For a large and continually growing segment of society, the means of carrying books, papers, clothing, and a myriad of other personal belongings, is by use of the backpack. From the traditional bulky "backpacking packs" built for outdoor activities and carrying heavy loads on uneven terrain, to modern "lightweight" frameless backpacks, every conceivable style is readily available, for any and all uses imaginable.
A couple of generations ago, schools had lockers, and students would leave most of their belongings and books in their lockers. When books and papers needed to be carried to and from school, most kids carried them in their arms, while some might carry a briefcase. Today, it seems that no student is without their backpack, crammed full of their worldly possessions.
Specialty backpacks are available to hold whatever modern device the electronics, sports, and gadget industries have marketed. Carrying your iPod? You need an "iPod backpack". Spend your time skateboarding? You can't be without your "skateboard backpack". Carry a laptop? You need a "laptop backpack".
The traditional "backpacking pack" has evolved into a number of specialized sporting backpack types. Today, you can easily find specialized hunting backpacks, hiking backpacks, and of course, "backpacking" backpacks.
The materials used for backpacks also vary greatly. Mesh backpacks abound, probably due to their being at the less expensive end of the backpack price spectrum. At the high end of the spectrum, for serious hiking enthusiasts, are hard shell backpacks. Wet climate? Your problem is solved with a waterproof backpack.
Modern backpacks do have the advantage of years of scientific study and development over backpacks manufactured years ago. Today, ergonomic principles have been applied to help evenly distribute the weight of a full pack, and additional straps and belts are available on many models for additional support.
Wheeled backpacks have also been developed, primarily for use where book loads are too heavy for traditional backpacks. Normally, they are made to be wheeled, but can be worn on the back over rough terrain or when transporting lighter loads.
Modern backpacks, especially more expensive models, have numerous compartments and pockets, so as to have separate and convenient places, with ready access, for mp3 players, cellphones, water bottles, and the like.
Traditional "hiking and camping" backpacks have undergone the most extreme development in the past few years.
Many such backpacks are constructed with aluminum framework. Those with external framework are preferred by hiking purists. Made with an H-shaped frame, these packs are attached to the hiker’s body with heavily padded shoulder straps, assisted by back bands and a hip belt. This method provides the hiker good ventilation against his back, helping to avoid heavy perspiration soaking his back This type of backpack generally has numerous side pockets and straps that can convert the bag into a veritable camping supply store, with a place even for your sleeping bag and tent.
An internal framework hiking backpack has flexible stays of aluminum which help transfer the weight of your cargo onto a padded hip belt. The internal framework backpack has a more fashionable, classic look, but it can cost almost twice as much as does the external framed backpack.
Other recreational backpack includes those made with specialized functions in mind. These specialized packs include hydration pack, fanny pack, lumbar pack, waist pack, and hip pack. Hydration packs have a water bladder or pouch attached to a drinking tube and are held on the hiker’s body with shoulder straps. The simplest versions of the other packs in this category are basically a pouch and a belt. They are engineered in such a manner that the weight of the pouch is centered in the small of the back, near the center of balance, causing little if any strain on your body.
The backpack "revolution" is well upon us. If you have not yet joined, then you've found the right place.
Patagonia Atom Backpack
$45.00 - 5 Color Options
Parents and Students - Get some help in finding the right backpack for school, read
Finding a Backpack that Fits, in our School Backpacks Section