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Today, the backpack market offers us a plethora of options, enough for one to drown in confusion.
So, here’s a handy guide to help one sail smoothly, through that stormy experience!
When talking about backpacks, there are a few things that definitely come to one’s mind.
These are mostly thoughts like, “how much of my stuff can this backpack carry?”, or “how good will I look when I sport this backpack, in a photo or in front of my friends and colleagues?” or “Is this investment worth the money?”
Well, a very pleasant way to deal with these “thought-pop-ups”, is to use them all as guidelines to finally select the right backpack.
While we plunge into answering these queries, let us divide the various backpacks available into two broad categories, daypacks and overnighters, in order to understand better, the different kinds of backpacks that are available out there.
— DayPacks —
These are the kind that is used to cater to any daytime purposes, like the workplace, hiking, casual trips, school or college etc.
Backpacks for Corporate Use
If you are looking for something stylish to carry all your workload from pillar to post, with élan then, here is a smart way to do so. The fashion industry has come up with very smart looking backpacks specifically designed for workplace use.
The backpacks for official use differ majorly from the kind that is used while going on a hike. They stand out with the following properties:
Sleek and stylish
Bags taken for work are designed to be slender looking. They do not take up a lot of space when put aside at one’s workplace.
They also help to complement the personality of the owner.
The leather is very much preferred for office use, since, it has got a style of its own and also because it shall stay on for long due to the bleak chances of exposure to harsh weather.
Backpacks with a good number of compartments are suitable for work. They help to keep items like laptops, files, and other personal stuff segregated. This reduces the clutter and makes it easy to fish out what is necessary, on time.
Colours are mostly limited to the darker shades with very subtle patterns if any. Bright colored bags with bold prints act as a distraction in a quiet workplace.
The bags are padded at appropriate interfaces, to not bother the owner nor damage the contents inside.
If you’re looking for a bag for a specific purpose, say to carry a laptop or only a few files, worry not! There are bags designed for the same.
One can find a chic collection of laptop bags of varying sizes with many additional features like a compartment to keep related files, chargers and other accessories, separate compartments for a notebook and a pen etc.
Backpacks for School and College Use
These backpacks can have a volume of about 20 liters to 25 liters.
The colors are bright and patterns are found to be bold. Ideally, these backpacks are made of materials like polyester, since; it is cheap and also has a high resistance to water, heat, UV exposure and abrasion.
These can be replaced in a year or two based on maintenance and usage. These backpacks also come with facilities that aid attachments like water bottles and D-rim multipurpose grim locks.
Those with double zippers are ideal to lock when left aside. If one does have a backpack with a single zipper clip, a pack mesh can be used to secure the backpack.
Backpacks for Sports & Adventure
Sports like mountain climbing, trekking, hiking, cycling and running, demand the participant to carry all their utilities with them, while on the go.
There is only a certain extent up to which this can be resisted, since, one shall definitely need things like water, food, energy drinks, external- gear to move ahead, helmets etcetera, after a while.
The purpose of each might be to either simply replenish what is lost or boost one’s performance.
There are backpacks that are engineered, with the sole purpose of catering to all these needs of a sportsperson and to encourage the sport and its spirit.
They come with an internal frame to give the backpack a proper structure, upon being loaded and to also ensure that the load is balanced. The following shall be a walkthrough of the same.
If one is on an adrenaline high and wants to take off on a hike, there are backpacks specifically designed for the same purpose.
These backpacks are much more sophisticated, in terms of attachments and capacity utilization. One should look at comfort as the deciding factor for such backpacks.
These backpacks are designed to accommodate a volume close to 20-30 liters.
They come with well-ventilated back panels so that, the hiker is not left with a huge sweat patch on his back. It helps to let the skin breathe and get less irritated.
Since comfort is the key to choosing hiking backpacks, one must ensure that they select a bag with padded shoulder straps, to reduce the fatigue on their shoulders.
A padded set of hip straps too, if present, help evenly distribute the load over the hiker’s back.
Trekking or hiking is a tedious activity hence, one must remain constantly hydrated and energized during the whole trip.
In order to allow this to happen, the backpack must be able to hold a reasonable number of water bottles and other tumblers.
Based on the geographical location of the trek, one can also try looking at hiking bags that are water-proof, so as to not damage the articles within.
On the other hand, there are backpacks designed for climbing activities. These are slightly bigger than the hiking kind, typically having a volume of 35-40 liters.
They have provisions like a helmet holder, loops to hold gears and accessories that can be externally attached and a special purpose loop for an ice ax.
Bags of this kind shall have the capacity to store food, water, and clothing. In addition, they also hold together the mentioned attachments, effortlessly, thus, not letting the climber feel the load of items being carried.
These backpacks come, with all their straps cushioned, be it the shoulder or hip or even the back as a matter of fact.
When one talks about snow-sports, we think of skiing, be it on blades or on a skateboard. Backpacks do have the ability to hold this gear without much hassle.
They are designed such that the individual is stable and doesn’t lose balance due to the load. The fabric that is used to make these backpacks is also a higher quality one that repels snow and doesn’t allow it to seep through.
One can find attachments like snow-board holders and helmet holders that do their job quite well and stay close to the body of the skier.
The volumes that such bags come in, falls in the inclusive range of 20-30 liters. One can bet that the colors that these bags are available in are plenty bright. They definitely add to the energy of the sport.
Cycling and Running
Cycling and running are two sports that majorly target the cardiovascular system. They result in enormous amounts of energy and sweat expenditure.
One needs to keep in mind to replenish both of these reserves if they want to keep going.
It, however, is impossible for a person to carry these resources in their hands, while on the run, literally. This is exactly when hydration backpacks come into the picture.
Hydration bags are very light weighted bags that can hold no more than 10 liters. About 20-40 percent of the volume is taken up by the reservoir.
The remaining volume can be used to store other utilities like towels, snacks etc.
They have a contraption planned to allow for easy consumption of the fluid stored in the reservoir, while on the go.
A lot of science has been invested in ensuring that the weight of the fluid is balanced well, so as to not bother the sportsperson using this backpack. These bags fit snugly and don’t move much from the ideal amount.
For a cyclist, there are additional options like a helmet holder and storage compartments for tools.
Water sports enthusiasts have always been the ones with an annoying task at hand. It is their responsibility to waterproof all the items carried to the sport.
Luckily, today we do have “waterproof backpacks” or “dry packs”.
Dry packs are available in a large variety, differing by the volume they can hold.
They range from about 15 liters to 120 liters by capacity. One can select a backpack that falls in this range, based on their purpose, the duration of the trip and the number of utilities to store.
The zippers too do their job pretty effectively, thus, not allowing water to seep through from anywhere.
These backpacks usually come with one opening on the top, to not leave any possibility of water influx. They are made of materials like PVC or TPU.
Like other backpacks, they too are light weighted and have the ability to hold external gear too. Some come with an external mesh, where one can store items that can get wet.
A suitcase or a trolley sometimes gets too big for a simple two-day travel. It is always smarter, to carry a bag or a sack that exactly holds the luggage required and has a little buffer space to encourage some more packing.
In case, someone is looking for a bag that fits this description, then the right name for it is a “travel pack”.
Travel packs may not be as comfortable as the other backpacks that have been discussed so far.
The reason being that, these backpacks do not focus as much on comfort as they do on adaptability and style, since, the traveler doesn’t have to haul them for more than a couple of hours. They have internal frames, to support the load.
These bags are used today, by people who fit into the phrase, “living out of a suitcase”. They are stylish, have many compartments to aid in hosting a variety of items that the traveler desires to pack.
Travel packs are currently designed to accommodate a volume that ranges between 50-80 liters. Some also come with a “handle” option, to give the backpack a more “suitcase” type of a look.
Apart from these, there are foldable backpacks available that are light and easy to fold. They can easily be fit into one of the traveling backpacks, since, there is no frame to make their body rigid.
Their volume is not as much, it is somewhere around that of a daypack, that is, about 10-20 liters.
These are typically used by travelers when they go sightseeing. They have no external gear holders, apart from a water bottle holder mesh. Even the compartments are not as many and these barely weigh anything.
In the recent few years, there has been a sudden surge in this style of backpacks. It has gained a humongous amount of popularity among new parents.
These bags, as the name suggests, are used to store diapers and their other “ammunition” to tackle the needs of their newborn baby.
They can take a capacity of about 25 liters and have a few compartments. These bags can be found as shoulder bags as well as backpacks. These bags look pleasant and come in bright colors and cute appealing designs.
— Overnighters —
Backpacks that are available with a greater volume capacity are called overnighters. As the name suggests, they are strong and spacious enough to hold items required for a longer duration.
These can serve the purpose of an overnight hike or trek too. These backpacks are designed with an external frame to support heavy loads and not injure the back while doing so.
These backpacks can hold up to 85 liters, comfortably. They have a lot of storage compartments, to organize and keep varying types of items.
They also come with many straps and belts, which aid in reducing and balancing the weight all across one’s back.
These belts are well padded so that, the weight of the bag doesn’t cause too much fatigue to the traveler.
Some bags are water-proofed while others are not. One could ask for a water-proof “overnighter” at the store if they are particular about the same.
Some may also have concealable pockets and a removable day-pack attached to them. It all finally boils down to the way one wants to organize and carry their load.
The only disadvantage about these bags is that they do not come with holders that can take any external attachments.
These are simply huge bags that can carry a good load and are comfortable to carry around. But, hey, there is no upper cap on creativity yet, one can go ahead and enhance these backpacks and add whatever feature they like.
In the end..
With this, we come to the end of the proposed walkthrough. It only takes one to decide the type of trip one wants to go on and voilà, the choice of the backpack is ready to be made.
Backpacks are a real blessing that makes a tedious task like, carrying around the burden, a fun and stylish thing to do.