What size rucksack to take backpacking- The 35L Rucksack

Let me start by saying that I haven’t all ways travelled lightly with a small rucksack, my first proper travel experience I spent 7 weeks in Nepal and then 4 months in SE Asia and  I had a 70L rucksack with a small backpack on my front, probably a total of 20-25kgs which even for a relatively fit 18 year old guy was quite a lot at times.

On my last trip to Central America I only took a 35L rucksack and the difference was immeasurable. Let me outline below the perks of only taking g a 35L rucksack when backpacking around the world.

1. You can take it on has hand luggage on international flights saving money and time as you don’t have to wait to collect hold luggage once you have landed.

2.You can always have sight of your bag as it will fit in the overhead rack on most busses and those which don’t have one it is small enough to put between your legs. It negates the need to padlock your bag and take all your valuables out of it as it is right in front of you the whole time.

3. It is light so you can easily walk between your hostel and bus stop without being out of breath or inadvertently knocking into someone.

4. You never have to struggle with the weight of a big pack and a small rucksack.

5. You don’t take things you don’t need. Due to the fact that you have a finite amount of space you don’t take a lot of ‘home comforts’ but that’s a good thing because in reality you probably won’t need them and anything you do need you can buy/replace almost anywhere in the world. Granted you might need to do washing more often than most and all your Instagram photos might have you wearing the same T-shirt but you will also not be encumbered by excess weight.

In summary there are only benefits of having a small bag, the only downside is the number of ‘outfits’ you can take but if you’re viewing backpacking as a fashion show you’re probably looking at it in the wrong way in the first place. This really is a case of less is more.

These are my views I would be interested to here what you think, do you agree?

6 thoughts on “What size rucksack to take backpacking- The 35L Rucksack

  1. Good post. I too made the error of taking a large rucksack when travelling through Europe many years ago, but for the past 20 years I have travelled with a 40L bag which has been large enough to take everything I have needed.


  2. I’m backpacking Asia this summer and I have committed to a 40L backpack. Friends think I’m crazy but like you said, the benefits outweigh the negatives. It’s true that in all the photos you end up wearing the same clothes – that made me laugh. In all the photos from my year in France/Spain, people commented that I’m in the same outfit, every time – busted.



    1. Awesome, hope you have a great trip. It has never bothered me wearing the same thing in each photo, at the end of the day I don’t see backpacking as a fashion parade.


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