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Selecting a Backpack

July 29, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

Backpacks may not seem like a vital necessity, but they certainly do affect your camping and hiking experience. Not only will a sturdy pack allow you to carry all of your accessories, but it will eliminate back strain. Despite the fact that most are relatively high in price, they are worth every penny. From daypacks to travel packs and expedition packs – there seems to be a size and a style for every preference.

When selecting a backpack, it is important to consider where you will use it, the size, accessibility, and comfort given. Regardless of your partiality, there are generally two designs that are offered. The first is an internal frame model, which is often the most sought after item. Not only does it support your back, but it balances the weight out. As a result, it will make it much easier to carry a heavy load. If you are planning on a lengthy excursion, this is absolutely your best bet. It is ideal because it will allow you to move freely, without having to stop and rest due to back pain.

External frame backpacks
are just as useful, but they tend to be better for shorter trips. Campers enjoy this design because it is cheaper than internal frames and allow for more airflow. Still, due to their wide frame, mobility is an issue. Nevertheless, if you enjoy short hiking trips and are looking to climb low to flat terrain, an external frame backpack is a great accessory to have.

No matter which design you prefer, it is imperative that the backpack is comfortable. In addition, it should be very easy to put on and take off. Far too often people do not take these factors into consideration, and end up miserable throughout the entire trip. Though internal frame packs are preferred, they tend to be difficult to access. External frame bags actually have a panel load system, where you can access every part of your bag.  Regardless of your selection, you absolutely need to weight the pros and cons before purchasing.

What about material? When you are backpacking in the summer, you will need something that is lightweight. Without breath ability, you will find that it is difficult to continue moving forward. Water resistance is another huge factor, especially during seasons that are known for unpredictable downpours. Moreover, hydration systems should be considered.  Not only should your bag have a water storage unit, but it should have a built-in water system.

In order to comfortably wear a backpack, you should tighten all compression straps before putting the backpack on. Once this is accomplished, loosen the hip and shoulder belts. By shrugging your shoulders and tightening the hip belt, you will be able to put the weight on your hips and not your lower back. It is also important to make sure that the load lifters are hovering around your shoulders.  

Selecting the right backpack may be an overwhelming task, but it certainly will help you in the long run. By doing your research and asking others for help, you will not have a problem finding what is best for you.

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