So you're going to backpack around Europe. Possibly this big brown land of ours is calling for you to tread it's red soiled outback. Maybe you've decided to make the trek to Everest base camp. What ever the adventure, the common theme here is that a backpack is a must.
Backpacks are a necessity for travelling to hard to get to places, travel that requires you to carry all your items with you at all times, outdoor adventures and a multitude of other escapes. Sometimes it's hard to know what to look for as there are so many choices out there. Below are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the perfect backpack.
Size matters: A weekend trip is going to require a much smaller size pack than a six week trip around Europe for instance, so choose a size that meets all of your needs. Sometimes you are able to get large hiking size backpacks with a small day pack attached. These are great options for times when you need to take either or both bags.
Rollin, rollin, rollin: Don't want to carry your pack all the time? Fear not. Many brands have backpacks with wheels and a trolley handle for just such occasions. Super versatile and handy, these packs convert from a backpack to a duffel on wheels with little or no effort at all. This really is the best of both worlds!!!
Convinience is key: With backpacks, you want to be able to access certain necessities with ease. Things to look out for are side water bottle holders that are easily accessible, a variety of outside zipped pockets that you can store medication, first aid supplies, snacks and cameras, and little hidden extras like RFID built in pockets, tiny torches on key chains and reflective strips for visibility in bad weather or low light.
Ahh...So comfy: An uncomfortable backpack or one that doesn't fit properly can make the dream adventure turn into a nightmare very quickly. You'll be carrying substantial weight on your shoulders and back so test out your pack well in advance. This may mean loading it up and walking around the house with it for a few days/weeks leading up to your trip. Look out for packs with loads of padding on the shoulder blades, lumbar area and in the straps over the shoulders and collar bone.
Rain, rain go away: When backpacking in the great outdoors, there is a possibility of getting caught in the rain. Choose a pack that is water resistant and has compartments to store wet clothes or liquids that won't soil the main inner compartment. If you cant find a suitable waterproof pack you can get special covers to fit over the top. Another option is to line the pack with a garbage bag to keep all contents dry.
Living out of a pack that you carry on your back and shoulders is a tradition that has been around for centuries. It's no wonder that it has never lost popularity due to the fact you can just sling all you belongings onto your back and move off to a new location (preferably off the beaten track). Remember to look for ease, comfort-ability and convenience and you cant go wrong.
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