Ruck­sacks: 40-50L

Trail’s pick of the best back­packs

Trail (UK) - - CONTENTS -


The en­try to the main com­part­ment is of­ten pro­tected by a buckle lid which may be at­tached di­rectly to the pack, or it may have web­bing buck­les that al­low it to float and be raised when the main com­part­ment is over­stuffed with gear. There are pros and cons of both de­signs. An en­try at the base or front of the main com­part­ment is use­ful for overnight users to al­low sep­a­ra­tion and easy ac­cess of equip­ment.


At least one ex­ter­nal zipped pocket is use­ful for guide­books, maps and GPS re­ceivers, but some peo­ple like more and oth­ers can tol­er­ate less. Stretch pock­ets with­out zips are com­monly placed on the front of the ruck­sack and th­ese are ideal for stow­ing wa­ter­proof jack­ets be­tween show­ers. Pock­ets on the hip­belt are ideal for snacks and GPS re­ceivers. Lid pock­ets are great for guide­books, sun­glasses or sun cream.


The shoul­der straps take some of the weight, but they need to be care­fully con­toured and padded to make them com­fort­able. As we are all dif­fer­ent shapes, it’s im­por­tant to try them for size, fit and com­fort be­fore part­ing with cash.


Th­ese are on the sides of some ruck­sacks and al­low you to com­press the body of the sack to help sta­bilise the load. They are also use­ful for stash­ing items onto the side of the ruck­sack, such as trekking poles and wa­ter­proof jack­ets.


This is de­signed to carry most of the load if the pack is heavy, but when car­ry­ing lighter loads it may only be used to en­sure sta­bil­ity of the pack. But either way, it should fit snugly around your hips while be­ing com­fort­able and easy to ad­just. Look for some foam pad­ding for max­i­mum com­fort.


Orig­i­nally de­signed for avalanche probes or ‘wands’, th­ese pock­ets on the side of a ruck­sack are of­ten made of stretchy mesh fab­rics and are ideal for stash­ing tent poles, trekking poles and smaller items, such as water bot­tles or snacks.

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