Choosing a Pack

 What type of Pack should I get?

There’s something liberating about reducing the necessities of life to the contents of a backpack and setting out on an adventure. Be it bush walking, travelling, or climbing mountains, the right backpacks are designed for you to carry your life on your back. Paddy Pallin can help you find the perfect pack for your upcoming adventure.

There is a wide array of backpacks available so it's important to have some idea of what you require and what to look for. It is best to base your decision on the sorts of trips you will be doing for the next few years. There are certain configurations and features of packs which have been designed to accommodate all the different kinds of adventurers. The two main types of packs are rucksacks and travel packs, for the indecisive traveler there are hybrid packs which cover a more varied activity base.




Primarily used for wilderness based activities, such as bushwalking, mountaineering and skiing, rucksacks are designed to be highly stable, comfortable for long periods and weatherproof. Choosing a rucksack depends on many things: long trips and cold climates call for larger packs while densely vegetated country calls for tough, slim packs without side pockets which catch on scrub. Mountaineering packs will often come with plenty of attachments so that you can quickly access gear. Packs can be a major investment in your outdoor kit so it's important to cover as many of your core needs as possible. There are a large range of packs in Paddy Pallin stores and our staff’s expert advice can make your choice easy. 


Rucksack size

Both the volume of the pack (in litres) and its length are important. If there is any chance of you going on extended trips it is better to opt towards the largest capacity pack suitable to your height. Typical volumes and their uses are shown below:

  • Up to 30 litres: Good for day walking or an overnight trip in warm weather where your needs will be minimal.
  • 30 to 50 litres: Enough space for a 1 or 2 day trip. 
  • 50 to 65 litres: Generally good for up to 3 days of overnight camping.
  • 65 to 85 litres: Can accommodate up to 6 days+ of overnight camping. 
  • 85 litres plus: For long self supported walks and treks lasting a week or more.

Rucksack Features


   1. Loading Options

Most rucksacks are "top-loaders," where all gear passes through one big hole at the top of the pack's main compartment. This requires you to keep quick-access items near the top. Some rucksacks provide zippered openings on the sides or at the bottom of their main compartment for quick access.

   2. Harness system

Everybody’s shape is different, accordingly there are many different harnessing systems to reflect this diversity. Look for gender specific packs or packs that come in different harness lengths to best accommodate your body shape. A well fitting harness ensures the majority of the weight is taken by the hips via the hip belt. This produces a lower centre of gravity to reduce the effect on your balance and posture, and you won't have as much discomfort around the shoulders. The staff at Paddy Pallin are expert pack fitters so drop by a store and see which one suits you best.

   3. Pockets and Attachments

Depending on your chosen activity there are a variety of different attachment styles available in Paddy Pallin's Rucksack range. The style of your pack should be determined by your individual needs. Most bushwalking packs will be a fairly simple design, slim and robust with minimal attachments to minimize snagging and scraping when walking through closed in bush land. More technical packs designed for multiple activities or mountaineering packs will have multiple attachments and lash points for things such as ice axes, skis, snow shoes etc. All of the extra attachments and zips will add weight to your pack. To reduce this weight manufacturers can use lighter weight fabrics, however these lighter materials can be less resistant to abrasion.


Osprey Hiking Pack | Paddy PallinOsprey Hiking Pack | Paddy Pallin
Osprey Hiking Pack


Travel Packs

These versatile packs are a great option for adventure travelers who won’t just be catching cabs from the airport to the nearest hotel. Packed with features, travel packs really are the go anywhere option for travelers and backpackers. Travel packs are designed to be accessible meaning they often have a zipper which allows you to open the entire front of the pack to access your gear like a suitcase. Travel packs may also have attachments like handles, concealed shoulder straps, detachable daypacks, harness covers etc. 


Travel Pack Sizes

Travel packs are available in a range of sizes from 40 litres up. The size of your travel pack will be determined by your body shape and size, as well as how much you want to pack. Some travel packs are available in different back lengths and gender specific fits to ensure the best fit.


Travel Pack Features

   1. Loading options

Travel packs have a varied range of loading options. The defining feature of a travel pack is the option to open the pack via the front zip like a suitcase. Some travel packs will offer multiple access points such as a separable compartment in the bottom of the pack for quick access to items without uncompressing the main compartment. Hybrid options might have a rucksack shape providing the option to top load as well. 

   2. Harness system

The harness system on travel packs can vary greatly depending on how much you intend on having your travel pack on your back. Fully supportive harnesses similar to a high quality bushwalking pack are available for those whose travel plans include some multi-day hiking. Less supportive harnesses are available for those who need to carry their pack on their back less frequently and don’t intend to walk multi-day hikes. Generally the more supportive and elaborate a pack’s harness the greater the weight and expense. Choose your adventure and your harness requirements will become evident.  

   3. Features and Attachments

A good travel pack should include specific features not found in rucksacks, such as a laptop sleeve and a handle for airport transit. From there additional options could include separable compartments for easy access without disturbing your well packed gear, interior compression straps to help you squeeze it all in, stow away shoulder straps for tramping around the airport, document pockets, laundry pockets, lockable zips, a rain cover, or a detachable day pack for day trips or carry on luggage. 




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