This is one of those topics I find dear to my heart when adventuring; products that serve me well, are multi-purpose, and meant to be used and last a long time. Excuse me for going on at length about what I've found most useful over the years.
I am out adventuring a lot. My choice of backpack depends on what I'm doing and who might be with me when away for from vehicle or camp.
If I'm day-hiking, biking, or canoeing--especially when with others who may have their own packs stuffed--I use a simple inexpensive unstructured day pack, in which I keep:
- a change of whatever clothes I might need for the day's activities
- a lightweight rain-jacket if rain is likely
- usually a field-guide or two
- basic first-aid supplies
- a compass and paper map, if available
- some basic "get-by-if-I-need-it" gear like a length of survival paracord
(that has fishing line, snare wire, waterproof tinder twine, etc as part of the inner cording)
- an FPG Thermashield
; simply the best heat-reflective adventure field blanket (whether keeping heat out or in) I've ever used. Compact, multi-layered and multi-purpose, mil spec, and durable. I have several.
- snack bars, gorp mix, can of herring or sardines, and cheese/crackers/apple, etc for a quick non-cooked energy-boosting meal
- sometimes my self-contained JetBoil Flash with fuel, coffee, and add-water packet meal
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There's always a day pack or two close at hand; packed and ready to go for that day's activities.
Over the decades, camping in and exploring a ton of different environments around Europe and North America, I've found the inexpensive Venture Pal Ultralights
, as seen above, to be just the thing for me. I find them preferable now over rigid or overly constructed backpacks that take up room in my vehicle when not in use.
They are so inxepensive I keep several, actually, of different colors; with one ready to go for canoeing, another for day hikes, and another for bike rides. I keep my orange one
ready for day adventures when I think the need may arise for the color to signal in case of emergency.
They are completely unstructured and pack into their own front pouch for stashing away when not in use. Just a simple, rugged, lightweight day pack.
If others are joining me, whether kid or adult, they each get one of the same day packs to carry their own stuff for beach, day hikes, bike rides, or canoe paddle. Kids like knowing they have their own stuff. If hiking and it's going to be on our backs all day, I'll stuff a map or magazine, or piece of thin closed-cell foam like a seat pad inside against the back for comfort carrying all day.
* For a more structured
pack or get-home type back pack, the best all-around pack I've found is the Helikon-Tex BOB Backpack
, which is an amazing multi-purpose bit of kit. I have a number of Helikon-Tex items, from their Bushcraft Satchel
, and can say all of their gear has served me extremely well. They are a Polish company aimed to provide tactical gear, mostly for shooters, and though I'm not, I've found their products to be perfect for my style of adventuring. #noaffiliation - I just really love their stuff.
This backpack is--for me at least--the perfect all-around pack. I often use it when venturing away from camp for just the day but want a more organized pack in which to carry a variety of gear. I like that I can keep it packed with all sorts of stuff; from bushcraft to survival gear to everyday camp stuff. It is always there and ready to work.
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It is loaded with molle, pockets, and zippered compartments for securing gear, personal items, and maps, etc, inside and out.
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It comes with a quilted seat pad and a detachable front bag, which is meant for ammo magazines but is very useful for things like first-aid items and energy snacks, etc.
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Zippered mesh pouch and hanging loop on the inside top. All high quality, quick-drying materials.
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The front zips down completely to provide full access to contents and makes a kneeling pad when un-zipped down completely; handy when away from vehicle or camp for bushcraft, quick meal prep, or applying first-aid while keeping the contents of your pack close.
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The pack opens up completely, if you like, for a back-of-the-seat organizer in your vehicle, keeping most-needed items close at hand.
It's a quick, easy move to grab it from the seat back, cinch up the built-in closing straps with buckles, zip it up, and be on the move with all you need.
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The shoulder straps are comfortable, adjustable, and have their own attachment points for quick-to-use gear on your chest while on the move.
Do a search and watch the vids on the Helikon-Tex BOB
(aimed more at tactical shooters) to see more of it's potential as an adventuring back pack. I'm not an avid shooter, at all, but love mine for all sorts of adventuring.
Roaddude - Traveling Photographer/Writer/Artist On the Road In North America. Gear, reviews, people, places, and culture.