Never underestimate the advantages a good backpack can bring you. Whether you’re going to school, going camping, or on a backpacking trip across the continent, a backpack will help you in more ways than one. Not only will it hold all your stuff, it will also be your companion on these trips and forays. Therefore, you need a companion that won’t bring you down and will see you through even the roughest and harshest times.
Backpack capacity according to your needs
Depending on the particular activity you will embark on, there are various backpacks with distinct capacities (measured in liters) available in the market.
- Hydration packs (10 to 20 lt) – These are small packs that are ideal for short running and biking activities, made to accommodate just enough food, snacks, money and other small items.
- Day packs (20 to 30 lt) – These are for outings that will last for an average of a full day and can hold items such as food, water, and a few items of clothing for when you need to layer up in case the weather shifts.
- Weekend packs (40 to 60 lt) – For those long backpacking and camping trips, there are weekend packs with storage large enough to hold a sleeping bag, tent, clothes, food and other camping gear essentials.
- Multi-day or Extended-Trip packs (60 to 80 lt) – If you thought the weekend packs are the largest, you’d be surprised at how spacious the extended-trip packs are. Ideal for multi-week excursions, it’s like bringing part of your home with you on your extended backpacking trips.
A Backpack That Fits Your Torso
Comfort is an important factor when choosing a backpack, thus the fit should be given utmost importance. The fit of backpacks is based on the length of one’s torso, or the distance between your C7 vertebra (the most noticeable protrusion on your upper spine) and the rear “shelf” of your hips. Depending on the model and brand, if you get the correct measurement of your torso, you are bound to find the size that would most fit you comfortably. A good fit also means having a snug grip on the hips, that’s why many backpacks also come with hip belts. Therefore, you also need to get your waist and hip measurement. Some also come with chest or sternum straps that connect to the shoulder straps. These are meant to improve stability and prevent you from losing your balance in uneven terrain. Generally, a Small pack size would fit those with torso length of 16” to 17 ½“, while the Regular size would be ideal for those measured at 18” to 19 ½“. The Large size reaches up to 20” and above.
What to look for in a backpack
The things you should look for in a backpack should extend beyond the appearance. Sure, you’d want to be carrying a pleasant-looking backpack, but the features are what should matter most.
- Fit: There is fit, of course, to ensure you would be comfortable and you won’t be killing yourself when carrying your backpack.
- Capacity: The capacity is also considered, along with the storage and compartments provided for inside and outside the pack.
- Material: You should also consider the material or fabric of the backpack and assess whether they would be durable enough for the activity they will be used for. Normally there is a tradeoff between the material and weight of the backpack. Often, the lighter materials have to compromise on durability, so you have to decide which one matters more to you. Of course there are exemptions.
- Padding: The padding of backpacks is also getting much attention these days since they are contributory to easing the weight of the load as well as providing protection to the back, hips, and shoulders of the wearer.
- Ventilation: Ventilation and breathability are also a major consideration, particularly for those backpacks worn in extended trips. In order to keep the air flowing between one’s back and the pack itself, some packs are built with “chimneys” on the back panels of the backpack, or “tension-mesh suspensions” to encourage breathability and prevent having a sweaty back.
- Weather- and water-proof: Another question that comes to mind would be: how weather-proof and water-proof is it? A waterproof backpack would be a really good deal, but if the material does not provide such protection from rain, some would look for packs that come with rain covers or packcovers.
You and Your Backpack – Made for Each Other
Look at it this way: as much as you are carrying your pack on your back, you can also say that your pack will be carrying you, considering the “service” it will be providing you during those trips and activities. Think about your needs, read many reviews and choose wisely.