Being lifelong travelers, all of us love our lightweight, multipurpose gear that can withstand the rigors of the road. Gear should be dependable, multifunctional, durable and perform beyond anticipation. Nothing could be more true in terms of investing in a good hiking backpack, especially considering it’s likely 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 not be made impulsively. Buying your backpack must not be a rushed decision and factors like trip length, capacity, material, functionally and comfort ought to always be considered. When I first got serious about investing in a good pack, I was at REI for a good 3 hours -I think they started to suspect I was applying for work.
If my three hours was any indication, buying a good backpack is not always easy. With numerous backpack manufacturers and styles, it may understandably be overwhelming. Whatever you do, don’t go cheap. You’ll do a disservice and buy a new one anyways. A good backpack is surely an investment. You needn’t spend $500 on the backpack, but be skeptical of cheap, no-frills, ordinary $70 brands, as you’ll regret the design flaws and lack of extras. Spend a bit more for any good backpack from a trusted brand, and this will be your companion for a lot of trips to come. 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 good a decade to travel.
Travel Backpack or Hiking Backpack – Before you begin shopping for the ideal pack, it’s vital that you understand the difference between travel backpacks and buy backpacks in bulk. A travel backpack is actually a backpack-suitcase hybrid having a zippered side panel comparable to a suitcase. Hiking backpacks would be the commonly seen cylindrical top loading packs with straps, clips as well as a top lid. Some individuals provide an opinion that hiking backpacks are just suited for the backcountry and has no place for the backpacker, I disagree. What really works ultimately boils down to personal preference and style of travel. Travel backpacks are ideal for easy, organized access to gear and transporting from hostel to hostel. In addition they work well in short walks as well as as being a daypack.
On the contrary, in the event you possibly have camping or long treks inside your travel plans, you might like 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 top down packing isn’t as easy to access your gear, but that’s part in parcel to proper weight distribution. An excellent compromise is usually to get a hiking backpack with side load access.
I am generalizing somewhat because they have travel backpacks that are inside the upper capacity range with increased advanced suspension systems, but if you’re getting a 70L travel backpack, you could too go with a hiking backpack. Believe me, you’ll be glad you probably 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 every trip, figuring out your travel style could save you a lot of money in the end and provide you with some foundation gear that’s ready for virtually any trip. For instance, should you generally go on week long trips you needn’t get yourself a high capacity bag and could probably pull off a 35 liter to 50 liter (L) pack, whereas living long-term on the road may need 65L or greater.
Dimensions are pretty subjective though and shouldn’t be the only determining factor. Some individuals are able to pack very bare bones, where others require a little bit more. Think about these factors:
How long can be your trip: Depending on the length of your journey the ability and overall weight of your pack can vary. Short trips require less capacity, and long trips typically require more. But be aware that the larger the pack the heavier it will become. 50lbs might not seem a lot in the beginning, but 2 months in and it will feel as if a ton of bricks.
What sort of Activities do you want to do: Personally, i feel that one bag can rule all of them since i have generally use my pack for everything. However, this will not be the situation for anyone. Knowing what type of activity you’ll do can help you zero in on that perfect backpack. If you’re not thinking about carrying it around much, think about a travel backpack or possibly a wheeled backpack, whereas in the event you foresee yourself doing long treks then the hiking backpack may be more desirable. I really like to be prepared for wqkgjq type of spontaneous activity, therefore i lean more towards hiking backpacks. Also, hiking backpacks are typically produced a bit tougher, so keep in mind that the better challenging the action, the greater the stress on the bag.
Lightweight or even the kitchen sink: Although I mentioned earlier that dimension is not the main determining factor, it’s still important to consider capacity based upon everything you intend to bring. If ultra light can be your 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 simply too small, you won’t be able to fit all things in. Know from the gear you’re bringing and select the capacity of your bag accordingly. Don’t hesitate to bring your things to the store to see how it fits in the packs. An established retailer, like REI, won’t have a problem with this.
Things To Look For In A Hiking Backpack – Backpacks vary in functionality just as much as they actually do in appearance, with all the more costly models obtaining the most features. As with everything, your choice is closely associated with what type of traveling you like to do.
Water-resistant – Your pack is probably not likely to be completely waterproof. Meaning, if submerged, or in a torrential downpour your clothing and equipment will still get wet. Although most backpacks now have a rain cover, you still would like it to be made of a tough, rip proof, and light-weight silicone coated nylon or Cordura type material that allows rain or water to bead off rather than soak through.
Detachable Daypack – this alternative is really a personal preference, and not really a deal breaker, as many travelers bring an extra pack for day trips. But also for those dedicated to traveling light, carrying two bags could be cumbersome. Personally, i like the option of a detachable daypack when i have it only if I need it. In my Osprey, the best lid doubles as a daypack. Not as comfortable being a dedicated daypack, however it serves its purpose.
Heavy-duty Lockable Zippers – A chain is just as strong as the weakest link. Regardless of how good the fabric in the backpack, when the attachment points, like zippers, are weak the complete bag is worthless. Ensure the zippers are tough and lockable where applicable.
Pockets and Compartments – The greater compartments the better. Good backpacks normally have numerous compartments to help store and separate your gear so that you won’t have to search through layers of clothes in order to find your chapstick. For instance, maps can go in the top flap, while your flip-flops are stored conveniently inside the side pocket. However you decide to pack, separate pockets allow simple and easy , fast access to your gear. Most backpacks may also have strategically placed pockets, like on the hipbelt, to get to your gear without having to drop your pack.
Lightweight Internal Frame – Backpacks generally come with an inside frame, external frame, or no frame at all. I strongly suggest a lightweight internal frame made from strong carbon fiber rods. This supplies more load support and just looks better. External frames are bulky, conspicuous, and make use of dated technology and frameless backpacks have awful load support at higher weights. Believe me, without the right weight distribution, you’re shoulders will feel every single one of the pounds.
Side Load Access – I’m seeing less and less of the function on the newer backpacks, but should you eventually locate one with side access you’re golden. You’ll have the ability to access items from the main compartment in the bag without digging in from your top. You’re life will just be so much simpler.
Suspension System with Padded Shoulders and Load Bearing Straps. Don’t even consider buying wholesale novelty items unless it has either an adjustable or fixed suspension system, plus a bunch of load bearing straps. The suspension system is the part that typically rests against your back and in which the padded shoulders connect. Fixed system implies that it fits to one torso size, whereas the adjustable system can be calibrated. The whole system is meant to help stabilize load and transfer weight to your hips. The load bearing straps, just like the sternum strap, may also help move the load around minimizing discomfort and pain.
Ventilation – To lower 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, developing a permanent breathable layer between yourself and also the backpack. Although not required for load support, it certainly increases your level of comfort.
Padded Full-size Hip belt – This is probably the most important feature for any backpack since your hips will likely be carrying 80% of your own backpacks weight. The padding within the belt will help you avoid fatigue, discomfort, and naturally load distribution. Get one that’s full-size, where 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 having said that i do feel it’s just as important. I like the idea of having excess straps, clips and tool attachment points. You’re capable of perform on-the-fly spot fixes for many different unexpected circumstances, making your backpack function not only being a bag. You’re capable of tie, hook, and rig a whole mess of things while on the road without needing to carry additional gear. Some backpacks have begun to include “daisy chains” (typically available on climbing packs) which is actually a combination of tool attachment loops.
Internal Hydration Reservoir – An internal compartment that holds your preferred hydration bladder (i.e. Camelpak, Platypus) which means you have hands-free usage of H2O. Openings on the backpack allows you accessibility sip tube making it an extremely practical feature throughout your long treks. You won’t have to dig in your pack or stop your momentum looking for your water bottle.