Whatever activity you enjoy, you need to ensure that all your essentials are close to hand. At GO Outdoors we stock a wide range of packs for a variety of uses, whether you're looking for a large backpack for a camping trip or DofE, or you're looking for a daypack for your essentials or even something that will travel the world with you, there are some things you need to consider when buying and packing your rucksack.
You might see terms like 'backpack', 'rucksack', 'day pack' and 'travel pack' and wonder what the difference is between them. We'll get to day packs and travel packs in a moment, but the truth is that rucksack and backpack have been used so interchangeably over the years that they generally mean the same thing. Some people may consider a rucksack to be a larger backpack, while others will think the opposite.
That's why at GO Outdoors we've aimed to split things up by size to make things a little more obvious.
Packs are measured in litre capacity and this will be represented by the number in the pack name. This refers to how much volume the pack can hold for your kit, but if you're not sure on the size you need, it's always a good idea to check them out in person or check the measurements of the bag to give you a better idea.
Some packs will have additional capacity which will often be represented by two numbers in the name, e.g. '50:60' this means that the pack is 50l but can be expanded to 60l with some adjustments.
What size rucksack do i need?
With so many rucksacks available, the best way to differentiate between them all is with the features that they have available. There are so many additional features on packs these days, and it's worth knowing what they are to make sure you get the most out of your pack. Here are a list of common features you might find described on a pack:
Have we mentioned that comfort is key when it comes to having a rucksack on your back for a prolonged period of time? That all starts with fitting your pack correctly. Getting the correct fit means that the weight will be distributed in a way that should lower the chance of shoulder and back pain.
If you live near a GO Outdoors store, pop in and have a look at the rucksacks in person. All our stores have a free rucksack fitting service, where one of our in store colleagues will be happy to help you adjust the pack properly to fit you right. If you can't make it to a store, then don't worry as in this video, we explain how to properly fit your rucksack:
Rucksack fitting is only generally required for packs 50 litres plus, and only for those performing long-distance load carrying, so if you're heading out on DofE expedition, you really need to fit your pack correctly. The strongest muscles in your body are in your legs, so this means that you want to carry the weight of your rucksack through your legs AND NOT your shoulders.
If your rucksack’s waistband is too high the weight will load onto your spine (i.e. the band in red on the diagram). The correct position will transfer the weight straight onto your pelvis and thus through to your legs (the band in green).
The aim is to have the weight distributed 70-80% on the hips, 20-30% on the shoulders. The pack should be comfortable, stable and be sat close against the back.