This is a critical item especially for them who don’t want to give their packs to the horse or porter. Carrying a rucksack on a difficult trek becomes a necessity. We feel that a trekker should be able to carry his or her rucksack in most of the cases. Life saving things like heavy jacket and sleeping bag should always be carried in the rucksack to avoid unwanted situation or if benighted. Backpacking is really an art and doing it more and more people learn to pack. Assuming decent quality clothing and sleeping bag which are appropriate for the mountain, a backpack should not weigh more than 12 Kg, even for a long trek of 9/10 days. The following things are to be considered before buying a suitable rucksack.Rucksack
A) Size: Depending upon the duration of the trek the size of the backpack varies. Considering the treks on the Himalayas ranging from 5 to 10 days a backpack of 40 to 60 L is sufficient. Don’t buy unnecessarily large backpacks which are heavy by its own weight.
B) Internal Frame: Always buy a rucksack supported by an internal frame made of metal or alloys. This frame is a must in a backpack as it prevents the bag to sag and keeping the balance. A well designed frame will transfer the load to the waist belt and shoulder strap and distribute the load evenly on the torso.
C) Shoulder strap and Hip belt: Always buy a rucksack with adjustable shoulder strap and hip/waist belt. These should be well padded with comfortable and quality foams. The strap and padding are better if covered with seat wicking ventilation mesh.
D) Ease of packing: Most of the backpacks have top and front panel access. Some larger packs are designed with a separate sleeping bag compartment. Occasionally some do have a backdoor also for quick access to the main compartment. All of these will have multiple pockets, sleeves and lids for different purposes.
E) Rain fly/ Dust cover: It is wise to buy a backpack which comes with a rain cover. A water proof rain fly will protect your clothes and sleeping bag from rain. Also it helps to keep away the dust.
Osprey, Gregory, Camp, Mountain Hardwear, The Northface, Deuter etc are few leading world class manufacturers of backpacks. In India the choices are mostly limited to Quechua and Wildcraft.