10 functions of a hiking backpack that will definitely come in handy
Take out your hiking or framework backpack and check whether it has all 10 functions of a reliable travelling buddy. Proper hiking backpacks offer many features which can be fully appreciated once you’re outside.
1. Back system or back to back
The back is an important part of any backpack. A correctly designed back system guarantees not only the strength of the backpack, but also ventilation so that you’re back doesn’t get too sweaty.
The LOAP range offer the following backpack back systems:
AAS I – air adjustable system I
AFS – air flow system
AVS – air ventilation system
ACS II – air comfortable system II
SBS – solid back system
For more detailed descriptions of individual types, see the Technologies page.
If a backpack has a straight back, it adheres closer to your body. That’s why the system should include padding, elevated above the back panel. This creates a gap between your back and the backpack which allows air to circulate freely.
Some hiking and biking backpacks have a specially designed load-bearing system which makes the back panel convexify towards the middle of the backpack so that it doesn’t cling to your back. Thus, air can freely circulate between you and your backpack.
Another useful function of the back system is the possibility to set and adjust the system to your body.
LOAP TIP: You can read more about the back system in our article Backpack's back system - how it works and what it does.
2. Anatomically shaped shoulder straps
Shoulder straps – another indispensable part of any backpack. They’re one of the backpack’s most strained components. Nowadays, hiking backpacks frequently include anatomically shaped straps which copy the shape of your body. Often, they’re softly reinforced to prevent painful abrasions to your shoulders. Just imagine carrying a heavy travelling bag on your shoulder, using a simple fabric strap. How horrible! You don’t want to experience anything like this with your backpack, especially if it’s full.
3. Chest strap
Let’s discuss shoulder straps a little more. Take a look at them again. Did you notice a chest strap? Great? Do you use it? If you answered yes, kudos to you. If you answered no, it's time to remedy this. The chest strap stabilizes the other straps and prevents them from slipping off your shoulders. Having to replace the straps all the time is truly annoying, so take care to always buckle it.
4. Beck belt
Let’s move a bit lower from your chest and check out the back belt. City backpacks often don’t have it because they don’t carry any significant load and it’s assumed they’ll be removed frequently. However, a proper hiking backpack can’t do without it. It might not seem so at first glance, but a back belt is a very important detail. If the backpack is properly adjusted, the belt can significantly take the strain off your shoulders and carry a large part of the overall weight. As is the case with shoulder straps, the back belt is often reinforced and can be buckled.
5. Integrated rain cover
No proper tourist can always avoid rain. Since you indeed are a proper tourist, you’re aware of this and thus have a rainproof jacket with a hood in your backpack. But have you considered protecting your backpack too? You might say it’s not necessary, but it is. There’s nothing worse after a day-long hike in rain than finding out that you’re clothing is wet and you have nothing to change into. Backpacks with an integrated rain cover are an ideal solution. The rain cover is always cleverly hidden and so light you won’t even feel it.
Check whether your backpack has it. In case of LOAP backpacks, the rain cover is hidden in an inconspicuous pocket at the bottom of the backpack, right below the belt buckle. It’s attached to the interior part of the backpack so that you won’t lose it during your travels. If you don’t have a rain cover, we recommend you purchase a large rain coat which can accommodate both you and your backpack. You won’t look like a supermodel, but at least you’ll remain dry.
LOAP TIP: LOAP ALPINEX 25 is one such hiking backpack with an integrated rain cover.
6. Outer fixtures and loops
Outer fixtures are great. If you actively use them, you certainly agree with us. You’ll appreciate them mainly during long hikes when you try to pack as many things as possible. The bag or backpack isn’t inflatable, but you can ingeniously use its outer side. Fixtures can usually be found at the bottom of your backpack. Are they there? If no, then you probably don’t miss them. Once you give them a try, though, you will never want to have a backpack without them. These fixtures are ideal for attaching cumbersome shoes, vacuum flasks, or a roll mat.
7. Inner and outer pockets of the backpack
A hiking backpack must have a sufficient amount of pocket. While you can store large things inside the main chamber, having to fish for frequently used small stuff, e.g. a wallet, is quite bothersome. Therefore, pick a backpack with small pockets which allow you to smartly spread your things around. Side pockets made from netting are popular and frequently used because you can immediately see their contents and take it out quickly. In case of framework backpacks, it’s good to have zippered pockets on top of the lid or beneath it. These are ideal for money and documents you need to often take out during your travels.
8. Bottom/top lid loading
Large expedition backpacks can usually be filled in 2 ways: either from the top, or the bottom. Framework backpacks contain a partition which can be buckled, thus creating two separate chambers. Two methods of loading allow the weight to be smartly spread around so that you can quickly reach your sweatshirt, for example, if necessary.
LOAP TIP: LOAP SAULO 65 is one such back with a top/bottom loading.
9. Adjustable lid
Adjustable lids can be found in expedition backpacks. You’ll get more free space by adjusting them. If your framework backpack is fully loaded, you can loosen the lid with straps and use the newly acquired space. If the backpack isn’t fully loaded, you can use the straps to tighten the lid.
10. Side compression straps
Side compression straps allow you to decrease the bulk of the backpack. By tightening them, the contents inside will be locked into place and prevented from moving around. To remove the contents easily, it’s good to loosen the straps again.
We’re done. You’ve thoroughly checked your backpack and we trust you’re fully satisfied with the results. If not, you can select a new one from our range of LOAP backpacks.