2021 Backpack Size Guide (How to Measure & Fit Correctly) (2023)

Backpacks are an essential piece of equipment.you use them for school, everyday life and travel, so it is important to have the right backpack. The most important feature of a backpack is the size and you need to make sure that you get a backpack that has the right dimensions for you.

Finding the right size backpack can be a challenge, and there aregreat selection on the market. This guide will give you all the information you need to know to understand the options and choose the right size backpack to suit your needs.

What size backpack do I need?

Several key factors affect the size of the backpack you need. You should take them into account before making your selection.

User body type

Everyone is different and you should consider your shape and size when choosing your backpack. If you don't, it will be uncomfortable at best, but at worst it canhurt you. The critical measurement here is your torso, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. 1

    Lean your neck forward and look for thattebra cervical C7(This is the bony prominence at the top of the spine, between the neck and the slope of the shoulder.) Your measurement starts here.
  2. 2

    Move your hands to the top of the hip bones at the waist. From here, draw a circle around your body to find your lower torso for measurement.
  3. 3

    With your back straight, ask a friend to measure the distance between these two points. This is the length of your torso.

Well-known brands likegregorYfishing eagleUse this measurement and provide your own guide on how to measure your torso. If you have a brand in mind, it's worth checking to see if they recommend a specific method of measuring your torso, just in case it affects sizing.

The other measurement that can be useful is the width of the hip, since part of the weight is distributed here. You can do this by running a tape measure around the top of your hip bones and noting the length. Not all brands have a waist measurement to choose from, so it may be worth checking first.

weight capacity

Hecarrying capacity of a backpackThey vary greatly depending on the make, model, and size of the bag. You need to consider what you'll be using the backpack for, and then look for a weight capacity that meets those needs.

The general rule is that the larger the backpack, the greater the carrying capacity, but there are some exceptions. The weight capacity is usually clearly advertised so it's pretty easy to find if you browse.


Backpacks are true multi-tools and we all use them a little differently. If you want to use it in certain conditions, you must choose a material that protects your belongings inside.

If you use it while hiking or camping, you should look for a more durable and waterproof material. You may also want a larger backpack with room forbackpack to drink.

Personal Packing Style and Preferences

There is no set way to pack a backpack and everyone handles it a little differently. This is something to keep in mind when choosing a backpack, as more organized packers may only need a small backpack. Check out our tips and tricksPack your backpack efficientlyHere.

2021 Backpack Size Guide (How to Measure & Fit Correctly) (1)

How to measure backpack sizes

Once you've determined your backpack size, here's what to doCheck the options. Backpack manufacturers generally measure backpacks in one of two ways, but occasionally both metrics are given:

volume measurement

The volume of a backpack literally indicates how much space is available in the backpack. This is most commonly given in liters, but can sometimes be given in cubic inches. You can measure the volume of the backpack by calculating how much each individual compartment and pocket of the bag can hold. They are then added to the total. It is worth noting that sometimes only the main compartment is used for volume.

Measurement by actual dimension

The dimensions are the height, length and width of the backpack. This gives you less of an idea of ​​how much room is inside, but makes it easier to figure out how it fits your body and if it fits your torso size. If necessary, you can use the dimensions to calculate the volume of the backpack.

Standard Backpack Sizes - Capacity Explained

Looking at different volumes, it can be hard to know what it really means. Here's a quick breakdown:

  • 0-10 LITERS
    This is a very small backpack used to carry essentials. You won't be able to fit much in them and they are often used as hydration packs by runners.
  • 10-20 LITERS
    These backpacks are the next size up, but are still pretty small. They are good for day trips orGoing to and from the officeand can hold some food, clothing, and other essentials.
  • 20-30 LITERS
    This is the most common backpack size and you will see it in most stores. These allow you to carry everything for the day, but don't really work as a travel bag. Typically this size would beused for school or college.
  • 30-40 LITERS
    This backpack size is perfect as a travel or weekend bag. They usually have a series of small pockets that allow you to separate your belongings and make it easier to find everything. This pack size is perfect for a multi-day adventure and will allow you tobring some food and essential itemsbut it may not suit sleeping gear.
  • 40-50 LITERS
    With the 40-50 liters we are now in the region of the "big" backpacks. These are ideal for camping and have room for clothing, food, and more.other important things for 5-6 days. You can even bring cooking utensils and asleeping bag in this backpack. This backpack would be too big for everyday use, but some may find it too small for their adventures. If you're a serious camper, this is the smallest backpack to consider, but you may need a larger size.
  • 50-60 LITERS
    These backpacks offer more space and are perfect for the serious camper. You can store your groceries, clothes, supplies, etc.even your store if necessary. These backpacks are perfect for 1-2 people who are going on a trip for a few nights and can usually hold a lot of weight.
  • 60-70 LITERS
    These backpacks are also good for long camping trips and can fit everything you need for up to 10 days. They have many different secure compartments to store various items and allow you to place some luxury items along with the necessities.
  • 70-80+ LITERS
    A backpack of this size.it's for a great adventure. This accommodates everything you need for longer expeditions and is ideal for those with families and young children who cannot bring their own gear. Altitude climbers will typically use this packet size.

Medium size backpacks: Depending on type and use

school bags

School bags are a must and must be the right size. Too small and your books won't fit, too big and it won't fit in your locker. Typicallyschool bagsit should hold from 6 to 20 liters, giving you space for your books, stationery and lunch. Maybe you need something bigger for high school or college.

backpack suitcase

Luggage backpacks are a popular choice for business travelers who travel a lot. They should be big enough to hold documents and a change of clothes, but small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane. You also want these backpacks to be comfortable and portable. Usually these are in the 25 to 40 liter range.

backpack to drink

Hydration packs are used by runners, hikers, and cyclists to stay hydrated on the go. ThisThe backpacks have a hydration bladder.in it, which allows you to store water directly in the backpack. A whistle is attached so you can drink while walking or moving. These backpacks should be compact and lightweight, and typically have a capacity of 7 to 10 liters.

2021 Backpack Size Guide (How to Measure & Fit Correctly) (2)

Backpacks for daily use

Everyday backpacks have to cope with whatever life throws at them. The size and shape of the pack will depend on your typical day, but you want to have enough room for a jacket, some food, some water, and maybe a few other essentials. Backpacks for daily use usually contain between 15 and 35 liters.

hiking backpacks

Hiking backpacks need to be bigger to fit all your gear. This can include food, drink, clothing, a sleeping bag, and a tent.Hiking backpacks are durable.and more durable against the elements. Typically expect a capacity of 20 to 60 liters, depending on the exact nature of your adventure.

compression backpack

Compression backpacks are designed to make your trip more efficient. They can be compressed and become even more compact, which is perfect when storage space is limited. Compression backpacks are ideal for travelers looking to maximize capacity without taking up a lot of space. Usually it is from 15 to 50 liters.

tactical military backpacks

tactical military backpacksThey are designed for military purposes and often have a light camouflage color on the outside. They are strong, durable and highly resistant to damage even in harsh conditions. Tactical military backpacks have to fit a lot and are usually 25-50 liters.

backpacks more

have hand luggagespecific dimensional requirements(typically 22" x 14" x9), and if you're a traveler, you need a backpack that delivers. If you travel frequently, you may want to invest in a carry-on backpack, which is typically 30 to 40 liters.

People also ask (FAQ)

What size backpack do I need to go backpacking?

In general, your backpack should contain between 20 and 35 liters. This way you can pack enough for the trip but it won't weigh you down during the trip.

What size backpack do you need for mountaineering?

A 20-40 liter backpack is usually enough for mountaineering. It allows you to carry all the necessary items including a first aid kit, map, and insulating clothing without being too bulky.

What size backpack do I need for 3 days?

For a trip of 3 to 4 days you should look for a backpack of 40 to 50 liters but this may vary depending on the activity you are doing.

How do I know if my backpack is too small?

In general, you will know if your backpack is too small because it does not fit your things in it and it is uncomfortable. If there is too much space between the shoulders and the shoulder straps, it also means that it is too small.

What size backpack do I need for a trip to Europe?

If you're backpacking Europe, consider a carry-on backpack that will fit comfortably on the plane. This is usually 30-40 liters.


Backpacks are really useful.If you have the right backpack, it can make your life so much easier, and it's worth taking the time to find the best backpack for you. The most important factor is the size of the backpack because making a mistake can only become an obstacle. We hope this guide has given her everything she needs and that she can now choose the right pack size with confidence.

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How do I measure my backpack size? ›

The height and width of a backpack is measured using the back panel. The height is the measurement from the top of the bag to the bottom of the backpack, and the width is measured using the widest part at the back panel from left to right.

How do you properly fit a backpack? ›

Pull the straps forward away from your body and then down toward your hips to get a natural fit. Be careful not to overtighten here, as the straps can dig into your shoulders. When fitted correctly, they should hug your shoulders from front to back without any gaps between the shoulder strap and your back.

What is the right length for backpack? ›

The pack should end at your waist and not extend past two inches above your hips. Another way to check the length of the pack that has a hip belt is to attach the hip belt and see how the shoulder straps fit. If there is a gap at the shoulders, the pack is too long for you.

How big is a 16 inch backpack? ›

Measuring 16 x 12.5 x 9.5 inches, the 16 Inch Backpack is just the right size.

How do you measure back length for backpack? ›

You can find your back length by measuring from your C7 vertebra, the bony bit at the back of your neck directly down parallel to your iliac crest. Tilt your head forward slightly to find your C7 vertebra, and place your hands on your hips.

How do I know if my backpack is too big? ›

If there is too much space between your shoulders and the shoulder straps, or if the anchor point of the shoulder straps is to high or low even though the hip belt is in the right position, the backpack may be the wrong size or the torso length needs to be adjusted.

Is it better to size up or down a backpack? ›

That said, I have found that it is typically best to go with the smaller size. A too-large pack will result in a pack that doesn't ride as stable and that will give you less flexibility in load-carrying. If you cinch down the load-lifters, the straps can lose too much contact with your shoulders.

Is it better to have backpack higher or lower? ›

Your pack should be worn so it sits approximately two inches from your shoulders, and should ride around an inch above your hips. Higher is better than lower if you must wear it on one side or the other, so be sure to adjust the straps whenever you put on the pack, as they can loosen when you remove it.

What happens if my backpack is too big? ›

An overweight backpack causes the body to compensate for the extra weight. If you lean forward to compensate, it reduces your balance making it easier to fall. The extra weight can distort the natural curve of the middle and lower back, causing muscle strain.

Should backpack weight be on hips or shoulders? ›

A properly fitting backpack should comfortably transfer approximately 80 percent of its weight to your hips and lower body, 20 percent to the front of your shoulders, and exactly zero to the top of your shoulders.

What is the most common backpack size? ›

24-26 liters is considered a medium-size backpack and is probably the most popular bag capacity out there.

What is a standard backpack size? ›

10 to 19 liters: For light loads and 13-inch laptops. 20 to 29 liters: Best for students and 15- to 16-inch laptops. 30 to 39 liters: For super-size workloads and weekend trips. 50 to 80 liters: For hikers and campers.

How big is too big for a backpack? ›

This is because backpacks over 40 liters are usually too large to comfortably use as a daily backpack for school, work or commuting. Backpacks over 40 liters are best reserved for travel, hiking or backpacking where loading multiple days worth of gear is necessary.

How big is a 15 inch backpack? ›

Measuring 15 x 11 x 7 inches, the 15 Inch Backpack has a just-right size that's perfect for packing all the essentials, plus some snacks!

What is a personal sized backpack? ›

American Airlines advises customers to travel with personal items that are no larger than 18 inches x 14 inches x 8 inches. If you are flying on Delta, be sure your personal item is 17 inches x 13 inches x 9 inches or smaller.

Where do you measure back? ›

The back length is defined by the distance between the 7th vertebra and the iliac crest (or top of the pelvis). This is where the two measuring points are located.

How is a full back measured? ›

Full back length

Measure from the base of the back of the neck to the floor. We define the “base of the back of the neck” as the point at which the 7th cervical bone is located.

What are the best backpack sizes? ›

Backpack Sizes
SizeCapacitySuggested Uses
Mini and Small Backpacks6 -10 LitersDays Out / Kids Bags / Sports
Daypacks10 - 30 LitersCommuting / Hiking / Day Walks
Medium Backpacks30 - 50 LitersOvernight Trips / Camping / Hiking
Large Rucksacks50 Liters +Travelling / Backpacking / Expeditions
Jan 23, 2023

Where should heavier items go in your backpack? ›

If you are walking, pack the heavy things in the middle and towards the top of the backpack, in the section that is right next to your back. If, on the other hand, you are going skiing, it is smart to place the weight low and towards the back.

Is it better to carry backpack on front or back? ›

Your Belongings are Less Likely to Get Damaged

If you are carrying fragile items in your backpack, wearing it in front of you can help protect them. Your belongings are less likely to get jostled around and damaged if they are in front of you where you can see them.

How much should you spend on a good backpack? ›

As a quick guide, you should expect a backpack to cost between $30 and $350, with store-brand day bags sitting at the cheaper end. If you want a proper, wilderness-quality hiking backpack, big brands like Osprey and North Face will easily cost you $400 and even up to $600.

Is it bad to wear a backpack on your back? ›

Carrying excessive weight in a backpack can cause wear-and-tear on the joints, ligaments, and muscles across the entire back and in the hips.

What is the rule of thumb for backpack weight? ›

When determining your pack weight, follow these very general guidelines: A loaded backpacking pack should not weigh more than about 20 percent of your body weight. (If you weigh 150 pounds, your pack should not exceed 30 pounds for backpacking.)

How much weight can the average person carry in a backpack? ›

Most beginners will carry around 30 to 35 pounds for their first few trips (including the pack itself). As you gain more experience and upgrade gear, your weight will likely decrease to around 30 to 32 pounds. Some backpackers stay around the 30 pound mark while others strive to get their weight as low as possible.

What is a healthy backpack weight? ›

Lighten the load:

No matter how well-designed the backpack, less weight is always better. Use the bathroom scale to check that a pack isn't over 10% to 20% of your child's body weight. For example, a child who weighs 80 pounds shouldn't carry a backpack that weighs more than 8 to 16 pounds.

What is the average size school backpack? ›

Medium: 21 to 30 liters

A school backpack of 21 to 30 liters is suitable for this. This is the most common size for backpacks. The bags have enough space, but are not larger than necessary. Most school backpacks have several small pockets.

What is a regular size backpack for school or? ›

Medium: 21 to 30 liters

A school backpack of 21 to 30 liters is suitable for this. This is the most common size for backpacks. The bags have enough space, but are not larger than necessary. Most school backpacks have several small pockets.

What is the size of a school backpack? ›

A school backpack of 21 to 30 liters is suitable for you. This is the most common size for backpacks. The bag has enough space, but does not exceed the required size. Most school backpacks have several small pockets.

Do airlines check backpack size? ›

Most airlines allow bags up to 45 linear inches (length + width + depth) or 22" long, 14" wide, and 9" deep. To prevent problems at the airport, your bag should be no larger than these dimensions.

What are the measurements of a kids backpack? ›

How to Measure for a Backpack
OVERALL (W, D, H)8.5'' x 4.25'' x 10.75''13'' x 7'' x 18''
INTERIOR (W, D, H)8'' x 3.75'' x 10.25''12'' x 6'' x 17''
SHOULDER STRAP (2) (W, L)2.2'' x 12-19.5''3'' x 21-34''
CARRYING HANDLE (W, L)1'' x 6''1.5'' x 8.75''

What size backpack for adults? ›

20 to 29 liters: Best for students and 15- to 16-inch laptops. 30 to 39 liters: For super-size workloads and weekend trips. 50 to 80 liters: For hikers and campers.

How should a school backpack fit? ›

Carry and pick up the backpack properly:

Bags that are slung over the shoulder or across the chest, or that only have one strap, may strain muscles. Tighten the straps enough for the backpack to fit closely to the body. The pack should rest evenly in the middle of the back and not sag down to the butt.

How big is a 12 in backpack? ›

Measuring 12 x 10.5 x 7.5 inches, the 12 Inch Backpack has a just-right size that's perfect for packing all the essentials, plus some snacks!

What is the average size of a school? ›

What is the average public school size? The average public school enrollment is 529 students, according to data from 2019. That's up 3 students from the average school size in 2015, according to NCES .

Does toothpaste count as a liquid? ›

Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols. Common travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion.

What size backpack will fit under airplane seat? ›

It is stated that one carry-on bag and one personal item are allowed per passenger. The dimensions of the under-seat compartment are 18 x 14 x 8 inches, which applies to all cabin and flight configuration.

What size backpack is TSA approved? ›

Carry-on bags must weigh less than 35 pounds and must not exceed 10 inches deep, 16 inches wide and 24 inches high. Bags must fit in the overhead bins. Checked bags must be no longer than 62 linear inches (length + width + depth) and must weigh under 40 pounds.

What size backpack for a 10 year old? ›

Kids backpacks should be no more than 10 to 15% of their body weight. If your child weighs 50 lbs, they should have a 5 to 8 lb bag when full.

What size is a basic backpack? ›

When talking in general terms, 20-liter backpacks are usually okay for everyday carry, if you don't normally have too many items in your bag. Backpacks that have a capacity of 30-50 liters are good for longer adventures and even shorter trips, as long as you're not putting too many bulky items inside them.

What size is a small backpack? ›

Small Backpacks: 10 to 24 Liters

Knowing what size backpack to choose is essential for any trip, whether it's a quick jaunt around town or an extended backpacking adventure. Small backpacks usually have a capacity of 10 to 24 liters, which is just enough space for the essentials.


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