Monthly Archives: March 2017

A Guide for Purchasing a Backpack

When the time comes to buy a backpack – and it will come for everyone – whether for a small child just starting school where the latest character from the “Cartoon Channel” will be a requirement or for trekking the frontiers, traveling across Europe or a weekend getaway, knowing how to buy the perfect bag requires that one have a basic knowledge of the different types of backpacks and their particulars.

Backpacks for School

Whatever the age of the user, if the backpack is for school it needs to meet three important requirements:

Style – from Hello Kitty age to college MBA, if it doesn’t fit the style of the wearer, it won’t get any use. If you’re buying for someone else a s a gift, make sure you know what they like.

Function – It has to hold everything in a way that makes it simple to retrieve what’s needed without emptying the entire contents of the backpack. Often bags with outer pockets make carrying small, often used items easier.

Durability – It’s going to get tossed about a lot and needs to be made from a quality canvas or other strong material that can take the abuse. The zipper and other closures must be strong and if it’s going to be taken as checked baggage, make sure it will accommodate a lock.

Hiking Backpacks

Style is not as important as function and sturdiness. Comfort is most important here as the backpack will be worn for long periods. Sometimes hours. Consider a backpack with an external metal frame for added support and comfort, as well as strength.

Travel Bags

Again function and comfort are more important. Don’t purchase a hiking backpack for travel. Hiking backpacks load from the top to make it easier to distribute the weight and keep the contents clean and dry. Imagine trying to retrieve your child’s handheld game console that you packed on the bottom of the bag while you’re on an airliner. Better a bag that loads from the front. Also, make sure the size meets the requirements for carry-on luggage.

Construction Materials

Backpacks are made typically from one of four materials; nylon, canvas, mesh or leather. Which material to choose obviously depends on the use. Canvas or nylon will have the benefit of being light weight and easy to clean with soap and water and come in large range of sizes and styles. Leather excepted, they are also the most durable materials. Mesh bags are more commonly used by students and are small in size with a drawstring closure. They are great for carrying a few lightweight items, but aren’t as tough as a canvas bag. Finally, leather backpacks are the heavier of the four materials and will also require the most maintenance to keep them looking good. They will also be the most expensive choice. Leather bags are usually smaller and more geared to style than comfort. The upside is leather will last for years, often looks better with age and can gain in value. Some high-end designers will put their name on a brand and collectors will be on the lookout for the old or vintage packs that can be quite valuable.

Choosing a Hiking Backpack

Backpacks are usually available in three categories: External Frame; Internal Frame; and Daypacks.

External Frame – typically constructed using a ladder-like frame of aluminum or plastic with a separate pack bag attached usually utilizing clevis pins and split rings. The hip belt and shoulder straps are attached to the frames. Volume capacity of this backpack ranges from 3,000-4,500 cubic inches (49-73 L). The external frame backpack allows space for attaching large items (e.g. sleeping bags) to the outside of the frame making the carrying capacity more than the volume of the backpack. Features to look for in a backpack include: good lumbar padding, a conical hip belt, recurved shoulders with good padding, and a chest compression strap.

Pro:
*Weight carrying capacity
*More air space so back doesn’t sweat as heavily
*Weight carried higher in backpack allowing more upright posture
*More outside pack capacity allowing for versatility in packing
*Generally less expensive when compared to internal frame backpack

Con:
*Raises center of gravity making hiker top heavy and less stable
*Doesn’t hug body and risks wobbling from side to side
*Can cause difficulties with balance when skiing or snowshoeing
*Must be boxed up to prevent damage when traveling by plane

Internal Frame – uses materials such as aluminum stays, carbon fiber, plastic sheets, and foam to create a rigid spine to which the hip belt and shoulder straps are attached. The backpack extends the full height of the pack with compartmental divisions. Pack volume ranges from 3,000-7,500 cubic inches (49-122 L). Internal frame backpacks should have the same comfort features as the external frame described above. Also look for a fabric layer sewn around the top opening of the pack bag which allows the top pocket to be lifted up providing space for additional storage of gear and side compressions straps that squeeze the pack down when carrying a smaller load.

Pro:
*Carries lots of weight
*Conforms to body for better balance
*More comfortable to wear for longer periods

Con:
*Back perspiration more common
*More fixed carrying capacity
*Bending over more from lower center of gravity
*May be more expensive

Daypacks – no frame, uses a foam or plastic sheet for back panel. To carry heavier weights check for the following features:

*Well-padded shoulder straps
*Foam hip belt as opposed to just a webbing strap
*Chest compression strap
*Volume capacity up to 3,000 cubic inches (49 L)

Water Purification Systems For Camping, Hiking, Backpacking

Whether you head to the great outdoors in a pup tent or in an RV, you’ll find that one of the first things that you need to think about is your water. Even for campsites that have water supplies and faucets available, you’ll find that many people still decide that they want to bring along their own water purification system, and when you have researched the matter a little more, you’ll realize that there are very good reasons to do so.

Make sure you water is safe wherever you go!

You’ll find that whether you are camping, backpacking or even traveling full equipped in an RV that water purification is something that you cannot afford to ignore.

For instance, when you are simply using a campground, you’ll find that there are many different taps and faucets that run to an underground reservoir at some point. While this water is usually drinkable, you should always check with the park rangers or other authorities to figure out what the water situation is like.

Drinking the water can make you sick!

You’ll find that if you are health-conscious that there is a good chance that you will not want to risk drinking untreated water. When you realize that you are risking bacteria like E. coli and viruses like Hepatitis A, the risk of both of which can be eliminated by the use of a water purifier, you’ll see why it is so important to have on with you.

When you are looking for the right water purifier for you, you’ll find that it has a great deal to do with what you are using it for. For instance, a camping water purification is very effective, but it should also be quite portable. While many people will simply bring along a water purifier that has been mounted on a pitcher, this might not be ideal when you are planning to hike miles in day and need to conserve space in your backpack.

Of course, if you are in an RV and have all the comforts of a home away from home, you’ll find that a water purifier mounted on a pitcher will work out just fine.

When you decide to find a good water purifier to take with you when you are camping, remember that filter sizes will differ and they will range from being able to handle 1.0 microns to 4.0 microns. When you are thinking about picking out what water purifier to use, remember that you will want to chose one that will have easily replaceable water cartridges.

While you might balk a little at the expense, you’ll find that this is still far cheaper and more efficient than carrying bottled water. Make sure that you have at least one replacement cartridge with; most people carry a few and store them in different areas, to make sure that they do not risk getting ruined.

When you are on camping trip, make sure that your stay safe by drinking clean water. Don’t trust that clear mountain brook so ensure your health and those of your companions by making sure that you have a good water purifier with you!

What to Put in Your Hiking Backpack

Hiking is a wonderful activity that you can do almost anywhere. It is tons of fun and gives you a great workout while taking you to some of the most beautiful places on earth. There are a few things though that can ruin a hiking trip, not being prepared for emergencies (and even expected occurrences) and carrying too much garbage are two of these.

Hiking backpacks are different from regular backpacks as they generally have padded shoulder straps and two extra sets of straps, one for around your chest and one for around your stomach. These extra straps take away the brunt of the pressure from your shoulders and back and allow you to carry your gear with the weight more evenly distributed throughout your upper body. This allows you to carry heavier weights for longer periods of time. While this is extremely helpful by not using up unnecessary energy, the best way to protect yourself is to only carry the necessities. For those of you hiking for several days and camping in between, there are packs that are structured with metal rods to protect your back when you have to carry even more weight.

The most important thing that you can possibly have on hand while you are hiking is water. Our body is made up of water and as we sweat, this supply needs to be constantly replenished. Having said that though, you don’t want to carry more than you need as water can get heavy. The best way to decide on the amount you will carry, is to plan ahead. Find out where you are going and how long you will be hiking for. The park rangers office should be able to tell you if there are water sources along the trail (so you will be able to refill your supply) or if you need to bring everything you need with you. If you are traveling with an animal, keep in mind that they will need adequate supplies of water as well.

Another important supply to have with you is food. When you are conserving space (and even when not) it is important that you have nutritious food with you. Carrying junk food is not only a waste of space, but it will not assist you in your hike. Some great ideas for the trip are fruits, nuts, and other sources of protein and complex carbohydrates. The best thing you can carry with you is trail mix. This medley combines nuts for protein, dried fruits such as raisins or pineapple and chocolate. This combination will allow you to stay energized throughout your hike. Another suggestion would be exercise and protein bars, though personally I opt for trail mix.

Hiking Backpack

When spring starts is a great time to look for a discount hiking backpack before hitting the trails. Hiking provides great exercise for both body and mind. It brings you closer to nature and the beauty of the outdoors. When hiking you want to travel as lightly as possible while taking everything with you that you might need when you are hiking off the beaten track. Where you are going you are unlikely to find a convenience store.

“High Travel Backpack”

A good quality backpack is a necessary purchase, and can sometimes even be a life saver. You need to choose the right backpack in order to carry everything you’ll need on the hiking trip. Depending on the length of your trip you can choose between a day pack or a multi-day hiking backpack.

Choosing Your Hiking Backpack

When choosing your backpack, ensure that it has wide sturdy shoulder straps which have plenty padding and curves. Don’t just look at it … try it on and load it up with appropriate weight. Make sure it is still comfortable when fully packed. Check the zippers. They are very important; usually zips with big teeth are more durable and stronger. Look for waterproof zippers. A waist strap is important when hiking. The waist strap will allow your backpack to move with your body as you walk. A backpack without a strap will often move counter to your stride and bump and chafe you. Look for a backpack made from ripstop nylon or polyester. These are lightweight water resistant fabrics. Search out end-of-season sales to find a discount hiking backpack at a reduced price.

A few hiking necessities that you shouldn’t leave home without:

* Water is always the first necessity. Take as much as possible; it is easy to become dehydrated when hiking, especially in cooler weather when you are less likely to be aware of it. Your body always needs water.

* Water purification tables are useful if you will be relying on streams as a water source.

* Food of course. Try and pack meals separately so you don’t have to open and expose food every time you are hungry. It will save on space and it encourages you to only take what you need. Dehydrated meals can be useful and light in weight to carry if you will be away overnight.

* Carry a detailed map of the area you are planning to hike.

* Compass.

* A small first aid kit.

* Lighter.

* Torch plus spare batteries.

* Sunscreen and insect repellent cream.

* Rope.

* Knife.

* Small roll of toilet paper.

* Lightweight wet weather jacket

* If you are planning on staying out overnight you’ll also need a sleeping bag and cooking implements.

Packing for your hike is an important issue. You’ll need to be very organized and pack related items together. This will make it easier for you to find them when needed.

Check online at surplus stores, and watch for end-of-season and closeout sales for discount hiking backpacks. Always check the specifications of the pack and make sure that it has the capacity that you need and that the weight is manageable.