A proper hiking trip requires a lot of preparation. If you are going to spend a day or two in the mountains or woods, you have to make sure you have carried with you all the necessary accessories to ensure you survive and come back alive. All those accessories need to be packed in a high-quality waterproof backpack that will withstand all the harsh conditions and keep all of your precious belongings safe. It is safe to say, of all the accessories you need, your backpack is the most essential.
There are so many stores and brands out there that boast of having the best waterproof backpacks. In truth, it doesn’t really matter who makes the loudest noise. When it comes down to quality, each and every retailer has to deliver. You have to know how to see through the false advertisement and pick a backpack that suits your needs. You have to learn about what makes a waterproof backpack tick and how does it benefit you. Let’s develop a simple guide that will enable you to shop for a waterproof backpack like a boss:
Waterproof or Water Resistant?
Most people get these two terms confused a lot. Waterproof is water resistant in every way but water resistant is not necessarily waterproof. Therefore, if you are looking for a backpack that will keep your items safe from light showers and occasional splashes of water then water resistant is what you go for. If you want to go all the way in and have a backpack that you can swim in and can withstand large bodies or volumes of water then waterproof is your go-to choice. Getting these distinctions right will save you a lot of pain.
Type of Waterproof Material Used
The best waterproof backpack has to be built using the most effective waterproof materials. The most common ones are polyesters and nylons with an added coating of TPU to make them extra strong. For them to be fully intact, they are bonded through radio frequency welding to ensure that they don’t break easily and there are no punctures or spaces between the zips for water to seep in.
With such high-grade materials, durability is guaranteed. Radio Frequency Welding ensures that the material stays intact for decades and decades. No matter how much the backpack comes in contact with water, it will continue being strong and tough.
The backpack will also be able to resist harsh conditions such as nasty falls and sharp edges. RF-welded polyester is not easily punctured by anything. Ask for the material information or find a way to know it and check if it matches up.
Strongly-bonded nylon is pretty much suffocating. There has to be a way for air to flow freely between the backpack and your back when you are carrying it. Make sure the waterproof backpack has some sort of a ventilation panel so that you won’t have to change t-shirts every 2 hours. The back panel should also be comfortable enough to prevent your back from aching.
The type and number of compartments in a backpack have a big influence on its waterproof capabilities. More zippers and pockets mean more storage spaces but also lower water resistance since water is bound to slip through the zips; it’s a catch-22. You have to find a balance between the two. Make sure the main zipper/compartment is big enough to cover all the essentials so that you won’t need to have so many compartments. This way, the streamline pack will suit you well.
Regardless of the number of compartments you have, the bag should have a high storage capacity. Hiking requires a lot of accessories for survival. One of the most essential is a tent. The best backpacks have a section at the bottom where you can roll up your tent nicely and fit it in. Take an inventory of all the things you need to carry during your hiking trip and make sure the waterproof backpack you get fits them all.
In most cases, bigger storage causes greater weight. Try as much as possibly for this not to be the case with your backpack. Since a hiking backpack has to be pretty solid, some companies build them with strong and heavy material causing them to be bulky even when they are empty. Analyze your strength and find a weight that you can handle. If the backpack is quality enough, it will be both strong and light at the same time. Try it on and see how heavy it feels on your back. Remember, even light things tend to get heavy when the distance is great.
A good waterproof backpack should not leave you feeling tortured after only 2 hours of travel. It should be so comfortable that you forget it’s on your back in the first place. Padding heavily influences the comfort level. Make sure the padding on the shoulders are wide and soft. They should also be breathable just like the back panel. The shape of the backpack should align perfectly with your body. It should mimic your back contour. There should be numerous straps all over to ensure that the backpack stays firmly on your back and doesn’t sway from side to side lets it tires you out too soon.
After putting all these factors together, your final purchase should fall within your budget. Waterproof backpacks are known to be somewhat pricey compared to regular backpacks. Setting up the right budget will ensure you get value for your money. Don’t compromise quality for the sake of price. The contents of the backpack could be the very things that save your life in case of an accident so don’t hold back when it comes to investing in the best backpack.
Once you have these factors down, other less important things like color and brand can now be left to personal preference. Hiking is supposed to excite and rejuvenate you. Try your best to ensure that you avoid any circumstance that will make it uncomfortable. Begin with investing in the right gear.