Being lifelong travelers, most of us love our lightweight, multipurpose gear that may withstand the rigors of the road. Gear needs to be dependable, multifunctional, durable and perform beyond expectations. Nothing could be more true in terms of purchasing 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 really should not be a rushed decision and factors like trip length, capacity, material, functionally and luxury should 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 a job.
If my three hours was any indication, buying a good backpack is not always easy. With countless backpack manufacturers and styles, it could understandably be overwhelming. Whatever you do, don’t go cheap. You’ll do your disservice and buy a new one anyways. An excellent backpack is an investment. You needn’t spend $500 on a backpack, but be wary of cheap, no-frills, ordinary $70 brands, as you’ll regret the design flaws and deficiency of extras. Spend a little bit more for any good backpack from a trusted brand, and this will be your companion for a lot of trips in the future. The Osprey pack I eventually settled on has traveled with me through the U.S for the Middle East for 10 awesome years and I realise it has another great 10 years to travel.
Travel Backpack or Hiking Backpack – Before you start shopping for the right pack, it’s essential to be aware of distinction between travel backpacks and bulk backpacks for sale. A travel backpack is really a backpack-suitcase hybrid using a zippered side panel comparable to a suitcase. Hiking backpacks are the more commonly seen cylindrical top loading packs with straps, clips along with a top lid. Some people come with an opinion that hiking backpacks are just suited for the backcountry and it has no place for the backpacker, I disagree. What really works ultimately comes down to personal preference and design of travel. Travel backpacks are perfect for easy, organized use of gear and transporting from hostel to hostel. In addition they function well for short walks or perhaps being a daypack.
On the other hand, if you possibly have camping or long treks inside your travel plans, you might like to consider 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 plenty 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 good compromise is usually to get a hiking backpack with side load access.
I am generalizing a bit because they will have travel backpacks which can be within the upper capacity range with more advanced suspension systems, but if you’re going to get a 70L travel backpack, you may too choose a hiking backpack. Believe me, you’ll be happy you did for your unexpected 20 mile trek to the next town.
Personal Backpacking Style – Next, determine the design of travel you normally love to do. Unless you’re prepared to buy a different backpack for each and every trip, determining your travel style will save you a lot of money in the end and give you a piece of foundation gear that’s ready for virtually any trip. As an example, in the event you generally go on week long trips you needn’t get 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 require 65L or greater.
Dimension is pretty subjective though and shouldn’t be the only determining factor. Some people are able to pack very bare bones, where others require a little bit more. Consider these factors:
How much time is your trip: Depending on the length of your journey the capacity and overall weight of your own pack will be different. Short trips require less capacity, and long trips typically require more. But remember that the bigger the pack the heavier it can become. 50lbs may not seem a great deal initially, but 2 months in and this will feel as if a ton of bricks.
Which kind of Activities are you going to do: Personally, i believe 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 everybody. Knowing what type 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, look at a travel backpack or possibly a wheeled backpack, whereas if you foresee yourself doing long treks then a hiking backpack may be more suitable. I really like to be equipped for wqkgjq form of spontaneous activity, and so i lean more towards hiking backpacks. Also, hiking backpacks are generally produced a bit tougher, so take into account that the greater challenging the activity, the higher the stress on the bag.
Lightweight or the kitchen sink: Although I mentioned earlier that dimensions are not the main determining factor, it’s still vital that you consider capacity based on whatever you intend to bring. If ultra light is the goal, avoid high capacity backpacks as you’ll invariably bring too much or should you have the ability to pack light your backpack won’t distribute the load properly. Conversely, should your backpack is just too small, you won’t have the capacity to fit all things in. Have an idea of the gear you’re bringing and choose the capacity of the bag accordingly. Don’t hesitate to bring your items to the shop to see how it suits the packs. An established retailer, like REI, won’t have a problem with this.
What To Consider In A Hiking Backpack – Backpacks vary in functionality around they do in appearance, with the higher priced models having the most special features. Just like everything, your choice here is closely related to which kind of traveling you love to do.
Waterproof – Your pack may not be likely to be completely waterproof. Meaning, if submerged, or in a torrential downpour your clothing and equipment will get wet. Although most backpacks now come with a rain cover, you will still want it to be produced of any tough, rip proof, and light-weight silicone coated nylon or Cordura type material that allows rain or water to bead off and never soak through.
Detachable Daypack – this alternative is truly a personal preference, and not a real deal breaker, as numerous travelers bring yet another pack for day trips. But also for those focused on traveling light, carrying two bags can be cumbersome. Personally, i like the choice of a detachable daypack as I already have it only if I would like it. In my Osprey, the very best lid doubles as a daypack. Less comfortable as a dedicated daypack, but it serves its purpose.
Heavy-duty Lockable Zippers – A chain is simply as strong as the weakest link. Regardless of how good the fabric of the backpack, if the attachment points, like zippers, are weak the whole bag is worthless. Ensure that the zippers are tough and lockable where applicable.
Pockets and Compartments – The more compartments the better. Good backpacks will often have numerous compartments to assist store and separate your gear which means you won’t must sift through layers of garments in order to find your chapstick. For example, maps may go inside the top flap, while your flip-flops are stored conveniently inside the side pocket. However you choose to pack, separate pockets allow easy and fast access to your gear. Most backpacks may also have strategically placed pockets, like on the hipbelt, to get for your gear while not having to drop your pack.
Lightweight Internal Frame – Backpacks generally come with an internal frame, external frame, or no frame in any way. I strongly recommend a light-weight internal frame made from strong carbon fiber rods. This gives more load support and merely looks better. External frames are bulky, conspicuous, and utilize dated technology and frameless backpacks have awful load support at higher weights. Believe me, without proper weight distribution, you’re shoulders will feel every one of these pounds.
Side Load Access – I’m seeing less of the function on the newer backpacks, but if you do happen to find one with side access you’re golden. You’ll have the ability to access items through the main compartment of the bag without digging in from your top. You’re life will just 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 variable or fixed suspension system, in addition to a lot of load bearing straps. The suspension system is the part that typically rests against your back and where the padded shoulders connect. Fixed system signifies that it fits to a single torso size, whereas the adjustable system could be calibrated. The whole system is supposed to help stabilize load and transfer weight to your hips. The load bearing straps, just like the sternum strap, will even help move the weight around minimizing discomfort and pain.
Ventilation – To lower the discomfort from an annoying sweaty back, get yourself a backpack with ventilation. Most internal-frame packs will have some sort of ventilation system or design feature that promotes airflow, developing 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 for any backpack since your hips will likely be carrying 80% of your backpacks weight. The padding within the belt will allow you to avoid fatigue, discomfort, and naturally load distribution. Try and get one that’s full-size, where padding comes around your hip bone to the front, and isn’t simply a thin strap having a clip.
Multiple Straps and Tool Attachment Points – This feature is really a personal preference and doesn’t really impact comfort and load distribution having said that i do feel it’s just as important. I like the thought of having excess straps, clips and tool attachment points. You’re capable of perform on-the-fly spot fixes for a number of unexpected circumstances, making your backpack function more than just being a bag. You’re in a position to tie, hook, and rig a whole mess of things while on the road without needing to carry additional gear. Some backpacks have started to include “daisy chains” (typically found on climbing packs) that is a series of tool attachment loops.
Internal Hydration Reservoir – An inside compartment that holds your preferred hydration bladder (i.e. Camelpak, Platypus) which means you have hands-free use of H2O. Openings on the backpack enables you accessibility sip tube making it an extremely practical feature on your long treks. You won’t need to dig in your pack or stop your momentum searching for your water bottle.