These 5 tips will ensure all your bases are covered and ensure you make a smart purchase!
Backpack Buying Tip #1 – Comfort
Comfort is by far the most important factor in choosing a backpack. If it hurts your back, you're at best not going to use it often. At worst – you could injure yourself.
The build of a backpack contributes to user comfort, especially the shape of the backside, shoulder straps and padding.
Backpacks with a comfortable back panel, padded shoulder straps and an optional hip belt distribute the weight of the pack across the body.
- Adjustable and padded shoulder straps ensure the backpack sits comfortably, reducing the strain on your back.
- Contoured and padded backs follow the natural shape of your lower back adding to the comfort of carrying the bag. The shape allows for a natural arch to ensure no back pain.
- Padded hip belts remove weight from the back and shoulders and place a larger portion of the burden on the leg muscles – allowing you to carry heavier loads for longer.
Backpack Buying Tip #2 – Durability
Quality backpacks are crafted using durable materials.
Heavy-duty backpacks are generally made of ultra-strong nylon material and YKK-grade zippers and straps of nylon. Nylon and polyester are the most popular pack materials. Heavier fabrics like canvas also make durable bags that you will be using for years. Even leather works, although it can drive up the price of a bag.
The most common reasons men throw their old backpacks aside is tears on the shoulder straps, broken zippers, and stitching that has come undone.
The shoulders straps are most susceptible to tears. Observe the sewing and thread material. Double stitching is preferred. Avoid carrying loads that the bag is not designed to handle. A seamstress can easily fix these tears for as little as $10.
Backpack Buying Tip #3 –Content Protection
Your backpack needs to be somewhat waterproof and requires padding to protect electronic or delicate equipment.
- Water resistant material – You may not need a 100% waterproof backpack – but a bag made from semi-waterproof materials is going to protect the contents in an emergency situation. Bags made from nylon and polyester are better options for outdoor adventures and backpacking trips.
- Padding – A padded compartment for laptops and tablets are common in backpacks. Ensure they are securely fastened to avoid your electronic equipment from jostling around in your bag.
Backpack Buying Tip #4 – Size
Finding the perfect size backpack is a matter of selecting one that is proportional to your body and that fits all the items you need to carry.
The right fit is a size appropriate for your torso length and one that has a comfortably snug grip on your hips.
- Torso length – Some packs are available in multiple sizes, from extra small to large, which fit a range of torso lengths.
- Hip size – The majority of a backpack’s weight should be supported by your hips. Adjustable backpack hipbelts accommodate a wide range of hip sizes.
To measure your torso length – stand with your hand on your hip bones, index finger pointing straight and thumbs in back. The length of your torso is measured from the bony bump at the base of your neck to the middle of your back where your thumbs meet.
- Extra small & small backpacks fit torsos up to 18″.
- Medium & regular backpacks fit 18″ – 20″ torsos.
- Large backpacks fit torsos 20″ and above.
If your backpack is too big or too small in proportion to your torso – the weight won’t be balanced properly. This imbalance results in back pain or you toppling over.
Backpack Buying Tip #5 – Your Activity Needs
The choice between daypacks, rucksacks, travel bags and minimalist backpacks can leave any shopper confused.
Apart from getting the size right, the design and build of the bag should suit your purposes.
- Are you confident the backpack will fit all the utilities you need to carry?
- Will you be walking and moving around from one place to another or will you be sitting in a classroom for most of the day?
- What type of weather are you most likely to encounter while wearing the backpack?
You need something that is suitable for your activities.
If you are planning to use the backpack mainly for short hikes or college – a canvas backpack is ideal. If your main mode of transport is a bicycle, a water-proof nylon backpack is necessary.
A versatile backpack is suitable for any kind of class load – whether you’re packing a camera with lenses, 700-page textbooks, 15 inch laptop, a change of gym clothes or all of these and some more.