The Prelude Backpack User Manual

The Prelude Backpack is the just enough travel backpack. Your bag is carry-on-sized, organized, and comfortable to carry.

This guide will teach you about your Prelude's features, how to fit it to your body, and how to care for it. 

Walkthrough Video

First, watch this simple walkthrough video of the Prelude travel backpack to learn more about the compartments and organization.

Fit Your Backpack 

As soon as you get your backpack, you should try it on.

No two bodies are alike, and torso length doesn't always guarantee a perfect fit.

Start by watching this video, which has thorough directions in the voiceover.

Step One: Pack the Bag

It's impossible to tell if your new travel backpack will be comfortable if you test it when it's empty. In order to do a meaningful test fitting, pack your clothes in the main compartment before putting on the bag. You don't have to pack exactly what you would on a trip, but make sure to pack approximately the same amount of stuff so the weight is as close to a real-world situation as possible. 

Step Two: Put it On

Put the shoulder straps on first, then clip the hip belt around your torso. 

Step Three: Adjust

Adjust the height of the shoulder straps but pulling on the webbing at the base of the foam sections.

Move the sternum strap up or down so that it's just below your collarbone, then tighten until the bag is taught against your body.

Pull the load lifter straps to move the bag's weight closer to you.

Tighten the hip belt until it's snug, but not tight. The base of the hip belt should rest right on top of your hip bones. If it's too high or too low, it won't successfully transfer weight from your shoulders. 

Step Four: Walk Around

In order to tell if your bag will be comfortable enough for a long walk through a city to your Airbnb (or a sprint through an airport terminal), walk around for a little while. Pay attention to whether or not the hip belt is transferring weight from your shoulders to your hips. When they do, you've got the fit right.

Now that you've tested for fit and comfort, let's take a tour of your Prelude's pockets and features.


Prelude Backpack Front

On the front of the Prelude Backpack, you'll find a small zippered pocket that's perfect for your headphones, travel documents, or other small items you might need within easy reach.

The vertical lines of webbing loops are great for attaching extra stuff to your bag like a neck pillow, flip flops, travel towel, or clothes that are still dirty or wet. Travel towels often come with an attachment loop. We recommend carrying a carabiner (not included) for any items that don't attach as easily.

Prelude Backpack tablet sleeve

Below the horizontal zipper and between the webbing is the hidden tablet pocket. Carry up to a 10.5" tablet or ereader to keep your in-flight entertainment close at hand.

Prelude Backpack water bottle pocket

One one side of your Prelude Backpack is the water bottle pocket.

You'll also find two compression straps on each side of the Prelude. Use these to compress your backpack when not fully packed. These straps help with ergonomics because a compressed load feels tighter and lighter than one that's jostling around.

The load lifter straps on the top of the bag and shoulder straps are for keeping your bag's weight as close to your body as possible. Pull forward on them when fitting your pack.

Prelude Backpack side carry handle

On the other side of your bag is a padded grab handle.

The handle is great for pulling your backpack out of an overhead compartment when it's stored sideways, like on a train. You can also carry your bag by hand if needed.

On top, you'll see a second padded handle for pulling your bag out from an overhead compartment. You'll also find a thinner loop at the back of the bag for hanging your Prelude from a hook.


The zippers of the main compartment are equipped with lockable YKK zippers. Slide a TSA-friendly lock (not included) through the loops at the base of the zipper sliders to secure your stuff.


The Prelude outer fabric is a 900D recycled polyester. The front and bottom panels are reinforced with a matte TPU coating for extra durability and water resistance.

Prelude Backpack main compartment packed

Main Compartment

The Prelude's main compartment opens like a book for easy organization and packing. With minimal padding or extra pockets, you'll have plenty of packing space. If you need more organization, the Prelude Packing Cubes will keep your stuff separated and neatly packed.

Use the two mesh pockets on the "lid" of the main compartment to pack small things like socks or underwear that otherwise get lost in the rest of your bag. 

How to Care for Your Prelude Backpack

Make sure to wipe off your backpack any time you spill something on it or otherwise dirty it. A few seconds of effort right when it gets dirty will prevent more work later.

If you need to fully wash your Prelude Backpack, hand wash it. Never put a backpack in the washing machine.

Hand washing your pack will allow you to target problem areas and prevent a washing machine from damaging the zippers or tearing the straps.

First, fill a large sink or bathtub with cool to lukewarm water. By not using hot water, you’ll avoid burning yourself or damaging your pack.

Add a gentle detergent or natural soap like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap to the water. If you use detergent, make sure it’s free of dyes, fragrances, and chemicals that could damage your bag or irritate your skin. Spot treat as needed.

Hang dry your bag in a well-ventilated place. The top handle of your Prelude will fit over a sturdy clothes hanger. You can dry your backpack in a shower or bath, or in a safe area outside like a balcony.

Once your bag is dry, treat the zippers to keep them running smoothly. A non-greasy, non-staining silicone spray will help lubricate the zippers and keep them from rusting. The helpful users at Ask Metafilter recommend using paraffin wax, powdered graphite, or even a crayon to keep the zippers running smoothly.

Wiping down your bag after a trip is always a good idea, but you shouldn’t do a full wash too often. Once or twice per year is plenty. Excessive washing can damage the bag and wear away its day-to-day water resistance.

Read more here about how we designed the Prelude Backpack to be the perfect backpack for budget travelers.