Remember when it use to be fairly easy to buy a backpack? You went into the store and essentially chose from external or internal frame, size, and brand that you liked. Now days it’s gotten much more complicated, as there are about as many options on your backpack as there are on a new car. On top of that, nearly every outdoor gear company makes packs these days, which means the level of quality varies greatly. Walking into your local gear shop, you can find a dizzying array of packs to choose from, and it can be quite intimidating deciding which one is for you.
Never fear however, as Sierra Trading Post is here to save us all a lot of stress and anguish. They’ve put together an excellent Backpack Buyers Guide that will sure to come in handy for those looking to buy their first pack or add to their existing collection.
The guide goes into detail on all the things you should consider when buying your pack. They break it down quite nicely, and prioritize all the options that you’ll need to think about. For instance, they say that “Capacity Comes First”, which really is a great place to start. You’ll need to pick a pack that is the right size for the adventure that you are going to use it for. They even have a great little chart to help you determine the size you’ll need for the amount of time you’ll be on the trail. They even factor in the season, as you’ll obviously be carrying thicker, bulkier gear in the Winter.
Next they way the pros and cons of the age-old debate of “Internal vs. External Frame” packs, then move on to offer sizing tips, complete with a handy YouTube video. The section on personal adjustment to your pack will help to get it fitting just right on your back while carrying a load, while the section on the features of a backpack will break down and explain what all the different options on your new pack are for.
All in all, this a great resource and definitely one worth going through before you decide what pack you want to buy. Coming from a guy who REALLY likes his packs, the top thing that I’d recommend is find a pack that is comfortable. Usually I know if a pack is right for me as soon as I put it on. I can make some adjustments, get it to fit a bit better, but if it just doesn’t feel right, I’m probably not ever going to be happy with it. Also, I’d never, under any circumstances, buy a pack ever again that isn’t hydration ready. It’s just too convenient to have your water within easy reach at all times. Fortunately, this generally isn’t an issue any more, as nearly all packs come hydration ready these days, but still something you’ll want to make sure of before you buy.
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