How to Choose the Perfect Backpack for Convenience, Organization, and Style

I’m an avid backpack and trust me: the wrong backpack means you’re stuck with an uncomfortable and uncomfortable bag all day. A few simple options will help you choose the best for comfort, style and convenience. I’ve found common ground in my many backpacks to help you choose yours.

Comfort 101 belt: never ignore the seams

Have you ever worn a backpack that sags on your back and just doesn’t rest the way you wanted? Padding can help, but bags often sag due to the way their straps are sewn onto the bag. Adjustable shoulder straps can help here, but you also need to pay attention to how the bag was built.

Most backpacks have adjustable straps and you shouldn’t buy them. Unfortunately, these straps loosen with use and you will need to adjust them regularly. To do it right every time, mark the straps where they are most comfortable. Fill it with your regular bag, put it on your back, and then adjust the straps for a comfortable walk. Before removing the bag , mark the position of the straps with a marker or, if you dare, make a small notch in the side. (See example below.) I like the notch better because you cannot easily see it and therefore will not damage the look of the bag, and you can also feel exactly where to adjust the straps. This will relieve you of neck strain. When carrying a bag, you can reduce the slack a bit by carrying the backpack a short distance by its top handle, and you should definitely buy a backpack with a top handle.

It’s great if you already have a bag, but if you’re shopping or buying a new one, look at how the backpack straps are sewn into the top. When the straps look like they were just sewn on and are hanging down from the top, they will eventually loosen at the seams, leading to sagging. If the straps look like they’ve been folded a little and form a curve, you’ll get better support from the bag. Take a look at the picture below for an example.

Bags with beautiful straps may cost a little more, but in the end, your back will thank you.

Bags with all the straps you need:

Be careful about color (or always go gray)

Backpacks are mostly black, but you will still find a variety of ugly and beautiful colors. Even a green backpack will work for you if it suits your style. When choosing the right color, do yourself a favor by focusing on how well it matches your outfit, rather than whether it looks good on its own. Backpacks can take up roughly 20-50% of the visual space your body fills (obviously a rough estimate, not a statistic), depending on your size, so if you throw this vomit green backpack over your black business suit or dress, it will probably stand out, or maybe not the way you planned.

However, if you wear black at work, you can get by with a lot of different colors as long as they don’t clash with other accents in your repertoire. For men, this often means simply choosing a tie or shirt. Women have more options, but with black clothes, you have nothing to worry about. Only scarves, jewelry, or other accent clothing is the only real conflict. Anyway, if you like black, consider a black bag. It will match no matter what.

However, most jobs allow casual business attire or casual wear , so this may not be a problem. This, of course, translates into more color in work clothes, so if you want your bag to always match your look, get a gray bag. Generally speaking, gray goes well with everything without bringing in too much contrast like black does. Darker shades of gray, such as charcoal, usually work best if they are slightly lighter than pitch black.

Of course, if you want to be colorful, you have to go for it. Before you do that, just brush up on your color theory to find something that complements your style.

Bags with excellent gray and color options:

Know your storage scheme

The traditional backpack has a front pocket for quick access, then just a giant empty space for whatever you want to do with it. This is okay for some, but most of us prefer a little more organization. However, before choosing a bag with useful storage slots and pockets, you need to figure out what works best for you.

For example, a lot of tiny pockets might sound great, but at least to me, very little that I would actually carry with me fits well in them. I also don’t carry 20 pens with me, so I don’t need a bunch of pen slots. I love places for things like hard drives, external batteries, notepads, note cards, business cards, and the like. As a result, I ended up with a very variable storage scheme. I need pockets and seats of all shapes and sizes, and a couple of slots for the pen.

To figure out what you need, take paper and place your pocket items on top of it. Go ahead and circle all these rectangles – this gives you a visual representation of your stuff. You can even take this paper with you when you buy a new bag to check if the pockets suit your needs. If all of this seems a little tedious and insane to you, just put your regular takeaway on the table and take a picture. You won’t be able to match this when shopping for a backpack, but you will at least have a guide on what you plan to keep in case your memory lets you down.

Bags with excellent and / or thoughtful storage schemes:

Never neglect quick access pockets

I love Quick Access Pockets (QAP). Who wouldn’t? When you need something and it’s just fast, it’s always better than digging in deep pockets to find what you’re looking for. Too many small pockets are a problem in and of themselves, but you will rarely find a bag that has too few quick ways to reach your favorite items.

Pay attention to the size of the quick access pockets on the bag you want to buy. A spacious pocket is great, but being too deep can make it hard to get your hand in your bag and easy to lose small items. Top pockets don’t do it well in convertible bags. You can get by with only a few thin small items stuffed inside, but once you load that pocket with too many goodies, you have trouble moving the bulk around. Good bags have a quick access pocket hidden inside the bag, while a single zip is used for full access. Also, the back pockets – the part of the bag that rests on your back – rarely trigger because they make the bag stiff or uneven, as you can feel the contents right at your back.

My favorite quick access pockets are the ones on the sides of the bag. You can easily access them when you carry your backpack, and if they add a little bulk to the bag, it will be closer to the bottom. In some cases, it can even provide a useful foundation. However, if you want a bag with a top pocket for quick access, look for one that doesn’t have its own zipper and / or doesn’t take up too much space.

Bags that make quick access pockets on the right:

Comfortable ride

When you stuff everything you need for the day in your bag, you may not like the way it feels on your back. Imagine going to the pharmacy, collecting various items, storing them in a thin plastic bag, and then tying it to your back and walking home. It probably wouldn’t be very good. This is why some backpacks have padding and you should invest in it.

You don’t need an insane amount of padding to make your back feel better, and you can easily figure out which one is right for you. If you can fill the bag and it doesn’t lose its shape on your back, congratulations – it’s fine! But you also have to consider the type of filling. Backpacks can get very hot on your body (especially if you have a laptop) and most of us don’t need wet sweaty clothes when we get to work (or anywhere else). You can’t completely prevent this from happening, but breathable mesh does matter. Basically, when you’re looking for the perfect bag lining, just look for holes. If you see a puffy lining with holes like the example above, you’re golden.

Correctly stuffed bags:

Stay charged

You probably have a fair amount of gadgets that you also need to carry around in your backpack. You probably put them in your bag every day and take them out every night to recharge. This is fine, but I highly recommend finding a battery with internal space for a USB battery (like this one above) to have a little extra power on the go. That way, you don’t have to take your things out of your bag and plug them in to charge, and you can charge your gadgets while you walk, or keep your bag safe and close to you.

If you want to take it a step further, you can integrate battery charging right into your bag. It’s surprisingly not difficult , and I did it a while ago with a small messenger bag. This way, you can plug your devices into the charging bag and then just plug the entire bag into the wall when you get home. Most people will find this overkill, but if you find charging all of your devices as annoying as I am, you will appreciate the single-slot solution.

Charging bags:

Choose a bag that makes you happy!

More than anything, just choose what you like! Don’t worry about finding the “perfect” bag. Trust me, it doesn’t exist. Even if that were the case, your needs would change over time and you would have to adapt the bag to size or replace it entirely. Have fun, choose what you like, and keep these tips in mind to keep them long lasting.


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