Being lifelong travelers, all of us love our lightweight, multipurpose gear that can withstand the rigors of the road. Gear ought to be dependable, multifunctional, durable and perform beyond expectations. Nothing could be truer in terms of investing in 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 will not be made impulsively. Buying your backpack must not be a rushed decision and factors like trip length, capacity, material, functionally and luxury ought to always be considered. Initially 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 applying for work.
If my three hours was any indication, buying a good backpack is not really always easy. With numerous backpack manufacturers and designs, it may understandably be overwhelming. Whatever you do, don’t go cheap. You’ll do your disservice and end up buying a completely new one anyways. A good backpack is surely an investment. You needn’t spend $500 on a backpack, but be skeptical of cheap, no-frills, ordinary $70 brands, as you’ll regret the design and style flaws and lack of extras. Spend a little bit more for a good backpack from a trusted brand, and this will become your companion for many trips in the future. The Osprey pack I eventually settled on has traveled with me from the U.S for the Middle East for 10 awesome years and I realize it has another good 10 years to travel.
Travel Backpack or Hiking Backpack – Before you begin shopping for the ideal pack, it’s essential to understand the difference between travel backpacks and bulk backpacks. A travel backpack is actually a backpack-suitcase hybrid having a zippered side panel similar to a suitcase. Hiking backpacks are the more often seen cylindrical top loading packs with straps, clips along with a top lid. Many people provide an opinion that hiking backpacks are only designed for the backcountry and it has no spot for the backpacker, I disagree. What matches your needs ultimately boils down to personal preference and elegance of travel. Travel backpacks are ideal for easy, organized use of gear and transporting from hostel to hostel. They also work well for brief walks or perhaps as a daypack.
On the other hand, if you possibly have camping or long treks in 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 will 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 convenient to access your gear, but that’s part in parcel to proper weight distribution. An excellent compromise will be to get a hiking backpack with side load access.
I am just generalizing a bit since they have travel backpacks that are within the upper capacity range with more advanced suspension systems, but when you’re getting a 70L travel backpack, you could too go with a hiking backpack. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did for your unexpected 20 mile trek to another town.
Personal Backpacking Style – Next, determine the style 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 long run and provide you with a piece of foundation gear that’s ready for any trip. For instance, if you generally carry on week long trips you needn’t get a high capacity bag and could probably get away with a 35 liter to 50 liter (L) pack, whereas living long-term on the road might require 65L or greater.
Dimensions are pretty subjective though and shouldn’t be the only determining factor. Some individuals have the ability to pack very bare bones, where others require a little bit more. Think about these factors:
How much time is your trip: Depending on the period 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 remember that the bigger the pack the heavier it can become. 50lbs may not seem a great deal in the beginning, but 2 months in and it will feel like a lot of bricks.
Which kind of Activities are you going to do: Personally, i believe that one bag can rule all of them since i have generally use my pack for everything. However, this will not be the case for everyone. Knowing which kind of activity you’ll be doing can help you zero in on that perfect backpack. If you’re not considering carrying it around much, look at a travel backpack or perhaps a wheeled backpack, whereas should you foresee yourself doing long treks then a hiking backpack may be more desirable. I love to be ready for wqkgjq type of spontaneous activity, therefore i lean more towards hiking backpacks. Also, hiking backpacks are typically produced a bit tougher, so remember that the greater challenging the action, the higher the stress on the bag.
Lightweight or even 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 can be your goal, avoid high capacity backpacks as you’ll invariably bring excessive or should you manage to pack light your backpack won’t distribute the weight properly. Conversely, should your backpack is simply too small, you won’t be able to fit all things in. Have an idea in the gear you’re bringing and pick the capacity of the bag accordingly. Don’t hesitate to take your items to a store to find out the way it fits in the packs. A reputable retailer, like REI, won’t have difficulties with this particular.
What To Consider In A Hiking Backpack – Backpacks vary in functionality just as much as they actually do in appearance, using the more costly models getting the most bells and whistles. Similar to everything, your choice is closely associated with which kind of traveling you want to do.
Water-resistant – Your pack is probably not going to be completely waterproof. Meaning, if submerged, or in a torrential downpour your clothing and equipment will still get wet. Although most backpacks now include a rain cover, you continue to want it to be produced of the tough, rip proof, and light-weight silicone coated nylon or Cordura type material that enables rain or water to bead off and never soak through.
Detachable Daypack – this option is really a personal preference, and not a real deal breaker, as many travelers bring an additional pack for day trips. But for those centered on traveling light, carrying two bags could be cumbersome. Personally, i like the choice of a detachable daypack as I have it only once I want it. On my Osprey, the top lid doubles as a daypack. Much less comfortable as being a dedicated daypack, however it serves its purpose.
Heavy-duty Lockable Zippers – A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. No matter how good the content from the backpack, in the event the attachment points, like zippers, are weak the whole bag is worthless. Make sure the zippers are tough and lockable where applicable.
Pockets and Compartments – The greater compartments the better. Good backpacks usually have numerous compartments to help store and separate your gear so you won’t must sift through layers of clothes just to find your chapstick. As an example, 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 for 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 lightweight internal frame made from strong carbon fiber rods. This provides more load support and simply 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 proper weight distribution, you’re shoulders are likely to feel every one of the pounds.
Side Load Access – I’m seeing less of the function on the newer backpacks, but if you do happen to choose one with side access you’re golden. You’ll have the capacity to access items from the main compartment in the bag without digging in from your top. You’re life will simply be much simpler.
Suspension System with Padded Shoulders and Load Bearing Straps. Don’t even consider buying wholesale novelty items unless it provides either an adjustable or fixed suspension system, plus a number of load bearing straps. The suspension method is the part that usually 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 may be calibrated. The whole system is meant to help stabilize load and transfer weight to your hips. The burden bearing straps, just like the sternum strap, will even help move the load around minimizing pain and discomfort.
Ventilation – To reduce the discomfort from an annoying sweaty back, obtain a backpack with ventilation. Most internal-frame packs could have some sort of ventilation system or design feature that promotes airflow, making a permanent breathable layer between yourself and the backpack. However, not required for load support, it certainly increases your comfort level.
Padded Full-size Hip belt – This is among the most important feature of any backpack because your hips will be carrying 80% of your backpacks weight. The padding inside the belt will allow you to avoid fatigue, discomfort, not to mention load distribution. Make sure you get one that’s full-size, where the padding comes around your hip bone to the front, and isn’t just a thin strap with a clip.
Multiple Straps and Tool Attachment Points – This feature is a personal preference and doesn’t really impact comfort and load distribution but I do feel it’s equally as important. I like the idea 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 just being a bag. You’re in a position to tie, hook, and rig an entire 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) which is actually a number of tool attachment loops.
Internal Hydration Reservoir – An inside compartment that holds your preferred hydration bladder (i.e. Camelpak, Platypus) so you have hands-free use of H2O. Openings on the backpack will allow you accessibility sip tube which makes it a very practical feature on your long treks. You won’t must dig into your pack or stop your momentum trying to find your water bottle.