Get ready for your big trip by investing in a reliable and secure carrier
Whether you’re going away for a month, a full year, or maybe you’re not planning on coming back, the most important piece of equipment you’ll need for your travels is a reliable bag to see you through your journey. Travelling rucksacks are an investment and there’s a huge choice out there, so we’ve tested ones currently available to find the best, taking into account gender, height and activities planned.
We talked to gap year specialist Real Gap who told us their four top tips to consider before you buy:
Your backpack must be comfortable when you carry it
Just like trying on a pair of shoes, you should have a walk around with it to see how it feels. Make sure you’re comfortable as you‘re going to be spending a long time in each other’s company.
Don’t buy a top-loading backpack
These are not practical, as you end up taking everything out to find what you’re looking for. It’s best to either get one with an opening at the bottom, or better still, a panel-loading one that opens around two-thirds of the pack.
Get a good quality backpack
You really don’t want it ripping or breaking while you’re on the move. Some backpacks have extra straps to attach useful kit, such as a sleeping bag or hiking boots. Some also come with extra pockets for carrying things like water bottles. All these little functions are helpful if they apply to you.
Buy a waterproof cover
They cover the whole of your backpack and ensure your kit stays dry when it rains. You don’t need a waterproof liner, unless your pack is going to be exposed to the elements for a long time.
When testing these products, we looked for overall comfort when wearing the bag over varied terrain, the ease of access to belongings on-the-go and when packing, as well as the weight of the bag itself. We found most bags were between 45 and 80 litres; however the bigger the rucksack the more unnecessary items you’ll probably pack. A 60 litre capacity should be more than enough space.
1. Deuter ACT Lite 60+10 SL: £140, Deuter
If you’re planning on going away for a longer period of time and you know it will involve trekking, this is the backpack for you. It has 60 litres of space, stretching to an additional ten litres by extending the hood, and has a whole host of handy features that will make packing for your time away (almost) easy. There’s a separate zipped bottom compartment, a pocket for wet laundry, a zipped pocket on the hip belt for valuables, as well as a front stretching pouch for a helmet or football. This rucksack also has breathable back padding and flexible, padded hip fins, which we found allowed us to move freely and kept the weight spread evenly, even when the bag was full to capacity. This is a women’s specific pack, but there are equivalent models for men.