Although rucksacks are often easy to borrow, try to use the most modern bag you can.  Technology has made modern rucksacks lighter, more comfortable and flexible.

Choose a bag with a good strong waist strap and wide, well-padded shoulder straps.  Its an advantage to have a high visibility waterproof cover and an adjustable back system. 

If you’re undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, a rucksack can be a good investment. It may last for all three levels of the DofE and be also used for other journeys and travelling, as well as maybe handing down to a sibling!

Borrowed rucksacks may not have a waterproof cover but these can be bought to keep the water out.  You can also put a waterproof liner inside your bag before you put your kit in.  You can also get waterproofing solutions to spray on to the rucksack fabric.  If you’re borrowing a rucksack and it has an adjustable back system, make sure you get the bag fitted for your back.

  • Look out for a load transferring, adjustable back system on your rucksack and ensure you’re fitted for your rucksack, these will make a big difference to comfort while out on expedition. 
  • Ensure your pack transfers the weight of your kit to your hips and not on your shoulders.
  • Rucksacks are measured by their litre capacity (bag plus expansion). E.g. 60+10 litre means a total bag capacity of 70 litres.
  • The best way is to have it fitted in-store to get the best comfort and fit.
  • Some rucksacks are designed for women and smaller men with narrow shoulder straps and shorter back.