Backpacks – One size does not fit all…
Backpacks – One size does not fit all. . . or can go the distance…
Backpacks come in many shapes, styles, weights, capacities and prices. If you are planning to carry a backpack for any extended period of time, it is worth taking the time to choose wisely. I have met several travelers on the road who did not give much thought to this part of their preparation for the trip and were absolutely miserable because of it – and I mean ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE.
Choosing the right backpack:
So how do you choose the right one with so many backpacks available? First thing you must think of is the capacity – how big does it need to be and how much weight should it (and you) be able to comfortably hold? Many brands of backpacks range from smaller sizes of 30L up to the larger sized packs that can hold 70-80L or more of gear. See the article titled Backpackers Checklist for more ideas on the capacity you may need for the amount of items you intend to bring. I am aware that all people travel differently, and what are absolute necessities for some may be dead weight for others. Just remember that you will be carrying this pack – on your back – for some time.
My backpack of choice:
For my backpacking trip around the world, I purchased a Deuter 60 +10 liter pack which means that the top can expand to include 10 more liters of space should I need it (and on more than one occasion I definitely did!). I personally love the Deuter line of backpacks as they are super durable and reliable. There are definitely cheaper packs out there, but the quality of the Deuter backpacks are worth the few extra bucks if you ask me. The last thing I want to worry about when I am traveling is a broken zipper or something equally annoying that makes carrying my things any more complicated that it can already be at times.
Backpack fit and weight:
So after you decide the size, you need to think about the fit and weight. My recommendation is to travel over to your local sporting or recreational store (like REI) and try on a few for size. I personally went to an REI store and they were kind enough to even throw in some weighted pillows in various backpacks that I choose or that they recommended and let me walk around the store for some time to help me decide on a comfortable size and weight. I chose the Deuter 60+10L pack that was adjustable and fit my body shape perfectly.
Finally, if your trip requires flying from place to place (or taking trains or buses) it is recommended that you also purchase a duffel bag to put your pack in when checking it into the cargo luggage as many backpacks have several straps and zippers that can get caught in conveyer belts or torn from being tossed around during handling. The duffel bag also protects your pack from grease and grime that can be found in the cargo holds of trains and buses and I personally recommend purchasing a black one. Another great thing to have is a rain cover for your pack, like this one here.
I must really stress the importance of this step once again. DO take the time to find the right pack, duffel bag and rain cover for your pack- and you can thank me later 😉