General tips on how to choose your backpack:
Packs can stymie the most adroit internet surfer. If you think finding boots for a trip is difficult, try getting the right pack.
There are so many brands today that the first-time buyer often feels overwhelmed by all the bells and whistles of modern packs.
After nearly 20 years of guiding trips, mainly in the Alps, we have come to the obvious conclusion that simple is better. If you pick up a pack and it already feels heavy (without having put anything inside) you should probably look at another model. On most of our hiking journeys, you will not need to carry a sleeping bag or tent. Light, small packs with a rain cover if possible, are the best, and a 30 to 35-litre pack would be ideal.
– Torso length:
Find a backpack that fits snugly on your back, and let’s you adjust the straps. Make sure that your hip belt sits nicely ON your hips. This is especially important for larger backpacks whcih will carry heavier weights.
80% or more of your backpack’s weight should be carried on your hips, and NOT on your shoulders.
If your shoulders and neck hurt after a day of hiking, your backpack is either not adjusted correctly, or is carried the wrong way.
– What goes where?
There is a beautiful graphic and an explanation on Deuter’s website to help you pack your rucksack. Ideally, the backpack’s centre of gravity should be as close to your body as possible, at about shoulder height. Have a look here:
How to carry a backpack
– Sweaty days…
Deuter makes backpacks with a light mesh that keeps the backpack away from your back, so it doesn’t touch, and therefore doesn’t make you sweat where the pack touches your back. This makes your hike so much more comfortable.
Our favourite backpacks are made by Deuter and Osprey.
Deuter packs are very comfortable, no-nonsense affairs. They have been in the business of making backpacks for over a 100 years, and still come up with new features that really enhance the performance, instead of unnecessary bells and whistles.
I guide roughly four months during the summer season without much time off and my pack becomes a pretty heavy burden. Deuter has been my preferred brand of pack so far, but I have now added a second brand to my favourite packs.
After trying on a guest’s Osprey Exos 46, I had a bit of a gear epiphany and went pain-free the remainder of the summer wearing that pack. I did buy my own though!
I have added a link to Osprey’s website. I strongly recommend looking into their packs. I would still recommend Deuter gear, but Osprey has really come up with a light-weight, easy to use thru-pack for classic treks such as our Haute Route or any of our Dolomites trips. Just the right size, incredibly light (857 grams) and fairly robust despite its weight.
Wish you all adventurous travels!