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John Kelly
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5 Walks In The Yorkshire Dales

 

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 Rucksacks

Rucksacks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You need to decide what you want to do. Small day sacks will be suitable for the lighter summer excursion but walking at other times will require more space for the warm clothing. You also need to make provision for food and drink. Backpacking is a whole new ball-game when you are likely to need up to 75 litres capacity.

If you only want to buy one size for most normal walking,  a useful size is about 30 or 35 litres with capacity to expand to 35 or 40, usually described as 30+5/35+5 or similar. As as as design is concerned, it is useful to have an external compartment into which waterproofs can go. They are then immediately available in a hurry without rummaging. Similarly, a compartment for drink is useful, especially in summer. One for your sandwiches also if possible.

If you intend to use walking poles you need loops/straps to hold them when not in use. My preference is for adjustable elastic cord loops rather than Velcro which can easily come undone if caught on a passing branch. You might lose your poles without realising.

A small compartment for compass (please, always carry one - see Finding Your Way) and sundries is also useful.

Most rucksacks are not overly waterproof whatever they say, so look for one with its own little "cagoule" built in or buy a waterproof slip on cover. Also use a rucksack liner - a strong plastic bag which helps keep contents dry. They are cheap!

It should have a well padded waist-strap and a chest strap.

Finally, buy one with a mesh back. These hugely increase the "breathability" at your back and will make you much more comfortable by reducing "sweaty back" syndrome. This will rule out the smaller daysacks as they tend not have these.

Many people make the mistake of wearing rucksacks too high on the back. This is tiring for your back and makes you more off balance. The waist strap should fit at hip level and be kept reasonably tight so that the majority of the weight is centered there. The shoulder straps are to prevent the rucksack toppling backwards and to keep it close to your body, not to take the majority of the weight.

A rucksack with a chest strap is useful because it stops the shoulder straps from working outwards and avoids constant hitching up of the rucksack to correct them which can be annoying.

Visit the Happy Hiker (in Association with Amazon) on line Hiking Store to buy rucksacks.

All information on this site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.