2. Pockets, pouches and compartments
A backpack shouldn’t be one big vessel that you throw everything into. You’ll find all the small things fall to the bottom and you’ll be rooting around trying to find them. The more pockets, pouches and compartments there are, the better. It’s always handy to have a zippable inside pocket near the top to carry valuables like your wallet and phone with maximum security, but any inside pockets or compartments help keep things safe. Pockets and compartments also help you distribute weight more evenly, essential on longer walks.
Outside pockets are just as useful, especially when you’re hiking. You can store maps, GPS devices, water bottles, snacks and that vital selfie stick, all with easy access – just reach around and grab them.
3. Check water resistance
Unlike outdoor clothing, backpacks don’t need hi-tech breathable fabrics – they just need to be as impervious to water as possible. So whether you’re hiking with all your essentials or carrying your expensive electronic devices to the office, make sure the rain stays outside your backpack by choosing one with a waterproof fabric.
But remember, waterproofing has to be considered in the design of the backpack, not just the fabric. Water-tight zip fasteners can help keep pockets dry, especially if they have overlaps along their length. Flaps over pockets and the top opening also help drain away water, as you can see on the Shawnee backpack. There’s no point having waterproof fabric if there’s a big opening on the top.