A good, well-fitting backpack should be a part of every traveler’s essentials when packing for a trip. You don’t have to be going hiking or on an excursion through the wilderness to need a backpack. They are the perfect travel companion because they are lightweight, can store all your gear like cell phones, things you buy along the way, camera and water bottles plus, they leave your hands free to do other things.
However, if you don’t buy the right kind of backpack with the correct fit, it’s going to be miserable to wear and totally defeat the purpose of having one. We’re going to share with you seven great tips that will help you choose the best backpack for your trip and for your body.
1. Choose the right size.
It’s important to buy the size of backpack that you will need and only the size you will need. By purchasing a larger one, you’ll be tempted to carry along more things that you might use. If you’re planning to live out of your backpack – clothing, gear and all for a camping-like trip – you’ll want to buy a 65L size. If it doesn’t fit in your backpack – then you don’t need it. Alternately, if you’re just buying one to use while sightseeing to store your personal items like camera, phone and shopping trip purchases, opt for the smallest one you can find.
2. Pay attention to the straps.
If you’re going on an outdoor adventure where you will be using your backpack to carry everything at once, you’ll want one with sturdy straps with lots of padding, as the load can get heavy at times. You might even consider one with straps that go around the waist. For a smaller backpack, you’ll still want comfortable straps, but less of them. You might choose a one shoulder kind or an across the body variety. Adjustable straps ensure the best fit and are a must when finding the right backpack for your load and for your body type.
3. Check the material.
Most backpacks are made of lightweight material anyway, but not all of them are waterproof or water-resistant. You definitely want one that is. It doesn’t matter if you’re trekking through the wilderness or just the city streets – the rain is just as wet and your things are just as susceptible to the moisture so you want to protect them as best you can by having a water-tight backpack.
4. Compartmentalize what you can.
Having a backpack with a lot of compartments can save you valuable packing space if you’re going to be using it on the long term. You can tuck smaller items away in side pockets and pouches while leaving the bigger spaces for items that need more room. Plus, having a lot of compartments makes it easier to keep track of smaller items that can get lost or damaged when packed in with larger ones.
5. Opt for security features.
There’s not much you can do to safeguard your backpack against being stolen, but there are some safety measures you can take to keep your things as secure as possible. Some backpacks come with lockable zippers, but even if they don’t you can still lock two zippers together to make your backpack less likely to be pilfered. You can use small padlocks or small combination locks that are made especially for this purpose. You can also invest in a mesh covering that encases your backpack completely in a metallic material that can be secured to something else. These coverings are cumbersome to carry around and pack, but can be an invaluable tool for keeping your things secure.
6. Wheels can be handy.
Sometimes you just need a break from carrying around the weight of your backpack or you need it to be easily maneuvered through airports or similar situations. This is where wheels can come in handy. Most backpacks that have wheels also have an extendable handle to pull them with. Otherwise, they will have a strap you can use to pull or guide it. Again, they aren’t necessary, but wheels can be a very welcomed option in some circumstances so consider them when planning your trip and how you will use your backpack.
7. Choose the right backpack for the right purpose.
Obviously, some things – like durability and ruggedness – matter more to certain types of travelers than others. If your primary purpose of having a backpack is to use as a purse of sorts, you can skimp a little on the durability and pay more attention to the aesthetics of the bag. However, if you’re going hiking or camping, looks do not matter as much as durability. You want to make sure the backpack you purchase has reinforced straps and handles because this is where it’s going to see the most wear and tear. You also want to make sure it has reinforced seams so that it doesn’t come apart when you stuff it. You also want a bag that has durable closures, zippers and snaps because you’re going to be using those a lot, too. It’s best to invest in a backpack that comes with at least a one year warranty to be sure that you can replace it without any issues, if it fails to meet your needs.
Most of these things are just common sense tips that often get overlooked. The key to finding the best backpack for your needs is to determine exactly what your needs are. It’s imperative to know what you need it to do, where you will use it and how in order to make the right choice. More importantly, though, you want to make sure it fits your body well and that it’s comfortable to carry. Ill-fitting backpacks are not only cumbersome to carry, they can also cause a range of health problems like back aches and posture issues. Armed with this information, choosing the right backpack to meet your needs should be relatively simple, if you follow these handy tips.