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How to choose the right bag for YOU
Any first-time backpacker will undoubtingly make several mistakes the first few times they trek into the wilds.
Hopefully, we can help with a few suggestions to improve your experiences.
How to choose the right bag for you.
No one company makes outdoor equipment bags to suit every body type. The first thing you must do is decide which type of bag you want and what to expect from it.
A daypack will perform differently than a large pack designed for deep bush trekking. Packs are often sized based on Litres, which will give you an indication of the size of the bag and how much it will hold. Purchase an outdoor equipment bag that is designed for your specific needs. You may end up with several bags, and that’s fine; it’s like using the correct shoes for the right occasion. You won’t wear dress shoes for a week trek through the woods or wear hiking boots to a black-tie event.
Once you’ve decided on the reason for your purchase: urban use, day trekking or backpacking across Europe, set a price and research various models.
These bags are used primarily for school or walking around the city. They are typically smaller, designed to carry and protect laptops and tablets and have specific pockets for chargers and phones. The shape will differ from Daypacks, Travel Packs, or advanced Hiking Packs.
Urban Packs will most likely be used by students, cyclists, and professionals who prefer to carry their cargo on their shoulders instead of a carry bag and get used daily. They are also useful as Daypacks for short walks.
Daypacks will come in various sizes; their shape will depend on the function and level of user experience. The straps will be more advanced than urban packs, and the construction difference will be obvious to the buyer. The designs will be more advanced than urban bags and will, most likely, not have specific pockets for laptops or electronics.
Avid trekkers, outdoors enthusiasts, hunters, and cyclists will often purchase one of these bags instead of an Urban pack for comfort and size.
TRAVEL AND HIKING PACKS
The design, size and cost of typical Travel and Hiking Packs will be more complex and expensive than Urban or Day packs. They will have adjustable harness systems and pelvic belts for added support to accommodate weight and long-term wear. Pockets and compartments on Travel and Hiking Packs are changing to store electronics but usually are designed for clothing and food. They may have built-in rain covers or optional ones.
Travellers and serious hikers will spend time researching before purchasing a high-quality bag. These bags are not suitable for daily use or urban settings as they hold a lot of gear and are larger than most people require.
As your experience grows, so will your knowledge of how to pack and use whatever bag you choose. One of the most important things to remember is “Don’t overpack.”
Weight is your enemy. Carry the essentials, and make do with what you have.
Perform a dry run if you use your new pack for travel or long hikes. Pack your gear, following some basic rules to keep you safe and limit fatigue. Listen to your body; it knows.
Even if you just purchased a bag for Urban use or a day pack for walking the dog, do a dry run with the gear you would normally take. If your new bag is too small or too large, keep in mind the “Gold Fish Principle”: a goldfish will grow to the size of its environment. So too, will the amount of gear you put in your bag. If your bag is too large, you will start to overfill it with unnecessary items, which add weight.
Check your bag after each major use or trek. If the bag has sustained any damage, fix it NOW. Don’t wait until the next time you need it because you won’t have time to repair it properly.
Clean your bag if it gets dirty. This is important to prevent mold and bacteria growth and prematurely ruining your bag.
Locks or theft prevention may not be required under most circumstances, but a simple lock is a tie wrap. Run it through the zipper heads, and it prevents a quick grab and dash. Don’t allow an opportunist to reach inside your bag. They will steal whatever they can and take off. Locks only stop honest people; if someone wants something, they will steal your entire bag.
Label your bag, mark it, and ensure it is easily identified. Make the bag uniquely yours, inside and out. Be creative with your markings. Putting a luggage tag on your bag can be removed and tossed. Hide your name or a personal code or GPS tracker inside the bag if you must prove the bag is yours to authorities.
Research the gear you plan on taking with you and use it before you leave. The last thing you want to do is read the instruction manual in an emergency. Use it, know it, and understand it.
Carry a medical kit. As simple as it sounds, even a short walk can result in catastrophic medical emergencies.
Angus produces several outstanding bags for various uses, but we must admit we won’t fill every need. Research, do your homework and know what you are buying.