How Big is a 35 Liter Backpack? Everything You Need to Know 

 August 5, 2023

By  Keith Terrell

Have you ever taken one look at the overflowing contents of a suitcase and thought, “I wish I could put all that in a backpack!” Are you already picturing a mammoth backpack? Think again. Imagine your typical microwave oven. That's about the size of a 35-liter backpack, praised by avid travelers, hikers, and commuters alike. 

35L backpacks are typically about 22 inches high, 11 inches wide and 8 inches deep. However, dimensions can vary depending on the brand and model. It's important to remember that capacity specifications only give an approximate idea of what will fit into a backpack. Therefore, it's always best to check the specific dimensions and features of a backpack before you buy it to make sure it meets your needs.

In this blog post, we’ll unpack every nook and cranny about it; from deceptive capacity to tips on how to make the most out of your space. Get ready to gain some knowledge!

Defining a 35-liter Backpack

If you're already searching for a 35-liter backpack, you must have an idea of the purpose and size you're looking for. The best way to define what a 35-liter backpack is by outlining its capacity. As mentioned earlier, a 35-liter backpack falls into the medium category where backpacks are typically categorized into small, medium, large, and extra-large.

To better understand the size of a 35-liter backpack, it may be helpful to look at some practical examples. Imagine being able to carry everything you need for a weekend trip without having to worry about checked or oversized luggage at the airport. Or imagine having enough space for your work essentials such as a laptop, notebooks, and a jacket without feeling too weighed down.

An important aspect in determining the size of a backpack is the unit in which it is measured: liter (L). It is important to know this because every brand offers different measurements even though they offer the same backpack size. The guideline values for the capacity of a backpack only indicate what fits inside. Thus, several factors can affect how well you can organize your items within that capacity.

For instance, it would be unwise to think that all backpacks with a capacity of 35 liters have the same storage space. This is because one brand's dimensions may include external pockets while others don't.

In general terms, however, medium-sized backpacks with a capacity of 20-35L are suitable for various activities, from school, to work, and the gym to short trips and even as cabin luggage.

Size and Dimensions Breakdown

When looking for the ideal backpack size, many people often focus on the capacity, which is the total volume or space the backpack offers. However, it is equally important to know the actual length, width, and height of the backpack as this can affect how well it sits on your back and how you pack your things.

For instance, if you're a tall person with broad shoulders, you should look for a backpack that's relatively long to accommodate your build. Ideally, most top brands offer adjustable shoulder and chest straps to adjust the fit and give you support.

It is important to remember that size doesn't always equate to a good compartment or pocket layout. A large storage capacity may be exciting, but carrying an unorganized backpack can be frustrating. Therefore, paying attention to the construction of the backpack is crucial for long-term comfort.

At 35 liters, a medium-sized backpack is somewhere between small and large sizes. As such, it usually measures around 18-22 inches in height x 11-14 inches in width x 7-9 inches in depth. Most backpacks of this size weigh between 1.5 and 3 pounds empty, depending on whether they are extra padded or made of lighter materials like nylon.

Measurements are not static and may vary slightly from one brand or model to another. For example, Backpack A may measure 20” H x 15” W x 8” D while Backpack B measures 22" H x 12" W x 9” D, but both are classified as 35-liter bags.

To put it into perspective, imagine being able to carry a few textbooks, a laptop, chargers, and an extra pair of shoes in your backpack without it being unduly weighed down by its size.

Evaluating the Capacity of a 35-liter Backpack

When it comes to assessing the capacity of a 35-liter backpack, it's essential to understand that capacity figures only provide a rough indication to what a backpack can carry or hold. So other factors besides size and liters play a role in determining capacity. These include, for example, the materials the backpack is made of and the compartments it contains.

Even if a backpack with a capacity of 35 liters falls into the category of medium-sized backpacks, the capacity alone is not enough to determine its suitability for your needs. The dimensions of the backpack also play a crucial role in determining how much you can comfortably carry. For example, if a 35-liter backpack has more length than width, it may look bigger, but it may not work as efficiently as a backpack that has more width than height.

Suppose you are traveling with two different 35-liter backpacks. Both have the same capacity, but one is taller and narrower, while the other is wider but shorter. The larger 35-liter backpack may be impressive at first glance, but when fully loaded it becomes very bulky and uncomfortable. In contrast, the shorter but wider backpack is easier to carry, even when fully loaded, as its weight is evenly distributed on your back.

Ultimately, the capacity of a 35-liter backpack is different for every user depending on their physique, the purpose of the backpack, and the items they are carrying. Let's take a closer look at what you can pack in this versatile bag.

What Can You Fit In It?

The beauty of a 35-liter backpack is that it gives you plenty of space without being too bulky or cumbersome. Depending on your needs, you can pack everything from a day trip to several days’ excursions without worrying about it getting too heavy.

While you can fill your 35-liter backpack to its maximum capacity, it's important to consider how you pack. Efficient packing techniques can help you maximize space and carry all your essentials comfortably. For instance, rolling clothes instead of folding them takes up less space, leaving room for other essentials.

Let’s say you want to take your 35-liter backpack for a day trip. In it, you can comfortably fit a change of clothes, some snacks, water, sunscreen, a camera, and other items such as a small first aid kit.

For a weekend getaway, you can still fit everything you need. In a 35-liter backpack, you can easily fit clothes for three days and two nights if you pack light. Roll up T-shirts and pants tightly and pack a dress or two if needed. Put in a few toiletries, an extra pair of shoes, and your laptop or tablet if needed.

If you think it’s impossible to pack for three days with a 35-liter backpack, think again! According to various customer reviews on popular online retailers such as Amazon and REI, many users have managed to comfortably pack everything they needed for multi-day trips with a reliable 35-liter backpack.

How much you can fit in your 35-liter backpack ultimately depends on what type of traveler you are. If you are an "overpacker" who carries more than you need, then it might be difficult to fit everything into your 35-liter backpack. Minimalist travelers, on the other hand, who only take the essentials, will be able to comfortably fit everything they need without losing much space.

Think of your 35-liter backpack as the perfect picnic basket. Once you have efficiently stored all the essentials such as food, wine glasses, utensils, and other accessories efficiently, there is nothing better than carrying everything comfortably when you go out for a picnic.

Making the Most of a 35-liter Backpack

A 35-liter backpack is undeniably versatile and practical for various purposes and activities. If you make the most of it, you can fit everything you need for a day hike or even an overnight stay. However, to get the most out of your 35-liter backpack, you need to be strategic, organized, and efficient. Below are some tips on how to get the most out of your 35-liter backpack.

Think about what items you want to carry in your backpack. To maximize space, opt for lightweight and compact versions of your essentials, such as travel-sized toiletries and electronic devices. Prefer multifunctional items that serve more than one purpose. A scarf can double as a blanket, while a sarong can be used as a dress or skirt.

It's also important to pack smart by creating zones in your backpack. Use smaller pouches to pack similar items such as toiletries, electronics, and first aid kits in separate compartments to keep everything tidy and organized. This way, you won't have to rummage through your bag every time you need something and risk messing up the order of your things.

Some people advocate packing cubes, for example, while others swear by compression bags to save space. Compression bags can be useful for bulky clothing garments like jackets or sleeping bags but are not suitable for reducing the size of soft garments such as T-shirts or pants.

A helpful analogy when packing is to think of it like playing Tetris: optimize every available space without leaving gaps by carefully planning and considering the shape and size of each item.

Organizing for Efficiency

Efficient organization inside your 35-liter backpack can make a huge difference to its usability and functionality. Below are some tips to help you organize your belongings in your backpack more efficiently.

Begin by packing the most important or most frequently used items such as mobile phones, power banks, water bottles, sunglasses or a rain jacket in an easily accessible outer pocket. This way, you won't have to open your backpack completely every time you need something and you save time on the road.

Another helpful tip is to keep your electronics and cables organized with cable ties or cable organizers. You can neatly roll up, zip tie, and label your cables, so they don't get tangled or lost among other items in your bag.

For instance, one may consider arranging clothes vertically instead of horizontally to ensure that they remain wrinkle-free. However, this may not work for all garments and ultimately depends on your preferences.

Think of organizing your backpack like a jigsaw puzzle—each piece has its place in the overall structure. If you pay attention to where everything belongs, packing and unpacking will be much more efficient and stress-free.

Essential Factors to Consider when Buying a 35-liter Backpack

When choosing a backpack, it's important to consider not only its capacity but also the essential factors that will ensure the backpack meets your specific needs. Here are some key factors to consider when buying a 35-liter backpack:

  1. Comfort and Fit - A comfortable and well-fitting backpack can make all the difference to your overall backpacking or traveling experience. When trying on a backpack, make sure it sits securely and comfortably on your back, with the weight of the backpack evenly distributed across your hips. The shoulder straps should be well padded, adjustable, and ergonomically shaped.
  2. Durability - As with any purchase, ensure that your 35-liter backpack is durable enough to withstand frequent use and the rigors of travel or outdoor adventures. Look for a backpack made of high-quality materials such as nylon or polyester, which are both water-resistant and long-lasting.
  3. Organization - Keeping your belongings well organized while on the go can save you time and hassle. Look for a bag with multiple compartments—including zipped pockets, internal sleeves, and dividers—so you can keep different items separate. Some backpacks even have built-in organizers for added convenience.
  4. Accessibility - Easy access to your belongings can be crucial when traveling or hiking. Opt for a backpack with side panels or front zippers that allow you to access specific contents without having to rummage through everything inside.
  5. Style - Pay attention to the style of the backpack you choose. While this may seem unimportant compared to other factors, it can have a big impact on your overall experience. Go for a style that suits your personal taste, whether you opt for a sleek and modern design or something rugged and outdoorsy.

When I bought my first 35-liter backpack, I realized I had neglected some important factors. I bought a backpack that looked great, but as soon as I used it, I found it uncomfortable and unwieldy. The lack of organization made packing difficult, and the straps pressed on my shoulders during long hikes.

To avoid making the same mistake, take the time to try on different backpacks in person before you buy one. Pay attention to how it fits and feels when it’s full, and look for features like hidden compartments or water bottle holders. Read reviews from other customers who have used the backpack to get a feel for its quality and reliability.

Some people may argue that price is the most important factor when buying a 35-liter backpack. While price certainly matters to most of us, it should not be the only factor influencing your decision. Spending a little more upfront on a quality backpack can save you money in the long run as it will last longer and won't need replacing as quickly as you'd hoped.

Now that we've covered some essential factors in choosing a 35-liter backpack, let's turn our attention to two other important aspects: material and laptop compartment size.

Material and Laptop Compartment Size

When selecting a 35-liter backpack, two features you'll definitely want to think about are what materials it's made from and what type of laptop compartment it has.

Below are the most common types of material:

  1. Nylon - It is extremely durable and abrasion-resistant, making it perfect for outdoor activities.
  2. Polyester - It offers better water-resistance properties than nylon and is therefore suitable for use in wet conditions.
  3. Leather - It is an expensive option but offers unmatched durability and strength so it can be worn for extended periods of time.

All these materials have their own advantages and disadvantages. So consider which material is best suited to your needs.

When choosing a material, also take into account the size of the laptop compartment. Some backpacks are tailored to specific sizes, while others are more versatile and suitable for a variety of laptop sizes. Carefully estimate the size of your laptop before choosing your backpack.

I once bought a backpack where I had not checked the specifications of the laptop compartment. When I tried to put my 16-inch laptop in it, it wouldn't fit. That’s why it's important to measure your devices and compare them with the manufacturers' specifications for the size of the compartment.

You should also pay attention to how well the individual compartments are padded. Look for additional features such as foam inserts or special cushioning for laptops. This is important if you plan to commute or travel frequently with your devices.

It can be tempting to spend too much money on an expensive backpack that looks great but doesn't meet all your needs. However, also avoid choosing an option that is too cheap just because it is cheap. Set a budget based on your needs and research accordingly. You can still find quality options in different price ranges.

About the author

Keith is a one bag traveler and the owner of Backpacks Global. His go to backpack is the Osprey FarPoint 40.

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