What makes a great backpack in 2015? There are all types of backpacks to consider, and what makes a backpack great to my neighbor doesn’t always make it great for me. Nevertheless with the design materials and production available in 2015, we recommend you invest in the best. Here are a few qualities for every pack carrier to consider:
1. Keep it light. Gone are the days when you needed additional weight and bulkiness for support. A needlessly bulky backpack nowadays just means more weight to balance. Walk around for one day with a lighter, slim-fit daypack and just try going back.
2. Comfort first. Look for form-fitting packs that are designed with airflow and ventilation in mind. Many backpacks today use a combination of webbing, straps, buckles and even hinges to substitute for the rigid aluminum frames that provided support in years past. Also look for quality materials that breath well and move sweat away from the body to keep your body cool and backpack dry.
3. Strapping Support. Besides comfort, the key to any good backpack is stability. And for us, it’s all in the straps. Look for wide, form-fitting shoulder straps. Chest straps will add stability and provide for a more balanced posture. For large backpacks (carrying over 22 lbs. or 10kg), padded waist straps are essential. A large backpack will offload up to 90% of its weight onto its padded waist straps. Well-designed waist straps are therefore key to evenly distributing the weight of the pack safely to the carrier’s hips and core. A well-balanced pack will greatly reduce your risk of injury and fatigue.
4. Safety. Safety is all about the quality of materials used and the quality of pack design. Smaller packs are less susceptible to design flaw. Large backpacks (particularly those with external metal frames) tend to be top-heavy. In 2014-2015, frameless packs offer the same support with a much lighter weight profile (product weight).
5. Size. Look for a backpack small enough to store your items compactly in the main compartment. Advances in outdoor equipment mean smaller packs are needed than ever before. Ample storage on the exterior of the pack also reduces the space needed.
6. Value. There are many good packs out there, but a few of them are clearly superior. Look for quality materials and design and read on for more detail.