“You are free to choose but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.”
You’ll realise how true this is especially when you end up choosing a wrong backpack for your hiking trip. Worry not, We will teach you the art of Bagging the Right Bag.
With a wide range of sizes and types and colours of backpack available in the market, one is bound to be confused. And if you are someone like me you’ll probably end up buying that impractical-bright-blue one instead of that super-comfortable-grey one, well because that one looked cute. Okay agreed, no one will do this but come on buying a backpack is definitely a pain in the wrong place (pain in back, of course!).
Since your backpack will be your home on the go, it’s super important to choose one that you’ll love to live out of. So we hope that this will help you choose your right home!
TYPES OF BACKPACKS
Capacity – 20L to 35L
Things you can Carry – Water bottle(s), a couple of snack bars, a jacket and some other essentials maybe.
Type of Trek – As the name goes, these backpack work for day trips. Opt for these if you are going for a day trip or if you have to return to the same base camp after a day’s hiking.
B) WEEKEND PACKS
Capacity – 40L to 70L
Things you can Carry – Water bottle(s), food/snacks, a couple of pairs of clothes/woollens, bathroom and sanitary essentials and other things you may require.
Type of Trek – Opt for the size depending upon the duration of your trek. If it’s a 2-3 days trip you can go with a 40-litre pack but if your trek is spanned over 5 to 6 days go for larger size.
C) EXPEDITION PACKS
Capacity – 70L+
Things you can Carry – Water bottle(s), food/snacks, a couple of pairs of clothes/woollens, bathroom and sanitary essentials, all the expedition gears and other things you may require.
Type of Trek – If your trek is more than 6 days long these backpacks are perfect. Plus these work for those hardcore across-the-snow-clad-mountains type of treks too!
POINTS TO REMEMBER WHILE CHOOSING BACKPACKS
Like mentioned before the duration of your trek is the most important deciding factor for the size of your backpack. You’ll trip will be a pure chaos if you end up buying a smaller backpack for an otherwise long trip.
» LESS THE BETTER
I cannot tell you how important it is to travel light, especially on a trek. You might be tempted to buy a bigger backpack for a short trip so that you can carry everything you want to. But believe me, halfway into the trek and you’ll be regretting that hefty load on your back. So, in short, do not buy a backpack larger than the recommended size because it will definitely not be able to fit that repentance you’ll feel for being greedy.
Your size. Yes, you need to know your size for a backpack too. The length from the bony prominence at the base of your neck to your hip bone is your size. Look for a bag which approximates this length. A shorter backpack is fine but try to avoid ones that exceed this length.
Opt for packs that have adjustable shoulder straps and most importantly waist straps. Waist straps are very important as they will redistribute the weight and leave your shoulders less (almost 50%) burdened. Adjustable shoulder straps will prevent the backpack from swaying, in turn, enhancing your balance and stability
» PACKING STYLE
Apart from sizes, various styles of backpacks are also available. A pack could be top loading or side loading. If you have to carry your own sleeping bag sideloading would be more convenient. Some backpacks have a single large compartment; others have multiple-small compartments. So choose a pack that matches with your packing style and convenience.
Most backpacks are water resistant but if your trekking in monsoon or rain prone regions then you might want to get an additional rain cover for your pack.
» ADDITIONAL FEATURES
In some bags, you can attach additional compartments based on your requirement. This is convenient if you wish to offload something on the campsite. Other features to look out for ( These are not necessary and are just for added convenience ):
› Elastic loops to fix your Hiking Poles
› Mesh Bottle Holder (one or both sides)
› Detachable Sleeping bag Compartment
› Top compartment for a hydration pack with faucet
› Waist Pouch
HOW TO REPAIR YOUR BACKPACK
Every hiker’s worst nightmare is a malfunction of the backpack. Here are some quick fixes in case you end up in a ‘baggy’ emergency!
Χ Stuck Zipper?
Try rubbing a candle or pencil on it. you can also try realigning it with pliers if possible
Χ Broken Zipper?
You have to get it replaced, there is no quick fix for this. So check and re-check the zips on your pack before the trip
Χ Torn Mesh Net?
Use patch or overlap the edges and sew it together. When you come back, get it replaced
Χ Broken Buckle?
You can probably try and tie the straps for a temporary solution. Get it replaces as soon as you get back.