Being lifelong travelers, we all love our lightweight, multipurpose gear that can withstand the rigors of the road. Gear needs to 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 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 never be made impulsively. Buying your backpack must not be a rushed decision and factors such as trip length, capacity, material, functionally and luxury should 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, purchasing a good backpack is not really a simple task. With countless backpack manufacturers and designs, it could understandably be overwhelming. Anything you do, don’t go cheap. You’ll do your disservice and purchase a completely new one anyways. An excellent backpack is an investment. You needn’t spend $500 on the backpack, but be suspicious of cheap, no-frills, ordinary $70 brands, as you’ll regret the design flaws and lack of extras. Spend a little bit more to get a good backpack from a trusted brand, and it will be your companion for most trips ahead. The Osprey pack I eventually settled on has traveled with me from the U.S to the Middle East for 10 awesome years and that i realise it has another great ten years to visit.
Travel Backpack or Hiking Backpack – Before you begin shopping for the right pack, it’s vital that you be aware of distinction between travel backpacks and buy backpacks in bulk. A travel backpack is a backpack-suitcase hybrid using a zippered side panel much like a suitcase. Hiking backpacks are the more commonly seen cylindrical top loading packs with straps, clips along with a top lid. Some individuals provide an opinion that hiking backpacks are only suited for the backcountry and contains no location for the backpacker, I disagree. What works for you ultimately is dependant on personal preference and elegance of travel. Travel backpacks are great for easy, organized usage of gear and transporting from hostel to hostel. In addition they function well in short walks or even as a daypack.
On the contrary, in the event you possibly have camping or long treks within your travel plans, you might like to think about a hiking backpack. Hiking backpacks are equipped 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 is usually to get a hiking backpack with side load access.
I am just generalizing a bit because they have travel backpacks which are inside the upper capacity range with more advanced suspension systems, but if you’re getting a 70L travel backpack, you could as well choose a hiking backpack. Believe me, you’ll be very glad you did for the unexpected 20 mile trek to another town.
Personal Backpacking Style – Next, determine the style of travel you normally like to do. Unless you’re prepared to purchase a different backpack for each trip, finding out your travel style can save you a lot of cash over time and give you some foundation gear that’s ready for virtually any trip. For instance, if you generally go on week long trips you needn’t obtain a high capacity bag and may probably pull off a 35 liter to 50 liter (L) pack, whereas living long term on the road might require 65L or greater.
Dimension is pretty subjective though and shouldn’t be the only determining factor. Some people can pack very bare bones, where others require a bit more. Consider these factors:
Just how long is your trip: Depending on the length of your trip 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 larger the pack the heavier it can become. 50lbs may not seem a great deal in the beginning, but 2 months in and this will think that a lot of bricks.
Which kind of Activities will you do: I personally believe that one bag can rule all of them since I generally use my pack for everything. However, this might not be the case for everybody. Knowing what type of activity you’ll be doing will allow you to zero in on that perfect backpack. If you’re not planning on carrying it around much, think about a travel backpack or even a wheeled backpack, whereas should you foresee yourself doing long treks then the hiking backpack may be a lot better. I really like to be ready for wqkgjq type of spontaneous activity, and so i lean more towards hiking backpacks. Also, hiking backpacks are generally created a bit tougher, so keep in mind that the better challenging the activity, the higher 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 vital that you consider capacity based upon whatever you intend to bring. If ultra light is your goal, avoid high capacity backpacks as you’ll invariably bring too much or should you find a way to pack light your backpack won’t distribute the load properly. Conversely, should your backpack is too small, you won’t have the ability to fit everything in. Have an idea of the gear you’re bringing and choose the capacity of the bag accordingly. Don’t hesitate to bring your items to a store to see the actual way it fits in the packs. A reputable retailer, like REI, won’t have difficulties with this particular.
What To Look For In A Hiking Backpack – Backpacks vary in functionality just as much as they are doing in looks, with all the more costly models obtaining the most features. Similar to everything, your final decision the following is closely associated with what type of traveling you want to do.
Water-resistant – Your pack may not be likely to be completely waterproof. Meaning, if submerged, or in a torrential downpour your clothing and equipment will get wet. Although most backpacks now have a rain cover, you will still want it to be made 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 choice is actually a personal preference, and not really a deal breaker, as much travelers bring an additional pack for day trips. But for those focused on traveling light, carrying two bags can be cumbersome. Personally, i like the choice of a detachable daypack because i have it only once I want it. In my Osprey, the very best lid doubles as being 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 the weakest link. Regardless of how good the content of the backpack, in the event 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 better. Good backpacks usually have a number of compartments to help store and separate your gear which means you won’t need to search through layers of garments in order to find your chapstick. As an example, 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 simple and easy , quick access for your gear. Most backpacks will also have strategically placed pockets, like on the hipbelt, so you can get to your gear without having to drop your pack.
Lightweight Internal Frame – Backpacks generally have an internal frame, external frame, or no frame at all. 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 use 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 those pounds.
Side Load Access – I’m seeing less and less of the function on the newer backpacks, but should you do eventually find one with side access you’re golden. You’ll have the ability to access items from your main compartment of the bag without digging in through the top. You’re life will just be so much simpler.
Suspension System with Padded Shoulders and Load Bearing Straps. Don’t even consider buying 99 cents items wholesale unless it has either a variable or fixed suspension system, along with a number of load bearing straps. The suspension product is the part that generally rests against your back and where the padded shoulders connect. Fixed system means that it fits to 1 torso size, whereas the adjustable system can be calibrated. The whole system is supposed to help stabilize load and transfer weight for your hips. The stress bearing straps, just like the sternum strap, will also help move the load around minimizing pain and discomfort.
Ventilation – To lower the discomfort from an annoying sweaty back, get yourself a backpack with ventilation. Most internal-frame packs may have some sort of ventilation system or design feature that promotes airflow, making a permanent breathable layer between yourself as well as the backpack. While not essential for load support, it certainly increases your level of comfort.
Padded Full-size Hip belt – This is among the most important feature for any backpack because your hips is going to be carrying 80% of your backpacks weight. The padding within the belt will allow you to avoid fatigue, discomfort, not to mention load distribution. Try and get one that’s full-size, where the padding comes around your hip bone towards the front, and isn’t only a thin strap using a clip.
Multiple Straps and Tool Attachment Points – This feature is actually a personal preference and doesn’t really impact comfort and load distribution having said that i do feel it’s equally as important. I like the idea of obtaining excess straps, clips and tool attachment points. You’re in a position to perform on-the-fly spot fixes for a number of unexpected circumstances, making your backpack function more than simply as being a bag. You’re in a position to tie, hook, and rig a whole mess of things while on the road without having to carry additional gear. Some backpacks have started to include “daisy chains” (typically available on climbing packs) that is a series of tool attachment loops.
Internal Hydration Reservoir – An inside compartment that holds your preferred hydration bladder (i.e. Camelpak, Platypus) which means you have hands-free use of H2O. Openings on the backpack will allow you accessibility sip tube making it an extremely practical feature on your long treks. You won’t need to dig into your pack or stop your momentum looking for your water bottle.