You know what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it but what pack? A quick search reveals pages of results and differing types of kit; backpacks, rucksacks, hiking packs, day packs, biking packs, lifestyle packs…the list is long. Here is a quick overview to help you find your perfect pack.
Activity and location
The best place to start when thinking about how to select your backpack is the exact reason you’re looking for a pack in the first place: your activity.
Your activity and the place you plan to do this activity will greatly narrow down your choice. At Osprey Europe we use Pack Selector for this very thing. The activity will inevitably determine factors such as volume, weight, materials used and those ‘no compromise’ features.
The location then further refines the choice. The British Lake District is going to be a completely different environment to the Himalayas. You should consider the sorts of questions that your location raises; what sort of weather am I going to meet? What kit will I be required to carry to feel comfortable in my chosen environment? Is it going to be hot or cold? Will I be travelling light or carrying a lot of kit? The answers to these sorts of questions can help you make a decision on the specifics of your pack. For backpack volume related questions, you can read our ‘How to select the right volume’ blog.
The backsystem is like the engine of the pack, driving what the pack is designed to do. For this reason, the backsystem should be a significant consideration when choosing your pack.
Although we do have hybrids and adaptions of our backsystems there are three core designs which provide a unique style of carry.
Featuring suspended mesh from the shoulder blades to the lower back and through the hipbelt, AntiGravity™ is designed to balance and disperse the load evenly throughout the body. The sprung hipbelt and body-contoured design allow the most comfortable carrying experience imaginable.VIEW THE RANGE
By using a lightweight mesh panel through the body of the pack, the need for foam and heavy materials is eliminated. AirSpeed™ creates a space between the pack and your back, allowing for plenty of airflow without compromising on load carrying ability.VIEW THE RANGE
Mesh covered foam has the ability to keep the weight close and well distributed, whilst providing cushioning and ventilation. AirScape™ sets a new industry standard in a way that allows it to be used in everything from lightweight daypacks through to larger expedition backpacks.VIEW THE RANGE
Your activity and location have given you a core set of packs to choose from. You’ve also now narrowed down which of the backsystems may be right for you. Now it’s time to look at the more specific requirements you may have, specific requirements which are often handled by pack features.
An example of one of these features could be the Stow-on-the-Go™ trekking pole attachment. You know you are going to be working with varying gradients throughout your activity, therefore, the pole attachment will make it easier and faster for you to use and stash your equipment. Or maybe you’re more focused on the organisation and access to the kit you carry. In that case, a sleeping bag base compartment with internal divider would be an essential feature.
Features really boil down to a combination of absolute necessity and personal choice. Osprey packs are incredibly versatile and often share features but there is always the opportunity to incorporate those choices to help you select your backpack. For more information on our features, you can check out our ‘Features Technologies’ page.
Price and Aesthetics
Price is an inevitable factor in a pack purchase. We all have a budget. It’s for this reason that there are ranging packs, with ranging features and ranging prices. If you’re working with a fixed amount in mind you should try to balance the contextual necessities of your pack, like increased volume or a rain-cover, against features which are nice to have. More often than not you will find that you have to compromise very little.
In terms of aesthetics, It isn’t a crime to want a pack that looks good. Packs do need to be highly functional, but that doesn’t mean that the design should be anything less than attractive. And, as always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For that reason, you should feel free to judge a pack on style and colour and make a decision that suits you. It shouldn’t lead your choice but by all means, do let it influence it. You will be wearing it after all.
Finally is a note on size. Torso size is the primary determining factor in finding the right size for your pack. To make this often laborious process easier we have developed the PackSizer App for iOS and Android.
Be sure to pick your pack size to match your back length. This means choosing between Small, Medium, Large or split sizes Small/Medium or Medium/Large. You can use our handy PackSizer™ App to help you pick the best size for you.