Picking the right backpack is an important part of any trip. Too big, and you’ll have too much extra weight. Too small, and you’ll never fit anything in. Pick the wrong material, and when it rains, your stuff will be soaked. There are so many options out there that it can be very confusing.
What to Look for in a Good Pack
The best backpacks – the ones that last the longest – have all the following characteristics that make them durable, protective, and long lasting:
- Water resistant material – While your pack does not need to be 100% waterproof, make sure your bag is made out of a semi-waterproof material so everything doesn’t get wet in a drizzle (many packs come with tarps you can put over them in case of a severe downpour). Look for material that is thick but lightweight. You should be able to pour a cup of water over it without the insides getting wet.
- Lockable Zippers – Make sure each compartment has two zippers so you can lock them together.
- Multiple Compartments – A good bag must to have multiple compartments. This way, you can break up your belongings into smaller sections so it’s easier to access and find the stuff you need. For example, clothes in the main compartment of my bag, umbrella and flips flops in the top, and shoes in the separated side compartment (that way they don’t get everything dirty).
- Internal Frame – The majority of backpacks today are internal-frame packs, meaning the support rods and frame are build into the backpack and hidden from view. Internal-framed packs tend to be lighter as the frame is composed of a carbon fiber or tough plastic making them easier on your back as well as more durable.
- Padded Hip Belt – Most of the weight you will be carrying around will be pushing down on your hips, so you’ll want a padded belt to make supporting the weight more comfortable. The belt will help provide support and distribute the weight load more evenly on your back causing less strain and problems. The hip belt should also be adjustable so you can tighten it for extra support.
- Padded Shoulder Straps – These make carrying your load more comfortable, as the weight of your pack will be pushing downward on your shoulders. The pads will put less pressure on your shoulders and also help take pressure off your lower back. Make sure the padding is very thick and made up of a single piece of material as it will be less likely to split and thin out.
- Contoured/Padded Back – A lumbar-shaped pack makes carrying it more comfortable, as it helps distributes weight more evenly. The same principle applies that is used in contoured chairs. It allows for a more natural arch ensure no back pain. Moreover, this type of pack creates a small space between your back and the bag allowing air to move through and help keep your slightly cool. Lugging your bag around can build up a sweat!
Does size matter?
What matters is that your backpack should be both proportional to your body. That might mean a backpack that is 40 liters or 80 liters. If your backpack is too big or too small, the weight won’t be balanced properly and will cause back pain or maybe even make you topple over. You don’t want a skyscraper rising up from your back but you also don’t want a pack that is clearly too small and overflowing with your stuff.
Watch this video which explains How to pick a backpack based on your height.
Happy Travellin n Backpackin!!