Backpack the easy way

September 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Travel Tips

Don’t buy a backpack just because you like how it looks or its colour. There’s more to it than that.

HAVE you ever set out to buy a backpack only to return home empty-handed? Yes, buying a backpack can be a headache. There are so many aspects involved and it can get pretty technical too. In the shops, the variety of designs, sizes, brands, models and colours doesn’t make it any easier. How do we know what will be suitable for our needs?

“The one that fits our travelling purposes and needs and which we are comfortable with,” says UFL Outdoor senior sales manager Muhd Syafiq Loke. The company is the sole distributor for Deuter backpacks. The two most important questions customers need to ask themselves first are: What’s the mode of travelling (i.e. trekking, hiking, etc) and how long you plan to be travelling. “You can decide on backpack size and type based on these two factors,” says Muhd Syafiq. However, the size also depends on your body built. Petite customers are not advised to carry a big 40-50-litre bag. This is why women are usually recommended a 30-litre bag. A backpack with lower zip is recommended for a long trip, while alpine or hiking trip requires backpacks made of light-weight materials. “Once you have identified which bag is suitable, other features will add more values to the purchase,” he adds. Other features to look out for are the type of material (water-resistant, light-weight and durable), shape (narrow and back-hugging shape, special design for women) and heat/air ventilating system.

insidepix1Packing Right
Properly packed, a backpack will not compromise the well-being of our body, especially the back. Heavy items like a toiletry bag or canned food should be placed at the bag’s body, near the shoulder height.
Since the top lid or the head of the bag allows easy access, it is suitable for small items like a first-aid kit and small gadgets. The bottom part is where we put light items like sleeping bags and down clothing. An important point to remember is that all heavy items should be placed nearer the back to keep the bag’s centre of gravity closer to our body.

Proper Fit
Backpacks that are adjusted to properly fit the back will allow the body to go further. It will be easier to carry and is easier on our backs too. Here’s a step-by-step guide to fit and carry a backpack:

• Neutralise the bag’s fitting. Loosen all straps – shoulders, hip and sternum straps, to make it easier to shoulder the bag.

• Lift the bag off the floor either by the shoulder straps or the head handle.

Shoulder straps (see pictures): (1) Cross your hands to firmly hold the shoulder straps and then (2) lift it up on air before slipping the straps down to the shoulders.
Head handle: (3) Hold the handle and lift the bag up onto a bent knee before (4) shouldering the bag.
• Fitting the bag. (5) Position the hip belt and tighten it. The belt should be over the hip bones, not above for it will restrict the stomach. Then (6) pull the shoulder straps to tighten them, not too tight though as the weight should lie on the hip belt. Finally, (7) pull the sternum straps to further fit the shoulder straps.


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