Being lifelong travelers, we all love our lightweight, multi-purpose gear that may withstand the rigors of the road. Gear should be dependable, multifunctional, durable and perform beyond expectations. Nothing could be truer when it comes 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 as such this decision should never be made impulsively. Buying your backpack should not be a rushed decision and factors like trip length, capacity, material, functionally and comfort should be considered. When I first got serious about investing in a good pack, I was at REI for a good three hours -I do believe they started to suspect I was applying for work.
If my three hours was any indication, buying a good backpack will not be a simple task. With hundreds of backpack manufacturers and designs, it could understandably be overwhelming. Whatever you do, don’t go cheap. You’ll do yourself a disservice and end up buying a completely new one anyways. A great backpack is surely an investment. You needn’t spend $500 on a backpack, but be suspicious of cheap, no-frills, run of the mill $70 brands, as you’ll regret the design flaws and deficiency of extras. Spend a little more for any good backpack from a trusted brand, and will also become your companion for many trips ahead. The Osprey pack I eventually settled on has traveled with me from your U.S towards the Middle East for 10 awesome years and i also know it has another great ten years to visit.
Travel Backpack or Hiking Backpack – Before you begin shopping for the ideal pack, it’s essential to be aware of distinction between travel backpacks and hiking backpacks. A travel backpack is actually a backpack-suitcase hybrid using a zippered side panel comparable to a suitcase. Hiking backpacks are definitely the more commonly seen cylindrical top loading packs with straps, clips along with a top lid. Some individuals come with an opinion that hiking backpacks are just best for the backcountry and contains no place for the backpacker, I disagree. What works for you ultimately comes down to personal preference and style of travel. Travel backpacks are perfect for easy, organized use of gear and transporting from hostel to hostel. Additionally they function well in short walks or perhaps as a daypack.
On the contrary, in the event you possibly have camping or long treks within your travel plans, you might want to think about a hiking backpack. Hiking backpacks are designed for comfort, proper weight distribution, and toughness. Unlike a travel backpack, hiking backpacks could 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 useful to access your gear, but that’s part in parcel to proper weight distribution. A good compromise would be to obtain a hiking backpack with side load access.
I am generalizing a little as they will have travel backpacks which can be inside the upper capacity range with additional advanced suspension systems, but if you’re going to get a 70L travel backpack, you might as well choose a hiking backpack. Trust me, you’ll be very glad you did for that unexpected 20 mile trek to another town.
Personal Backpacking Style – Next, determine the design of travel you normally like to do. Unless you’re willing to get a different backpack for every trip, finding out your travel style will save you a lot of money in the long run and provide you with a piece of foundation gear that’s ready for any trip. For example, in the event you generally continue week long trips you needn’t get yourself a high capacity bag and can probably get away with 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 have the ability to pack very bare bones, where others require a little bit more. Think about these factors:
How much time can be your trip: Depending on the period of your journey the capability and overall weight of your 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 will become. 50lbs may not seem a great deal in the beginning, but 2 months in and will also think that a lot of bricks.
What sort of Activities will you do: I personally believe that one bag can rule them all since i have generally use my pack for everything. However, this will not be the truth for anyone. Knowing what sort of activity you’ll be doing can help you zero in on that perfect backpack. If you’re not thinking about carrying it around much, consider a travel backpack or even a wheeled backpack, whereas if you foresee yourself doing long treks then a hiking backpack may be a lot better. I really like to be ready for any sort of spontaneous activity, and so i lean more towards hiking backpacks. Also, hiking backpacks are usually created a bit tougher, so keep in mind that the more challenging the activity, the higher the stress on the bag.
Lightweight or perhaps the kitchen sink: Although I mentioned earlier that dimension is not the main determining factor, it’s still important to consider capacity based on whatever you intend to bring. If ultra light is your goal, avoid high capacity backpacks as you’ll invariably bring excessive or if you do have the ability to pack light your backpack won’t distribute the load properly. Conversely, in case your backpack is just too small, you won’t have the capacity to fit all things in. Know of the gear you’re bringing and choose the capacity of your own bag accordingly. Don’t hesitate to create your items to the shop to view how it fits in the packs. A professional retailer, like REI, won’t have trouble with this.
What To Look For In A Hiking Backpack – Backpacks vary in functionality as much as they do in appearance, using the more costly models having the most bells and whistles. Similar to everything, your decision the following is closely linked to what type of traveling you want to do.
Water Resistant – Your pack is probably not gonna 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 continue to would like 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 rather than soak through.
Detachable Daypack – this option is really a personal preference, and not a real deal breaker, as much travelers bring an additional pack for day trips. But also for those centered on traveling light, carrying two bags could be cumbersome. I personally like the choice of a detachable daypack when i have it only if I would like it. In my Osprey, the top lid doubles as being a daypack. Much less comfortable being a dedicated daypack, but it serves its purpose.
Heavy-duty Lockable Zippers – A chain is just as strong as the weakest link. No matter how good the material of the backpack, if the attachment points, like zippers, are weak the complete bag is worthless. Make sure the zippers are tough and lockable where applicable.
Pockets and Compartments – The greater compartments the greater. Good backpacks normally have several compartments to assist store and separate your gear so you won’t must search through layers of garments simply 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 choose to pack, separate pockets allow simple and easy , quick access to your gear. Most backpacks will also have strategically placed pockets, like on the hipbelt, so you can get in your gear while not having to drop your pack.
Lightweight Internal Frame – Backpacks generally include an internal frame, external frame, or no frame at all. I strongly suggest a light-weight internal frame produced from strong carbon fiber rods. This supplies more load support and simply 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 one of these pounds.
Side Load Access – I’m seeing less and less of the function on the newer backpacks, but if you do occur to find one with side access you’re golden. You’ll be able to access items from your main compartment of the bag without digging in through the top. You’re life will you should be that much simpler.
Suspension System with Padded Shoulders and Load Bearing Straps. Don’t even consider purchasing a backpack unless it has either an adjustable or fixed suspension system, plus a lot of load bearing straps. The suspension product is the part that usually rests against your back and in which the padded shoulders connect. Fixed system means that it fits to a single torso size, whereas the adjustable system may be calibrated. The complete system is meant to help stabilize load and transfer weight for your hips. The burden bearing straps, such as the sternum strap, may also help move the body weight around minimizing pain and discomfort.
Ventilation – To lower the discomfort from an annoying sweaty back, get a backpack with ventilation. Most internal-frame packs could have some type of ventilation system or design feature that promotes airflow, kczxfp a lasting breathable layer between yourself and also the backpack. Although not essential for load support, it certainly increases your comfort level.
Padded Full-size Hip belt – This is probably the most important feature for any backpack since your hips is going to be carrying 80% of your backpacks weight. The padding within the belt will help you avoid fatigue, discomfort, and of course load distribution. Try and get one that’s full-size, in which the padding comes around your hip bone towards the front, and isn’t only a thin strap with a clip.
Multiple Straps and Tool Attachment Points – This feature is really a personal preference and doesn’t really impact comfort and load distribution but I do feel it’s equally as important. I like the thought of obtaining excess straps, clips and tool attachment points. You’re able to perform on-the-fly spot fixes for a variety of unexpected circumstances, making your backpack function more than simply as a bag. You’re able to tie, hook, and rig an entire mess of things while on the road without having 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 internal compartment that holds your favorite hydration bladder (i.e. Camelpak, Platypus) so you have hands free access to H2O. Openings on the backpack enables you access to the sip tube rendering it a very practical feature on your long treks. You won’t have to dig in your pack or stop your momentum trying to find your water bottle.