Backpacking Begins with a Properly Fitted Backpack
Does the thought of backpacking sound appealing aside from having to haul all your backpacking gear up that beautiful mountain with you? Make those fears disappear by reading on about the many misconceptions the word “backpacking” carries with it.
Backpacking is the only way to see some of the most secluded, precious sites of wilderness. Many think it is too difficult of a backountry trip to get there enjoyably.
The truth is that many options exist to get you and your camping gear into the backwoods, whether with skis, hiking boots or snowshoes. Owning a properly fitted backpack is your ticket to unscathed vistas via a pain free and comfortable backpacking trip. You would not leave your car at the trail head in stilettos, so why leave with a poorly fitting pack? Consider, and treat, your pack like an extension of your body.
If you will be backpacking overnight or longer, you might also want to consider a backpacking tent. See Articles on Backpacking Tents. First you must choose an internal or external frame pack; then, the pack size and capacity, and how to properly load your pack. Finally, you must understand how to properly fit your pack so that it truly becomes an extension of your body and not those ill fitting stilettos.
Choosing a Backpack Internal -vs- External
The base of your backpack is the frame. Two types of frames exist, both having their own advantages and disadvantages. The first is an external frame backpack and the second is an internal frame backpack. In order to be safe and comfortable as possible while backpacking, you must have a properly fitting backpack. Not only will it help prevent injury, but also it allows you to be better balanced…translation AGILITY!
External Frame Backpacks
This backpack is usually distinguished by the metal frame that is visible to the eye. The external frame backpack is intended to carry a large load for long distances on a well established trail. This pack, when correctly fitted, makes you walk more rigid and upright. Many will find that they like this upright/rigid stance; however, some backpackers say this backpack makes their shoulders and hips feel locked.
Internal Frame Backpacks
On an internal frame backpack you can not see the frame. When you feel the back of the backpack, you will find two rigid stays that support the pack. This modern backpack sits closer to your body. One internal frame devotee said “it just plain carries nicer”. This pack forces one to be more disciplined about how they pack their gear because of the smaller frame. Although the smaller frame makes the internal pack better for lightweight backpacking.
This backpack also has features such as compression straps. The compression straps help to compress and tighten the load you are carrying, which in turn brings the load closer to your back, thereby improving your balance. They can also be used like accessory straps to carry your Crazy Creek, Crocs, Nalgene water bottle, and other backpacking gear. Another versatile component of an internal frame is the top compartment which can be removed to carry like a shoulder pack or around your waist for short hikes. This compartment also allows you to carry important or fragile backpacking supplies for easy access. Such as a first aid kit, sunscreen, or medicines; essential backpacking supplies.
It is very important while trying on backpacks to take them for a spin around the floor with some weight in them. Jump, run, and twist paying attention to how the pack moves with you. Just like when you walk around at the shoe store in a potential pair of hiking boots to see how they feel.