How To Take a Hiking Backpack on a Plane: A Step-by-Step Guide 

 June 24, 2023

By  Keith Terrell

When it comes to taking a hiking backpack on a plane, even the most avid traveler can be at a loss of where to start. Outlining what items you need, how you can fit everything in your bag while still staying under the size and weight limits set by airlines, and how to keep your belongings safe while in transit – it sure can be a daunting task!

Most airlines will allow you to take your hiking backpack on board as a carry-on item as long at it fits within their size limits. To make your experience easier, it is recommended to pack your items in an organized manner and check the airlines’ restrictions before flying.

Fear not, intrepid traveler. With this step-by-step guide, you will soon be packing your hiking backpack with ease and confidence, ready to hit the trails in no time. From selecting the right size bag, to packing the essentials, to securing your load, this guide will equip you with the tools to get your journey off to the best start. So let’s get packing!

How to Choose a Plane-Travel Backpack

When it comes to choosing a plane-travel backpack, there are generally two main factors to consider: the size of the bag and the materials used. It is important to choose a backpack that meets both airline regulations and your personal needs.

Size is an important factor when selecting a plane-travel backpack; if it’s too big, you will not be able to bring it on board as a carry-on piece of luggage and may instead need to check it for separate fee. Therefore, when purchasing your backpack, make sure it falls within one of the most common dimensions allowed by airlines: 45 linear inches (22 x 14 x 9 in) or less. Additionally, it is highly recommended that you double check with your airline regarding their exact regulations before purchase.

The material of your plane-travel backpack is another key factor to consider. It is recommended that you opt for one made from water repellent material, such as nylon or polyester, for added protection from rain and spills in transit. This material not only withstands harsher climates but also offers improved durability compared to other materials like canvas or denim. Furthermore, many backpacks now come with additional features such as special compartments where you can store important items like passports or wallets safely inside the bag without worry of them getting lost in transit.

Whichever type of backpack you decide on, selecting one with the right size and material ensures your journey goes smoothly and efficiently. With this information in mind, we can now move onto discussing our next topic: permitted dimensions and weight guidelines when packing a hiking backpack for air travel.

When selecting a plane-travel backpack, make sure the size of the bag falls within the 45 linear inches (22 x 14 x 9 in) or less allowed by airlines. Additionally, it is recommended to find one made from water repellent material like nylon or polyester for added protection and durability. Make sure to double check with your airline regarding regulations before purchasing and opt for a backpack with special compartments to store important items. With the right size and material, your journey can go smoothly.

Permitted Dimensions and Weight Guidelines

When traveling by plane, it is imperative to understand the specific size and weight limits that are applicable for your backpack according to the rules of carry-on luggage. Not abiding by these guidelines may result in the refusal of entry on a flight or extra fees being incurred.

The standard capacity for most backpacks is around 45 liters. The size requirements usually are no bigger than 55 cm (21.5 inches) long x 35 cm (13.5 inches) wide x 25 cm (9.75 inches) deep, although some airlines may have slightly different regulations that can easily be checked before booking a flight online.

Weight guidelines are typically limited to 8 kg (17.6 lbs) or less for carry-on luggage items including backpacks, although this again varies from airline to airline and can even depend on the type of aircraft being flown on certain occasions. Many times, baggage policies would include that if any item of luggage is over the set limit either in size or weight, it must be checked as baggage in the cargo hold instead.

Thus, understanding these official regulations beforehand is essential for ensuring an obstacle-free travel experience. With these parameters relating to your backpack in mind - it’s time now to start measuring your bag and make sure it fits accordingly within all relevant limits before packing anything else inside.

How to Measure Your Bag

When it comes to packing a hiking backpack for air travel, it’s important to measure your bag in order to ensure that it meets the dimensions and weight restrictions set by the airlines. If you fail to do this properly, you may end up having to pay an additional fee in order to get on the plane with the bag.

The best way to measure your bag is to use a tape measure or soft tape measure. Start by carefully placing your backpack flat on a surface, then begin measuring from the bottom up on each side of the bag. After you’ve measured both sides, add those measurements together and that’s the width measurement of your bag. From there, measure the length of your bag from top to bottom as well as the height from front to back. The combined total of these measurements will give you the size of your bag.

Most airlines allow for bags of up to 45 linear inches (length + width + height). People who are traveling with oversized bags may have difficulty fitting them in the overhead bins, so they may need to check their bags instead, which can mean extra fees. It's important to remember that even if a bag fits within the size limit, it still needs to meet any weight guidelines set by the airline as well.

Measuring your bag carefully before you start packing will help you make sure that your equipment meets all applicable regulations and won’t lead to any unpleasant surprises at check-in. Now that we have discussed how to measure your bag and understand weight guidelines, let us move on to discuss rules regarding straps and size restrictions.

  • The average carry-on bags allowed by most airlines is 40 lbs.
  • For checked baggage, the TSA has established a maximum limit of 50 lbs per bag for domestic flights.
  • However, many international airlines may reduce the maximum allowable checked bag weight to 44 lbs.

Rules Regarding Strap and Size

The next step in preparing your hiking backpack for air travel is understanding the rules regarding straps and size. Different airlines are likely to have different regulations, so make sure you read those before making any plans. One rule that is generally accepted by most airlines is that all backpacks with straps should be no bigger than 11” x 18” x 13”. This is also typically the size limit for most carry-on luggage.

It's important to take into account the length of straps when measuring the size of your backpack. Many airlines will not allow bags that exceed a certain strap length past security checkpoints otherwise they could easily slide off an airplane seat or cause a hazard if you had to evacuate quickly. So make sure you're mindful of how long your straps are and ensure that they meet airline requirements.

Whether or not these basic rules apply to your specific situation will ultimately depend on the airline, so it's important to check beforehand. You should also consult applicable airport regulations in lieu of airline ones as airports can sometimes have stricter requirements than airlines themselves. Doing so will help ensure a smooth journey and prevent any stress or inconvenience at the airport! And with that knowledge, we can now transition into discussing some important considerations when choosing which airline to fly with.

Check with Your Airline beforehand!

Making sure your bag meets any airline regulations is key when packing a backpack for air travel. Beforehand, you should check with the airline to get an understanding of what size and type of baggage will be acceptable and determine whether it needs to be "checked" or if it can fit in the overhead compartments. Double-checking this information, as well as getting familiar with their rules and regulations ahead of time, can save you from any potential problems during the actual trip.

It's also important to weigh your bag before checking in for your flight; overloading a carry-on might lead to the airline refusing it, meaning you will have to check it in - potentially leading to extra fees. On the other hand, underpacking might incur additional charges too, so use a small scale to make sure your bag is within the company's weight limit before heading off. This way you won't be caught off-guard and can enjoy your journey without worrying that all of your belongings are safe aboard.

One way or another, consulting with airline customers service comes highly recommended when boarding an aircraft with a backpack. Once checked off this list, you're ready to start exploring how best to pack your bag for travel!

How to Pack Your Bag for Travel

When it comes to packing your bag for air travel, special attention must be given. The size and weight of your backpack will depend on the airline’s regulations. According to the FAA, passengers are allowed one item and one personal item such as a laptop bag, purse, or backpack. Make sure that your backpack fits in the overhead bin or beneath the seat in front of you. Depending on your chosen airline and the size of your plane, there may be restrictions on total carry-on size and weight. Some small airlines limit backpacks entirely, so you may need to take another type of bag with you to use as a carry-on.

Further, if you’re traveling internationally some countries have strict limits on liquids that can be carried onboard. So it’s important to check any country-specific regulations before you head out so that you don’t run into troubles at the airport. Furthermore, it may be beneficial to use a padlock for added security during transit. If access inside your bag is needed while it’s stowed, having the combination ready can save time during security checks without having to fiddle with keys.

Now that you've checked ahead with your airline and know what backpack size and weight is allowed—and who has a lock ready to secure their load—you're ready for your next step: deciding what to pack in your hiking backpack for air travel!

What Should you Carry in your Backpack?

When wanting to take your hiking backpack with you when you fly, it is important to consider what you should carry inside. The key is to not overload your bag. While many travelers want to bring as much with them as possible, it is better to keep the items that are essential for your trip. It can be helpful to assess which items are actually necessary and avoid bringing non-essentials unless they can serve multiple purposes.

When deciding what to put in your back pack for air travel, there are a few things every hiker should have on hand such as a flashlight, medical supplies, clothing that is appropriate for the climate or location of the hike, a first-aid kit, emergency contact information, insect repellent and food. Depending on the type of trip and length of stay, other items were needed such as utensils for meals or a toolkit for repairs.

Aside from equipment related items, essentials such as wallets or documents must also be taken into consideration and must be secured. Although using a locking mechanism may add extra bulk if needed for security we suggest bringing it along with you. Of course, always make sure that these documents comply with travel regulations – some passport facts may change from country to country. Knowing ahead of time what these requirements are is an absolute must before embarking on one’s journey.

Whether hiking for pleasure or professional reasons, this guide helps travelers know what they need and how to best fit those items into their backpacks. Now that travelers understand what should go in their backpacks when traveling by air it's time to move on and consider whether a handbag or backpack is better suited to carry all those items.

Handbag or Backpack?

When deciding whether to bring a handbag or backpack on your next hike, there are many factors to consider. Handbags are generally more convenient for everyday items, as they provide easy access to smaller items like keys and wallets. Handbags also come in a variety of styles that allow you to express yourself while still being able to carry your important items with you.

On the other hand, a hiking backpack is usually the preferred option for those taking longer trips or hikes over rugged terrain. Backpacks offer more storage space for larger items and heavier materials such as camping equipment or food. They also provide better weight distribution to ensure balanced carrying of the load during long hikes. Furthermore, backpacks generally feature multiple compartments and pockets that allow for quick organization and efficient packing of items.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on the duration and difficulty of your hike as well as personal needs and preferences. Short hikes or day hikes may lend themselves better to handbags, while long-distance hikers should opt for a backpack every time. When choosing which type of bag is best suited for your journey, it’s important to look at both the pros and cons to make an informed decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the airline restrictions for taking a hiking backpack on a plane?

Generally speaking, most airlines will allow you to bring a hiking backpack on board as long as it is within their size and weight limits. This is usually around 115 cm in length x 56 cm width x 23 cm depth, weighing no more than 10 kg. Therefore, before packing your hiking backpack for air travel, be sure to double-check with your airline’s individual baggage policies and restrictions.

Furthermore, it’s important to keep all heavier items at the bottom of your backpack and lighter items on top so that the backpack weighs under the 10 kg allowance. Additionally, hikers who are carrying any sharp items or tools should make sure they are securely fastened in an outside pocket or pouch so that they do not pose a safety concern for other passengers or security personnel.

How do I travel with a hiking backpack on a plane?

When traveling with a hiking backpack on a plane, it is important to plan ahead and pack strategically. First, make sure the size of your bag meets the airline’s requirements and can fit in the overhead bin. Then, pack the most essential items you need like toiletries, clothes, electronics and other items on top so you can easily grab them upon arrival. Additionally, it may be useful to invest in a compression bag or cube to maximize the space within your bag and keep items organized.

Furthermore, a lightweight daypack makes a great carry-on option for bringing small essentials like snacks and water that would otherwise take up space within your larger pack. Lastly, remember to wear heavy clothing and bulky items that wouldn’t fit in your bag during your flight. Following these steps should help you travel with a hiking backpack on a plane with ease..

Are there any tips for traveling with a hiking backpack on a plane?

Yes, there are several tips for traveling with a hiking backpack on a plane. Firstly, it is important to make sure that your pack meets the restrictions of the airline you intend to fly with regard to size and weight; many airlines have specific regulations for carry-on baggage that may limit the size of your bag.

Secondly, use compartments and packing cubes to maximize space and organization. This helps to keep items neatly in place and will help you avoid having to unpack everything during security checks. Thirdly, wear any heavy items such as boots or a waterproof jacket, which will also allow you to bring more items without weighing down your pack. 

Finally, repurpose items like a towel or scarf as makeshift shoulder straps or handles so that you can easily move your bag from place-to-place while at the airport. Following these simple tips can make traveling with a hiking backpack much easier and more enjoyable!

How should I pack my hiking backpack for air travel?

To pack your hiking backpack for air travel you should start by laying out all the items that you will need to bring with you. Then, use a few key strategies to maximize the space in your bag. First, wear as many of your heavier items as possible on your body when boarding the plane, such as a jacket or shoes.

Secondly, begin to roll up any large and lightweight items like clothes or jackets so they can be compressed into smaller packages. Then move onto packing the “core” of your bag which typically contains the more heavy-duty pieces such as tents, water purifiers, sleeping bags, cook stoves and food. Place them near the bottom of your pack for weight distribution purposes. 

Lastly, when packing items into compartments near the edges of the backpack make sure to evenly distribute any weight so you are not carrying an unbalanced load. Following these steps should ensure that you are properly packing your hiking backpack for air travel.

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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