Whether you're heading up a mountain or setting off on a gap year, a high quality backpacker's rucksack is essential. Gap year specialists from Real Gap and Quest Overseas give some sound advice to guide you before your life-changing excursion.
1. "Personalise your bag. Tie on a ribbon to one of the straps and it’ll catch your eye when you’re travelling in-country."
2. "Go into a store to buy your bag to make sure the straps adjust to your height/stature. It’s surprising how many don’t fit certain body shapes."
"A few things to remember when buying your large backpack:"
1. "When you try it on in the shop, ask them to fill it up with some kit, you won’t know how it really feels if it’s empty. Also don’t get a backpack which is too big for your height, a 70lt pack would normally be right for someone around 5’ 10”, as a point of reference."
2. "There are usually men’s and women’s versions of trekking backpacks, with different shapes. Find the one that’s right for you."
1. Kathmandu Entrada Pack v2 – 65L +15, £170, amazon
Top-loading bags aren’t for everyone and this is another one with a side opening so you can easily access gear on the go. The detachable day pack will work as hand luggage, you can zip up the straps on flights and our tester liked the internal pockets for valuables.
2. Vango Contour 60+10, £65, amazon
Recommended by the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, this is a no-nonsense, durable backpack that won’t break the bank. It has a solid, comfortable back system and plenty of pockets and compartments - a great first trekking bag.
3. Berghaus Motive 65+15 Travel Bag, £130, amazon
Doing the odd bit of trekking but mainly need a travel bag? Then this may be the one for you. There’s a zip-around opening so there’s easy access to all your kit and you can padlock the zips together for extra safety. It also comes with a handy detachable 15-litre day sack for those long flights or bus journeys.
4. Vango Sherpa 65L, £155, amazon
If you’re planning on heading to your destination during rainy season, check your backpack comes with suitable protection. This one has a rain cover and will do you proud on long treks, plus there are loads of zips so you don’t have to root around for valuables.
5. Lowe Alpine Alpamayo ND 55:75, £144, amazon
The proportions of the back panel, hip belt and harness on this bag are optimised for women, so it’ll stay comfy while you’re lugging kit around. The 20 litre day pack is bigger than most removable bags, so plenty of room for all your gear on excursions.
6. Karrimor Global Venture 55L +15, £80, amazon
If you’re looking for something a little lighter for your adventure then this compact bag by Karrimor is ideal. There’s a removable daypack and you can zip up the back straps to keep them protected when you’re swapping the road for a flight.
7. The North Face Base Camp Duffle 70l, £68, amazon
If you’re not planning on doing any hiking with your big pack, a duffle bag might be more suitable. This one is pretty much bombproof, comes in a variety of sizes (although 70 litres will probably do the job) and also has a decent set of shoulder straps for carrying it short distances.
8. Berghaus Torridon 65L, £80, amazon
If you’re super-organised, look out for a backpack with lots of pockets. Getting everything from your passport to a padlock out of your bag can be a pain when there’s nowhere to store smaller items, but this top-loading bag has loads of little compartments. Also comes in a women's 60-litre model.
9. Karrimor Munro 65L, £41, amazon
Our gap year traveller found this bag ideal for keeping gear organised; there are two compartments inside to keep clean and dirty kit separate, a bottom compartment ideal for footwear and side and front pockets ideal for the likes of a travel towel.
10. Haglofs OXO 70lt Expedition Rucksack, £230, Cotswold Outdoor
This one will put a bit more of a hole in the bank balance but if you’re looking at doing a lot of multi-day treks, you may want to treat yourself with something which gives a lot more comfort. A simple design but with all the bells and whistles you could want.
If you're after a simple all-weather rucksack with easy-to-access compartments and isn't heavy on the wallet, go for the Vango Sherpa 65L. At the other end of the price scale is the Haglofs OXO 70lt Expedition Rucksack, which will withstand relentless multi-day treks and provide endless comfort through the Instant Adjustable System, allowing the bag to be tailored to the wearer.
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