How to Choose the Best Travel Backpack for Solo Travel in 2023

Are you a solo traveler wondering what size or type of backpack to choose for your next adventure? Selecting the right backpack is crucial for a comfortable and organized journey.

In this guide, we’ll explore the different sizes and styles of backpacks available and help you make an informed decision. Whether you’re embarking on a short vacation or planning an indefinite trip, we’ve got you covered.

Determining the Ideal Size

When it comes to travel backpacks, the general recommendation is to opt for a carry-on compliant size of up to 40L (some brands offer 45L options). This capacity is usually sufficient for both short and long-term travel.

Going for a larger backpack may tempt you to overpack, leading to unnecessary weight and inconvenience. Remember, it’s all about traveling light and efficiently.

Understanding the Styles

Backpacks come in two main styles: ‘top-loading’ and ‘front-loading.’ Each style has its advantages and disadvantages, so let’s dive into the details.

Top-Loading Backpacks

Top-loading backpacks feature a single (drawstring) opening at the top. These backpacks are known for their tall, slim design, ensuring a comfortable weight distribution. They are popular among hikers and trekkers due to their stability. However, they may not be the most convenient choice for travel purposes.

While top-loading backpacks excel in weight distribution and stability, they can be challenging to pack and organize. Storing larger items becomes more difficult, and retrieving items from the bottom requires digging around or partially unpacking the bag.

If comfort is your priority and you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of organization, a top-loading backpack might be the perfect choice for you.

Front-Loading Backpacks

Front-loading backpacks, as the name suggests, open up from the front with a zipper. These backpacks are bulkier compared to their top-loading counterparts, but they offer easier accessibility and superior organization. With a front-loading backpack, you can effortlessly access any item without having to unpack everything.

Though front-loading backpacks may have a slightly less comfortable weight distribution due to their less rigid frames, they make up for it with better organization and flexibility.

Travelers often prefer front-loading backpacks for their convenience and ease of use. However, they may not be the first choice for avid hikers or trekkers.

Recommended Travel Backpacks for Solo Travelers

When it comes to choosing the perfect travel backpack, the Osprey Farpoint 40 and Osprey Fairview 40 come highly recommended. These backpacks are designed specifically for solo travelers, providing the perfect balance between size, comfort, and functionality.

However, selecting the right backpack goes beyond mere recommendations. It’s essential to visit outdoor sports retailers like REI in the US or Intersport in Europe. These retailers allow you to try on different backpacks with varying fill weights, providing a real sense of how they will feel when fully packed.

Remember, your backpack will be your constant companion throughout your journey, so investing in a high-quality model that feels comfortable to you is crucial.

Note: Some backpack manufacturers offer “female-specific” models tailored for smaller frames and narrower shoulders. If you’re a smaller male or a larger female, it may be beneficial to try on both the regular and female-specific models.

Pay attention to the volume specifications as well, as some “female” versions of popular backpacks may have slightly smaller volumes.


Selecting the perfect backpack for solo travel requires careful consideration of size and style. Remember, sticking to a carry-on compliant size of up to 40L is usually sufficient and encourages minimalist travel. Whether you prefer the stability of a top-loading backpack or the convenience of a front-loading one, make sure to prioritize personal comfort and organizational needs.

With the right backpack on your shoulders, you’ll be well-prepared for your solo adventures. Happy travels!