If possible, visit us in-store and try some on. The harness systems on travel packs are very sophisticated now, and its best to get matched up and test it out.
If that’s not possible, give yourself time if buying online. We allow refunds for 100 days – so you can order it, test it out at home and then swap it if need be.
In terms of quality indicators, zips, material, harness, and warranty will be your biggest clues;
Zips – they should be rugged, large and lockable (on all pockets if that’s what you need)
Material – ripstop nylon, water-resistant, thick and highly resilient.
Harness – the more sophisticated the harness is the more comfortable the bag will be – things such as height-adjustable straps, breathable mesh panels, lumbar and chest straps, even weight distribution and so on will make a huge difference 7 days into your trek.
Warranty – the warranty is generally a good indicator of quality, 1-3 years would be sufficient for a shorter or lighter trip, 5-10 years is ideal and lifetime means the company really backs their product – look for lifetime if you really need something high quality (Osprey’s lifetime warranty is a good example!) When your comfort and back health are in question, buy the best quality you can afford.
Features such as size, capacity, removable day pack, tie-downs, raincoats, packing style and so on will all depend on what sort of trip you’re doing.