Backpacks come in myriad shapes and sizes but don’t let the wide selection overwhelm you! Here are some smart tips that will help you find the perfect pack.
Choosing the best size
There are packs for the bush and packs for globetrotting, small bags suited for a half day stroll, and cavernous sacks meant to transport enough food and equipment for a long trek in the wilderness.
- The pack’s capacity should reflect its purpose. A pack that is too small will mean having to lash important items onto the outside, where they can get wet and snag on low-growing branches.
- On the other hand, experience shows that gear has an uncanny knack of accumulating to fill any available space, so try to avoid packs that are unnecessarily large for the task at hand.
Try a smaller pack
For brief outings lasting an hour or two, where you may wish only to carry a light jacket, small water bottle and a snack, a waist pack — or ‘fanny pack’ — is ideal.
- They are particularly useful for skiing, climbing and any activity where freedom of movement is required.
- Most designs fit snugly around the waist with a padded hipbelt and have a separate compartment for smaller items.
Finding the right daypack
The extra capacity of a day pack makes it a more versatile option, and not just for hiking trips but also as a multi-purpose carryall for almost any everyday purpose from shopping to visiting the library.
- There are two main styles of day pack.’Teardrop’ packs feature a curved, zippered opening which gives the pack a neat, compact shape. Top-opening day packs have a separate lid which straps over the top of the pack, for extra protection during inclement weather.
- Day packs need to be very sturdy, comfortable and roomy enough to stow all you need for a day on the trail.
- This may include not only food and spare clothing layers, but a camera, water bottle, first aid kit, map and emergency items.
If you have a specialist interest such as photography or bird watching which involves additional gear, then a larger day pack will be needed.
Extra capacity is also essential for such activities as climbing and skiing.
The right pack is essential for any outing. Consider these tips before you buy a backpack and find the pack that will fit you perfectly.