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Choosing the right daypack for walking in Scotland

Posted on Jul 15, 2012 by Becs Morris

Choosing the right daypack for walking
Choosing the right daypack for walking in Scotland could really put your head in a spin – with so many different options, how can you be sure you are choosing the right pack for you?!  Our expert Guide, Becs, has had a lifetime of experience walking and trekking and certainly knows what to look for when choosing the right daypack for walking in Scotland.

Daypacks

A good quality, well-fitting back pack is an absolute must for a weeks walking trip. Taking time to find the right pack is well worth the effort. It needs to be comfortable to wear, waterproof and have enough room to carry all your essentials.

There are a huge number of backpacks currently on the market in a range of shapes, sizes and colours, made for a variety of purposes, in fact the choice can be mind boggling!

Getting the right fit

The best way to make sure you pack fits properly is to buy it from a reputable outdoor shop, where they will have trained staff who can advise you.  Most manufactures now produce packs in a variety of back sizes to suit all shapes and sizes. There are a number a ‘lady specific’ packs available too. These tend to be narrower with a shorter back length, and are often a great option for smaller men as well as women. When trying your pack on in the store, ensure you get the opportunity to try it loaded up, so you get a good idea of how it will feel once all your kit is packed into it.

What to look for

  • Capacity: Decide what you are going to use the pack for and what you will need to carry on your trip. Pack volume is measured in liters, look for something around 20 – 30 liters. This will allow you to carry, waterproofs, extra warm layer, water bottle, lunch and snacks, small personal first aid kit, mobile phone, head torch, hat, gloves, camera etc.  If you are going walking in the winter you will need a larger pack (around 35-40 liters) to carry extra warm layers, a thermos flask, crampons, ice-axes and helmet.
  • Straps: Padded shoulder straps and waist band are an absolute must for all day comfort. A good waist strap allows most of the weight to be taken on your hips, which prevents extra strain on your shoulders. All the straps, including the sternum strap need to be adjustable to optimize the fit and comfort.
  • Ventilation: Good back ventilation is important, most packs will have some form of back and strap ventilation, ranging from channels cut into the padding, to a full scale mesh ventilation system.
  • Pockets: It is useful to choose a bag with an outside pocket on the lid or the front of the pack. This allows you access to hats, gloves, cameras, binoculars and snacks without having to open the main body of the pack. It is also useful to have a way of storing your water bottle that allows easy access without having to remove your pack every time you want to take a drink. This might be an elasticated pocket on the side, or a built in hydration bladder.
  • Waterproof: It is important (especially in not always so sunny Scotland) to choose a pack which is made of a waterproof, durable fabric. This will help to keep all your gear dry. Even with a waterproof bag it is a good idea to buy some small dry bags to store your spare clothes, mobile phone and camera in, just to ensure they really do stay dry!

Once you really start searching for your perfect pack, you’ll find a world of choices out there.  What’s important is that you take the time to find the one that really is right for you, once you’ve done that we guarantee there will be no stopping you, and you’ll be chomping at the bit to get out there into the hills!

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