A Guide to Help Choosing your next Rucksack…

Steve Ellis Gear Review

During Lockdown 3.0, we have been running a series of Workshops learning new skills and refreshing existing ones. This week we looked at ‘You and Your Rucksack’. Our Workshop focussed on answering a few questions I often hear, such as “which one should I buy?”, “how do I know which one is best for what we do?” etc…

Still in the depths of Lockdown, we started by imagining we walked into a gear store and are faced with a wall of rucksacks, all different brands, colours, sizes, some with pockets, some with zips, some seemingly basic with high price tags, some more affordable!

But which one should I choose…if any?

Having an idea of what to look for before entering the store or going online can help you make the right choices…

Primarily, regardless of where you decide to purchase, you need to your research…

  • Internet reviews from manufacturers website
  • Internet reviews on ‘outdoor’ social media sites
  • Talk to friends with rucksacks
  • Gear reviews in magazines/e-magazines
    • Trail (free with KindleUnlimited)
    • TGO
    • Country Walking etc
  • Ask a friend to borrow their bag for a day and thus ‘try before your buy’!

Ask yourself a few questions…

  • What do you want to use it for, and what size rucksack would be appropriate?
    • kids adventures
    • hour long walks
    • a couple of hours walk
    • a days walk
    • multi-day adventures
    • alpine day walks
    • expeditions
  • Determine what size best fits your needs!
  • When do you want to use it?
    • Summer or Winter conditions?
  • What kind of back system do you want?
    • Fixed or Vented
  • What is your budget?
  • Is colour important?
  • Do you want to be able to fit a hydration bladder? etc etc

Then, when you go ‘in-store’ shopping…

  • Ask staff to see gender specific rucksacks (if that is what you want)!
  • Try on as many as you can…
  • Ask the store staff to put weighted bags into as many as you like and see how they feel…
    • If they don’t have weighted bags, don’t get fobbed off with them filling with bubblewrap…don’t laugh, I’ve seen it! Ask them to find some heavy items and simulate the weight.
  • Walk around the store; shake it, bend over, jump up & down and see if the weight shifts!
  • Assess how easy it is to adjust waist, chest and shoulder straps…
  • Find all the pockets…
  • Ask staff for a walk-through of each bag!

I hope you find this “Guide to Help Choosing your next Rucksack…” useful. It’s a subjective subject, and so many variables can enter play in guiding you to selecting the right bag that’s just perfect for you. Happy shopping!


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