Finding the right backpack for you

We stock many different types of backpacks but how do you know which is for you? Should you choose a daypack, a rucksack, a courier bag, a waterproof bag or a laptop bag? Well here we aim to help you. Believe it or not, finding the right pack is not just a case of which one looks the best. Sure looking good should be part of the criteria, you don't want to be walking around with some lairy ugly old pack, but it shouldn't be your main consideration when it comes to buying one. The biggest thing and what a lot of people don't consider is comfort. Rather than just buying the backpack that is in the sale or the one with the prettiest colours, you need to look at the right pack to fit your height, body shape and size.

  When purchasing a backpack you should consider the following things:

What are you going to be using it for?

Are you going to be carting this thing round the world with you as you travel from country to country on your gap year? Are you going to be using it for camping, hiking or trekking? Or are you on a one-man (or woman) mission to save the planet by using a backpack to carry your shopping rather than using carrier bags? Is it going to be a school bag? Think about how many pockets you need, whether you need to attach things, eg. sleeping bags, roll mats, pots and pans, snowboards or skis. Does the pack need to be waterproof? Are you going to be carrying a camera and accessories?

Decide what your main activity is, then choose a rucksack designed for that activity, that way you'll be most satisfied with its design and features.


How long are you going to be wearing it?

Is the pack going to become your new best friend, never leaving your side (well back)? Are you going to be lugging it around on public transport, round airports and just about everywhere else you go? Are you going to be walking miles with it up steep hills, mountains and round treacherous trails? If so you need to look at backpacks with specialised comfort carrying systems, hip belts and anatomically cut shoulder straps.



... are the shoulder straps and the hip belt padded enough to take the bulk of the weight? A chunky hip belt will probably be more comfy than a thin waist belt, particularly with heavier loads.


Your backpack should be proportional to your body size...

...put simply, your pack shouldn't be so large that you and couple of your closest friends could fit inside. No rucksack is worth having if it isn't the right size for you. Some sacks have adjustable back lengths, some are "one size fits all" while others are designed specifically for women.



...when the sack is fully loaded it should hug your back like a monkey up a gum tree!



..some backpacks just make your back sweatier than others. If there is good air movement around your back, the sack will be less sweaty. So check out how breathable the areas are that come into contact with your body.


Hydration System...

...if you use a hydration system, make sure there is an internal pocket for the bladder and an exit hole for the hose, the backpack listings indicate if this feature is available.


Choose your pack volume wisely... too small and you are going to find yourself stuffing everything in, buy too big and you will be tempted to carry more than necessary or worse just end up with a floppy half-filled pack.

  • Less than 10 litres - short or fast half days
  • 10-25 litres - fast action or super light trips
  • 25-35 litres - short valley and hill walks
  • 35-45 litres - hill and mountain walking, scrambling and mountaineering
  • 45-55 litres - winter hill-walking, mountaineering, hut-to-hut trips, short or lightweight camping expeditions
  • 55-75 litres - camping expeditions, long distance path backpacks
  • over 75 litres - travelling, camping expeditions to remote locations where supplies will be unavailable for days on end

Durability... with most outdoor gear, you get what you pay for. Low-cost rucksacks are often less durable than their most expensive equivalents. If you want a durable sack look for double stitching, touch fabrics, double layers of fabric (particularly on the base), reinforced areas, and chunky buckles and zips. The best buckles can be bent and twisted without breaking, while the best zips can be pulled back and fourth without tearing or jamming.


though the most expensive backpack is not necessarily the best for you...

...there is no need to buy a massive double stitched 90 Litre trekking backpack when you are just going to use it to carry shopping, because first of all you are going to look like a fool and second of all you have just wasted a load of money.

Here are a few examples of backpacks for different situations:

Deuter Aircontact PRO 70 + 15 Rucksack

Perfect for hiking and camping. The Aircontact PRO 70 + 15 Rucksack is designed for carrying heavy loads and is ideal for balanced and comfortable walking. Offering 70L capacity this is supplemented by the lid compartment which is readily converted into a separate 15 L daypack for when you don't have as much to carry. Features plenty of padding and anatomical moulding, separate bottom compartment, lid pocket and plenty of outer attachment points.

Dakine Mission Photo Backpack

For snowboarding photographers, the Dakine Mission Photo Pack holds all the gear you need for a successful photography mission, a day of riding, or both. A removable Photo Block holds an SLR camera body and five lenses while the Mission Photo Pack's two-strap snowboard carry system doubles as a tripod holder to carry the gear you need.

JanSport Boost 37 L Laptop Backpack

The perfect backpack for the worker on the move, whether you commute to the office or just need to cart your laptop around, the Jansport Boost is the backpack for you. Featuring two main compartments, a front organiser compartment, a padded laptop sleeve and dual water bottle pockets, there is a place to put everything. There is no need to worry about this pack failing as this and all other Jansport products are covered by a 30 year warranty.

OverBoard Premium Waterproof BackpackOverBoard Premium Waterproof Backpack

The ultimate backpack for those on or near the water. Like the name implies, the Overboard Premium Waterproof Backpack is 100% waterproof, it could be left in a puddle all day and the contents will come out dry as a bone. Not only is this backpack waterproof, it also floats safely if dropped in water.

Tatonka 75 L Great Escape Travel BackpackTatonka 75L Great Escape Travel Backpack

The Tatonka 75L Great Escape Travel Backpack is perfect for lugging your stuff around the world. Spacious and opening like a suitcase, the Great Escape enables you to easily store everything you will need when travelling. For carrying lighter loads there is a detachable daysack.


These are just a few specific backpacks for sale at OutdoorGB, to see more of our backpack range, click here.

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