Do You Really Need a Backpack For Backpacking?

By | June 5, 2023

I am in no doubt that in most cases you don’t need backpack then you are “backpacking”. One definition of backpacking would be – “stay in hostel, use of public transport, use of a backpack, an interest in meeting the locals as well as seeing the sights.” Of course there are numerous other descriptions and all of them include “use of a backpack” But do you really need it? For me backpacking first of all associates with budget travel. Do I need to have backpack to travel on budget? No.

Already passed more then 3 years when I left my home and travel from place to place. At the time I started my journey I didn’t know for how long I will be on the road, but because I was planning to stay in hostels and other budget places, so first thought in mind was – I will go backpacking so I need big backpack for my trip. I bought nice 80l backpack with internal frame which fits nicely on the back . But couple months after beginning of my trip I started to think how many times I needed to use that backpack as BACKpack…The answer was – none.

Usually it was short walks to public transport or hostel, or I was leaving it somewhere in storage while I was walking around the city. At that moment I realized I didn’t need backpack as such at all. A big disadvantage of backpacks is top unloading/loading. I tried put most often used item on the top of bag, but almost everyday I needed something from the bottom. Although my backpack at least has access at the bottom, so it wasn’t so bad, but at least one repack per day was usual routine. I can live with that, but so called hybrid bags would make life much easier. There are simple hybrid bags which can be used as backpacks or one shoulder bags or backpack with wheels . These hybrid bags [with wheels] are heavier then usual backpacks, but regular backpacks has many different straps on outside so you will need such thing as airport tote for you bag protection during loading into plane or on the bus. This will add additional weight to the total, but it still probably will be lighter then hybrid back (especial one with wheels) and with all weight restrictions on budget airlines it can be issue.

So next time you will be looking for backpack think about such things:

  • Will you go trekking on your trip?
  • If just day trips, may be all you need is daypack?
  • If it will be multi-day trekking, may be you can rent suitable backpack in the place you start your trekking?
  • If you decide go ahead with hybrid bag, check weight and how it feels on you back. Of course it won’t be very comfortable, but good enough for short distances.
  • Do you need bag with wheels?