We get a number of customers who are looking for a new backpack or bag for work or outdoor activities and they ask us “what should I get?”. This is a somewhat common question to address a very personal preference, but we are here to help!
First thing we usually ask is, what are you planning on using it for? We can’t in good conscience recommend a hiking pack for the office, or a sling bag that you’re planning on putting many heavy items in. We’ll cover our three main points that should help you choose a new bag next time you are looking for an upgrade or addition!
The Main Criteria
Let’s talk materials and construction. We use Cordura brand fabric on our packs as the main material for almost every product we make. This material is coated in Durable Water Repellent (DWR) to keep moisture out. The lining of the inside of the bags are 210D ripstop nylon, most commonly a high contrasting color like orange or a light grey. All large products like our backpacks are padded with closed cell foam in the main body and straps. Closed cell foam will last much longer than any open cell foam/padding. We use YKK RC class zippers for all zipper needs. Generally we invert the zippers to protect the zipper track from external wear and to keep dirt or grime from building up, prolonging smooth opening and closing.
On the sides of our packs we like to use Hypalon (Pronounced: hy·pa·lon : ˈhīpəˌlän) for our molle panels. It is made from natural rubber laminated on both sides of ripstop nylon. It is very similar to the material used to make inflatable boats used by Navy Seals. Lastly, our hardware are all ITW/Duraflex products, the industry leaders in hardware for straps and accessories. Why does all this matter? We produce the most durable bags that we can and do lots of research into every material we use to know it’s up to the task. The final product is more than just a summary of its parts. However when you start with the best materials on the market the final product is that much better!
What do you carry? The kind of bag we would use to pack for a weekend trip is probably different from the pack we are going to use for work or school. Many people carry a laptop every day, others a digital camera, and some might want to throw a bug out bag together. The kind of organization you would need for different items changes how we carry them. We tend to pack our bags full (pun intended) with organization. There are a multitude of pockets, slots, and straps to keep gear in place and easily accessible. Understanding what size pack you need, and the kind of gear you want is keep with you will go a long way in helping you find the perfect pack! (or multiple packs?)
Probably the most important thing for the end user, is the pack comfortable? We do extensive testing with most of our office and warehouse during the prototyping phase to make sure the packs are comfortable for multiple body types. But, the kind of pack will also impact its comfort. Do you want a single sling? Then be prepared to keep your kit lighter so it doesn’t bear down on a single shoulder too much. Do you need fast access to a camera? Then packing it at the bottom of a pack while wearing a waist belt won’t speed up your workflow.
With these tips in mind, we hope you are able to find the right pack for your needs! Let us know what your favorite pack is! Tag us on Instagram so we can share your sweet pics! @vanquestgear