Rucksack – Choosing the Best Rucksack Backpack

Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Alice Benny

Let me help you choose the best rucksack backpack. When you’re planning the trip of a lifetime, you’ll need to think of what travel gear you’re going to need. A good quality rucksack is without a doubt going to be at the top of your list, but which one will be best suited to your needs? The following tips will have you ready to choose the right type of rucksack backpack for your travels.

Rucksacks are the way to carry your gear around. They keep everything secure, and they are usually very small. Not only do these bags serve military purposes, they also help you in everyday life. We have been using ruck bags for many years now, and here I will answer the question of what is a rucksack.

Rucksack | Rucksack Backpack | Ruck
Travel Rucksack

What is a Rucksack?

A rucksack or ruck is designed to be carried as part of an individual’s backpack system. This means that the rucksack has at least one waist belt and/or hip belt on it. The ruck sack can either be worn over clothing, without any additional padding under it, or over a load bearing vest.

A ruck sack should never be worn over cargo pants because there is nothing between the wearer and the contents of the bag. A ruck sack needs to be packed with enough padding so to prevent injury while carrying out its primary function of storing and protecting equipment . Some military style rucksacks even use Kevlar webbing to make them stronger than regular cotton webbing. Rucksacks are tailored to meet the needs of backpackers and travelers alike, with a range of key features that set them apart from hiking backpack.

Rucksack Side Opening

The first feature to look out for is side access to the rucksack’s main compartment, this is commonly via lockable zips and is similar to the opening you would find on a suitcase.

Removable Ruck Daypack

The second feature you will find handy on your ruck is a detachable daypack, this is a smaller sized rucksack that is attached to the front of the bag. Daypacks are normally attached to the main bag by zip or clip fastenings and are great for day trips or for using as hand luggage on flights.

Rucksack Backpack Concealed Straps

Finally, you will find that the rucksack’s shoulder straps are concealable by way of a zip panel. This panel helps to protect the rucksack’s back system during flights and other journeys, preventing material snags and other damage.

Which Size Ruck Do I Need?

If you’re travelling for a long period of time, you may well think that buying the largest ruck on the market is the way forward. This is not necessarily the best option, as larger rucks can put too much strain on your back and tempt you to pack far too much gear. Rucksack sizes range from 40 liters in size to 100 liters, with anything smaller than 40 liters verging on daypack territory and most definitely not suitable for a round the world trip.

When choosing your ruck backpack, consider your height, the activities you plan on doing during your trip, such as trekking, and what gear you intend on packing. These three simple steps will make selecting the right ruck a much simpler exercise. 

  1. When it comes to packing, lay out everything you want to take then start eliminating the things you could do without. 
  2. Rolling your clothes is a well-known tactic used by many travelers to optimize the packing space inside their rucksacks. 
  3. Handy accessories such as compression sacks can also help to minimize the size of your clothes and travel gear.
Rucksack Backpack | Ruck
Rucksack Backpack | Ruck

Rucksack Key Comfort Features

Most rucksacks on the market are fitted with adjustable back systems, made up of shoulder straps and a hip belt for added support. Rucksack backpack systems are often padded with an air mesh material for breathability, helping to reduce sweating and provide a more comfortable carrying experience. 

The back system’s hip belt is designed to bear most of the weight from the ruck and take the strain away from your shoulders, helping to avoid back injuries and discomfort. 

Lowe Alpine introduced the concept of a length-adjusting back system back in 1967. Since then many outdoor gear manufacturers have come up with their own designs and styles of adjustable back systems. Ensuring your ruck is fitted correctly will ensure you don’t injure your back when travelling and make carrying it around much more comfortable!

Women’s Rucksacks

While women are able to opt for standard rucksacks, a female specific option may be a better choice, particularly for the more petite among you. Women’s rucksacks are designed with a shorter back length, as women have a shorter torso compared to men. 

Other features you can expect from a women’s rucksack backpack include additional padding on the hip belt as well as more contoured shaping on the shoulder straps and hip belt. Some women may not feel the need to opt for a shorter back length for their ruck, but may want something that looks more appealing, compared to plain black rucksacks.

For women travelers, other colors of rucks are available, the Vango Freedom 60+20 comes in either black or plum and Karrimor offer a range of colors from pink to blue.

Wheeled Rucksacks

If you don’t think your back could take the strain of carrying a rucksack around for the duration of your trip, a wheeled rucksack is a feasible alternative. Like comparing a roller bag vs backpack, wheeled rucksacks give you the option of carrying the rucksack on your back with shoulder straps or wheeling it along using over sized wheels and an extending towing handle. 

However, due to the presence of an aluminum telescopic handle on most models, the back systems on wheeled ruck backpacks tend to be fairly basic and are rarely adjustable. There are some wheeled rucks with adjustable back systems, but they don’t come with a towing handle, which isn’t always very convenient if you’re on the tall side.

Ruck Accessories & Extras

Giving your rucksack some TLC during your trip is essential to keeping it in good condition. There are many accessories on the travel gear market that help to protect your rucksack and improve its performance. 

Rucksack transit cover

A rucksack backpack transit cover is a great way to protect your ruck during flights and other journeys. It is designed to completely cover your bag and stops it getting damaged on airport conveyor belts and carousels. 

Rucksack rain cover

No ruck is completely waterproof, so a rain cover is a good investment if you want to keep its contents dry and protected from the elements.    

Hydration bladder

A hydration bladder is a must have if you’ll be trekking during your time away, allowing you to stay hydrated via a handy tube that feeds through the top of your rucksack. Many models of rucksack feature specialized pockets and tube ports for hydration bladders and will be described as ‘Hydration compatible’ if they have this feature.

If you consider the above points, you will hopefully choose the best one for your body size and your travels. Doing so means you will have a much more comfortable and less frustrating time with your travel rucksack, allowing you to enjoy your time away with minimal disruption and discomfort.

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