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Backpack Buying Guide: Choosing Your Bag Style

Choosing adventure backpackA backpack is a simple thing, two straps and it goes on your back. Right? Unfortunately not. While they may look similar, backpacks can vary significantly depending on what they’re built to do and who they’re designed to fit. Which is why the backpack you send a kid to school with is different from the one you wear skiing or snowboarding, which is different still from the one you’d use on a long multi-day backpacking trip.

Because each kind of backpack is different, it’s worth understanding what kind of bag you’re looking for so you know what kind of bag to buy. Understanding the features and design that works best for your needs will simplify the selection process and make it easy for you to find the perfect backpack.

Dakine Concourse Backpack

Bookbags

If you’re looking to haul books, laptops, or lunch, you’re looking for a bookbag. These urban-focused bags are designed for helping people young or old carry daily essentials to school, work, or anywhere in between. They focus on organization and durability, making it easy for users to carry everything they need safely and find what they’re looking for.

Examples:

The North Face Borealis Backpack

Daypacks

At first glance these backpacks look a lot like bookbags, especially since some of them include padded laptops sleeves and room for school or work essentials. But even though these bags can work as a bookbag replacement, they are designed very differently. Using lightweight materials, and featuring improved ergonomic back panels and harnesses, these bags feel better on your back. Which is why they’re perfect for all-day hikes, exploring new cities, or hauling your workout clothes too and from the gym.

Examples:

Backpacking Pack

The biggest bags in any lineup will be the ones designed for backpacking; hiking trips where you carry everything you need, food, shelter, water, and clothes, on your back. All of these bags feature a rigid internal frame, running the full lenght of the bag next to your back. This helps support the weight of the bag and makes the load easier to carry utilizing the large hip belt every one of these bags have. Improving your comfort on the trail as well as making it easier to carry and balance large loads, these packs are also perfect for travelling, especially in situations where conventional wheeled luggage may not be the most convenient option.

Examples:

Osprey Kamber Snow Backpack

Snow Bags

Built to carry skis or snowboards, as well as winter essentials like extra layers, food, water, and safety equipment. They’re usually designed to shed snow quickly and easily, and focus on keeping the bag close to your back for better stability and comfort. These bags are must-haves for anyone heading into the backcountry, but they’re great for anyone heading to a big resort that doesn’t want to run into the lodge every time they need to change layers or have a quick snack.

Examples:

Running Packs

CamelBak Hydration Running Backpack

Sleek and small, these backpacks, vests, and hip packs are designed to carry essential hydration and a few small items, nothing else. The minimalist design maximizes ventilation for improved warm-weather comfort, and the straps are all designed to stabilize the pack and minimize bouncing as you run.

Examples:

Osprey Farpoint Travel Backpack

Luggage Replacement

With padded harnesses and wide hip belts, these carry like backpacks, but pack like a suitcase. They are less comfortable than backpacking packs, but they make up for that with travel-specific features like tuckaway straps that won’t get caught in airport luggage handlers, or a modular design that lets you carry only what you need for a given trip.

Examples:

That’s a lot of packs, and a lot to think about before making your next purchase. And these examples are just a sample of what we have available in-store and online at Peter Glenn. But you don’t have to make the decision alone, you can always contact us with any questions or stop into one of our convenient locations to get expert advice on which backpack will work best for you.