RF Whatley, Troop 518
Rev 03 Jun 99
Choosing A Backpack
Troop 518 Training
The basic packing container for all Troop 518 outings is the backpack. The backpack is one of the most
important pieces of camping equipment the Scout uses. It represents a major expenditure and great care should
be used in its purchase. Like shoes, the backpack needs to correctly fit the user for comfort and utility. A poor
fitting backpack will turn the average outing into an ordeal that may end your son's Scouting career.
The following guidelines should help in your selection of a pack. Keep in mind that selecting a pack will
involve some compromise. No backpack will meet all the needs of an active Scout. Cost will always be a
major factor but a carefully selected pack is an investment in future adventure and enjoyment. A good pack will
last for years with just a little care. In our opinion the following features are generally accepted as mandatory:
• Pack with internal or external frame. Absolutely NO book bags or army rucksacks.
• Padded hip belt that can be adjusted to fully tighten over the pelvis.
• Hip belt buckles and adjusters that do not slip or loosen during hiking.
• Padded shoulder straps that can be adjusted tighter or looser while walking.
• Volume of approximately 2500 cubic inches or greater. (4000 cu in or greater for an adult.)
• Exposed frame or loops to use to strap on external loads such as sleeping bags.
External frame packs have been around for years and offer significant cost savings. The rigid frame is usually
aluminum tubing that has been welded, bolted or bonded together. External frame packs have a greater distance
between the user and the pack and are therefore cooler to wear in summer. The exposed frame makes it easy to
attach almost any type sleeping bag or accessory. External frames may not offer as many adjustments due to
fewer mounting points for the belts and straps. The aluminum tubing can also be easily damaged by rough use.
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