how to choose the best backpack for you

backpack represents adventure, travel, exploration and personal expression. the freedom of carrying what you need while keeping your hands free has made this accessory a closet staple. 

looking to buy a backpack? the best backpacks - the ones that last the longest and stay in good condition no matter how much you use them - have all the following characteristics that make them durable, long-lasting, weatherproof, comfortable, practical and stylish. we believe these are important attributes to consider before buying a backpack.

1. your needs - why do you need a backpack?
the design + build of the bag should suit your purpose. will you be using this backpack for work, travel, school or backpacking? heading to college? going back into the office? making the most of a weekend hike? using it as a carry on for your trip? backpacking across europe? searching for the best sustainable backpack? identifying your needs will determine what type of backpack and how big of a backpack you’ll need.

2. comfort - one of the most important factors, and often an overlooked factor when buying a backpack
your backpack is supposed to have your back - comfort is an absolute priority. certain features of a backpack affect comfort levels, especially the shape of the backside, shoulder straps, and padding.

adjustable and padded shoulder straps ensure the backpack sits comfortably, reducing the strain on your back. 

contoured and padded backs follow the natural shape of your lower back adding to the comfort of carrying the bag.

3. size + capacity - make sure you find a backpack that is proportional to your body and fits all the items you need to carry

occasionbackpack capacity
everyday backpack15-22 liters
carry on/weekend trip backpack20-30 liters
backpacking30-80 liters

4. material - you may not need a 100% waterproof backpack, but the bag should be water-resistant
backpacks made from nylon, polyester and rpet(most common recycled sustainable fabric) are more durable and better options for outdoor adventures and backpacking trips. cotton is intended for lighter use, not as durable + minimal weather protection. recycled materials such as plastic water bottles are sturdier and stronger than most nylon materials, and offer weather protection(important for your electronic devices!). another component that is crucial to the longevity and usability of a backpack.

water resistant fabric > standard fabric 

sustainable recycled plastic water bottle material > nylon > leather > polyester > cotton

5. zippers - high quality zippers are essential to ensure longevity and usability of a bag 
zippers are often overlooked by consumers, but it is crucial to choose a backpack with high quality zippers. premium zippers will last for years to come whereas standard zippers may last for a year or two at most. always make sure you check all the zippers and that they glide smoothly. another way to tell if they’re premium zippers is the stamping on each zipper heads - premium zipper brands such as YKK and GCC will always have stamping on the sides. at augustnoa we only use the highest quality YKK zippers. their quality and years of experience in the industry is why we work exclusively with them. you’ll be surprised at how many big brands skip out on zippers to save cost; zippers are one of the most costly components of a product. as consumers, you deserve high quality hassle-free products that will last. make sure you inspect the zippers closely so the bag doesn’t break on you while you’re on the go, especially if you're carrying lots of heavy textbooks in your college backpack.

6. organization - not all backpacks are created equal. some backpacks are bare on the inside whereas some are highly organized with multiple pockets + compartments
more pockets ≠ better. it is important to ask yourself if the bag is suitable for your activity needs. here are few things you might consider before finding your perfect backpack:

multiple compartments - allow for the contents of the bag to be organized in smaller sections for easier access.

  • what size laptop do you own?
  • do you need a drawstring bag for gym shoes and gym clothes?
  • do you travel frequently and need a luggage sleeve?
  • do you commute to the office and need quick access to your work badge and metro card?
  • do you go to school where you need to conveniently access your student ID + badge?
  • can the backpack hold large textbooks or heavy objects?

side pockets - how big of a water bottle does it hold? many water bottle holders only hold small to standard water bottles, but larger water bottles(such as hydroflask) may require a backpack that has larger pockets for water bottles. 

front pocket - sometimes added to the exterior of a shovel pocket, these can hold smaller, less bulky items to keep you extra organized.

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7. style - remember that you’ll be wearing it a lot so make sure the backpack represents who you are :)
the brand etho is just as important as how the accessory compliments your personal style. at augustnoa, we believe the backpack shouldn’t take away from you, but elevate your day + look! do you want a timeless backpack, sustainable backpack, minimalist backpack, colorful backpack, chic backpack, or stylish backpack? do you like what the brand represents? eco-friendly? woman owned? small business? poc business? making a positive impact through their business? your backpack should be an extension of you, and you're excited to wear it day after day.

8. warranty - make sure your purchase is protected
premium backpacks typically come with a limited product warranty, and it is important to keep that in mind when comparing the prices of backpacks. sometimes, a pricier backpack with a warranty may be more worthwhile than a cheaper backpack without.

9. sustainability - when you make a conscious decision to buy from sustainable and ethical brands, you are supporting the betterment of the planet
the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. 
at augustnoa we believe sustainability + style can coexist, because you deserve it all! each our backpacks are made from 30 recycled plastic bottles.
few things to look for when shopping sustainably:

  • are the products using organic materials or recycled materials? 
  • when choosing sustainability, i encourage you to look at the brand’s eco-friendly practice across the board. are they also using recycled materials in other areas like their shipping packages? clothing tags? 
  • higher quality = reduces waste + saves you money. eco-friendly fabrics are stronger and designed to last you for years so you don’t need to spend money and buy more.

we know it’s difficult to find the right backpack. that’s why we decided to make the perfect backpack for all of your needs. we hope you find this article helpful during your search for your next backpack. if you follow the attributes listed above, we’re confident that you’ll find your perfect backpack. good luck with your search and feel free to reach out if you have any other questions - you got this!

shop augustnoa sustainable backpacks here:

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