What to Look For When Buying a Backpack

When buying a backpack there are quite a few things you need to consider. For many travelers you will be living out of your backpack for many months and making a poor decision on your backpack can be detrimental to the enjoyment of your trip.Don’t rush into buying the first backpack you see either. They can be a big and costly investment and it is important to get a backpack that is suitable to your needs and body type. Expect to pay between $150-$300US for a decent backpack. So what exactly should we be looking for?- Make sure you get a pack that is proportionate to your body and comfortable to carry around 35 pounds (15KG) or so in. This means if you are a girl or a man of smaller stature you may want to considering getting a smaller bag. The last thing you want on a trip is to do your back in lugging around a monster sized bag.- Always make sure there is a waist strap. The waist strap when adjusted correctly on a backpack will shift something like 40% of the weight off your shoulders and onto your hips. This will make traveling considerably easier. Make sure that the bag as a section to cover/protect the strap when you are not wearing it as they can get damaged in transit on planes. It’s best to get the back professionally fitted to your body type. Most stores who sell backpacks will happily do this free of charge. Make sure that the bag is already packed as it will be a useless endeavor to fit an empty back as the contour/suspension will adjust when full.- Look for a bag with an internal lightweight frame.- Make sure to ask if the bag is waterproof. If it is not waterproof you can always cover it with a garbage bag or poncho when walking in the rain. I would already suggest spraying your bag with something like Scotchguard before traveling for extra protection.- Is there a detachable day bag? One of my favorite features of a backpack is the smaller detachable day bag. These can be really useful for smaller trips and day to day use rather than dragging around your main bag. They are very convenient as they can clip onto your main bag when not using them. Many also posses the ability to clip onto the front of your harness allowing you the extra security of having your day bag infront of you with your important belongings while walking rather on the back.- Warranty? Make you sure inquire about the warranty offered on your backpack on purchase. What does the warranty cover and how long does it last? You certainly don’t want your backpack falling apart on you after a couple weeks. Make sure you get a reputable brand with a comprehensive warranty.- Extra handles on the top or side of the backpack or a strap that allows you to carry the backpack like a duffel bag. This can be handy in situations like airports where you will be standing still waiting for quite some time. Many new bags now offer these features giving them the versatility of a bag and a suitcase in one.- A good amount of extra pockets inside the bag. Good for a variety of things and helps you to pack and access your goods in a more organized fashion.- Look for double stitching in weight bearing places. If it looks too flimsy, don’t buy it, no matter how many guarantees and warranties are on the bag. They won’t help you if your pack breaks in the middle of no where.- Avoid backpacks with wheels. They add unnecessary weight to your bag and there are not many places in Thailand where wheels will be useful.