Choosing a backpack for your camping adventure is a very important one. It’s not “just a bag” that so many inexperienced campers say. Though it seems such a small matter, your backpack can benefit you in ways that you could never imagine, especially when you are out there trekking or camping and all you have is an ill-fitting backpack.
Still skeptical? In 1994, a hiker who went on a trip to the Appalachians had to have his trip cut short and had to go home broken and bleeding because of an ill-fitting backpack that damaged his hips. Almost a decade later, he went back hiking with a better backpack and managed to make 960 miles of terrain.
Never underestimate the importance of a good backpack to avoid inconveniences that might be caused by terrible equipment. With that in mind, here are tips to help you choose a good backpack for the journey that lies ahead of you.
1. Know what you need – Bear in mind that, campers and hikers’ needs vary in their preferences, some are minimalists and take only what’s necessary or the bare essentials. Others might take a lot more equipment with them, as if they are planning to camp for a month. Decide on the type of equipment you need to bring with you and its quantity, this way will help you decide what backpacks you will need.
Deciding on the amount of space you need is quite easy. Ask the sales representative on the amount of space their bags offer. They might be able to explain a thing or two. As a rule of thumb, pretend that you are going for the longest trip and prepare for a space that could cater for that.
2. Look for comfort – The most important thing to consider when choosing a backpack is to look for comfort. A good backpack should be one that can carry the most weight but with the least amount of effort.
A good backpack should be able to distribute weight efficiently and therefore provide you the maximum comfort when you’re carrying the backpack. One way to find how well a bag handles its content is by testing them yourself. Most camp stores provide sand weights for you to place inside the backpack. See how the backpack handles the weight every time you add a sand bag in. Only you can decide as to how much weight is comfortable for you before you consider purchasing one.
Another rule of thumb to consider is the straps. Shoulder straps and hip straps. The shoulder straps of your backpack should carry about 30% of the weight and the hip strap should be able to carry 70% of the weight as it is more stable. Make sure that these straps are comfortable and unrestrictive. Try moving around in the backpack, preferably with the sand bags included, to see how much mobility the backpack gives you.
Ask the sales representative if the straps have sternum straps. They are used to stabilize the backpack. These straps should be positioned below your collarbone for comfort and stability when you’re carrying it.
Most hip belts constrict your breathing. Find a backpack that does not constrict your breathing but at the same time should not reduce your mobility.
3. Choose your frame – There are two types of frames – internal and external frames – for you to choose from. Internal framed backpacks are suitable for hard trails as they are so maneuverable and do not restrain your mobility. They are slimmer and hug your body closer. If internal frames are for hard trail, external frames are the opposite. It’s suitable for beginners and children as they are used for easy trails and easier to pack.
4. Other extras – Most backpacks are designed in such a way that it allows you to include extra components to be integrated with your backpack such as rings and snap-ons. Also make sure that the backpack that you like is compatible with weather sheets to protect it.
Every year, different backpacks with a new and improved technology come out. Not to mention the different types of beautiful designs for you to choose. The best thing for you to do before buying a camping backpack is to try them out yourself.
However, in the end, a good backpack goes hand-in-hand with a great trek. Choose your backpack carefully as it is your most trusted companion during all of your camping trips. A good backpack will enhance your camping experience tenfold. So take your time when it comes to choosing your backpack as it might be the main factor in determining whether your camping or hiking experience be a good one or a bad one.