Being lifelong travelers, most of us love our lightweight, multipurpose gear that can withstand the rigors of the road. Gear needs to be dependable, multifunctional, durable and perform beyond expectations. Nothing could be more true with regards to buying a good hiking backpack, especially considering it’s going to be your home away from home. Traveling, especially long term, will literally test the limits of your bag and your body, and thus this decision should never be made impulsively. Buying your backpack must not be a rushed decision and factors such as trip length, capacity, material, functionally and luxury ought to always be considered. When I first got interested in investing in a good pack, I was at REI for a good three hours -I think they started to suspect I was trying to get employment.
If my three hours was any indication, investing in a good backpack is not really an easy task. With numerous backpack manufacturers and designs, it can understandably be overwhelming. Whatever you do, don’t go cheap. You’ll be doing your disservice and end up buying a completely new one anyways. An excellent backpack is definitely an investment. You needn’t spend $500 on the backpack, but be wary of cheap, no-frills, run of the mill $70 brands, as you’ll regret the design and style flaws and absence of extras. Spend a little more to get a good backpack from a trusted brand, and will also be your companion for most trips to come. The Osprey pack I eventually settled on has traveled with me from your U.S to the Middle East for 10 awesome years and I realize it has another good a decade to visit.
Travel Backpack or Hiking Backpack – Before you begin shopping for the right pack, it’s important to be aware of difference between travel backpacks and wholesale backpacks in bulk. A travel backpack is really a backpack-suitcase hybrid using a zippered side panel similar to a suitcase. Hiking backpacks are definitely the commonly seen cylindrical top loading packs with straps, clips and a top lid. Some individuals provide an opinion that hiking backpacks are only best for the backcountry and contains no place for the backpacker, I disagree. What really works ultimately is dependant on personal preference and style of travel. Travel backpacks are ideal for easy, organized usage of gear and transporting from hostel to hostel. They also work well for short walks as well as as being a daypack.
On the contrary, should you possibly have camping or long treks within your travel plans, you may want to look at a hiking backpack. Hiking backpacks are equipped for comfort, proper weight distribution, and toughness. Unlike a travel backpack, hiking backpacks may have enhancements like full-sized hip belts, shoulder and back suspension systems along with lots of load bearing straps to mitigate discomfort. Granted the best down packing isn’t as convenient to access your gear, but that’s part in parcel to proper weight distribution. A great compromise would be to get yourself a hiking backpack with side load access.
I am just generalizing a bit because they have travel backpacks which are in the upper capacity range with additional advanced suspension systems, however, if you’re going to get a 70L travel backpack, you could also opt for a hiking backpack. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did for your unexpected 20 mile trek to another town.
Personal Backpacking Style – Next, determine the design and style of travel you normally love to do. Unless you’re prepared to purchase a different backpack for each and every trip, figuring out your travel style will save you a lot of money in the end and give you a bit of foundation gear that’s ready for any trip. For instance, if you generally carry on week long trips you needn’t obtain a high capacity bag and can probably pull off a 35 liter to 50 liter (L) pack, whereas living long term on the road may need 65L or greater.
Size is pretty subjective though and shouldn’t become the only determining factor. Many people are able to pack very bare bones, where others require a bit more. Consider these factors:
How much time is your trip: Depending on the duration of your journey the ability and overall weight of the pack can vary. Short trips require less capacity, and long trips typically require more. But remember that the bigger the pack the heavier it can become. 50lbs might not seem a lot initially, but 2 months in and will also feel like a ton of bricks.
What sort of Activities are you going to do: I personally think that one bag can rule every one of them since I generally use my pack for everything. However, this might not be the truth for everyone. Knowing which kind of activity you’ll be doing will allow you to zero in on that perfect backpack. If you’re not thinking about carrying it around much, think about a travel backpack or even a wheeled backpack, whereas in the event you foresee yourself doing long treks then this hiking backpack could be more suitable. I really like to be prepared for wqkgjq kind of spontaneous activity, so I lean more towards hiking backpacks. Also, hiking backpacks are generally made a bit tougher, so take into account that the greater challenging the action, the greater the stress on the bag.
Lightweight or perhaps the kitchen sink: Although I mentioned earlier that dimension is not the key determining factor, it’s still important to consider capacity based on everything you plan to bring. If ultra light is the goal, avoid high capacity backpacks as you’ll invariably bring too much or if you do find a way to pack light your backpack won’t distribute the load properly. Conversely, if your backpack is just too small, you won’t be able to fit all things in. Know from the gear you’re bringing and pick the capacity of the bag accordingly. Don’t hesitate to take your things to a store to see how it fits in the packs. A reputable retailer, like REI, won’t have difficulties using this.
What To Consider In A Hiking Backpack – Backpacks vary in functionality around they actually do in looks, with all the more costly models having the most features. Similar to everything, your choice the following is closely linked to what type of traveling you like to do.
Waterproof – Your pack may not be going to be completely waterproof. Meaning, if submerged, or in a torrential downpour your clothing and equipment will get wet. Although most backpacks now include a rain cover, you will still would like it to be made of a tough, rip proof, and light-weight silicone coated nylon or Cordura type material which allows rain or water to bead off rather than soak through.
Detachable Daypack – this alternative is really a personal preference, rather than a real deal breaker, as numerous travelers bring an extra pack for day trips. However for those focused on traveling light, carrying two bags can be cumbersome. I personally like the choice of a detachable daypack when i already have it only if I would like it. On my own Osprey, the top lid doubles as a daypack. Less comfortable as a dedicated daypack, however it serves its purpose.
Heavy-duty Lockable Zippers – A chain is simply as strong as the weakest link. No matter how good the material in the backpack, if the attachment points, like zippers, are weak the entire bag is worthless. Ensure the zippers are tough and lockable where applicable.
Pockets and Compartments – The more compartments the higher. Good backpacks normally have a number of compartments to help store and separate your gear so you won’t must search through layers of garments just to find your chapstick. For instance, maps will go inside the top flap, while your flip-flops are stored conveniently within the side pocket. However you want to pack, separate pockets allow easy and quick access to your gear. Most backpacks can also get strategically placed pockets, like on the hipbelt, to get in your gear while not having to drop your pack.
Lightweight Internal Frame – Backpacks generally come with an internal frame, external frame, or no frame whatsoever. I strongly recommend a light-weight internal frame made from strong carbon fiber rods. This provides more load support and just looks better. External frames are bulky, conspicuous, and utilize dated technology and frameless backpacks have awful load support at higher weights. Trust me, without the proper weight distribution, you’re shoulders are going to feel every single one of those pounds.
Side Load Access – I’m seeing less and less of this function on the newer backpacks, but if you do eventually find one with side access you’re golden. You’ll be able to access items through the main compartment of the bag without digging in through the top. You’re life will simply be that much simpler.
Suspension System with Padded Shoulders and Load Bearing Straps. Don’t even consider buying dollar store items wholesale unless it has either a flexible or fixed suspension system, in addition to a lot of load bearing straps. The suspension method is the part that generally rests against your back and where padded shoulders connect. Fixed system implies that it fits to a single torso size, whereas the adjustable system can be calibrated. The complete system is meant to help stabilize load and transfer weight for your hips. The stress bearing straps, just like the sternum strap, may also help move the body weight around minimizing discomfort and pain.
Ventilation – To minimize the discomfort from an annoying sweaty back, get a backpack with ventilation. Most internal-frame packs will have some kind of ventilation system or design feature that promotes airflow, creating a permanent breathable layer between yourself and the backpack. While not required for load support, it certainly increases your level of comfort.
Padded Full-size Hip belt – This has become the most important feature of any backpack as your hips will likely be carrying 80% of the backpacks weight. The padding in the belt can help you avoid fatigue, discomfort, and of course load distribution. Get one that’s full-size, where the padding comes around your hip bone to the front, and isn’t simply a thin strap using a clip.
Multiple Straps and Tool Attachment Points – This feature is a personal preference and doesn’t really impact comfort and load distribution however i do feel it’s just like important. I like the thought of having excess straps, clips and tool attachment points. You’re in a position to perform on-the-fly spot fixes for a variety of unexpected circumstances, making your backpack function more than just being a bag. You’re able to tie, hook, and rig a whole mess of things while on the road while not having to carry additional gear. Some backpacks have begun to include “daisy chains” (typically seen on climbing packs) that is a series of tool attachment loops.
Internal Hydration Reservoir – An inside compartment that holds your chosen hydration bladder (i.e. Camelpak, Platypus) which means you have hands free access to H2O. Openings on the backpack enables you access to the sip tube making it a really practical feature throughout your long treks. You won’t must dig in your pack or stop your momentum trying to find your water bottle.