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Pack It Up, Pack It In ...

Let me Begin...(!)

When you’re heading off on expedition, even with the best of intentions of packing light, you’ll have a fair bit of essential stuff to take. As well as the right footwear, the perfect backpack is one of the key kit choices that’ll make sure you stay comfortable during your trip. No one, after all, wants to spend their expedition irritated by endless rummaging, tormented by a sweaty back or pained by straps that dig into all the wrong places. 

For the majority of our trips we recommend a backpack over any other form of luggage. So here’s our guide to searching out the ideal backpack… 

  • Start by thinking about what you want your pack to hold, where you’ll be carrying it and for how long – making sure you can carry all you need without being overloaded is vital. Always choose a size that’s proportional to your body.
  • Visit the shops and pick the brains of the experts. You might get a pack cheaper online but there are a lot of options and it can be easy to find yourself flummoxed by too much choice.
  • Test out various styles, making sure they’re loaded up when you try them. That way you’ll know where your pressure points are and where you need padding.
  • Look for well-placed padding on the shoulder straps and belt. Contouring on the back is great but make sure it moulds comfortably to your body and think about how hot you’ll get and if the fabric is breathable.
  • Be aware of the frame – is it strong? Rigid or flexible? Will it dig in? How much weight is it adding?
  • Full-on waterproofing might not be necessary but you’ll probably want a pack that’s showerproof to avoid things getting stinky and musty. Consider purchasing either a rain cover or a waterproof liner to ensure all your kit is kept dry.
  • Clips, straps and closures are going to take a lot of punishment so make sure they’re strong enough and easy to use, even when wet.
  • Lots of compartments are a godsend, letting you organise your kit efficiently and lay your hands on it quickly. Look for straps designed for bedrolls or walking poles if you’re camping out or hiking.
  • A frontloading design means you can access what’s at the bottom of your pack without having to turf everything out. You’ll thank us for this tip later.

And don’t forget that when you book a trip with STC Expeditions, you’ll receive a 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor and Snow and Rock.