1. Zipper placement
Backpacks with one small opening on the top are just fine, but impractical if you need something in a hurry and don’t want to rummage through your bag. Look for a pack with conveniently placed zippered compartments, for easier access to the items you need. Some backpacks have zippers around the entire body of the bag, almost like a suitcase.
2. Waterproof. You never know when you’ll encounter rain – or a waterfall
You may not have planned to hike during monsoon season, but plan for the unexpected. A waterproof backpack is essential. Each item in your pack has a key role and it is likely that you prefer they stay dry. Whatever the label claims, always test it: pour a glass of water over your pack and see the results with your own eyes. You could even put it in the shower for the ultimate waterproof test. Please note: some backpacks may not be waterproof, but they come with waterproof covers. Test the cover, if that’s the case.
If you hate the idea of anything being ‘liberated’ from your pack – even dirty laundry – then a backpack that can be locked is crucial. Most backpacks aren’t self-locking, but you can purchase a small padlock (combination locks are the best, as you don’t run the risk of losing the key).
4. Laptop storage
Speaking of locks, if you want to stow your laptop or other devices in your pack, seek out a backpack with a dedicated, padded compartment. A lockable compartment, of course.
5. More pockets = more comfort!
The considerate backpack offers numerous compartments, pouches and pockets, to help you stay organized. A holder for your water bottle; a laundry pouch; maybe even a pocket for your shoes. Some backpacks feature special compartments for fragile articles such as sunglasses…
6. Belt support for your back
Perhaps you’ve filled your pack to the brim. Now, you have to carry it around. A backpack with belt support helps you balance the load and prevent both fatigue and back strain. The belt should be positioned just above your hips, which distributes the weight of the bag equally. . In that way, you can distribute the load to your waist and back equally.
7. Tell us who you are, and we’ll tell you the size of your backpack
The size of your backpack should align with your travel plans. A backpack with a capacity of 30 to 50 liters is usually sufficient for a three-day jaunt. If you’re traveling for longer, camping backpacks with a capacity of 50 to 80 liters will be just fine. If you’re doing winter travel or a trip of more than five days, a 70-liter backpack should accommodate everything you need. The main consideration is whether you can carry such a large pack: if you intend to negotiate narrow, crowded streets or treacherous mountain paths, a 70-liter pack may be too large, heavy or unwieldy. And, always, keep in mind that you will be carrying, on your back, whatever you put in your backpack.
We aren’t referring to a mobile air conditioner and, yet, having a backpack with ventilation might be the next best thing. Also known as ventilated backpacks or trampoline frame backpacks, these feature a mesh back suspended above a concave cavity. This allows air to circulate between the pack and your back, reducing both perspiration and the need to carry more drinking water. The frames are usually aluminum; some frames are removable as well.
9. High-quality zipper
We discussed zippers earlier, but the quality of the zipper is as important as its location. To assess the strength of the zipper, test it. Does it run smoothly along the track? Does it have any threads hanging out? Look for double-stitched zippers with sturdy, larger pull tabs. Molded metal or plastic zippers are durable; also, make sure that the ends of the zippers meet each other.
10. Hooks and more hooks
Also known as ‘external attachment points’, these are the features that permit you to attach items to the outside of your pack. These are convenient for camping gear, sleeping bags, pots, pans….even shoes! Check if your backpack has these!
Now that you’ve learned a little more about the backpack, it’s time to select your next destination! Have a wonderful holiday!