Camping, Equipment, Hiking, Lifestyle, Outdoors, Travel

Which rucksack?

Which rucksack?

Hello again!  Today I’m going to write about the different sizes and ranges of rucksacks.  But first, what’s the difference between a rucksack and a backpack?!  Are they the same thing?  Technically speaking they are not the same thing.  A backpack will be smaller, however, both terms are used interchangeably.  So when choosing your backpack or your rucksack, it’s best not to worry too much about what it’s called but look at the size, features and think about what you’re using it for.

Usually, rucksacks are measured in a litre capacity.  If you find that thinking in litres is confusing, like “How big is a litre of clothing?”, you may find it easier to find out the dimensions of your rucksack and maybe even compare it to an old one that you already have.

A mini backpack or a small backpack are generally sized between 6 Litres and 12 Litres.  They are best used for short walks, days out, picnics and even little kids school bags or cyclists and runners.  There’s not a lot of features to them, they’re generally pretty simple.  They will have one compartment, perhaps two, occasionally a pocket, mesh pockets on the side for bottles and sometimes they even have a headphone slot where you can pass through the headphone cable into the backpack and keep the mobile or media player safe inside the bag.

   

Mountain Warehouse Merlin 12L Rucksack – High Vis, Breathable Backpack – For Cycling, Travelling Navy

Reflective Details - Be seen, be safe. Highly reflective detailing to make you more visible in the dark
Bottle Pocket - Elasticated mesh pocket for bottles
Laptop Pocket - A padded compartment to keep your laptop/tablet safe in transit

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Price: £14.99

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A daypack is generally between 10 and 30 Litres and as the name suggests, they’re suitable for day trips.  In a bag like this, you will start to see a few more features coming through.  There might be more than one main compartment and there will be loads of different pockets all over the bag for keeping your various bits and pieces.  You start to see a bit more padding around the back for comfort.  It’s a great school bag, it’s great for people who are just going out for a day trip, maybe travellers who can leave their big packs at home or at the hotel.  It’s also great for commuters especially those that have a laptop pocket in the back.  Could also be used for running and cycling but it is a little bit heavier and a bit bulkier than some sports bags.  Overall, it’s a great size for everyday use.

      

THE NORTH FACE

Flex Vent injection-molded shoulder straps with additional PE foam for added comfort
Comfortable, padded air-mesh back panel with spine channel and PE sheet for extra back support
Integrated reflective Light loop

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Price: £66.64

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A medium-sized rucksack is generally between 35 Litres and 50 Litres.  They’re far better for multi-day hikes, so a couple of nights they will fit a bit more clothes in them.  They would have fixing points for various equipment that you might be taking with you.  If you pack lightly and are careful about what you take, this could last you even three nights.  They would have better adjustable straps so that it can help fit more back sizes.  You’ll start noticing that they would have a mesh padding on the back and also a bit of mesh on the inside of the straps.  That will help with the breathability of the bag so it makes it a bit more comfortable if you’re out on a long walk, particularly if your back gets a bit sweaty.

Highlander Discovery Rucksack Lightweight 45L, 65L & 85L Hiking Backpack with Waterproof Cover – Ideal for Walking, Travelling, Trekking, Camping and D of E

HARDWEARING, LIGHTWEIGHT AND WATER RESISTANT: 210D Hex Ripstop Fabric offers very effective durability and versatility whether you are Trekking through Europe or on the Hills for your Duke of Edinburgh
YOUR COMFORT IN MIND: A padded Air-mesh back system, adjustable chest and padded hip belt all help offer great levels of comfort and support for the size and value of bag
ALL THE SPACE YOU NEED: A generous main compartment and twin bellow side pockets give all the space you need to have a great festival, camping trip, hike or holiday! Plus with lid mounted straps you have that extra loading space for those last minute little things you need to take.

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Price: £42.50

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Large rucksacks start at 65 Litres and go up to 80 Litres.  These are great for extended trips.  That might be camping, a week away or travelling around the world!  A bag that size has loads and loads of space for all your kit.  Lots of different pockets and it’s packed full of features.  As for the structure of the bag, it’s far more rigid than some of the other bags we’ve talked about above.  They will have better back support so you can carry heavy loads without causing any damage.  Most will have a ladder-lock system at the back that lets you adjust the size of the rucksack so that it will fit different heights of people.  They will also have far bigger mesh paddings and better lumbar support for weight distribution.  In a bag this size, it is also important that it is hydration compatible.  It will have space, or a special pocket, at the back where you can fit in your hydration system so while you’re out hiking you’ve always got your water nearby and you’re not reaching into your bag every time you need a drink.  These bags will have compression straps all over it. Those are used to help get as much into your bag and stop your kit from moving around while you are walking.  They would also include extra pockets such as a pocket in the lid.  This is brilliant for keeping your pack-away waterproofs in there, in case it starts raining.  In most rucksacks this size you’ll also find a rain cover.  Sometimes they can be a little bit tricky to find but most are tucked away at the bottom or in the lid.  Useful if the weather gets nasty as all you need to do is to pull it out and cover your bag and that will protect all your kit from getting wet.  They are usually attached to the bag so that it does not get blown away.  They tend to make them quite bright as well because if the weather gets bad, chances are it is going to be dark and it just helps you with a bit of visibility.

       

AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack with Rainfly

Internal-frame backpack with 75 L capacity (70 L + 5 L extension collar); made of durable polyester; ideal for hiking and camping
Extensive storage pockets and compartments; large sleeping-bag compartment; multi-directional compression straps
Adjustable straps and padded shoulder straps for a comfortable fit; open-cell foam lumbar pad and molded channels for lower-back support and airflow

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Price: £65.69

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I hope that has been useful and that it gave you a better picture of the different sizes of backpacks and what to expect.  Different brands might focus more on one aspect than the others, like for example, some might prefer to throw in extra pockets, while others might opt to have less.  It will ultimately be up to you how you feel comfortable wearing them and how you like things organised.  Whilst there is an ideal way how to pack your rucksack, a few pockets or extra features might be more valuable to some than others.  It is all personal choice.  It’s also worth visiting a local outdoors shop and see them in real life.  The staff at these shops would usually be very knowledgeable so don’t be afraid to ask them any questions!

I will soon write some tips to help you fit your rucksack and on how to pack a rucksack.  In the meantime, stay safe!

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