Being lifelong travelers, we all 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 buying a good hiking backpack, especially considering it’s gonna 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 will not be made impulsively. Buying your backpack really should not be a rushed decision and factors such as trip length, capacity, material, functionally and luxury should 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 applying for employment.
If my three hours was any indication, investing in a good backpack will not be a simple task. With countless backpack manufacturers and styles, it may understandably be overwhelming. Whatever you decide to do, don’t go cheap. You’ll do your disservice and purchase a replacement anyways. A good backpack is surely an investment. You needn’t spend $500 on a backpack, but be wary of cheap, no-frills, run of the mill $70 brands, as you’ll regret the design and style flaws and lack of extras. Spend a little more for a good backpack coming from a trusted brand, and this will be your companion for a lot of trips ahead. The Osprey pack I eventually settled on has traveled with me from the U.S towards the Middle East for 10 awesome years and i also realise it has another good a decade to travel.
Travel Backpack or Hiking Backpack – Before you start shopping for the best pack, it’s essential to be aware of distinction between travel backpacks and bulk backpacks. A travel backpack is a backpack-suitcase hybrid using a zippered side panel much like a suitcase. Hiking backpacks are the commonly seen cylindrical top loading packs with straps, clips along with a top lid. Some people come with an opinion that hiking backpacks are merely suited for the backcountry and has no spot for the backpacker, I disagree. What matches your needs ultimately is dependant on personal preference and style of travel. Travel backpacks are great for easy, organized use of gear and transporting from hostel to hostel. In addition they function well in short walks as well as being 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 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 plenty of load bearing straps to mitigate discomfort. Granted the very best down packing isn’t as easy to access your gear, but that’s part in parcel to proper weight distribution. An excellent compromise would be to obtain a hiking backpack with side load access.
I am generalizing somewhat because they will have travel backpacks which can be inside the upper capacity range with more advanced suspension systems, but if you’re going to get a 70L travel backpack, you might too opt for a hiking backpack. Trust me, you’ll be glad you probably 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 willing to get a different backpack for every trip, determining your travel style can save you lots of money in the end and give you some foundation gear that’s ready for virtually any trip. For example, in the event you generally go on week long trips you needn’t get 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 be the only determining factor. Many people can pack very bare bones, where others require a little more. Consider these factors:
How long is the trip: Depending on the length of your trip the capacity and overall weight of the 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 whole lot in the beginning, but 2 months in and this will feel like a lot of bricks.
Which kind of Activities are you going to do: Personally, i think that one bag can rule every one of them since i have generally use my pack for everything. However, this will not be the truth for everyone. Knowing what sort of activity you’ll do will help you zero in on that perfect backpack. If you’re not considering carrying it around much, consider a travel backpack or possibly a wheeled backpack, whereas should you foresee yourself doing long treks then this hiking backpack could be a lot better. I love to be prepared for wqkgjq kind of spontaneous activity, so I lean more towards hiking backpacks. Also, hiking backpacks are generally created a bit tougher, so keep in mind that the more challenging the activity, the greater the stress on the bag.
Lightweight or the kitchen sink: Although I mentioned earlier that dimensions are not the key determining factor, it’s still vital that you consider capacity based on everything you intend to bring. If ultra light can be your goal, avoid high capacity backpacks as you’ll invariably bring excessive or if you do manage to pack light your backpack won’t distribute the load properly. Conversely, should your backpack is just too small, you won’t be able to fit everything in. Have an idea of the gear you’re bringing and choose the capacity of your own bag accordingly. Don’t hesitate to create your things to a store to find out the actual way it fits in the packs. A reputable retailer, like REI, won’t have a problem using this.
What To Look For In A Hiking Backpack – Backpacks vary in functionality just as much as they actually do in looks, with the more expensive models having the most special features. Similar to everything, your decision here is closely related to what type of traveling you love to do.
Water Resistant – Your pack may not be gonna 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 continue to would like it to be produced of any tough, rip proof, and light-weight silicone coated nylon or Cordura type material that enables rain or water to bead off and not soak through.
Detachable Daypack – this choice is truly a personal preference, rather than a real deal breaker, as many travelers bring yet another pack for day trips. But for those dedicated to traveling light, carrying two bags could be cumbersome. I personally like the option of a detachable daypack because i already have it only once I would like it. On my Osprey, the top lid doubles as a daypack. Much less comfortable as a dedicated daypack, nevertheless it serves its purpose.
Heavy-duty Lockable Zippers – A chain is simply as strong as its weakest link. Regardless how good the content of the backpack, if the attachment points, like zippers, are weak the entire bag is worthless. Ensure that the zippers are tough and lockable where applicable.
Pockets and Compartments – The better compartments the higher. Good backpacks usually have numerous compartments to help store and separate your gear which means you won’t must search through layers of garments in order to find your chapstick. For example, maps can go inside the top flap, while your flip-flops are stored conveniently in the side pocket. However you decide to pack, separate pockets allow simple and easy , quick access to your gear. Most backpacks may also have strategically placed pockets, like on the hipbelt, so you can get to your gear while not having to drop your pack.
Lightweight Internal Frame – Backpacks generally include an inside 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 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 will feel every one of the pounds.
Side Load Access – I’m seeing less with this function on the newer backpacks, but should you do occur to locate one with side access you’re golden. You’ll be able to access items through the main compartment from the bag without digging in from 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 buying wholesale dollar store unless it offers either a flexible or fixed suspension system, in addition to a lot of load bearing straps. The suspension product is the part that generally rests against your back and where the padded shoulders connect. Fixed system implies that it fits to 1 torso size, whereas the adjustable system can be calibrated. The entire system is supposed to help stabilize load and transfer weight in your hips. The burden bearing straps, such as the sternum strap, will even help move the 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 will have some type of ventilation system or design feature that promotes airflow, developing a permanent breathable layer between yourself and also the backpack. Although not important for load support, it certainly increases your comfort level.
Padded Full-size Hip belt – This is among the most important feature of any backpack since your hips will likely be carrying 80% of the backpacks weight. The padding inside the belt can help you avoid fatigue, discomfort, not to mention load distribution. Get one that’s full-size, where the padding comes around your hip bone for 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 but I do feel it’s equally as important. I like the thought of getting 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 not only as a bag. You’re in a position to tie, hook, and rig a complete mess of things while on the road without having to carry additional gear. Some backpacks have begun to include “daisy chains” (typically available on climbing packs) which is 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 enables you access to the sip tube which makes it a really practical feature throughout your long treks. You won’t need to dig in your pack or stop your momentum searching for your water bottle.