No matter what voyage you’re undertaking, a good backpack could make or break your adventure. What is probably the most unappreciated item in a backpacker’s repertoire is also one of the most important. A truly great bag is one you can sling on and walk a thousand miles in, or bundle in the back of a canoe and sleep on for weeks: but just because it’s always there doesn’t mean you can overlook the most minor details. Here’s our checklist for backpack buying, and the top ten on the market today.
Try backpacks on before purchase to assess their comfort. What looks like an interesting strap on a photo can equal chafing hell on the trail.
What needs to fit inside the backpack for your adventure? The last thing you want is to realise that it isn’t big enough the night before you leave.
Capacity isn’t everything. If you’re carrying heavy items you might need to purchase a backpack with more technical features to get everything in and support your back properly.
Depending on where and when you’re travelling it might be very important to you to have a waterproof backpack. Check the labels to make sure your backpack is properly equipped, or see if it comes with an extra rain cover.
Best for durability
Gregory Baltoro 70
A lifetime guarantee highlights the durability of this 70-litre backpack, and with a large capacity and ample pockets it’s well suited for most ventures. From solo camping trip to round-the-world flights, you get what you pay for with this model.
Expect to pay £200
Best for women
Osprey Ariel 65
ideal backpack for women, thanks to its comfortable padding and flexible organisation. Limited packing space and a lack of pivoting suspension might not help with longer treks though.
Expect to pay £160
Best for technology
Mountainsmith Treklight Eclipse 55
The fit of this bag isn’t ideal for women, but some technical innovations, such as a ventilated back and a pivoting memory-foam belt means that could be just the thing for a male trekker who loves their technology.
Expect to pay £110
Best for tall people
Teton Sports Wilderness 55
A lightweight and sturdy backpack with tons of compartments and pockets, this model is a little more comfortable for tall hikers than shorter ones, due to its length – something that can easily be overlooked in a backpack.
Expect to pay £60
Best for careful packers
Mountain Laurel Designs Prophet
A snug fit adds to the comfort of this backpack, and there are plenty of storage pockets for your goods – great if you’re the kind of packer who likes to have a proper place for everything rather than a huge compartment rattling with items. Not as big as some of the competition though, so if you`re taking a lot of stuff you might struggle to fit it all in.
Expect to pay: £90
Best for stability
This backpack offers excellent stability, without compromising with a lot of excess weight. Some useful features like watertight zips and internal vertical compartments add to its usefulness too – definitely one to think about if you’re expecting to max out the journey on foot.
Expect to pay £140
Best all rounder
The North Face Terra 60
This high-volume pack is designed for durability. Easy to use, adjustable suspension helps to take the strain off your back in a classic design configuration you can rely on to keep going for years.
Expect to pay £80
Best for lightweight
Granite Gear Vapor Trail
Roomy enough with 3600 cubic inches inside, this has one giant central compartment and hip straps for support to make this a great, yet lightweight, choice.
Expect to pay £100
Best for budget
JanSport Big Bear 82
The massive 5000 cubic inch main compartment of this backpack will have you bringing everything but the kitchen sink on your voyage. An adjustable torso helps to ensure the right fit for you. This pack has just the right combination of low price and large holding capacity, but don’t expect it to suffer too much punishment.
Expect to pay £60
Berghaus C7 Pro 70+10
Berghaus backpacks are well known for comfort and resilience, and this offering is no exception. Easily adjustable and containing a Bioflex back system for comfort this bag is very useful, though not the lightest around. Still, a trusted brand can make all the difference to the spring in your step…
Expect to pay £150
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