Carrying supplies during a hike is essential, but even more essential is a backpack that will hold all your supplies while remaining comfortable. You don’t want your backpack breaking when you are 12 miles up the trail, making you have to hike all the way back with a broken backpack. At the same time, you don’t want to have a backpack that will never break but cuts into your back and shoulder blades and weighs about a million pounds.
Getting a hiking backpack is no easy chore. There are dozens of manufacturers that each have multiple models of backpacks. So how do you choose which one to go with? Reading reviews will obviously help, but going to a store where the salesmen don’t get paid by commission is essential. The salesmen are experts and will give you an unbiased opinion of which backpack is the most durable. They will be able to tell you about the materials used, the company in general, and so much more about each specific pack.
If you want to look online, here are some top backpacks for hiking. Or if you’re a woman, here’s the page for you: http://www.hiking-for-her.com/best-daypacks-for-women.html
This is the area that you get the most say in. The first thing you want to look at is weight—how much it weighs by itself and how much weight it can carry. Bigger backpacks are made for stronger, larger people. Smaller backpacks are made for smaller people. If a backpack you like seems to be too large or small when you put it on, it isn’t for you.
You also need to feel how comfortable the pack is. Is it so utilitarian that you have bits of metal or plastic poking you? Does it have too much extra padding and stuffing? Try on the backpacks as you go shopping, and see if it is comfortable empty, because if it isn’t, it certainly won’t be comfortable full.
The waist strap is another area that is especially important when it comes to comfort and support. This handy tool transfers most of the weight of the backpack from your shoulders to your hips, where it is much easier for your body to carry it. Make sure that the backpack you choose has some sort of padding on the hip belt, or you will be in for some rough hiking.
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Whether you are preparing for a trip, a night out in town or just for school, your backpack is always handy because it allows the comfort and the freedom of your hands. Being an important piece of mountaineering equipment, in whose company you will spend a long time, it is important to know its characteristics.
When choosing a backpack you should keep in mind several important aspects:
- where you want to use it
- What you want to put in it
- the duration of the trip
- the type of material it’s made of
- What type of compartmentalization and accessorizing it offers
Choose it depending on the duration of the trip and type of activity:
- for 1-2 day mountain tours select backpacks with capacity of 20-50 liters
- for hiking for 2-3 days, choose backpacks with capacity between 50-60 liters
- for trekking trips of 3-5 days, we choose a backpack with capacity of 60-80 litres
- for trekking longer than 5 days, choose backpacks that have more than 80 litres
Waterproof and resistant materials
The material must be resistant to wear and tear, waterproof and breathing. Manufacturers use Cordura and nylon, both wear resistant and to long exposure to extreme conditions (frost or heat). They ensure water proofing, but to be 100% sure use a rain cover (it does not make your backpack heavier) and a method to protect the additional equipment attached to the rucksack. Even if the model does not include one, it can be purchased at a low cost. Read more about tips on how to choose a good backpack and a list of the strongest and most durable backpacks.
Division into compartments
For trips with duration of 2 to 5 days or more, the compartment division of the rucksack should be a plus. We choose a smart subdivision like:
- compartment for storing a sleeping bag and bulky things
- compartment for hydration system
- multiple pockets for weight distribution, volume expansion, things that need to be on hand.
Accessories for attaching additional equipment allow you to add or to balance. To be easy to use and comfortable, the back of the rucksack has a rigid frame. The backpacks with small capacity present double seams and extra material, which ensure stability, protection to the inside of the rucksack (in case of carrying a laptop), and breathability in the points of contact with the body.
The new models are equipped with inner stiffening by means of aluminum bars, usually with a width of 2.5 mm and 3 mm in diameter which ensure:
The compression straps with which the backpack help compressing it and prevent dropping things from the inside so that sudden movements do not affect your stability.
Flexibility and balance
Due to the bars in the framing that embrace the body and at the same time adjust to its movement.
Freedom of movement
The backpacks with inner stiffening bars ensure a more narrow profile, which allows for the use of the hands without restriction.
Bracing system is adjustable, it can adapt to the length of the user’s back.
Because it is an investment to last several years, the backpack needs to be taken care of accordingly:
- remove dirt with a wet rag or with warm water
- do not store your backpack in places with moisture
- do not store the dirty backpack, because the material degrades
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Hiking is very easy and is within everyone’s reach. However, this does not mean that it’s as easy as walking down a path. However simple hiking may be, it’s necessary to take minimal precautions that will prevent possible problems. I have selected 10 basic tips to enjoy our hikes outdoors safely.
1. Choose carefully
Besides the usual difficulties and effort to hike, keep in mind ambient conditions (presence of snow, ice, etc) and take into account the weather forecast (snow, wind, fog, etc) for the entire duration of the trip.
2. Know your limits
Know your own limitations, both physical and mental, and act accordingly, calculating with objectivity and realism the route and schedules to follow. It is preferable to plan less than more, thus never reaching your limit. This will prevent to undertake an activity that will exceed you, putting your integrity at risk, as well as of those who accompany you and, at the extreme, that of the rescuers. Dose your energy so it lasts throughout the day. A hike does not end until you return to your car or home.
3. Do not go alone
Even if it’s a short hike, never go alone. Communicate to someone before leaving your planned route and schedule. In case of accident, do not leave the wounded behind unless by extreme necessity and with the greatest guarantees: assessing their condition with great accuracy, leaving them well anchored in place so they will not fall or move, and with plenty of water and warm clothes.
4. Take the right clothes
Always carry appropriate clothing. Light and comfortable clothing. Put yourself always in the worst of scenarios, although the weather forecast is good; on the mountain weather changes radically in just a few hours. You always have to bring a raincoat, even in the hottest days of the summer. As a rule, always have sunglasses, hat, cap and gloves, and in winter add the gaiters (gaiters to keep out the snow in our boots). Pay special attention with shoes and socks.
5. Leave out unnecessary things
Pack with . Leave in everything you might need, but don’t carry useless things. They are essential to a thermal blanket and a basic first aid kit that includes blister band aids, paracetamol, eye drops, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic medicines.
6. Take the right food
Do not take excessive amounts of food. It should be easy to digest, energy-giving and of light weight. Energy bars and gels, dried fruit, chocolate and carbohydrate-rich products are recommended. Heavy food will cause you digestive problems and you’ll lose much time eating it.
7. Carry water in abundance
Carry a water bottle of minimum 1 liter. It needs to go in the backpack in upright position. Check that it is perfectly closed, so it does not wet the equipment you wear. Avoid drinking water from streams. Drink every 20 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty, this will prevent dehidration and physical issues like exhaustion and cramps.
8. A mobile phone is essential
Take a fully charged cell phone, and a replacement battery. Record an emergency number. Make sure that it will not get wet during the excursion. WhatsApp today is the first tool for location and rescue of people lost and injured on the mountain and outdoors. Having a mobile phone and the consequent security of our geolocation should not prompt us to undertake activities that we would not do without this tool.
9. Respect the natural environment
Leave nature as you would like to find it. Do not leave any residue behind and, if you can, take the rubbish you find. Do not take anything from nature (animals such as insects, vegetables such as flowers, fruits and mosses; rocks and shells).
10. Respect local people
Respect the local customs of the places you visit. Don’t make noise, follow the roads, don’t walk through fields, etc.
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