A good backpack fits well at the user’s back and its features meet the purpose planned for it. There are many kinds of backpacks with different adjustment features, and that is great: every user is different, and they make many kinds of trips in their free time.
An anatomical backpack, or an internal frame backpack, consists usually of a back system integrated around two adjustable aluminium plates that serve as stiffeners with a combined pack part and back system. Internal frame backpacks are the most common backpacks. They are also often more practical when traveling than tubular/external frame backpacks. An internal frame backpack also follows movement better than a tubular-framed backpack.
There are differences between internal frame backpacks: besides the size, pay attention to the adjustment possibilities and the weight of the back system. The heaviest one is not necessarily the worst, if the support and adjustment features are great, and the lightest one is not necessarily frail if it is made technically of high-quality materials, modern materials making possible exceptionally fitting designs.
Our best-selling internal frame backpacks are at this moment Savotta’s Jääkäri, Fjällräven’s Kajka, and Osprey’s Ariel/Aether. In these backpacks, the above-mentioned differences become visible, and the choice criteria have been based on the purpose and needs: Even though for example Kajka is heavier than Ariel/Aether, it is more stable on long hikes, in difficult terrain and with a heavy load. Aether concentrates on comfort and functionality, and even though it is also suitable for long hikes, it is even better for shorter trips that lasts for a weekend, for example.
The frame of a tubular framed / external frame backpack consists of a metal or composite-plastic frame with an attached back system and pack part. The frame is on the outside of the backpack. External frame backpacks work well for carrying heavy loads thanks to their rigidity. They are suitable for longer hikes because you attach your sleeping pad, tent and sleeping bag on the outside easier than in the internal frame backpacks. Depending on the model, you can make a decent emergency stretcher out of two external frame backpacks.
You can often hide the back system of a travel backpack inside the pack, so that the straps will not get stuck on the conveyor belt at the airport. The contents are often more accessible since travel backpacks do not open on the top like normal backpacks but on the front like suitcases.
A larger travel backpack may be sold with a small backpack that you can use separately during day trips, for example. Travel backpacks are not very suitable for hiking. The back systems are often simpler, and there are not so many adjustment or attachment possibilities.
The back system of a backpack consists of a hip belt, shoulder straps and balancing straps. By adjusting these parts, you can make the backpack fit well at your back. When the backpack is well adjusted, it will not strain your shoulders, but most of the weight rests on your hip. The backpack should be adjusted close to your back so that the weight of the pack will not pull you backwards. If the pack pulls you backwards, it will make your shoulders, the zone between your shoulder blades and your neck ache.
Adjusting an internal frame backpack to fit at your back:
1. Loosen the back system a little bit, or the hip belt, the shoulder straps, and the balancing straps.
2. Lift the backpack to your shoulders and fasten the hip belt when leaning forwards.
3. Make sure that your hip bones are in the middle of the hip belt. Then tighten up the hip belt.
4. Tighten up the shoulder straps. They are too tight if they feel uncomfortable.
5. Fasten the chest strap between the shoulder straps.
6. Tighten up slowly the balancing straps. Tighten up till the backpack is balanced / does not pull you backwards.
7. Tighten up the strap between the lower bag of the backpack and the hip belt.
If you can, come and try on the backpack in our store. You will get advice on the fit and the adjustments and be sure that the model/size you choose really is the best for you.
The most popular backpacks in our selection: