When you’re planning the trip of a lifetime, you’ll need to think of what travel gear you’re going to need. A good quality travel rucksack is without a doubt going to be at the top of your list, but which one will be best suited to your needs?
The following tips will have you ready to choose the right type of rucksack for your travels.”
Choosing the Right Travel Rucksack
What is a Travel Rucksack?
Travel rucksacks are tailored to meet the needs of backpackers and travelers, with a range of key features that set them apart from hiking rucksacks.
Side Opening - The first feature to look out for is side access to the rucksack’s main compartment, this is commonly via lockable zips and is similar to the opening you would find on a suitcase.
Removable Daysack - The second feature you will find is a detachable daysack, this is a smaller sized rucksack that is attached to the front of the bag. Daysacks are normally attached to the main bag by zip or clip fastenings and are great for day trips or for using as hand luggage on flights.
Concealed Straps - Finally, you will find that the rucksack’s shoulder straps are concealable by way of a zip panel. This panel helps to protect the rucksack’s back system during flights and other journeys, preventing material snags and other damage.
Which Size Do I Need?
If you’re travelling for a long period of time, you may well think that buying the largest travel rucksack on the market is the way forward. This is not necessarily the best option, as larger rucksacks can put too much strain on your back and tempt you to pack far too much gear.
Travel rucksack sizes range from 40 litres in size to 100 litres, with anything smaller than 40 litres verging on daysack territory and most definitely not suitable for a round the world trip.
When choosing your travel rucksack, consider your height, the activities you plan on doing during your trip, such as trekking, and what gear you intend on packing. These three simple steps will make selecting the right bag a much simpler exercise.
When it comes to packing, lay out everything you want to take then start eliminating the things you could do without. Rolling your clothes is a well-known tactic used by many travelers to optimize the packing space inside their rucksacks. Handy accessories such as compression sacks can also help to minimize the size of your clothes and travel gear.
Key Comfort Features
Most travel rucksacks on the market are fitted with adjustable back systems, made up of shoulder straps and a hip belt for added support.
Rucksack back systems are often padded with an air mesh material for breathability, helping to reduce sweating and provide a more comfortable carrying experience.
The back system’s hip belt is designed to bear most of the weight from the rucksack and take the strain away from your shoulders, helping to avoid back injuries and discomfort.
Lowe Alpine introduced the concept of a length-adjusting back system back in 1967. Since then many outdoor gear manufacturers have come up with their own designs and styles of adjustable back systems.
Ensuring your rucksack is fitted correctly will ensure you don’t injure your back when travelling and make carrying it around much more comfortable!
While women are able to opt for standard rucksacks, a female specific option may be a better choice, particularly for the more petite among you.
Women’s rucksacks are designed with a shorter back length, as women have a shorter torso compared to men.
Other features you can expect from a women’s rucksack include additional padding on the hip belt as well as more contoured shaping on the shoulder straps and hip belt.
Some women may not feel the need to opt for a shorter back length, but may want something that looks more appealing, compared to plain black rucksacks. For these travellers, other colours of rucksack are available, the Vango Freedom 60+20 comes in either black or plum and Karrimor offer a range of colours from pink to blue.
If you don’t think your back could take the strain of carrying a rucksack around for the duration of your trip, a wheeled rucksack is a feasible alternative.
Wheeled rucksacks give you the option of carrying the rucksack on your back with shoulder straps or wheeling it along using oversized wheels and an extending towing handle.
However, due to the presence of an aluminium telescopic handle on most models, the back systems on wheeled backpacks tend to be fairly basic and are rarely adjustable.
There are some wheeled rucksacks with adjustable back systems, but they don’t come with a towing handle, which isn’t always very convenient if you’re on the tall side.
Rucksack Accessories & Extras
Giving your rucksack some TLC during your trip is essential to keeping it in good condition. There are many accessories on the travel gear market that help to protect your rucksack and improve its performance.
A Backpack Transit covers is a great way to protect your rucksack during flights and other journeys, this completely covers your bag and stops it getting damaged on airport conveyor belts and carousels.
No rucksack is completely waterproof, so a rain cover is a good investment if you want to keep its contents dry and protected from the elements.
Hydration bladders are a must have if you’ll be trekking during your time away, allowing you to stay hydrated via a handy tube that feeds through the top of your rucksack. Many models of rucksack feature specialised pockets and tube ports for hydration bladders and will be described as ‘Hydration compatible’ if they have this feature.
If you consider the above points, you will hopefully have a much more comfortable and less frustrating time with your travel rucksack, allowing you to enjoy your time away with minimal disruption and discomfort.