You need a tough backpack if you’re traveling in Peru. You need a backpack that can withstand the country’s capricious climate, with extremes of heat and cold, dank dampness, baking heat, jungle humidity… you name it, you’ve got it.
A backpack in Peru can also take a beating from human hands. Baggage handlers throw backpacks around without a care in the world; they stack them, they strap them, they push ’em and chuck ‘em. They also have an annoying habit of putting backpacks in puddles of grease and oil. Or do they only do that with my backpack?
What Kind of Backpack Do You Need for Peru?
I’m no backpack expert, but there are a few things I recommend when you’re choosing a backpack for Peru.
Firstly, as mentioned above, it needs to be tough. I also recommend getting a pack with a built-in rain cover, which is incredibly useful for wet weather conditions and for protecting your backpack from grease, slime, weird vegetable juice and other stinky stuff that always seems to seep through bus luggage compartments.
Multiple pockets and compartments are also great, ideally with lockable zippers to keep pickpockets at bay. Padded straps are also important, especially for the hips and shoulders, with some kind of padding for your lower back.
And when it comes to backpacks, size is important. As a backpacker in Peru, a 65 liter pack has always been the right size for me. That’s enough for all my clothes and other stuff, at a size that’s not too cumbersome. Smaller packs, say 50 liters, might be OK for short trips of a few days to a week, but if you’ll be on the road for a while, 65 liters makes more sense (and consider 70 liters or more if you’re a compulsive shopper — or a thief).
If I had to buy a new backpack for Peru right now, I’d probably go for one of these, with prices ranging from $62.99 to $189. Click on any of the packs to see more information on Amazon.com (and to see colors other than black):