How To Pick Your Backpack

Your backpack will become your best friend during your travels. You will sleep with it. You will laugh at it when it falls over unannounced and you will hate it as it pulls at your back like a small monkey for miles on end. Thus, of all the things you bring with you on your trip, your backpack is one of the most important.

2 Core Considerations

1)   Size: The most important thing to keep in mind as you decide which backpack you will buy is the size. The bigger it is, the more tempted you will be to fill it up and the more weight you will have to haul around. For the most part, you generally won’t need a lot of the things you think you need. So, smaller is better. Click here for a guide on “How To Pack”. Or here for a guide on “Essential Travel Gear.”

2)   Quality: Since your backpack will be constantly exposed to the elements, it is important that it is built strong. Broken shoulder straps, jammed zippers and tears are the most common problems. So, it is best to invest in a quality pack rather than something cheap from the army surplus store.

Other Important Features Your Pack Should Include

1) Shoulder straps. Shoulder straps should be both high quality and extremely comfortable. Since the majority of your pack weight resides on you shoulders, try on your pack first to make sure it is as comfortable as it can be.

2) Waist belt:  A waist belt is an important feature. It helps distribute weight to your waiste and leg muscles, relieving pressure on your shoulders. You should make sure that the waist best isn’t to high or low and that it fits snugly around your waist.

3) Chest straps: Like the waste belt, they help to distribute weight forward, reducing downward pressure, thus providing a more centered and comfortable feel.

4) An easy access front-loading panel. This is a convenience that you will definitely want. With out access to the middle of your bag, you will find yourself constantly packing and unpacking everything.

5) Waterproof: If you’re not a fan of mold, make sure your pack includes this feature.  As long as your pack has some degree of waterproofing you should be fine. However, if you are traveling somewhere during a rainy season, you should invest in a separate waterproof backpack cover.

6) Backpack cover: If you want your backpack to be completely water proof, you can invest in a separate cover. However, instead of paying in the vicinity of 30$, you can always rig up a make shift cover out of a garbage bag for a fraction of the price.

These are just a few basic considerations to take into account before your purchase. In the end though, no matter what kind of pack you decide on, you are sure to get used to it.

 Our Recommendations

Small to Large

1 Military MOLLE Medium Transport Backpack

2 Mil-Tec Military Army Patrol 30L

3 Osprey Packs Atmos 65 Backpack

4 TETON Sports Scout

For information on equipment, such as tents and sleeping bags, refer to essential travel gear.