A Buyer’s Guide for Camping Backpacks
Camping is an enjoyable activity that can either be done solo orin group after a long-distance hike up in the mountains or just a quick drive to a national park. It is an exciting way to reconnect with nature and appreciate its beauty.
Though going camping sounds easy, preparing for it can be a challenge. To make your camping experience something that you imagined it to be, you needto have all the necessary things, which boils down to choosing the ideal camping backpack.
Choosing a backpack can be challenging when you still don’t have any idea about what it shouldpossess. Here is a quick guide to help you choose your backpack for your first, or next, camping adventure.
Decide how long you are going to go camping.
This is the basic determining factor on what backpack you should buy and how much it shouldbe able to carry. Basically, one should use a smaller backpack when camping for only a day. Overnight and multi-day camping will necessitate something bigger.
Consider the location of the campsite.
This is another major factor in determining the backpack. Camping out in a place where you don’t know if there’s enough potable water for a day requires more space for water supply than camping in a nearby national park for two days.
Determine how much backpack space you need.
A backpack’s capacity is measured by liters since its increments are easier to remember than using cubic meters. For day or overnight trips, the average needed space is 20 to 50 liters. For weekend trips, it’s 50 to 60 liters. For two to five nights, the average space needed is 60 to 80 liters.For five days and longer, it is 80 liters or more.
These averages are only applicable during summer when it’s ideal to go camping. For those who would love to do it any other time of the year, especially during the cold months, expect your baggage to be twice that of what is required during summer because you’ll be needing thicker clothes and additional equipment to stay warm.
Get your measurements.
Just like any material worn, camping backpacks are best when they fit our size. There are four backpack sizes: extra small, small, regular, and tall. To check which category you belong, measure the length of your torso—that is, from the most prominent bone you can feel on the back of your neck to the small of your back.
Here are the equivalent categories for your torso length:
- Extra small – 15 inches and below
- Small – 15 to 17 inches
- Regular – 18 to 19 inches
- Tall – 20 inches and above
- Go for one good sized camping backpack versus two smaller ones.
Especially if there’s a long hike before reaching the campsite, making sure that your load is equally distributed throughout your body is essential. With two backpacks, an equal load distribution is more difficult to achieve.
- Check what material the camping backpack is made of.
A camping backpack can be quite expensive, being typically priced around $100 to $400. With this amount of money put in, you should take the time examining what it is made of. Most durable backpacks are made of high quality nylon. Check the parts that experience the most wear and tear, like the zippers and pockets, and make sure it was really sewn together in a backstitch.The bottom of the backpack, which obviously carries much of the weight and is more exposed to bumps when laid down on the ground for a quick rest, should be made of something other than nylon. There should be another thicker material to help support the extra weight.
- Choose a Camping Backpack made of wicking fabric.
Your back will surely get pretty sweaty carrying a heavy bag. It is recommended to get one with a wicking fabric for the back. This will draw the moisture and sweat away from the body. Mostly it is designed with grooves to allow maximum air flow.
- Pick the Camping Backpack with a hip belt.
You don’t want to carry the whole weight of the backpack on your shoulders. Aside from being uncomfortable and making your hiking experience heavier than it should be, too much weight can also injure the shoulders. Again, it is important to distribute the load to your other body parts. Having a hip belt that sits right above your hipbones can transfer some load to the hips. In fact, your hips should be carrying 80 percent of the load.
Go for padded belts, but make sure they are not too soft as they will not do their task of transferring the load. Also, don’t make it too tight as it can leave bruises on your skin on the waist.
The shoulder straps and the hip belt should have the same padded material. The material should also be smooth, free of any crease, though it may cost a little bit more than the ones with “regular” straps because it can prevent body blisters.
- Do a pocket check on camping backpacks.
Pockets are very important when camping. It helps you separate things that should not go together like food and insect repellent. However, make sure that there are more compartments inside the backpack than outside, because when the external pockets are filled, it may shift the balance of the bag and affect the load distribution. Keep the weight of the backpack as close as possible to your body by putting in only the necessary and frequently used items on the external pockets like maps, a knife, and water bottles.
- Test a filled up or loaded camping backpack and move around.
When you are already in the store, test the camping backpack to see how it feels. Most stores have weighted bags for the purpose of letting buyers get an idea of how the bag would feel on their backs once filled. However, if you are thinking of bringing in your primary camping gear to see if they fit, then don’t hesitate to do so. It is actually recommended and a lot of frequent campers who need a new bag do it.