Romantic Backpacks

The most IMPORTANT thing about a backpack is that it fits YOU properly. Be certain that you are getting a backpack that will work perfectly for YOU and your camping style. I recommend that you have an experienced sales person help you find a pack that fits your body correctly. Your height and the size of your hips and shoulders are significant factors in finding the right backpack.

REMEMBER: Like hiking boots, you should always try on your backpack before purchasing. Before buying a new backpack, always try it on with weight in it. Your backpack must fit comfortably when packed full of your camping gear. Have the sales person load it up with some gear!

ROMANTIC IDEA: Know your backpack Lingo (and other camping Lingo too). It’s a subtle thing, but using the vocabulary of camping gear actually distinguishes you as an outdoors person. It demonstrates you have knowledge, experience and dominance in this subject. This is attractive to your partner guaranteed!

Backpack Features

  • Compression Straps: These straps are used to compress the pack when it’s not full.
  • Daisy Chain: Series of web loops sewn vertically along the front of the pack. Designed for connecting extra gear.
  • Hip Belt: Padded and adjustable strap to stabilize and support the pack.
  • Load Lifter Strap: Adjusts the weight and angle of the load on the shoulders.
  • Padded Back: Synthetic fabric padding should provide comfort and wick away sweat.
  • Shoulder Straps: Contoured and padded for maximum comfort and accommodating your chest.
  • Sternum Strap: This strap cnnects across the chest and take pressure from your shoulders.
  • Storm Collar: Extends the volume of the pack at the top by an extra 8 to 12 inches.

Backpack Types

Internal Frame: Internal-frame packs integrate a small frame system that consists of strips of either metal or plastic. The internal frame style allows you to carry the weight closer to your body. This style helps provides a lower center of gravity and provides a more predictable movement of the load. On the downside, the tight fit reduces ventilation. Internal frame backpacks tend to be a little more sweaty than external frame packs.

External Frame: External pack frames are usually made from lightweight metal tubes, generally aluminum. The external frame typically has a system of straps and pads to keep the main pack and frame from contacting the body. This open structure has the added benefit of improved ventilation and decreased sweatiness.

Top-loading: The top-loading backpack is the most water-resistant backpack style. This is due to a single opening that can be synched-up tight. These backpacks are the standard for serious backpacking and mountaineering. They often include an extendable storm collar that can add volume to the main compartment. The top loading style requires a well planned packing strategy. You don’t want to frequently empty your entire pack to get at something that’s located at the very bottom.

Panel-loading: The panel style easy allows access to your stuff through a horseshoe-shaped zipper from the front panel of the pack. This way you don’t have to empty everything from your backpack to get something from the bottom. Unfortunately, zippers are not very waterproof. You may want to keep a backpack weather cover handy when using this style of backpack.

Combo-loading: This hybrid style offers advantages of both the top-loading and panel-loading backpacks. You can stuff from the top and still access with a zipper from the front. Of course, the additional openings mean your pack is more susceptible to water. Don’t jump into a river wearing this style of backpack!

Backpack Volume

Backpack storage volume is measured in cubic inches. The following breakdown of size and features may help you determine which pack will fit your specific outdoor adventure needs:

  • Day Pack: 1,000 – 1,500 cubic inches. Padded and contoured shoulder-straps. Padded back. Sturdy hip-belt.

  • Weekend Pack: 3000 – 4,500 cubic inches. Internal or External suspension system. Padded and countoured shoulder-straps. Sternum strap. Load-lifter strap. Padded back. Padded and contoured hip-belt.

  • Trekking Pack: 4000 – 6,000 cubic inches. These Beasts include all aforementioned features of the Weekend Pack.

Backpack Loading Strategy

The weight distribution of your backpack will affect your balance and overall comfort. When traveling long distances these factors become crucial. Of course, when backpacking you always want to carry the lightest load possible. After completing a few backpacking trips you learn what gear you use and what stuff is simply dead weight. The following are some basic loading strategies for your gear:

Top: Load heavy gear like tents, stoves, water bottles and fuel at the top of your pack near your shoulders.

Middle: Load middle-weight gear like pots and clothing in the middle area.

Bottom: Load the lightest gear at the bottom. Sleeping bags go at the very bottom of the pack. Light gear can also be strapped to the outside of the backpack.

Backpack Hydration Systems

Hydration systems (a.k.a Camelbak) within backpacks include a collapsible water reservoir with a flexible drinking tube. There are advantages and disadvantages to using a flexible water bladder over the standard “hard-style” water bottle.

  • Collapses eliminating dead space
  • Molds to fit available area
  • Liquid does not slosh
  • Keeps you warm when converted into a hot water bottle
  • Can be used as a water pillow

  • Freeze-up in cold climates
  • NOT recommended for drink mixes
  • Cleaning and drying is time consuming
  • No ice cubes
  • Punctures

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