacking tour but don’t know what size backpack for day hike, use a pack of 10-20L. You can also call it a daypack and it is for you if you are a minimalist. This pack size will fit almost everything you need for a day hike featuring a capacity of approximately 610-1200 cubic inches that allows you to take the essential things for your tour.

For a full day out, 10-20 Liter backpacks could easily store:

-> Food for the day (a decent lunch)

-> Headlamp

-> Lightweight rain shell

-> Small hydration reservoir

-> A light jacket or vest

-> A first-aid kit

-> Up to 13” laptop

-> Headphones

-> Small book and other small items

They will often have lots of pockets to keep things handy throughout the day and prioritize being lightweight to reduce the overall weight you are carrying. This size is ideal for desert camping, possibly without a tent, and can also be used as an extended day pack.

The 10-20L size will limit you to personal items or tech carry with little room for much else. Backpacks under 19 liters are recommended to anyone who needs a pack for one day trip or a simple work backpack for things like a laptop, water bottle, and snacks.

Smaller bags are also considered great tech backpacks for anyone who just needs to carry a tablet, laptop, cables, chargers, and few extra personal items.

The key takeaway with backpacks under 20-liters is compromising. You might have the option to pack barely enough for an overnight stay or perhaps a couple of large books and binders, but you will not have space for both together.

In addition to the backpacks, there are also some Duffle Bags that facilitate you just like a backpack. The duffle bags can also be utilized for 1-3 night trips.

30-50 Liters:

Perhaps you have an extended camping trip on the horizon and you are confused about what size backpack do I need for hiking. Then, maybe you need to upgrade your travel backpack for those upcoming international trips. If you plan a three night’s camping or hiking and really want to figure out what size backpack for hiking, then at least a 30L-50L volume backpack is what you will need. These packs can be 1800-3051 cubic inches and can hold many types off equipment you will need on the hike.

You can select this category if you are going on an overnight or a weekend trip for about 2 or 3 nights. A 40–50L backpack will be able to hold all your sleeping, cooking, and camping gear you need for trips up to 3 or 5 days.

To organize your backpacking trips carefully, you will find a 40l volume pack the right choice for you as It will help you in carrying:

-> Small tent

-> Sleeping bag and pad

-> Cooking gear

-> Pot for cooking

-> Food for up to 5 days

-> Water bottle

-> Clothes

-> First aid kit

-> Navigation tool

A weekend backpack like a standard 40L backpack is big enough to carry a lot of backpacking gears. Depending on your packing skills you may also have room for camping items such as lightweight chair, small camp lantern, or coffee press.

These day packs are for year-round use (including winter) or for trips, wild camps, and overnight bivvies. Further, hiking in winter or carrying lightweight camping kit requires a larger capacity and more support. Backpacks greater than 40L are often tailored towards mountaineering/climbing with attachment points for carrying extra gear and consists a streamlined shape.

Again, this is going to depend heavily on the actual gear going in your pack. Thus, the longer you are away, the more volume you will need, especially when it comes to food and water. They can take up a vital amount of your pack if you are hiking for more than a few days. You’ll need enough to adequately fuel your body each day, plus at least a day extra in case of emergency.

Generally, these packs have more substantial hip belts and are fairly padded that allows you to carry extra clothing, crampons, and storm shelters for your night out. Also, for overnighters In spring-autumn these backpacks also let you carry a cooking gear, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, and a backpacking tent or bivvy bag.

Apart from traveling or hiking, Backpacks over 30-39 liters can be overkill for most people who just need a daily carry backpack for essential items. These are the extra-large school backpacks recommended for Students who need to carry an entire day’s worth of books, tech gears, lunch, and other small items.

They can also be utilized as Athletic Backpacks for after-school outdoor activities or sports. And, if you love skateboarding, you will also find many Skateboard Backpacks less than 30 liters.

Further, Backpacks between 30-39 liters can fit:

-> Large textbook

-> Water bottle

-> Headphones

-> Up to 15” Laptop

-> 2x hoodies or sweaters

-> DSLR Camera

-> Pencil case or dope kit

-> Pair of shoes

-> Small book

-> 2x 1-inch binders

Moreover, these backpacks are also great gym and work backpacks for anyone who needs to carry their daily work items and also a change of clothes or shoes. Plus, with 30-40L packs, you can expect to find more options for extra-large laptop storage. Because of their large capacity, most of the 18-inch Laptop Backpacks are in the size range of 30-40L.

50-70 Liters:

Sometimes we just need a 5-6-day break out in the woods or mountains from our daily busy schedule, where the only contact to society is the friends we are with. And this will require a larger capacity pack for a few reasons such as carrying everything you will need to survive.

Backpacks that lie between 50-70L of carrying capacity will be your first choice If you are planning for camping, backcountry skiing, multi-day hikes, or trips for more than a 3-nights. These packs are bulkier than 30-49L backpacks with a capacity of 3052-4882 cubic inches. They are the most popular ones among other packs as they can considerably convey more equipment than their smaller counterparts.

50L+ bags are probably the best backpack for you If you want to embark on a multi-day journey where you will be carrying kits like sleeping gear, shelter, food, and clothing for different conditions. They are specifically designed for backpacking as they will have plenty of padding, support, and multiple adjustment points for carrying heavy loads in comfort. They are best for carrying:

-> Extra Food

-> Cushioned sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and shelter

-> Pair of socks, underwear, shirts

-> Rain jackets

-> Tent for four or more person

-> Mufflers

-> Inflatable Pillow

For better access, they come with multiple pockets that allow you to separate your equipment for quick access. The big capacity allows you to carry everything you need to stay self-sufficient for multi-days. You cannot take this on a flight as these packs are more extensive and usually not easy to fit inside the plane’s cabin.

A 50 – 70L backpack is also great for road tripping around the country for a few weeks or through regions with changing weather conditions as their capacious compartments can accommodate various outfit changes before you at any point need to visit a Laundromat

Moreover, these multi-day packs are specifically for expedition or winter camping to accommodate a warmer sleeping setup, mountaineering equipment, and first aid and survival gear. Look for a super burly suspension as well as loops for gear attachment and ample straps.

Make sure not to carry more than you really have to — less is always more. As Miss Piggy used to say, “Never eat more than you can lift”. Remember that comfort is the key therefore the best choice you can make is a backpack that is good for both your shoulders and back.

70 Liter + Packs:

A pack larger than 70 liters of carrying capacity seems a bit ridiculous or maybe impossible to carry at first. But,  it might become necessary, depending on your situation. Do you want to head up the mountains or pack out in the cold weather? If yes, You will need to have cold weather camping clothing and equipment. But, all of that is a lot heavier and hard to fit so you will simply need a larger backpack size.

Therefore, for expedition backpacking, extended trips, and carrying huge amounts of equipment for more than five nights you should be prepared with everything you might need. And for that, a 70+ liters volume backpack is the right choice for you that features the capacity of 4000+ cubic inches. It’s worth carrying especially if you need to carry a lot of supplies for your children as well to make the experience more enjoyable. It will help you in taking things like:

-> Extra Food

-> Cushioned sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and shelter

-> Pair of socks, underwear, shirts

-> Tent for four or more person

-> Rain jackets

-> Mufflers

-> Specialized tents

-> Sleeping gear

-> Inflatable Pillow

They are the serious rucksacks for serious trips as they share many characteristics with backpacking rucksacks in terms of support, adjustment, padding, etc. The large capacities of these packs are designed for carrying huge amounts of equipment, or enough food to stay self-sufficient for multi-days at a time.

Thus, the only limit to what you are able to bring when carrying a pack of this size is, how much weight you can support on your back. Wearing a pack of this size is also a must for transporting supplies when setting up a base camp at a high altitude or doing trail work.

If you are the type of person who packs everything on the gear list, plus wordiness for every situation such as, out for 3 Days? Bring 4 pairs of underwear OR Bring a full rain suit anyway if the forecast is sunny, but unable to decide what size backpack do I need for backpacking for more than 5 nights. Then you will want to take a pack that can fit it all.

Opting for a 70L+ backpack might mean you need to practice packing a few times before you leave for your first backpacking trip with new gear or you may also want to test the size of your backpack. You can do this by packing it and walking up and down your stairs a few times.

It might take a trip or two before you find the perfect life-sustaining system that you can happily carry for miles at a time. Meanwhile, just be patient with you because a backpack is a big purchase. But once you find the right one it will give you a leg up when it comes to completing your camping gear list.

Some Other Features Of a Backpack You Should Know:

Internal Frame Backpack:

Backpacks come in two different types, external and internal frame backpacks. The internal frame backpacks are more comfortable, famous and tend to be lighter and lower profile than external frame packs. The internal frame packs come in a body-hugging shape that is designed to keep a hiker stable even on uneven, off-trail terrain. They incorporate a variety of load-support technologies that transfer the maximum load from the shoulders to the hips. Internal frame backpacks are more streamlined in shape that makes them easier to transport in a plane or car than an external frame pack. Plus, The suspension systems of these packs are smaller and use lightweight materials.

External Frame Backpack:

External frame packs come with an advanced ventilation system and lots of gear organization options. It could also be an appropriate choice if you are carrying irregular or heavy loads. They are not as much popular, and there are only a few brands that still make them. External frame packs do have some advantages, such as the option to strap a lot more gear on the outside, the ability to carry a heavier load, generally higher durability, better ventilation against your back, and they come at lower prices.


There is a basic rule of thumb that is “the larger the capacity the larger the backpack will be”.

Backpack size will impact the backpack’s fit. People who are large and tall will benefit from wearing a larger backpack. However, smaller people may want to stick with a smaller backpack size to accommodate short torsos and slim shoulders. This is one of the reasons it is so common to see many women’s backpacks lie less than 30 liters.

Pockets and Compartments:

The number of Pockets and Compartments is another crucial feature. They are essential parts of any backpack whether you are buying for traveling, High School Students, etc. Some of the older bags had few pockets therefore manufacturers upgraded them by adding several pockets to make the unloading and packing quick and easier.

There can be several types of pockets such as a Front pocket, Shovel pocket, Hip belt pocket, Elasticized side pocket, and so on. Pockets help you carrying water bottles, tent poles, smartphones, and many other smaller, less bulky items.  In short, more pockets mean much space.

A good bag comes with multiple compartments so you can break up your belongings into smaller sections and make it easier to access and find the stuff you need.

Ventilation System:

Having a ventilation system is essential for a backpack If you’re backpacking in warm weather because it keeps the internal packs away from your skin.  This is the system where manufacturers use highly breathable mesh that helps to keep you comfortable.

Further, Materials like lightweight mesh, perforated foam and special framing systems keep much of the back panel away from your skin. Although this does not affect the overall performance of a pack but can greatly increase your comfort.

Hip Belt:

These feature are for both an external and internal frame backpack. In the case of a lightweight package, a minimalistic belt is sufficient but for some people, a padded belt is the right choice. For extra support and custom fit, the hip belt should also be adjustable.

Most of the weight you will be carrying around will be on your hips, so to make supporting the weight more comfortable you will want a padded belt. In fact, The heavier the pack you plan to carry, the more its padding becomes a factor. The belt will provide support and distribute the load more evenly on your back, causing less strain.

Shoulder Straps:

Just like a hip belt, the same goes for the shoulder straps. Since the weight of your pack will also be pushing down on your shoulders as they make carrying your load more comfortable, so it’s also an important factor to consider. You have to find out that the straps are well-padded and fully adjustable. If they are, you can select the pack for your trip. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What size backpack do I need for school?

If you make long school days with different subjects, soon you will carry more than you think. A pack of 21 to 30 liters could be the perfect school backpack as this is the most common size for students. These bags have enough space and most of them feature several small pockets so you never have to look for a pen or your keys for a long time.

Moreover, When carrying so many items, Pay attention to your back. Look for a chest strap and padded shoulder straps as they ensure that you carry the backpack comfortably. Also, ventilated back panel would be the plus point and it’s nice to keep your back cool while wearing a heavy backpack.

What size backpack do I need for traveling?

When it comes to backpack sizes, usually they are quoted in liters of volume they can hold. Generally, backpacks having a carrying capacity of 10-30 liters are considered as a daypack. The 30-50 liters capacity is big enough for carry-on travel or a weekend trip and for those who need extra clothing or gear and want a backpack for more than 5 night’s trip, a 50-70L backpack is something they would love to spend on.

Further, you can go through a detailed backpack size guide at the top of this blog.

What is a normal size backpack?

In life, you must have got confused about how big is a normal size backpack that can be used either by students, travelers, or hikers. To answer this question, we would say your physical height is one of the factors in choosing a normal-sized backpack for you. For example, if you’re 5-foot-5 or shorter, a backpack with 19″ Height and 13″ Width would be the standard size for you.

Moreover, backpacks of 21 to 30 liters are the most common size for backpacks. They have enough space and features to be used for schools or college, travel, and so on. Plus, Most of them offer many small pockets to keep your small items separate and handy on the way.


I hope after reading this ultimate guide on what backpack size do I need, it will be easy for you to find the ideal one for you. Thus, Finding the right backpack size is all about knowing your body type and what is the purpose of buying a backpack or how you will use your backpack. Whether you want a backpack for students, travel, or for your tech gears such as a mobile or MacBook, or a daypack for everyday use, there are plenty of backpacks out there that can fit your exact use.

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