How to Choose a Rucksack

How to Choose a Rucksack

The construction and structure of a rucksack are very important. The construction and structure should consider three things.

1. Trekkers encounter extreme forces

2. Weather encountered en-route

3. Body impact

Let’s take a look at each one individually.


Only a well-constructed bag can withstand the most extreme forces.


Pack Cloth nylon– This material was ideal for backpacks before the advent of smarter materials. It is waterproof, abrasion and puncture resistant. The only problem is that it won’t give firmness to the structure if thinner grades are used. So, make sure to get thicker grades, adding 500gms to your bag.

Cordura nylon is the most widely used fabric for backpacks. Cordura fabric’s advantages include its light weight and abrasion resistance. Although it isn’t as puncture-resistant as nylon pack cloth and won’t take waterproofing, Cordura fabric makes a great backpack fabric.

Rip-Stop nylon The main benefits of rip-stop are its willingness to accept waterproofing and lightweight. Although it is not as puncture-resistant as pack cloth nylon but almost as resistant to abrasions, it is just as strong.

Did you know that not all sacks are made from the same type of fabric to make the sacks lighter?

Main Body Fabric used for main bodies has a wide spacing of fabric patterns for two reasons.

. It is lighter because it has less material per square inch.

. For waterproofing and stitching, wider spacing is better. Too narrow spacing will make the fabric less strong during stitching.

Shoulder and bottom straps – This is where you will find the fabric pattern. It’s very narrow because it requires excessive abrasion resistance.

Stitches – Most backpacks have between 8-10 stitches per inch. Anything below 6 is considered a total no-no. It is easy to measure the stitch count by using a scale. The fabric’s strength is decreased if you go beyond 10.

Connectors/Buckles – Your sack should not open by itself while on the trail. You can’t overlook the importance of buckles for your straps. Nylon and Acetal are the most common options for good buckles.

Zippers Always choose plastic coiled zippers. Plastic tooth zippers work fine too. Metal tooth zippers should be avoided.

Ergonomics It can be very frustrating to look for materials in your bag while on trails. A sack should have compartments and pockets that can be accessed independently. It’s a good idea to have zip pockets in the hip strap. This will allow you to carry your wrappers without stuffing them in your pocket.


All sacks are not water-resistant, but the best ones are. You can attach tags to branded bags, but you don’t know what to do with the non-branded ones. There are some things you can do.

Blowing air through the fabric is the simplest of methods, but it can still separate apples and oranges. Many coatings allow air to pass through the fabric but stop water from getting in. Gore-Tex is an example of such a coating.

Look inside. Many waterproof fabrics have a milky coating or rubbery interior. It’s possible that the fabric may be waterproof if it is opaque and white on the inside but coloured on its outside. It’s likely to be waterproof if you can see a thin layer, rubber-like shrink-wrap on the inside.

The intensity of sunlight is higher at 6000 feet than it is at ground level. These UV rays can destroy the polymers that we use every day. Nylon is now coated with silicon to protect the main fabric against UV rays and debris.


You now know the basics of the sack and the material you should choose, but you must also consider the effects on your body.

Your Body: A bad bag can drain your energy, and you may not have enough to get through the day. You will find yourself looking for a potter/mule to help you load your bag.

The most important thing to remember is that your bag should be able to distribute the weight of all the items you carry through your back without creating pressure points.

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