The right backpack for the route
Is it easy to choose a hiking backpack? Certainly, such a purchase should be well thought out. The market offers a multitude of possibilities. Backpacks are available in a variety of capacities and designs. Some are equipped with compartments and pockets, others have only spacious chambers.
What should you consider when choosing a backpack?
First, we need to define its purpose:
- Will it serve us only during trips or do we want to use it every day?
- Will our trips be limited to one, two or maybe more days?
- What terrain will we be moving in?
In the case of shorter trips or frequent, one-day use, our attention should focus on backpacks with a capacity of up to 30 l. In the category of small backpacks, we can distinguish two basic types of these - single-chamber backpacks with a hip belt and backpacks similar in appearance to urban ones. If our intention is to transport smaller equipment, it is worth looking for a backpack with a properly arranged interior. A backpack limited to one compartment may turn out to be less practical than one with pockets and compartments that will allow us to conveniently organize and easy access to the packed equipment.
Small backpacks usually do not have a frame. Usually, manufacturers use classic back padding with profiled, breathable panels. However, sometimes a backpack without any stiffening is found - such products are intended for people for whom the priority is not the comfort of use, but the lowest weight of the backpack..
The capacity of large backpacks reaches up to 100 liters and more. Due to the dimensions of the backpacks themselves and the potential weight of the equipment transported in them, they are equipped with a rigid frame and an adjustable carrying system - structural elements that will allow you to comfortably arrange your luggage on your back. Backpacks in this category have a hip and chest belt. A solid hip belt is the key - it allows you to relieve your shoulders by shifting some of the weight of packed items to your hips. Another convenience are the harnesses, often found in this type of backpack, with a system that adjusts not only the length, but also the height. This solution enables a comfortable configuration for everyone, regardless of height and body weight.
The capacity of the backpack should depend on the length of the trip and the amount of equipment that we need to take with us. However, is this the only criterion we should follow? Absolutely not! There are a few more aspects that are worth considering.
The first is weight. The most popular materials for hiking backpacks today are nylon and polyester. As the material thickness increases, its strength increases. This means an increase in weight, which is why some manufacturers (such as Highlander) use a relatively thin nylon material, which is then reinforced with a Rip-Stop mesh to increase its resistance to abrasion and other mechanical damage.
The second thing are external O-Rings, D-Rings, fastening tapes (often compatible with the MOLLE system) and other elements that allow us to attach additional pockets, pouches, shovel, compass etc.
The third thing is the amount of protruding parts, such as e.g. outer pockets. It may seem like a trivial matter, but when you go into a difficult area, where you need to squeeze through rock crevices or thickets, a slim backpack may be a good choice.
The next details are additional holes that will allow us to get to the things at the bottom of the backpack without having to take out half of its contents.
It is also worth mentioning that some backpacks have a special pocket that allows the installation of a hydration system. A special water bag with a cable will allow us to drink water without removing the backpack.
Water resistance - each backpack has its own water-resistance threshold. In heavy rainfall it will soak sooner or later. Some backpacks have a built-in rain cover, which - when not needed - is hidden in a special pocket. If the backpack does not have such an option, it is worth considering buying such a cover. Of course, it will not provide 100% waterproofness, but the contents of the backpack will certainly be safe for longer.
The last element is the compression system, thanks to which we will reduce the dimensions of the backpack, if we do not pack it to the brim. It will also prevent loose elements of the equipment from moving inertly around the chamber.
A properly selected backpack will affect the comfort of your trips. Weight distribution, amenities in the form of comfortable harnesses, ergonomic distribution of equipment and easy access to it will make our lives much easier. If the choice of a backpack is not dictated only by its color, the time spent on the trail will certainly be much more pleasant. Check out the tourist backpacks available in our store!
Author: Gniewko Bernecki