Shoes and bags; the ultimate duo. The accessories king and queen that also happens to be the necessities king and queen as well. It’s hard and nearly impossible to leave your house without at least one of them and more often than not both of them. This is one reason why people like to match their bags and shoes. Match the color or the style or the materials etc.
Of late, with the rising popularity of backpacks people have been putting more thought into the backpacks they purchase. At the same time producers and designers are putting more thought into their products. They are creating better backpacks with lots of options and variety and same goes for shoes. They produce better shoes with better quality and also better designs. This does not stop for adults, same goes for kids shoes too. Have you seen the new T-strap Shoes for Toddlers by Nomies? I wish I could fit into one of those bad boys!
Backpacks come literally in different shapes and sizes. Choosing the ideal backpack can get overwhelming as there are thousands of options out there. In choosing the right backpack, you first need to identify what you need it for. Is it for hiking, work, mountain climbing, cycling? There are designer brands achieve their status by offering the customer what they need and being of good quality. While this is the case in most options it is still important to take some time to do some research before buying. With so many options out there and more entering the market daily, this can be quite an overwhelming task. Today we will discuss what to look out for when buying a backpack. In the next installment of these series, we will talk about what to look out for when buying different types of shoes from sneakers to hiking shoes to T-Straps for brunch. But first, bags.
What to Look Out For
Capacity: This should be the first thing you keep in mind when shopping for a backpack. If you are buying for your kids, you have to ask yourself if the bag will fit all their books and school supplies easily. Knowing the capacity you need helps narrow down your options largely and then you can start to focus on the other specifics.
When it comes to you buying for yourself for a specific purpose like a hike you should consider your own weight and how the bag interacts with your body. If the bag is too small then it might cause aches and if it’s too big it becomes too heavy to carry and balance. If a backpack is is 40 liters in size or less than, they were more likely made to be used on short trips and climbs. They can be used for fishing, hiking, camping or rock climbing. They are big enough to fit lunch, water, a mini first aid kit and some warm change of clothes.
Bags that are 40 to 65 liters in capacity are more suitable for weekend trips such as backpacking or camping trips. Backpacks this size should have a frame even if it's a small one. 65-95 liter capacity backpacks must have a frame else it becomes a health risk. They are big enough to fit a mattress, stove, tent and other camping equipment. They are also more suitable for short distance treks as walking a long distance with something of that weight is not realistic.
Backpacks that are over 95 liters in size are often used by professionals and experienced climbers. They are used in expeditions (Like National Geographic expeditions) and used for trips that last for months. The backpacks of this size are usually built to contain all the supplies a person needs for an entire winter. They have hooks, loads of compartments and other added accessories to make things more convenient for the user.
Fit: The second thing to look out for is the fit of the backpack. You should go for a backpack that has a snug fit and rests lightly on your shoulders and lower back. If you’re buying in store, be sure to try it on and if you’re buying online make sure you have the right measurements and you don’t mix them up. It’s best practice to measure your torso and use that as one of the deciding factors for the size of the backpack you’ll get.
More than 70% of the weight of a backpack is carried by the waist and not the shoulders. Always try the backpack if you can before you buy. You can also get the people at the stores selling the backpacks to measure your size so you get the best backpack for you. For women, there are backpacks specifically designed for the female frame but women don’t have to invest in those except they are going for longer trips or bigger sizes.
Women can easily carry a 40 to 65-liter backpack made for men or unisex with comfort. Backpacks come with different types of suspension systems and this should be taken note of as well. The suspension system of the backpack is responsible for bearing and distributing the weight around the core. They are responsible for how the backpack interacts with your body.
Features: I’ve mentioned features several times in this article because they are very important and can’t be ignored. It is important to check the features of the backpack such as the size and ease of access to the compartments, the number of pockets, the way it loads and other specifics depending on the style of backpack you need. The features of a backpack are one of the ways to differentiate their different uses or what they are ideal for.
A climbing pack, for example, will have different features from a hiking or biking pack. Having pockets and compartments in essential for convenience. An ideal backpack should have in addition to compartments, a mesh pocket, a pocket made specifically to hold a water bottle and a sleeping bag compartment. It should also have tool loops, easily accessible pockets and gear loops where you can hook on a helmet, ice ax chains etc.
These are some of the basics you need to take note of when searching for the ideal backpack. There are also a plethora of styles out there that offer similar capacity, fit and features and so it boils down to your personal style and preference. Go for practicality and also what makes you comfortable. After all, it’s going to be on you or your kids back the whole time.