How to Pick the Right Backpack for Your Next Trip

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Camping and hiking can be some the most wonderfully simplistic ways to get away from all the noise of our everyday lives and reconnect with ourselves as well as nature. However, not everyone is an outdoors man and could use a little help in trying to pick one of the most pivotal accessories; the backpack. It's one the most important components of your gear and bringing the wrong one can seriously cramp your adventure. You want to be able to carry all of your things comfortably and have the important things be easily accessible but protected.

A large part of choosing the right backpack is dependent of the kind of outing that you have lined up. Are you going on an overnight camping trip with some light hiking or an extended hiking trip with a longer trail in mind? There is a backpack available for every need you can imagine and pinning yours down is the first step.The storage capacity of the backpack is dictated by the number of days, that you are going to use it for, the shape and structure dependent on just how long and in what conditions you’re going to use it for.

You want to be able to carry all of your things comfortably and have the important things be easily accessible but protected.

Be it a camping trip of any length of time; comfort must be the overriding factor that must dictate your choice of backpack. Carrying something heavy and bulky puts a lot of strain on your shoulders, neck, back and hips and could lead to pain or even injury. Three of the most important qualities of the backpack which make for comfort are the straps, hip belts and frame. The straps should be adjustable and wide enough so that they don’t dig into your muscles when weight has been added. Other features to consider are load-lift straps for heavier duty trips, Hip belts support the major portion of the weight of the pack, and a sternum strap which can help prevent the pack from bumping and jarring on your back.

Depending on the terrain of your trip, weather that you might encounter, water-resistant material can be very important. While your backpack does not need to be 100% waterproof, make sure it is at least made out of a semi-waterproof material so everything doesn’t get wet in a drizzle. 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.

The frame of the backpack holds its importance in the functionality and comfort areas. Always go for a bag that is proportionate to your body and has the most comfortable wear. A lot of that comfort can lie in the frame of the bag.


There are two types of frames to consider-

Internal-frame packs- This is the most common and, frankly, recommended for most trips you would take.  Designed for easy maneuvering, stability, flexibility. They are great for carrying only a few items or several, depending on the style of bag you get. Moreover, backpacks that are made from this type of frame fit closely and better suited if you are going to a terrain that is uneven and you’re looking for something lightweight for climbing, overnight or short term trips. Some internal frame backpacks have a lumbar pad that helps in air circulation.

External-frame packs- If you’re traveling on long, established trails, and aim to carry a heavy load, then backpacks that have an external frame, are the right choice for you. They are more comfortable for carrying heavy loads, have a larger storage capacity for more arduous trips, and more rigid support to prevent any injury.  While they aren’t usually the most attractive options, they are usually not too expensive.

One of the most important considerations before choosing your backpack. Think critically about the items you will need to have and lay them out evaluate which items will need to be easily reached? What will take up the most space or bring the most weight?  Storage capacity needs vary from one individual to another and from one trip to another.

There are a lot of extra features to consider as well depending on your needs.Some backpacks offer something extra like rain covers, accessory pockets, stuff sacks and even trekking poles.

There are a lot of extra features to consider as well depending on your needs

Double, lockable zippers are, personally, pretty important, especially when traveling through an airport or bus station to get to the destination. Make sure each compartment has two zippers, and you can purchase a small bag lock to lock them together. When purchasing locks, make sure the packaging says they are TSA-friendly, these locks have a special release valve that allows the TSA to open the lock without breaking it so they can check your bag. You can purchase TSA locks online or at most retail stores like Walmart or Target.

While some of the nicest backpacks are ridiculously expensive, while others are more affordable and have fewer features, It will be up to you to make the distinction between something that will give you value for your money or will end up being a waste. If you are thinking about going for regular camping trips then it does make sense to buy something that will survive for a good length of time. Such backpacks don’t come cheap, but are worth every penny you invest in them. Choose your backpack with due care but most importantly, Enjoy your adventure.