I was out walking the other day when I saw a group of youths (probably D of E) labouring up a hillside, doing great impressions of snails with their huge rucksacks. It looked like a highly unpleasant experience that might well put them off walking for life. Aside from the fact that these teenagers appeared to be not only carrying the kitchen sink but all the washing up as well, the rucksacks they had were an array of shapes and sizes, hanging off their backs like Father Christmas’ sack of presents. It occurred to me that what you carry and how you carry it has a huge impact on your day.
A correctly fitting rucksack can make the difference between being weighed down like a pack animal, and having a comfortable day out.
If you come into the shop one of our members of staff can give you a rucksack fitting service but here is a bit of information for you to think about before you come in.
The most important thing about buying a rucksack is to try it on with some weight in it. Much like footwear, rucksacks come in a whole variety of fits, and finding the one that is comfortable for you is really important. You need some weight inside the pack to simulate the sort of loads you will be carrying. Trying on an empty pack can give the impression that it is comfortable and fits well, but once you have added some weight, pressure points and a poor fit quickly come to light!
Many rucksacks come with different back lengths and sometimes hip belt sizes.
It is important to try on a variety of lengths from a few brands, as the size medium from one brand may not compare to a medium from another. Also although height is a good guide for back length, it’s not uncommon for people to have long legs and short backs or vice versa, so you may not be the back length you expect.
There are also men’s and women’s specific packs, and they vary in more than the just colour!
Just like clothing they are designed for different shapes. Typically women’s packs will have shorter back lengths than men’s, and hip belts which are angled differently. However, don’t get drawn into the idea that you must have a gender specific pack, as sometimes a man’s pack will fit a woman better than the female version.
Once you have done all this, spend a while with the pack on. Feel free to walk around the shop, and up and down stairs to see what it feels like. Also be sure to try on at least one other pack to give some comparison.
The ideal rucksack should be comfortable to wear, and make the load feel like and extension of your body rather than an uncomfortable burden.
All of our staff in the rucksack department are fully trained in how to fit rucksacks, so spend some time talking to them and they can help create a short list that that may be right for you.
We stock many different brands including Osprey Packs and they have created this handy video of the fitting process:
Photo Featured: One of our staff members Claire recently went to Sweden, she wrote this about her adventure 'Hilleberg Outdoor Academy'