A person who is not experienced with camping or hiking may think that all backpacks are the same, but that is far from the truth. For a camper who is serious about making the most out of a camping trip, a backpack can make or break an excursion to the woods.
Take the plight of a trekker who traveled to the Appalachians in 1994. Rather than a thrilling camping expedition, he needed to return home injured from the weight of an ill-fitted backpack that damaged his hips. A decade later, the same hiker, utilizing a backpack more suited to his needs, walked over 950 miles of terrain, turning what could have been another ugly experience into a more pleasant memory.
There are a few key tips you should bear in mind when selecting a backpack for the outdoors.
First, you need to assemble a fairly comprehensive list of gear you need to bring on the trip. Whereas some campers prefer to haul a bare minimum, others like to be well equipped and ready for almost any eventuality. Consequently, the size of your backpack is important. If you intend to camp or hike for several days – or even simply overnight -you need a sufficient amount of supplies to cover your time and prospective needs.
Second, make sure your backpack is comfortable to wear for a lengthy period of time. The best styles of backpacks distribute the weight in the bag evenly so that you can wear it comfortably for a few hours while hiking. Try it on at the store to ensure it meets your need. Some camping stores even provide weights inside so you get the full effect of the backpack. By placing these in the pack, you can walk around the store to get a sense of how well the weight distributes and how much you can actually hold while remaining comfortable and not overly straining your back or shoulders.
Third, select a frame for the backpack. You can choose between an internal and external frame, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. Internal frames are more slender and allow the pack to remain close to your body which makes it great for densely wooded and more narrow trails. They do not restrain your ability to move in the least, but are admittedly more cumbersome to load and sometimes do not hold as much gear.
External frames, on the other hand, are great for clear walking paths and wider trails and are generally easier to pack. However, they tend to restrict mobility because they are larger and less flexible, making them seem more uncomfortable at first. External frames are the best option, though, when buying a backpack for beginners or children.
Finally, when purchasing a backpack, take into consideration whether it is designed to work efficiently with weather sheets that help protect your pack against dew and rain. Also assess how attachments can be accommodated for your pack. Most backpacks have either rings or snap-ons (or both), allowing the convenient integration of accessories with your pack.
Finding a backpack doesn’t need to be a challenge if you familiarize yourself with options ahead of time. By following these few tips, you should be able to purchase one that fits your budget and your camping experience needs, helping to make sure you have a wonderful adventure in the woods.