A Guide for Purchasing a Backpack
When the time comes to buy a backpack – and it will come for everyone – whether for a small child just starting school where the latest character from the “Cartoon Channel” will be a requirement or for trekking the frontiers, traveling across Europe or a weekend getaway, knowing how to buy the perfect bag requires that one have a basic knowledge of the different types of backpacks and their particulars.
Backpacks for School
Whatever the age of the user, if the backpack is for school it needs to meet three important requirements:
Style – from Hello Kitty age to college MBA, if it doesn't fit the style of the wearer, it won't get any use. If you're buying for someone else a s a gift, make sure you know what they like.
Function – It has to hold everything in a way that makes it simple to retrieve what's needed without emptying the entire contents of the backpack. Often bags with outer pockets make carrying small, often used items easier.
Durability – It's going to get tossed about a lot and needs to be made from a quality canvas or other strong material that can take the abuse. The zipper and other closures must be strong and if it's going to be taken as checked baggage, make sure it will accommodate a lock.
Style is not as important as function and sturdiness. Comfort is most important here as the backpack will be worn for long periods. Sometimes hours. Consider a backpack with an external metal frame for added support and comfort, as well as strength.
Again function and comfort are more important. Don't purchase a hiking backpack for travel. Hiking backpacks load from the top to make it easier to distribute the weight and keep the contents clean and dry. Imagine trying to retrieve your child's handheld game console that you packed on the bottom of the bag while you're on an airliner. Better a bag that loads from the front. Also, make sure the size meets the requirements for carry-on luggage.
Backpacks are made typically from one of four materials; nylon, canvas, mesh or leather. Which material to choose obviously depends on the use. Canvas or nylon will have the benefit of being light weight and easy to clean with soap and water and come in large range of sizes and styles. Leather excepted, they are also the most durable materials. Mesh bags are more commonly used by students and are small in size with a drawstring closure. They are great for carrying a few lightweight items, but aren't as tough as a canvas bag. Finally, leather backpacks are the heavier of the four materials and will also require the most maintenance to keep them looking good. They will also be the most expensive choice. Leather bags are usually smaller and more geared to style than comfort. The upside is leather will last for years, often looks better with age and can gain in value. Some high-end designers will put their name on a brand and collectors will be on the lookout for the old or vintage packs that can be quite valuable.