The Backpack Dealer or Retailer
SL1 What should the salesperson advise?
- The type of backpack required for your purpose.
- The recommended sizes (lengths), and resulting capacity of that choice.
- The difference in materials and features of available products.
- Customisation, or fitting of the backpack
- Maintaining the contoured staves.
- Information on loading your backpack.
- Repositioning, or shifting the load.
- All the adjustments attributed to your backpack.
- The multiple positioning of the daypack on Travel Packs.
- Maintenance, cleaning, repairs and care of your backpack.
- Guarantees, support availability and warranty information.
- Optional available accessories and replacement parts.
The main details to consider are:
SL2 What type of backpack is required?
Visit our pages on the Types of Backpacks available.
Internal Frame or External Frame
SL3 What is the difference between frameless and framed backpacks?
Frameless Backpacks are:
- The least expensive.
- Lighter and less bulky.
- Too small for anything but the shorwww.trips.
- Unable to handle large heavy loads comfortably.
External Frame Backpacks are:
- Said to be easier to pack, extra exterior pockets make packing easier.
- Cooler with the external frame keeping the backpack body away from your back.
- Great load carriers on easy to moderate terrain and designed mainly for hiking on open trails.
- Stated as placing more weight on the hips than Internal Framed Backpacks.
- Wider, heavier and bulkier than similarly sized internal frame packs.
- When fully packed, have a relatively high centre of gravity, making balancing difficult on rough trails, more difficult terrain, or in activities like skiing or climbing.
Internal Frame Backpacks are:
- Cool to wear, a well-designed internal backpack provides good back ventilation.
- Designed to fit your body snugly and hold your load in close to your natural centre of gravity.
- More comfortable and better at distributing the weight evenly than External Frame backpacks.
- More streamlined than externals, allowing for more freedom of movement and easier passage through tight spaces.
- Easier to balance than external frame packs. When fitted correctly, an Internal Framed Backpack feels more like you are wearing the backpack, performing better when off trail, skiing, and climbing.
- Require more experience to pack as these have fewer pockets and load distribution is critical to backpack performance.
- There is a definite trend towards Internal Framed Backpacks this is due to the improved functionality and better performance of these backpacks.
Internal Frame backpacks when of good design and fitted correctly will out perform external frame backpacks for comfort and functionality. The main factor for purchasing an External Fame backpack over an Internal Frame would be to carry large heavy loads over even terrain. Although there is some doubt that Internal Framed Backpacks provide adequate back ventilation, it is important to remember that good Internal Frame backpacks are in contact only on the lower back, upper shoulders,
and the chest.
SL4 Should an internal frame backpack be personally and professionally fitted?
All Internal Framed Backpack should be personally and professionally fitted, that includes having the staves contoured to your back regardless of brand, with the salesperson giving explicit instruction on the use of each adjustment. To contour these staves to your back correctly these staves must be removed from the backpack and not just simply bent in the backpack until the staves are "roughly" the correct shape. Be wary of salespeople stating that the frames will mould to your
back in time, as this is absolutely not true. If faced with this statement, have the salesperson demonstrate removing and bending the staves this should demonstrate the inaccuracy of the statement "It will mould to your back in time". Be wary and prevent back damage due to an ill-fitting backpack.
For further information please visit our pages on Fitting Backpacks.
Panel Loading or Top Loading
SL5 What is the difference between Panel loading and Top Loading?
Panel loading packs:
- Have a large opening making it easy to load and access the contents.
- Have zippers that could potentially be damaged.
- May allow water to enter the backpack through zips and extra stitching.
- Have #10 size zippers in main panel loading compartments so the risk of failure is very small, and backs up the panel zipper with a compression strap.
Top loading packs:
- Are fail-safe since they don’t reply on zippers.
- Are more water resistant with fewer zippers and less stitching.
- Can be difficult to access, particularly when the gear you want is at the bottom.
- In some cases can be extended upward allowing as much as 20 L of extended packing.
SL6What is Extended Loading?
Most top loading backpacks close with a drawstring and have an extra extension that allows the pack to be overstuffed. All backpacks with an extended loading facility provide a backpack lid that can be extended to cover the top of the extended load. These extendable backpack lids are usually secured to the backpack with two or three extra adjustable webbing straps. An example of when you might overstuff a pack is at the beginning of a long trip when you have lots of food.
SL7 What backpack size do I require?
This is most important when choosing a backpack and your torso length determines this selection. There are as a rule five lengths of backpack internal staves on the global market: White Mountain Backpacks™ use four of these available stave lengths and specify each length to be as follows; Extra Small at 50 cm, Small at 55 cm, Medium at 60 cm and Large at 65 cm. Each of these lengths of staves varies by brand at approximately +/- 2 cm. All credible backpack manufacturers
or wholesalers will supply the recommended Torso Length for each size of backpack. Each backpack Length can usually accommodate a +/-5 cm variance of the optimum Torso Length. The length of backpack is therefore determined by your Torso Length and narrows you choice of backpack length considerably.
Read more about choosing the correct size for your Torso Length.
SL8 What capacity of travel, hike or hybrid backpack is required?
The maximum capacity of backpack you are able to purchase and fit correctly will depend on your body size or more specifically your Torso length. The maximum length of backpack available for your body size is determined by your Torso Length, which then determines the total backpack capacity. I would suggest purchasing the largest backpack capacity available for your Torso Length, or the largest backpack available for a particular
purpose. The really good thing about internal frame backpacks are the compression straps provided when you don’t need all that extra space. suggest the best guideline is the longest trip you would take while relying on the backpack to carry all your supplies. This would depend on type of equipment and individual requirements.
We can provide an approximate estimate as follows:
- Day Trips: under 40lt - 2,440 cu in.
- Overnight Trips: 45lt to 55lt - 2,750 cu in to 3,360 cu in.
Overnight, Long Days, Climbing or Skiing backpack, where there is little room for anything other than the very essentials.
- Week End Trips: 55lt to 65lt - 3,360 cu in to 3,970 cu in.
Overnight, 2 - 3 days, larger Skiing or Climbing backpack allowing enough room for the basics, a tent, sleeping bag, stove, food and essential clothing.
- Longer Trips: 65lt to 80lt - 3,660 cu in to 4,880 cu in.
4 - 7 days allowing for the additional food and clothing.
- Extended Longer Trips: 80lt to 95lt - 4,880 cu in to 5,800 cu in.
7 days or more.
Read more about the capacity available for each Frame Length or Torso Length.
SL9 How do I load my backpack?
The sales person should advise on loading your back pack, which includes details of shifting the weight from the shoulders to the lower back, or from the lower back to the shoulders. If your retailer is not able to offer genuine advice and fit the backpack correctly while demonstrating a clear understanding of backpack functionality, SHOP ELSEWHERE! Most White Mountain Backpacks™ retailers have had intensive training in this
area of expertise and will display a certificate of accreditation. This certificate does not apply to all staff, if not satisfied with the salesperson serving you, ask for someone who is qualified!
When www.ng a weighted backpack you should have approximately 10 kg to 15 kg of weight inside the backpack, centred close to your body and between your shoulder blades. I have known sales staff to load the sleeping bag compartment with 10 kg to 15 kg of weight, which would give the wearer a completely incorrect assessment of their chosen backpack.
SL10 Is the backpack durable?
A good backpack will last for many years. Check for durable materials, good straight well finished stitching, bar tacking in high stress areas, doubled stitched seams and zippers, quality zippers, quality buckles, reinforced shoulder strap and webbing anchors or handles on travel packs. Ask about the reputation of the manufacturer you’re considering.
SL11 What Guarantee should I expect with a backpack purchase?
White Mountain Backpacks™ provide an excellent guarantee. From the date of purchase White Mountain Backpacks™ products come with a Lifetime Guarantee against material and manufacturing faults. As can be expected damages caused by fair wear and tear, abuse or misuse are not covered by this guarantee. Please note that this Guarantee specifies the useful life of the pack.
Once you’ve answered the above questions and you begin to look at and try on specific recommended backpacks the next priorities are:
SL12 What do I look for after selecting a backpack?
- After fitting is the harness system comfortable?
- Does it follow the contour of your body?
- Is the backpack of the correct length?
- Does the backpack feel comfortable on your back?
- Does it pinch, bind or restrict your freedom of movement?
- Can you look up without hitting the backpack with your head?
- Can you squat down without cutting off the circulation to your legs
- Are all the organizational features you need available? (Places to put the sleeping bag and foam mat, pockets for often used items, daisy chains or other facilities to lash things to the backpack, on a hike pack a extended loading facility, compression straps to secure the load, a covered harness, carry handles and shoulder strap for travel packs, internal compression system for panel loading backpacks etc.)
- Are the materials durable (fabric, zips, buckles and webbing)?
White Mountain has done a great deal of research into frame curvature for each of the four available frame lengths. All backpacks come pre fitted and provided the backpack chosen is of the correct length, it will be a near perfect contour to your back.