Backpacks, duffels and drybags are all measured in Litres – quite literally how much water you can pour into them to fill them up. Brilliantly useful, but hard to understand. So we’ve created a quick list for real-world sizings.
- 10L is a very small daypack for essentials like lunch, phone, wallet, water and a very thin jacket
- 15L is a small daypack or schoolbag which can stash a jacket, lunch and essentials
- 25L is a common daypack size and will take a change of clothes, laptop, camera, lunch and essentials
- 35L is getting on for day-hike territory where a couple of big warm layers, food, water, camera, 1st aid and navigation gear will all fit comfortably. At this point, the weight of the pack will mean that you should be looking at an internal frame to support the load’s weight
- 50-60L is big enough for a vacation, provided you pack light, or a few days backpacking. I took a 65L pack on a 6-month travelling trip and it was perfect. Note that cold weather will increase your need for capacity. If you filled one of these with water it would weigh as much as an adult.
- 70-80L is a small expedition pack and you’ll need excellent load-support, adjustability and comfort in a pack this size or you’ll have trouble carrying it. You often see Gap Year students with packs this size and they look dwarfed.
- 90L+ is a large expedition pack, and you’re in to specialist territory. We’d advise to go to a GOOD backpack retailer and get fitted properly, test a few and talk about your requirements.