Which is the right backpack for me?

Knowing how to choose the right backpack for your needs is critical to your comfort on a trek, especially a long one. If you intend to spend a fair amount of time outdoors, you will need at least three packs - a daypack, a medium sized pack for overnighters and weekend outings, as well as a larger backpack for longer treks. The fitting of your backpack is extremely important, and you need to have a backpack that is the right size for you.


 

 

Daypack
Your daypack should be just big enough to hold whatever you might need during the day - spare clothing, socks, snacks, writing
material, medicines, camera, binoculars, etc.
Things to look for
· Comfortable size, easy to carry
· Lightweight
· Easily accessible pockets
· Waterproof or at least water resistant.
. Top opening preferable to zippered 3 side flap ( illustrated with diagram).


Medium Pack
Medium packs come in three types - no frame, internal frame or external frame. Packs with frames are for heavier loads and extended trips. It is important to get your pack fit right unless you want to be very uncomfortable on your treks.
Things to look for
· Pack to fit according to your torso length and shoulder curvature
· Pack size : 30 to 45 litres
· Exterior pockets to suit your usage pattern
· Should be made of light, waterproof, tear-resistant material
· Look for clamping rings to lash things externally - sleeping bag, shoes, odds and ends
· Straps : look for abdominal strap and good webbing to prevent slipping. Straps should be broad and well-padded, curved for ladies, straight for men
· A useful accessory is a pack cover for your backpack. A pack cover serves as protection against rain on a trek, and keeps your pack protected when not in use.

Safari Packs
The most important thing when you are selecting a safari pack for long trips is the fit. There is no room for compromise - if the fit is not absolutely right, don't buy the pack.
While both internal and external frame packs are available, we feel that external frame packs are more comfortable and durable for heavier loads and long durations.
Things to look for
· Pack size : 60 - 75 litres
· Pockets that suit your requirements
· Double compartment pack with top open is preferable - you can use the bottom compartment for packing shoes, sleeping bag, etc
· Waterproof
· Zippered packs are fine - but if you want to take no chances on the zip opening up on you en route, go for a top open model
· Ask for a pack cover - a useful accessory in rainy conditions. A pack cover also offers protection for your backpack on journeys and while storing.


Backpack Fitting
As your backpack is going to be practically an extension of your body for long stretches of time, the fit of your backpack is extremely important.

To decide what size of backpack you should buy, have a friend measure your torso with a measuring tape. Ask him or her to measure along your spine from the seventh vertabra ( the bony protrusion where your back ends and your neck begins, down to a point in line with the iliac crest ( the top of your hip bone). This distance is your torso length.

Most good brands of backpacks come in three sizes : small, medium and large - to fit various torso sizes.

Another factor that should be taken into consideration when selecting a backpack is your hip-belt length. Your hip-belt length is your round-the-torso measurement from the centre of your hip-bone (1/2 inch below the top of your hips). It is important that you measure from this point, and not the round your waist or where you wear your pants.

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Also check out :
Choosing a Sleeping Bag | Choosing a Tent | Checklist for Day Outings