Firstly, when you start looking for the ideal backpack
, keep in mind that there is no perfect backpack to suit all your backpacking activities.
You will probably end up purchasing more than one backpack, each suited to a specific backpack activity and duration of hike.
Having a backpack that is well suited to your body size is an essential part of your hiking preparation. Ignoring this point may cause you discomfort or even lead to back injury in the future.
This article will go over the important points to consider when purchasing a backpack.
Types of Backpack
When purchasing a good backpack, you basically have a choice of two, an internal and external frame.
The external frame backpack is recognized by its visual framing with its suspension and backpack section attached to the frame.
The internal frame backpack has its framing sewn into the backpacks main section. This framing may be of carbon fiber, plastic or metal rods.
Other internal frame backpacks are comprised of a single solid plastic sheet instead of the traditional framing rods and others are made of corrugated polystyrene sheeting with aluminum rods inserted in the corrugations.
Backpack companies are becoming more innovative in their backpack design to cater for the increasing demands for a lighter pack that can carry a heavier load.
When choosing a backpack you will need to consider the following advantages and disadvantages.
The advantages of external framed packs are that they are rigid, typically easier to pack because of the numerous pockets available and the provision for attaching additional items to the frame for easy access.
They are ideal for carrying heavy loads and provide a greater air space between the frame and your back allowing a better airflow than that of Internal framed backpacks.
The disadvantage of the external framed pack due to its wider and taller dimensions, has a very high center of gravity and when fully loaded creates a less-stable profile than that of an Internal framed pack.
The advantages of the internal framed backpack model are that, they are more comfortable and the backpack weight is more evenly distributed across your back as opposed to the external frame backpack, which only makes contact with a few areas of your back.
Internal frame packs are functional and provide good stability due to their close-fitting to your body's profile. This close-fitting provides a better balance and increases your ability to maneuver over rugged terrain.
Their slim profile also allows greater flexibility to tackle those tighter spots encountered on your hike.
Their disadvantages are typically, the lack of additional pockets and that the air flow is not as good as the external frame backpack, generating a higher level of heat against your back.
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