Hiking Packs Buying Guide
No matter what pack you require, from a simple daypack to a super technical alpine pack, you’ll find that the manufacturers use plenty of technical terms and phrases to describe various parts of the pack. Below you’ll find a guide outlining some of the key features that go into constructing a pack.
1. TOP LID INCLUDING ZIPPED POCKET
The top lids are detachable on some packs, enabling you to use them as a hip belt for days when you're sightseeing or staying in and around camp.
2. SIDE COMPRESSION STRAPS
Compressing a partly loaded pack helps to reduce bulk and ensures that the load inside the pack and the pack itself remain stable.
3. EXTERNAL STORAGE POINTS
Many packs feature external gear loops where you can safely store ice axes and walking poles without taking up valuable space.
4. LOAD LIFTER STRAPS
Load lifter straps ensure that the pack doesn't wobble about on your back as you walk. They should be taut when the straps form a nice arc over your shoulder. Over-tightening will cause the shoulder straps to bend, resulting in an uncomfortable fit around the shoulders. If they're too loose, the pack will wobble from left to right as you walk.
5. ADJUSTABLE SHOULDER STRAPS
Shoulder straps come in a variety of shapes for different packs and can be adjusted using the buckle below the padding. They should be tight enough to keep the pack in contact with your back, but not so tight that they dig into your arms.
6. AIR VENT BACK SYSTEMS
Air vent back systems allow air to flow freely between the pack and your back by minimizing the contact. Many packs now feature this type of system so that you can avoid the damp and uncomfortable feeling you get when the pack rests against your back for any length of time.
7. ADJUSTABLE CHEST STRAP
This strap is often overlooked, but is important when making sure that the weight of the pack stays in the right place when you're walking..
8. ADJUSTABLE BACK SYSTEM
Each brand does this slightly differently. Make sure that you choose a pack with the correct back length, before using the individual back adjustment systems to achieve precisely the correct fit.
9. ADJUSTABLE HIP BELT
Most hip belts are pre-formed, but in selected stores we offer a custom-moulding service for some Osprey pack hip belts. This guarantees a superb fit. Contact our stores for more details.
10. LUMBAR PAD
This pad is the area which touches your back when wearing your pack.
1. SIDE POCKETS
These pockets add useful volume to your pack and allow quick and easy access to essentials. A stretch mesh is often used in their construction to maintain a low profile look.
2. HIP BELT POCKETS
The most versatile and useful of the pack pockets, they are ideal for keeping your valuables, energy bars, phone or camera within easy reach.
3. HYDRATION COMPATIBILITY
Many packs now feature a specific sleeve and exit port that can accommodate a hydration reservoir.
4. HAUL LOOPS
Provide a safe and practical way to lift your alpine pack up after you when climbing. The loops are strengthened for durability and performance.