How Big is a 40L Backpack? Exploring the Perfect Size

Here is the simple answer on How Big is a 40L Backpack.

  • A 40L backpack typically has a capacity of 40 liters.

If you Still need Guidance Read Below Guide

If you’re an avid traveler, hiker, or outdoor enthusiast, finding the right backpack size is crucial for a comfortable and efficient journey. One common question when selecting a backpack is, “How big is a 40L backpack?” In this article, we’ll dive into the dimensions, capacity, and considerations of a 40L backpack, helping you make an informed decision for your next adventure.

Selecting the right backpack size is akin to choosing a trusty companion for your journeys. The size of your backpack can significantly impact your comfort and convenience while traveling, making it essential to choose wisely. The 40L backpack has gained popularity for its optimal balance between capacity and portability.

Understanding Backpack Sizes

Backpack sizes are typically measured in liters, indicating the volume of space the bag can hold. The volume directly correlates with the backpack’s dimensions, allowing you to estimate its storage capacity easily. A 40L backpack offers ample room for essentials while discouraging over-packing, forcing you to prioritize what truly matters.

The Versatility of a 40L Backpack

One of the standout features of a 40L backpack is its versatility. Whether embarking on a weekend getaway or a week-long trek, this size accommodates various adventure types. Its adaptability makes it a favorite among minimalist travelers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Dimensions and Measurements

A standard 40L backpack usually measures around 20 to 22 inches in height, 12 to 14 inches in width, and 8 to 10 inches in depth. These dimensions provide enough room for clothing, footwear, electronics, and even a compact sleeping bag, making it an excellent choice for light packers.

Factors to Consider

When choosing a backpack size, several factors come into play:

Trip Duration

Consider the length of your trip. A 40L backpack is ideal for short to medium-length adventures, ensuring you have everything you need without excess weight.

Type of Adventure

The nature of your journey matters. A 40L backpack suits activities like hiking, city exploration, and weekend getaways, where you need essentials without lugging unnecessary items.

Packing Style

If you’re a strategic packer who prioritizes items efficiently, a 40L backpack is a perfect match. It encourages thoughtful packing and prevents overloading.

Benefits of Choosing a 40L Backpack

Opting for a 40L backpack offers several benefits:

Benefits of Choosing a 40L Backpack

Lightweight Travel

The compact size of the backpack promotes lighter packing, reducing the strain on your back during extended periods of wear.

Adequate Storage Space

Despite its smaller size, a 40L backpack provides ample storage compartments and pockets, helping you stay organized on the go.

Carry-On Compatibility

Many 40L backpacks adhere to airline carry-on regulations, saving you time and potential baggage fees.

Tips for Efficient Packing

To make the most of your 40L backpack, consider these packing tips:

Utilize Packing Cubes

Packing cubes help optimize space and keep your belongings neatly arranged.

Roll, Don’t Fold

Rolling your clothes saves space and minimizes wrinkles.

Strategic Compartmentalization

Distribute weight evenly by placing heavier items closer to your back.

Comparing Backpack Sizes

Let’s compare the standard backpack sizes:

  • 20L: Ideal for day trips and minimalistic travel.
  • 40L: Perfect for short to medium-length adventures.
  • 60L: Suited for extended trips and bulkier gear.

Finding the Perfect Fit

Ensure comfort during your journey with these tips:

Adjustable Straps and Belts

A well-fitted backpack prevents strain. Adjust shoulder straps and hip belts accordingly.

Weight Distribution

Maintain balance by placing heavier items lower in the backpack, close to your back.

Top Brands and Models

Several renowned brands offer exceptional 40L backpacks, including Osprey, Gregory, and Deuter. Research their models to find the features that best suit your needs.

Maintenance and Care

To prolong your backpack’s lifespan:


Follow manufacturer guidelines for cleaning. Spot clean or hand wash if necessary.


Store your backpack in a cool, dry place to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Why 40L Is the Ideal Size Backpack?

The notion that a 40-liter backpack is considered the ideal size for many travelers and outdoor enthusiasts stems from a combination of factors that cater to versatility, comfort, and practicality. While individual preferences may vary, here are some reasons why the 40-liter backpack size is often regarded as ideal:

Why 40L Is the Ideal Size Backpack?

1. Capacity: A 40-liter backpack balances capacity and weight. It offers enough space to carry essential gear, clothing, and equipment for short to medium trips, whether a weekend getaway or a week-long adventure. It’s spacious enough to accommodate the necessities while discouraging overpacking, which can lead to discomfort during long treks.

2. Versatility: A 40-liter backpack is versatile enough to handle a variety of travel styles and activities. It can accommodate urban and outdoor pursuits, making it suitable for city exploration, hiking, camping, and even light backpacking. This adaptability is especially valuable for travelers who engage in various activities during their journeys.

3. Carry-On Compatibility: Many airlines have carry-on size restrictions, typically allowing bags around 40 liters as carry-on luggage. Opting for a 40-liter backpack ensures you can keep your essentials throughout your journey and avoid the hassle of checked baggage.

4. Weight Management: The size limitation of a 40-liter backpack naturally encourages travelers to be more selective about what they pack. This can result in a lighter load, contributing to a more comfortable and enjoyable travel experience, mainly when walking long distances or navigating uneven terrain.

5. Streamlined Design: Backpacks in the 40-liter range often have efficient, streamlined designs. They may have multiple compartments, pockets, and organizational features that help users arrange their belongings in an orderly manner. This contributes to easy access and less time spent rummaging through the contents.

6. Mobility: A 40-liter backpack balances capacity and mobility. It’s large enough to carry essentials but compact enough to fit comfortably on your back without inhibiting movement. This is especially important for activities like hiking or exploring crowded urban areas.

7. Mindful Packing: The size limitation of a 40-liter backpack encourages travelers to pack more thoughtfully and prioritize essential items. This can lead to a more organized and efficient packing process, reducing the chance of forgetting critical things.

8. Minimalism: Embracing a 40-liter backpack can align with the principles of minimalist travel. It encourages travelers to focus on experiences rather than possessions, promoting a more straightforward and immersive travel style.

9. Cost-Efficiency: Smaller backpacks are generally more budget-friendly than larger ones. Opting for a 40-liter pack can help travelers save on the initial purchase cost and potential baggage fees.

Is the Size of Your Backpack Going to Limit Your Travels?

The size of your backpack can indeed impact your travels, but whether it limits your experiences depends on various factors, including your travel style, destination, and personal preferences. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

How Big is a 40L Backpack

1. Activities and Destinations: The size of your backpack can influence the types of activities you can comfortably engage in and the destinations you can explore. A giant backpack might be necessary if you’re planning extended outdoor adventures, camping trips, or backpacking in remote areas with limited access to supplies. On the other hand, a smaller backpack is well-suited for urban travel and shorter trips.

2. Mobility: A smaller backpack allows for greater mobility and flexibility. You can easily navigate crowded areas, public transportation, and uneven terrain without feeling weighed down. This is particularly advantageous for travelers who prefer to explore on foot.

3. Packing Discipline: A smaller backpack encourages you to be more disciplined. You’ll need to prioritize essentials and carefully consider what items to bring. This can lead to a more streamlined and efficient travel experience.

4. Airlines and Transportation: If you’re planning to travel by air, the size of your backpack can impact whether it meets carry-on size restrictions. A smaller bag is more likely to comply with these rules, allowing you to save time and money on checked baggage fees.

5. Comfort: A giant backpack can lead to discomfort, especially during long walks or hikes. Carrying a heavy load for extended periods can strain your back and shoulders. A smaller bag encourages you to pack only what’s necessary, reducing the risk of discomfort.

6. Packing and Unpacking: A smaller backpack is quicker and easier to pack and unpack. You won’t have to spend as much time organizing and searching for items within a compact space.

7. Mindset: Traveling with a smaller backpack can align with a minimalist mindset, encouraging you to focus on experiences rather than material possessions. This can lead to a more immersive and fulfilling travel experience.

8. Adaptability: A smaller backpack might accommodate less gear but can encourage resourcefulness and adaptability. You’ll learn to make the most of what you have, which can be valuable when faced with unexpected situations.

Quick Recommendation of Best 40L Backpacks: 

For those seeking a reliable 40L backpack, several options stand out. The Osprey Farpoint 40 combines comfort and practicality with its ergonomic design and versatile compartments.

The REI Co-op Ruckpack 40 offers durability and multiple access points, making it an excellent choice for urban and outdoor adventures. The AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack provides solid performance if you’re after a more budget-friendly option. Remember to consider your specific needs and preferences when making a selection.

How Many Days Can You Comfortably Carry in a 40L Backpack? 

A 40L backpack is suitable for carrying gear for a variety of trips. Generally, it can comfortably accommodate essentials for a weekend getaway or a week-long journey.

The exact duration depends on factors such as your packing efficiency, the climate of your destination, and the type of activities you plan to engage in. However, consider a giant backpack for extended trips or those requiring specialized equipment.

Is There Any Benefit to Going Bigger Than 40L? 

Choosing a backpack larger than 40L can be advantageous for specific travel styles. If you’re embarking on longer trips, multi-day hikes, or cold-weather adventures, a giant bag provides more space for extra clothing, gear, and provisions.

Additionally, opting for a larger pack can improve comfort and convenience if you need to carry bulky items like camping equipment. However, going bigger also means more weight and potential flight carry-on luggage restrictions.

How Much Weight Can You Comfortably Carry in a 40L Backpack? 

The comfort threshold for carrying weight in a 40L backpack varies among individuals. As a general guideline, it’s advisable not to exceed 20-25% of your body weight.

This means that the maximum comfortable load for a person weighing 150 pounds would be around 30-37.5 pounds. Staying within this range helps prevent strain on your back and shoulders during extended periods of wear.

What Kind of Travel Should You Consider Before Buying a 40L Backpack? 

A 40L backpack is a versatile choice that suits a range of travel styles. It’s well-suited for urban exploration, short getaways, and light outdoor activities like day hikes or weekend camping trips.

If you’re a minimalist traveler who prioritizes mobility and streamlined packing, a 40L backpack is likely a good fit.

However, if your travels involve specialized equipment, longer journeys, or extreme weather conditions, consider a giant bag to accommodate your needs more comfortably.

Maximize Space: Expert Tips for Packing Your 40L Backpack Efficiently.

Maximizing space in your 40L backpack is a skill that can significantly enhance your travel experience. Here are expert tips to efficiently pack your bag:

1. Prioritize Essentials: List essential items for your trip. Focus on versatile clothing pieces that can be mixed and matched. Avoid redundant items and be mindful of weather conditions at your destination.

2. Roll Your Clothes: Rolling clothes instead of folding them can save space and minimize wrinkles. Place rolled garments vertically along the sides of the backpack’s main compartment.

3. Use Packing Cubes: Packing cubes or compression sacks help organize clothing and maximize space. Group similar items and compress them to create additional room for other essentials.

4. Utilize Every Nook: Pack small items like socks, underwear, and accessories inside shoes, corners, and gaps in your backpack. Utilizing every available space prevents wasted room.

5. Optimize the Main Compartment: Place heavier items closer to your back’s center for better weight distribution. Pack bulky items like jackets near the top of the main compartment.

Size and Dimensions in Centimeters: 

The size and dimensions of a 40-liter backpack typically vary, but a standard range falls around 50-60 cm (height) x 30-40 cm (width) x 20-30 cm (depth).

These measurements can ensure that the backpack meets carry-on size requirements for many airlines, making it suitable for travelers who want to keep their essentials close during their journey.

The dimensions also provide enough space to carry clothing, gear, and equipment for various short to medium trips, whether for urban exploration or outdoor adventures.

40L Backpack Size In Inches: 

A 40-liter backpack translates to approximately 19.7-23.6 inches (height) x 11.8-15.7 inches (width) x 7.9-11.8 inches (depth).

This size in inches balances capacity and mobility, allowing travelers to pack efficiently while maintaining comfort during walks and hikes.

The dimensions in inches are well-suited for versatile travel experiences, whether navigating city streets or trekking in natural landscapes.

Weight of a 40 Liter Backpack: 

The weight of a 40-liter backpack can vary based on factors like its design, materials, and additional features.

On average, a lightweight 40-liter backpack can weigh around 1.5 to 2.5 kilograms (3.3 to 5.5 pounds). However, more feature-rich bags with extra padding, multiple compartments, and durability-enhancing elements might weigh closer to 2.5 to 3.5 kilograms (5.5 to 7.7 pounds).

A lighter backpack can provide a more comfortable and enjoyable travel experience, especially during extended journeys or outdoor activities.


In conclusion, a 40L backpack strikes an impressive balance between size, capacity, and versatility. It caters to various adventure types while promoting efficient and organized packing. In the above portion of my blog, i have write a complete guide on How Big is a 40L Backpack. Whether exploring the urban jungle or venturing into the wilderness, a well-chosen 40L backpack can enhance your travel experience.

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