The most important piece of gear for backpacking is your backpack. You carry it around with you, and it performs the crucial task of carrying your gear for you! That is why getting the best type and fit is important. The fit is not the only consideration to think about, though. You also need a backpack that is built right, and has the features you need for the type of backpacking you are planning. Here is a list of backpack features you should consider when selecting your backpack.
The most popular structure for the backpack is the internal frame backpack. There are several reason for this. First of all, they are smaller than the alternative external backpack. Also, they fit closer to your body, which makes them more comfortable. The combination of this smaller size and snugger fit generally makes them easier to carry. External frame backpacks seem to throw people off balance more often, perhaps because they seem more rigid, making falls more common.
Here are several of the more popular features of internal frame backpacks:
1) Internal frame backpacks have removable straps. These often come in handy for other purposes, such as to carrying your sleeping bag, mattress or other items.
2) They have a double lining. Internal frame backpacks have an additional interior lining. What this does is helps carry the weight of the gear, and that helps relieve the bottom of stress. A side-affect of this is that it helps your pack last longer.
3) They hug closer to the body without being bulky. This is very important if you are backpacking off trails. The thinner profile aids your moving through tight spots without getting caught on something.
4) Double zipper closures. These are great when you have unexpected zipper breakage or jamming. With two zippers you can save yourself having to figure out how to close the pocket so you do not lose contents as you walk. (Where is that duct tape when you need it!)
5) Load lifter straps. These allow you to shift the backpack weight from shoulders to hips, and vise versa for better balance and comfort.
Other extra features are nice to have. They can help you out in tough situations or help make the backpack more comfortable. Fit is the primary concern in choosing a backpack, but certainly isn’t the only thing to think about. Unless you are looking for a barebones backpack, you will want to check out all the features available. Keep in mind that like most other things, you get what you pay for. The more you spend on and internal frame pack, the higher quality, better durability, and more features it will have.