Choosing The Right Travel Backpack

Choosing a veracious travel backpack or rucksack as known otherwise is a very baffling task. I wanted to get a rucksack rather than a backpack. Now if you are thinking what’s the difference between the two, read on..!

A backpack is a type of bag that is carried on one’s back on the other hand rucksack is a large backpack that allows one to carry a large amount of supplies. Now backpack can be use on daily basis while going to suburban trips, where as rucksack is for other activities like traveling, hiking, camping and backpacking. In simple words rucksack can carry more stuff then backpack. I decided to buy one as a result of my frequent traveling plans, and also since it is very easy to carry on your back rather than dragging heavy suitcases.

Picking the right backpack is an important part of any trip. Too big, and you’ll have too much extra weight. Too small, and you’ll never fit anything in. Pick the wrong material, and when it rains, your stuff will be soaked. There are so many options out there that it can be very confusing.

Recommended brands

Now buying rucksacks in India does not come with a lot of brand options. Primarily there are 4 of them Mount Track, Zero gravity, Step Ahead and my personal favorite Wildcraft.

How much to spend?

You will get rucksacks ranging from mere 1000 INR till 15000 INR, it all depends on the duration of your trips and the amount of luggage you want to stack in. Backpack prices depend a lot on size, fabric, and brand. Store brands are cheaper than big name brands like Mount Track, Zero gravity, Step Ahead and my personal favorite Wildcraft. Since i wanted my rucksack to come with additional guarantee, i went for Wildcraft. Do not become adamant in buying costly rucksacks, study your trip duration and the amount of luggage you are going to stack in. I do not go on a a trip for months, i wander for maximum a week so i picked up my rucksack which was mediocre in price range and had ample of space for my stuff. Shed: 3000 INR

Does size matter?

One of my most frequently asked questions about backpacks is about size. Everyone wants to know what the perfect size is. No one backpack size is better than another. What matters is that your backpack should be both proportional to your body. That might mean a backpack that is 40 liters or 80 liters. If your backpack is too big or too small, the weight won’t be balanced properly and will cause back pain or maybe even make you topple over. You don’t want a skyscraper rising up from your back but you also don’t want a pack that is clearly too small and overflowing with your stuff. When you are at the store (and any good camping/outdoors store will do this), they should be able to stuff your backpack with the equivalent of 30 pounds (15 kilograms) so you can see how that much weight feels on your back.

What to Look for in a Good Pack

The best backpacks are the ones, that last the longest and have all the following characteristics that make them durable, protective, and long lasting:

  • Water resistant material – While your pack does not need to be 100% waterproof, make sure your bag is made out of a semi-waterproof material so everything doesn’t get wet in a drizzle (many packs come with tarps you can put over them in case of a severe downpour). Moreover, make sure the material won’t stay wet long and thereby get musty. I looked for material that is thick but lightweight. In case you backpack does not come with a rain guard, you can get once as an extra enhancement. (Note: Rain cover not available in lower segment of backpacks)
  • Lockable Zippers – Make sure each compartment has two zippers so you can lock them together. While am not really worried about people breaking into my bag and stealing my dirty clothes in a hotel, I like locking up my bag when I am traveling. I’m always paranoid that someone is going to put something in my bag.
  • Multiple Compartments – A good bag must to have multiple compartments. This way, you can break up your belongings into smaller sections so it’s easier to access and find the stuff you need. For example, my clothes are in the main compartment of my bag, flips flops in the top, and my shoes in the separated side compartment (that way they don’t get everything dirty). It saves time from having to dig around your bag.
  • Internal Frame – The majority of backpacks today are internal-frame packs, meaning the support rods and frame are build into the backpack and hidden from view. However, there some are still external frame backpacks made where the rods are separate from the actual pack and stick out. A big clunky metal frame. Don’t get one of those. Make sure you buy a backpack with an internal frame. It not only looks better, but the rods won’t get caught on anything and your bag will also be slimmer making moving around easier. Additionally, internal-framed packs tend to be lighter as the frame is composed of a carbon fiber or tough plastic making them easier on your back as well as more durable.
  • Padded Hip Belt – Most of the weight you will be carrying around will be pushing down on your hips, so you’ll want a padded belt to make supporting the weight more comfortable. The belt will help provide support and distribute the weight load more evenly on your back causing less strain and problems. The hip belt should also be adjustable so you can tighten it for extra support.
  • Padded Shoulder Straps – These make carrying your load more comfortable, as the weight of your pack will be pushing downward on your shoulders. The pads will put less pressure on your shoulders and also help take pressure off your lower back. Make sure the padding is very thick and made up of a single piece of material as it will be less likely to split and thin out.
  • Contoured/Padded Back – A lumbar-shaped pack makes carrying it more comfortable, as it helps distributes weight more evenly. The same principle applies that is used in contoured chairs. It allows for a more natural arch ensure no back pain. Moreover, this type of pack creates a small space between your back and the bag allowing air to move through and help keep your slightly cool. Lugging your bag around can build up a sweat!
  • Loading Options –  Now a days you will find multiple options to load your luggage in your backpacks. What i mean to say is that you can load your luggage from the top, (Which is most common) on the other hand you will also get an option of front loading luggage in a backpack. Since i am in a habit of carrying my laptop where ever i go, i decided to buy the backpack with both the options.

I hope post reading this you will be confident when you are out buying your backpack/rucksack. In case you have any question please feel free to drop a comment at the end of the page.