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  • Rucksacks

    You need your pack to be comfortable and have the correct back length.

    It also needs to have the features you need, and suit your activities.

    A summer daysack and a winter daysack can be totally different sizes depending on what you need to carry. You have to be realistic about how much you can carry comfortably and how big the pack is in relation to you. Think about how long your walks are, how much gear you take with you and what spare clothing you carry. It’s better to have space in your pack and not need it than to need the space and not have it, but a half filled pack doesn’t sit right on your back and can feel unstable.

    Once you get towards a 30L pack then a good padded hip belt helps as it takes some of the weight off your shoulders and transfers it onto your hips. The more adjustment a pack has the better you can make it fit. A good pack will have adjustment behind the shoulders, under the arms, and on the hip belt. With VauDe FLASH (Floating Length Adjustable Shoulder Harness) system you can adjust the length of the actual shoulder straps as well for an even better fit. Do you need a pack with a long or short back? You need the hip belt to sit comfortably on your hips.

    Compression straps hold the pack and contents closer into your back for better stability. A lot of packs have a mesh back that allows air to circulate between you and the pack. These make your back a lot drier and more comfortable for summer walking, but the versions that stand off your back decrease the stability of the load so are not the best choice if you want to scramble or climb rocks.

    Most rucksacks are made of waterproof fabrics but they do not have the seams sealed as this would put the price right up. Some come with a raincover hidden in the lid or base and these can also be bought separately. For total waterproofing you need either a waterproof pack or a waterproof liner. You can use one big liner or an assortment of dry bags to organise your pack.

    Different rucksacks have different pocket arrangements and features. Compression side  pockets are good as they give you more space if you need it, but when empty they flatten out to make your pack narrower. Some have mesh pockets, which are handy for stuffing hats and gloves into and some have mesh sections that will hold a jacket or helmet. A lot of packs have attachments on the front for trekking poles or ice axes. If you use a pole or ice axe then these attachments free up your hands for when you need them.

    Hydration systems work really well and if you are buying a new pack you might want to consider one that can take a Platypus Hoser system. This is a reservoir of water that sits in your pack with a tube coming over your shoulders to a mouth piece you suck on to get a drink. You tend to drink more regularly from these as it is easier than when you have to stop and get your bottle out of your pack. This keeps you more hydrated and healthier.

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