When considering an adventure-filled trek around the world, your backpack is by far your most important purchase. You travel backpack is your companion, your friends, and most importantly it holds all your stuff! Unlike a backpack you needed to carry your books for school, you cannot just pick any old one that looks pretty off the shelf. You need to consider all the important details you will need out of your backpack. Are you taking a lot of stuff? Will it need to be safe enough to keep a laptop in? Does it fit properly? All things one needs to consider when picking a properly fitting travel backpack.
There are many styles of travel backpacks out there, most of them are fine but your choice depends on your travel style and preference. Travel Backpacks really only come in two considerable categories— internal frame and external frame. If you intend on doing a lot of hiking with your pack or camping, you will definitely want an external frame backpack. These are the type that allow you to keep a bedroll on it and clip all your cookware and water bottles to the outside.
For the jet-setting, hostel staying, non-campers you will want to invest in a backpack with an internal frame. I have generally found that internal frame backpacks are much more comfortable. You really do not need the ability to clip things onto the outside unless you are camping. Of course, if you really do need the utility, most internal frame styles have various places you can clip things onto, but far less than an external frame style.
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If you are one of those people who tend to think they need to bring everything and their kitchen sink when they travel, packing a travel backpack can be difficult. You buy this huge backpack and you walk half a mile around town and your back is killing you. There is a great trick that you can use to contain your enthusiasm—buy a smaller backpack. With a smaller pack, this helps keep you from over packing, unless you are really quite industrious.
The key to having a good travel experience is to always leave home with your pack only about 3/4th full. This leaves room for all the random stuff you will pick up abroad, and trust me, you will find some things.
To properly fit a backpack, travelers should consider the backpack's weight. When picking a backpack from the shop, they will have weights you can place in the bag to help you choose the proper size. A backpack should have you be able to carry fifty pounds comfortably. However, you will never want to have fifty pounds in your bag, this is just for testing the fit and durability. Most times you will want to aim for no more than 25 pounds in your bag. The lower the better. Your bags weight will want to sit comfortably on your hips. The surest sign of a bag that will cause you problems in the long run is that it pulls your shoulders back or down. A travelling backpack should keep its weight close to your body and not pull awkwardly, this way it keeps things comfortably distributed and does not strain your back and shoulders.
When choosing a bag, you want to make sure it is not too long for you either. Many manufacturers create products for different torso lengths. The bottom of your bag should rest on your lower back just above the buttocks and it should raise no higher than the top of your head. If it droops over your butt, it is more likely to pull your shoulders and back in awkward ways and you could end up with some might sore muscles. So do not be fooled how comfortable an empty bag drooping over your but feels. This isn't a school backpack. If your bag towers above your head, you may want to consider another shorter model. It is never good to risk looking up and hitting your head or even worse the embarrassing moment when you get your bag snagged on something above your head because you forgot it was taller than you are.
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There are three things prone to ripping on a travel backpack—zippers, straps, and netting. If you are buying your bag from the shop, be sure to give the zippers a couple of test zips to make sure they do not jam. Look for as much double stitching as you can find. The more double zipping the sturdier the straps and zippers will be. Some backpacks may have netting while others will not. Some models use the netting on the back to create ventilation to prevent sweat from soaking into your clothes. While these are nice for comfort, they are the most likely thing to rip. If you are going to a tropic area, it is sadly something you will want, but other times it is best to go without it.