Breaking Down the Ideal Backpacks / Travel Bags for Music Festivals
After a years of pain, Festivals are back! The first major festivals are in June, with August the prime month where we will have a lot of great music to choose from.
When I think of bags or backpacks for a festival weekend, that trusty Samsonite Cosmolite hard shell case simply won’t work. The walk from the entrance to the camping fields can be muddy – or at least will involve going over those metal walkways with ridges or grass.
That said, when you are going along a path or road… why carry your luggage?
These are not the only criteria to consider when choosing the perfect festival bags. Size, colour, pockets to store your things and making sure your bags are water and mud-proof are all important.
Security is Important (Despite what Other Bloggers Say!)
Some bloggers say that locks / security is not that big a deal. I disagree. Sure, you will not stop a determined thief. If you check your luggage in to a storage facility or want to avoid casual / opportunistic thefts… then a small combo lock or padlock can make all the difference.
Add to this price. By the time you have bought the entry ticket, overpriced booze, and food, and got a t-shirt for the memories, there might not be a lot of cash left over. A festival rucksack that lasts for years yet won’t break the bank is the sweet spot here.
I have gone into more detail on the elements which work for festival bags later down this page. Let’s start with 2 bags which tick all the right boxes, doubling up as a backpack and pull-along trolley – with plenty of waterproof storage options.
Practical, Stylish and Waterproof: The Rains Rolltop Rucksack
This waterproof rucksack is perfect as a day-bag while you are at a festival. It has the looks (and the choice of vibrant or muted colours) to go with almost any outfit – and the security is built into the design.
The key difference with this festival rucksack is how you access the main compartment. Unclip the horizontal clasp at the front, and the top rolls open. This reveals a 13-litre compartment, perfect for a weekend festival and all those little extras that make your stay more fun.
There is a small front pocket, another compartment at the back – and even a d-ring to hang things from. The straps are fully adjustable, clasping together in the middle to keep your nag safe.
What I like best about the Rains rolltop rucksacks is the combination of style and security. No more worries in a crowd about someone unzipping your backpack. If black is not your thing, there are metallic tones, muted styles and even a white (ash) version to choose from.
Check out the Rolltop Rucksack option for yourself now, over on the official UK Rains website!
Best Festival Backpack – The Osprey Europe Atmos Unisex Wheeled Rucksack
This bag ticks every single box for festival goers. There are also small touches which make a big difference. For example, the clearance from the ground is that bit bigger than for rival packs. Add in a lightweight aluminium frame, adjustable / configurable straps for comfortable carrying and that all-important 80 litre capacity – and you have a bag which will be with you for years of festivals to come.
Osprey is a trusted brand, known for both quality bags and solid service. I recommend checking out the feedback / comments for the Europe Atmos. You will quickly see that people using this one loved it! You can get a small combo lock along with it, that will lock the zips together.
Check out the close-ups, latest price, and those all-important comments for yourself now – over on this dedicated amazon.co.uk product page.
Brilliant Festival Rucksack Without Wheels – The Mountain Warehouse Carrion 80
For a fraction of the price of the Osprey bags, you can get a big, adjustable ‘traditional’ rucksack that works perfectly for festivals. You will need to carry it, there are no wheels on this model. What it does have is straps that can be adjusted to fit all different shapes and sizes – plus multiple pockets.
As an extra, you get a cover, great for keeping that festival mud at bay.
This is a bargain price point – it will be perfect for a couple of seasons – and will easily double-up for that mountain hiking trip.
Check out this dedicated amazon.co.uk product page and see the pockets, straps, and ladder-lock meshing for yourself.
What Are the Key Factors When Deciding on the Best Backpack for a Festival?
Which factors you consider most important?
- Type of Bag: Backpacks are the ‘obvious’ go to, as they work with all types of terrain from the metal walkways to grass. You could consider a holdall too. Wheels are great, though wheeled suitcases are not good on grass / walkways. The solution for me – combine a backpack with wheeled luggage for the best of both worlds.
- Size: You are not taking a 2-week trip to the beach here, with most festivals going on for a long weekend. A giant round the world trip size backpack would be overkill for most festivals. On the other hand, you want a few changes of clothes, sleeping bag and tent packed away (and maybe a sneaky bottle of something strong for after the bands have finished!). I avoid giant 100-litre+ festival bags, 70 to 80 litres work great.
- Material: Let’s face it, for every sunny UK festival, you get a damp and muddy one. Getting a waterproof rucksack is an easy choice. When it comes to material, going for something you can quickly wipe clean is important. You will thank yourself after the festival when your bag is flecked with mud, grass, and the occasional squashed chip.
- Pockets / Compartments: You can always bring a plastic bag to separate your dirty clothes from fresh ones, though buying a festival bag with pockets and compartments is even better. Some outside pockets – including a bottle holder, mesh pocket and smaller zipped one for those small but important items works great.
- Security: There are times (travel, storage) when your bag will be left with others and not directly attended. Casual / opportunistic theft is an unfortunate fact of life. Getting a backpack with a lock can make all the difference. A combo lock or small padlock will not deter a determined thief. It will mean that you avoid that terrible feeling of having someone take your things in many situations though. I’m sure you don’t need reminding not to leave money or anything truly valuable in your tent / bag while at a festival.
- Looks: Even the world’s most practical, feature rich and versatile luggage for festivals won’t work if it looks bad. If you are not sure that this year’s bold colour combinations will last until the next festival season – go for something classic, preferably in a dark colour.
- Price: You can get an amazing bag that will last for years for around £100. Sure, there are cheaper bags. When you divide the price by the number of years your bag will last, the value of spending that little bit more becomes obvious.
Wrapping Up: Best Backpacks for UK Festivals
I’m excited for the return of live music – along with travel. While we have to wait one more year for Glastonbury, there are plenty of other options getting scheduled right now.
Now is the time to book tickets, dust off that tent (if you did not already leave it at a previous festival) and get yourself a brand-new festival bag. Whichever model you choose, this page will have given you the key factors to consider. When you are trudging home over those bumpy metal walkways and grass, hung over and a little damp after the best festival ever – then you’ll thank yourself for making the right bag purchase.
Me? That combination of wheels, pockets and adjustable straps on the Osprey Atmos is spot on. You will find plenty more options that fit the criteria. Check out my rec and see the other options for yourself now over on this page over at amazon.co.uk – I’ll see you to the left of the sound desk at 2 o’clock!
More Popular Luggage and Travel Guides: