How times have changed.
Today, ever-developing technology has led to state-of-the art backpacks constructed to face the toughest challenges, built to the highest standards and designed for user-specific needs from ultra-light trail biking to serious mountain climbing.
Modern-day rucksacks incorporate specially-crafted back systems to more easily distribute heavy loads, and are designed to make any expedition a much more enjoyable experience.
It’s been many years since manufacturers realised that different activities need different specifications in a rucksack, from small, compact day sacks for short walking trips, to hydration packs for those involved in high-energy pursuits, to mighty 75 – 90 litre backpacks aimed at taking you across the world in relative comfort.
The secret is to get it right before you buy – define your needs, do your research thoroughly, and make sure you choose the very best in its field, or at least the best you can afford.
Rucksacks, backpacks, knapsacks, haversacks…they’ve been called many things over the years, but the basic principle is the same.
So, with all the hi-tech, hi-spec technology around today, what are the top choices for those heading out on foot and looking for the very best on the market?
If You’re Travelling the World
This is where the heavyweights come into their own, like the mighty Berghaus Bioflex 90+15, or Lowe Alpine’s TFX Outback 65-80 or Appalachian 65-85.
If You’re Climbing or Cragging
Fully-featured to hold a host of gear including ice poles, ice axes, crampons and even skis, there is bags of choice when it comes to climbing rucksacks. Some of the best include the Lowe Alpine Peak Attack, Montane Medusa 32 and Cobra 25, and the Podsacs Alpine 40.
If You’re Running or Cycling a Mountain Marathon
Camelbak is the name in hydration systems, and their Hydrobak, Mule and Cloudwalker hydration packs are specifically aimed at cyclists, hikers and mountain bikers.
If You’re Planning a Weekend Walking Trip
If you’ve got the hang of smart packing, there’s a huge array of daysacs and small rucksacks out there suitable for short journeys. Jack Wolfskin’s J-Pack De Luxe 32 litre, the Terra 35 from The North Face and their 30 litre Base Camp Hot Shot, and Vaude’s Brenta 30 and Jura 28 will all fit the bill.
For those who need that little extra room there’s the Karrimor Bobcat, Berghaus Freeflow Pro 50, and the Gregory Z55, all offering at least 50 litres of space.
For Fast and Light Adventurers
Among the super lightweight Fast and Light packs are the Montane Anaconda 18, the Vango Scramble 16, and the Mammut Neon Light 12.
Nicki Williams writes for Gear-Zone, who know all about backpacks, daysacs and hydration packs, and stock all the major brands including Berghaus, Lowe Alpine Macpac, Jack Wolfskin, Gregory and Deuter.