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Which Bag Size Do I Need

CARRY 101

Which Bag Size Do I Need?

by , March 6, 2018

A lot of bags provide their volume size in liters. But how much will those bags actually fit? One 20L is not necessarily the same as another, with different shapes and opening styles affecting what you can pack. So if you’ve ever asked yourself “Which bag size do I need?” then check out the guide below for helpful insights and advice…

  • Jason Dellinger

    Ok, so here’s the deal. Although this is a really well done video and an attempt to be helpful, it falls short.

    I hate it when folks discuss or review bags and show how many articles of clothing that it will hold. The main reason for this is that people are different sizes! It’s not really difficult to fit a pair of pants, a couple of shirts, and a pair of shoes in ANY bag if you’re 5′ 3″, 130 lbs, and wear a size 8 shoe. I’m 6′ 2″ 230 lbs and wear a size 13. If you’re gonna use clothing for a reference, make sure that you at least mention the sizes as part of the review.

    Also, there are no points of reference for this video, so I’ll provide some. When figuring comparative volumes, here’s a couple of common references:

    1 gallon ziploc bag = 3.75 liters
    “average” man’s shoe box = 11 liters

    traditional Eastpak backpack = 24 liters
    average disposable plastic grocery bag = 27 liters

    carry-on size requirement (international) = 40 liters
    Large Blue Ikea shopping bag = 71 Liters

    Another frame of reference is that a men’s XL t-shirt fits snugly in a 1 Liter bottle.

    Finally, always size your bag to have a little extra space in the main compartment beyond what you need to carry. This serves several functions:

    1. It allows the bag to conform if you need to stuff it somewhere.
    2. It provides room for unplanned extras that may be added during your day or trip.
    3. It reduces stress on the zippers, buckles, and closures.
    4. It can help to reduce or eliminate damage to things inside the bag because they have room to move away from the impact.

    5. Most backpack and messenger-style bags carry best when slightly less than completely full. It gives the bag space to conform around your body and it helps to ensure that you’re not exceeding the weight capacity of the suspension or carry straps.

    • TeamCarryology

      Wow, this might be the comment of the year, @vettepilot427:disqus! Lots of great feedback (and insights). So, our question to you, why aren’t you writing for us? 😉

      • Jason Dellinger

        If you guys are serious, I would love to try. I have experience, insight, and background that I think could be of use and interest to the community. I’ve followed Carryology for a few years now and have always been impressed with the breadth and depth of the content. Whom do I contact for more information?

    • Виктор Ковыршин

      Totally agree. Also, backpacks fit way differently on different body types. Many popular models are so small on 6’4/220lbs. On the other hand bigger models are too huge, and out-of place. I’d like to see some wide(side to size), not so deep, but tall model. That way I will be able to fit more stuff, but it won’t look too bulky.

      For me, max size is 37L (F-stop Loka), smallest size is 24 liters – zero sense to have anything smaller, honestly. Ideal size is closer to 30 liters, but depends on the shape (see above) might be a bit more.

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