There are a variety of different kind of backpack styles and brands. Consumers may feel a bit overwhelmed. So, let's take a look at the principle backpack types, and along the way I will make a few recommendations.
The principle feature of this type of pack is that it closes with a drawstring at the top. Otherwise, it is just like any other small backpack. There are many fashionable rucksacks for everyday use, but not so many these days designed for hiking and backpacking. So, let us move on.
This refers to just about any backpack that is too small to use for over-night backpacking. Kids these days often use them to carry their school books in, moms use them as diaper bags, and I know quite a few software engineers who use them instead of briefcase. They are really quite versatile.
Choosing a backpack for use on short hikes and walks is not difficult. Basically, you want something that can easily carry the few items you will be taking on your hike along with some kind of water.
These days there are backpacks that have built in water bladders or a pouch to add a water bladder. This is a nice idea, but keep in mind that water is quite heavy. So, if you are not sharing your water with another person, you probably do not really need a full 2 liters of water for a one day hike.
The Kelty Blanca 2000 Hydration Fastpack is a really nice choice if you decide to go with one of these. For the cost-concious, Stansport sells the Slick Rock Hydration Back Pack.
If you are hiking out into the woods and then camping there over night, you will need a larger backpack. This is where frame packs come in. The word “frame" refers to the fact that there is something inside or on the outside of the pack that helps the pack maintain its shape. There are two types: internal frame and external.
Internal frame backpacks are the more popular variety. Users often say they are more comfortable than the external frame packs, because they conform to the body. This can be a problem, though in hot weather. External frame packs tend to allow more air between the user and the pack, which can be cooler.
The Kelty Tornado 4900 Hydration Backcountry is an internal frame pack that has a breathable back panel, thereby attempting to provide the best of both worlds. This is a very nice pack with a 3 liter hydration system.
Size and Weight
You can also get backpacks for smaller people, such as the Coyote 4750 Trail Internal Backpack. This pack is hydration-compatible, which means that you can add a water bladder, whereas the Tornado has it built in.
Also, there are backpacks made to be very light, such as the hydration-compatible Kelty's Illusion 3500 Ultralight Backpack, which is just 3 lbs 7 oz.
I have mostly mentioned Kelty backpacks, because they are among the best, but there are many other brands worth looking at.
Personally, I have an external frame Jansport pack, and I have a friend that owns a pack made by Stansport. I have not had any problems with the Jansport pack, although I have read about some models that had shoulder strap problems.
Stansport is a cheaper brand, but the quality of their products seems good.
There are many other manufacturers, including Coleman. Too many to mention by name here.
Some people avoid camping and outdoor activities due to the expense of purchasing such gear. Fortunately, there are a wide range of choices in different price ranges.
In any case, a good backpack will last many seasons, and so if you buy the right one it is a nice investment in your own health. Backpacking and hiking are a great way to get into shape and enjoy God's country.
The author, Greg Bonney, is the owner of Bonney Information and E-Commerce and founder of Scoutcamping.com (http://www.scoutcamping.com ).
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