Being lifelong travelers, all of us love our lightweight, multipurpose gear that may withstand the rigors of the road. Gear ought to be dependable, multifunctional, durable and perform beyond anticipation. Nothing could be truer when it comes to purchasing 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 should not be made impulsively. Buying your backpack should not be a rushed decision and factors like trip length, capacity, material, functionally and luxury 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 employment.
If my three hours was any indication, purchasing a good backpack is not really an easy task. With hundreds of backpack manufacturers and styles, it can understandably be overwhelming. Whatever you decide to do, don’t go cheap. You’ll do a disservice and buy a new one anyways. A good backpack is an investment. You needn’t spend $500 over a backpack, but be suspicious of cheap, no-frills, ordinary $70 brands, as you’ll regret the design and style flaws and absence of extras. Spend a bit more for a good backpack from the trusted brand, and it will be your companion for a lot of trips ahead. The Osprey pack I eventually settled on has traveled with me through the U.S for the Middle East for 10 awesome years and that i know it has another good ten years to travel.
Travel Backpack or Hiking Backpack – Before you start shopping for the best pack, it’s vital that you understand the distinction between travel backpacks and wholesale backpacks in bulk. A travel backpack is actually a backpack-suitcase hybrid with a zippered side panel similar to a suitcase. Hiking backpacks would be the commonly seen cylindrical top loading packs with straps, clips along with a top lid. Some individuals have an opinion that hiking backpacks are only designed for the backcountry and contains no place for the backpacker, I disagree. What really works ultimately comes down to personal preference and elegance of travel. Travel backpacks are great for easy, organized access to gear and transporting from hostel to hostel. They also work well for short walks or even being a daypack.
On the other hand, if you possibly have camping or long treks inside your travel plans, you may want 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 useful to access your gear, but that’s part in parcel to proper weight distribution. A great compromise will be to get a hiking backpack with side load access.
I am generalizing a bit since they do have travel backpacks that are in the upper capacity range with more advanced suspension systems, however, if you’re going to get a 70L travel backpack, you may as well go with a hiking backpack. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did for the unexpected 20 mile trek to another town.
Personal Backpacking Style – Next, determine the design of travel you normally love to do. Unless you’re ready to purchase a different backpack for each 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 virtually 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. Many people have the ability to pack very bare bones, where others require a little more. Think about these factors:
How much time can be your trip: Depending on the length of your vacation the capability and overall weight of the 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 lot in the beginning, but 2 months in and it will feel as if a lot of bricks.
What Type of Activities do you want to do: Personally, i think that one bag can rule every one of them since I generally use my pack for everything. However, this may not be the situation for everybody. Knowing which kind of activity you’ll be doing will help you zero in on that perfect backpack. If you’re not considering carrying it around much, look at a travel backpack or even a wheeled backpack, whereas should you foresee yourself doing long treks then this hiking backpack might be more desirable. 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 made a bit tougher, so take into account that the more challenging the action, the greater the stress on the bag.
Lightweight or perhaps the kitchen sink: Although I mentioned earlier that dimensions are not the main determining factor, it’s still essential to consider capacity according to whatever you intend to bring. If ultra light is the goal, avoid high capacity backpacks as you’ll invariably bring a lot of or should you do manage to pack light your backpack won’t distribute the load properly. Conversely, if your backpack is just too small, you won’t be able to fit everything in. Know of the gear you’re bringing and choose the capacity of your bag accordingly. Don’t hesitate to take your items to a store to see how it fits in the packs. An established retailer, like REI, won’t have difficulties with this.
Things To Look For In A Hiking Backpack – Backpacks vary in functionality around they do in looks, with all the higher priced models having the most special features. As with everything, your final decision is closely related to what sort 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 get wet. Although most backpacks now come with a rain cover, you will 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 and not soak through.
Detachable Daypack – this alternative is really a personal preference, and never a real deal breaker, as much travelers bring an additional pack for day trips. However for those centered on traveling light, carrying two bags can be cumbersome. I personally like the option of a detachable daypack when i get it only if I need it. On my Osprey, the very best lid doubles as a daypack. Less comfortable as being a dedicated daypack, but it serves its purpose.
Heavy-duty Lockable Zippers – A chain is simply as strong as its weakest link. Regardless of how good the fabric in the backpack, when 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 greater compartments the higher. Good backpacks normally have numerous compartments to assist store and separate your gear so you won’t have to search through layers of garments simply to find your chapstick. For instance, maps may go inside the top flap, while your flip-flops are stored conveniently within the side pocket. However you want to pack, separate pockets allow easy and fast access in your gear. Most backpacks may also have strategically placed pockets, like on the hipbelt, to get to your gear while not having to drop your pack.
Lightweight Internal Frame – Backpacks generally come with an internal frame, external frame, or no frame at all. I strongly recommend a light-weight internal frame made from strong carbon fiber rods. This supplies 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 are likely to feel every single one of these pounds.
Side Load Access – I’m seeing less of this function on the newer backpacks, but should you eventually choose one with side access you’re golden. You’ll have the ability to access items from the main compartment from the bag without digging in through the top. You’re life will you should be so much simpler.
Suspension System with Padded Shoulders and Load Bearing Straps. Don’t even consider buying wholesale sites unless it offers either a flexible or fixed suspension system, plus a number of load bearing straps. The suspension system is the part that usually rests against your back and in which the padded shoulders connect. Fixed system means that it fits to 1 torso size, whereas the adjustable system may be calibrated. The complete system is supposed to help stabilize load and transfer weight for your hips. The stress bearing straps, such as the sternum strap, will also help move the load around minimizing pain and discomfort.
Ventilation – To minimize the discomfort from an annoying sweaty back, get yourself a backpack with ventilation. Most internal-frame packs could have some kind of ventilation system or design feature that promotes airflow, making a permanent breathable layer between yourself and also the backpack. Although not important 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 as your hips will likely be carrying 80% of the backpacks weight. The padding in the belt can help you 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 only a thin strap with a clip.
Multiple Straps and Tool Attachment Points – This feature is actually a personal preference and doesn’t really impact comfort and load distribution but I do feel it’s just like 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 number of unexpected circumstances, making your backpack function more than simply 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 available on climbing packs) which is a series of tool attachment loops.
Internal Hydration Reservoir – An inside compartment that holds your favorite hydration bladder (i.e. Camelpak, Platypus) so you have hands free use of H2O. Openings on the backpack enables you accessibility sip tube rendering it a very practical feature on your long treks. You won’t have to dig into your pack or stop your momentum searching for your water bottle.