Choosing your Backpack
Choosing a backpack has become more and more complicated. Many companies expand their product lines to have different styles to fit different customer tastes. However the core value of a backpack still remains the same - hauling your stuff.

Focus on the following features of a backpack when choosing:

Choosing the right size is your first priority, depending on how long your trip is going to be, you will know how much room you need. A typical weekend backpacking trip requires 45 Litres (2750 cubic inches), a week long trip needs about 70 Litres (4300 cubic inches), and an extended expedition may require up to 95 Litres (5800 cubic inches).

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My picks on Backpacks

You may ask, "Then, I will get the biggest one so I can go anywhere". You are partially right about this. However, bigger usually means heavier and bulkier.

Another important thing I think most people ignore is that the bigger the pack is, the more likely you will bring something you don't need or won't use on the trip. You will end up carrying the extra weight for no reason.

Easiness to load/unload
Where manufacturers put the zippers, buckles and pockets is very important. When trying on a backpack, see if you can reach the side pockets or open the zipper while the pack is still on your back.

How big the top-load opening also affects the way you pack your items. A small little thing may annoy you for the entire trip.


Internal vs. External. Both have pros and cons and I had used both before. My choice is "Internal Frame". Even though you tend to sweat more with an IF backpack and everything is squeezed inside, the main benefit is that it will be more durable and compact.

Typical EF backpacks have many compartments that sometimes make it more difficult to locate your stuff.

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Fewer and fewer manufacturers make
External Frame Backpacks

Cordura Nylon, Ripstop Polyester, Coated/waterproof Polyester are all good. The key is to pick the pack with a durable rough bottom and ripstop material in the top half. This will give a balance of durability and weight.

Check also if the seams are well sewn.

Shoulder strap, hip belt and padding should be able to adjust to fit snugly on your body. Any discomfort caused by the strap can ruin up your backpacking experience.

A few of my favourite packs:
- Arcteryx Bora 65 (for Men),
- Arcteryx Bora 75 (for Women),
- North Face Stamina 70,
- Lowe Alpine Frontier 65.

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