Buying Guides



Sleeping Bag Shapes and Designs


Mummy Design: This sleeping bag is shaped like the old Egyptian mummy, wide across the chest then tapering down to a very narrow width at the foot end (hence the name). Depending on the brand they come with varying length zips down one side of the bag, the shorter the zip means less weight and less heat loss. Usually these are designed for colder conditions like snow or sub zero degrees. For this reason they are normally made with a very good hood and shoulder baffles for heat retention.

Tapered Design: This sleeping bag is not the same as a mummy bag, there is more room at the foot end of the bag allowing you to have better movement and not feel as confined as some people do in the mummy style. It still allows you to get the most out of your sleeping bag warmth wise, and in packing size. The zips on these bags may go down to the bottom and have another zip across your feet, to regulate temperature and so you can open them up like a quilt or Alternately you can zip two of the same bags together, if you have a left and right hand zip.

Rectangular Shape: These sleeping bags tend to be more bulky when packed as opposed to the more tailored shaped bags as above. They are good for people that move around allot in their sleep, and don’t like to feel too restricted. Most will open out into a quilt, with zips that go down one side and across the bottom. These are not designed for extremely cold conditions because you loss to much heat in the excess or wasted space of the bag,many brands have hoods but not all. These are more suitable for warmer climates, car camping and travel.

Single sided: This type of bag is a variation of the rectangular sleeping bag, the prime use of this type of bag is to try and save on pack size and weight by only using the top half of the sleeping bag, it is usually made up with down filled baffles to keep you warm while the underside is either a sleeve or a sheet that you can insert you sleeping mat into for comfort and warmth retention depending on the mat.

Double Sleeping bags: these are designed for the couples that don’t want all the hassle of trying to match up a left and right hand zippered bag and have the join down the centre of the bag, making it hard to get out in the middle of the night without disturbing the other person. These are made with a zip down either side of the sleeping bag, and are often very roomy but due to the size of them they are best suited for car camping.

Specialist Light weight bags: These bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes they are normally orientated towards the more experienced hikers. They are usually made with high quality materials and are packed with features to help save weight and space while travelling. 

Backpack / Rucksack Selection and Fitting Guide
 
Choosing the right Backpack or Rucksack:
There is a wide selection of very good backpacks to choose from, so it is important that you know what you are looking for and have an idea of the kind of trips that you will be doing for a few years. Because depending on how long you go for, and the climate of the place you are going to, will determine how big the bag is that you require and what features you will need with the bag.
 
Materials
For Australian conditions the backpack material will be required to withstand harsh elements, so durable, strong and water resistant qualities are extremely important. Some common fabrics used are synthetics (e.g. cordura) and some canvases.
 Full synthetics are lighter, stronger and more abrasion resistant than canvas. Canvas bags are heavier, particularly when they get wet, but are very effective against water penetration due to the water induced swelling of the individual fabric fibres.
 But it doesn’t really matter how waterproof the material is, because no backpack can be fully waterproof, unless it is purposely built for that application. For normal use we recommend waterproof pack liners for your travel.  
 
Backpack size
Your backpack volume is measured in litres, some people that have large packs tend to want to pack their bag to it’s full extent and take more than is needed for their purpose. However if do you end up extending your trip it is better to go with a larger capacity pack, as this alleviates the need for you to strap your gear to the outside of the pack. The quality and brand of bag will determine how accurate they are when measuring the volume of their backpacks. A lot of packs have an extendable throat that can increase the volume of a bag by up to 10 extra litres.
 
Volumes and uses

  • Up to 30L:  good for day walking.
  • 30L -50L: good for a 1-2 day trip or for smaller people.
  • 50L- 65L: good for up to 3 days of camping.
  • 65L- 85L: can be used for up to 6 days of overnight camping.
  • 85L+: Long treks lasting over a week or more.

Backpack features
Loading options
A lot of backpacks are “top loaders,” where all your gear is fed in from the top of the main compartment. So it does require some thought when packing the bag, as you want to keep the quick-access items close to the top. Some of the newer packs are now providing zips in the body of the bag so you can also get to the main compartment with all your gear in it without pulling it all out through the top.
 
Hip belt and padding
This is an important part of a pack; it helps with comfort while carrying heavy loads. A good backpack will disperse the main load down to your hip belt evenly. Some brands offer interchangeable belts for a more customised fit. There should also be some support and padding to your lower back.
 
Pockets/storage:
Many packs offer lid pockets for essential and easily accessible items like a head torch / compass. Good packs also offer side pockets to carry drink bottles and they have even started making hip pockets on hip belts for easy access to things like cameras or snacks.
 
Extras:
Depending on the activity in which you are partaking will determine what extras you need. They can range from Ice axe holders to walking pole storage or even just having enough attachment points to put anything to the outside of the pack if needed.
 
Fitting backpacks
It is important to get this right; you must fit a backpack up to suit your body. A pack that is short will ride up around your waist while a pack that is too long will have badly fitting shoulder straps causing a gap between your back and the pack. When trying on the pack always do the hip belt up first so it fits firmly on your hips, and then adjust the shoulder straps to bring the bag to your body so it conforms nicely around your shoulders. It is always best to try these packs on in store with some weight in them and walk around for a while so you get a feeling about how the bag is going to perform.

If you are trying to fit a pack at home have a look at this video to help you with the fine adjustments:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X258hs7HHaw&list=PL53D0F71A7A0C95BD

Some brands offer female specific fits, as women are shaped differently to men and may need it to be more customisable ie shorter torso, wider hip belt and narrower shoulder span, this customisation is very good for choosing a bag that fits you best. However everyone is different so the best thing to do is to choose the pack in which you feel most comfortable.
Please note that the manufacturers use general terms to identify their packs like small, medium and large so you should look at each packs specifications to find the actual scale they use.

Choosing the right backpack and making sure it fits correctly can be a tricky business. If you would like some help with your selection, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly Customer Service Team on Ph: (07) 5593 4180 or you can email them at service@wildearth.com.au
 


 

Selecting your Daypack:
Daypacks typically range between 15-35 litres depending on what you want to use the pack for, they are great for all kinds of activities like day walks, hikes, cycling or skiing. Being a smaller pack means the load is mainly carried on the shoulders however some brands incorporate simple waist straps for stability, and many have different degrees of back support and padding with air ventilation for hotter climates.
 
Materials Used:
Textured nylons such as Cordura are used because they are very strong and abrasion resistant.
Polyester is a strong material but features more on entry-level models.
Canvas is a very heavy material but it is very water resistant and is often found in older bags.
Not many packs are considered waterproof as anything with a zip is a potential water entry point. So in wet conditions it is recommended to use a pack cover or pack liners inside the bag, or choose a dry pack.
 
Choosing your Daypack:
A daypack is only a small bag, so you would not want to have more than12kgs load in it. Because they normally do not have enough padding and hip belt support, if you are carrying a lot of weight it will be directly on the shoulders (that could be uncomfortable). It’s recommended to choose a daypack when you want to pack light for the day. Mostly they have hip belts and sternum straps that are included as a stabilizing method to stop the pack from moving around too much on the body.
 
Daypack Uses:
Bushwalking: look for a narrow-profile pack so it is not too bulky on the trail. Depending on how long you are going on your walk for is how big a bag you should take, consider if you need to take extra clothing for different environments and wether you need a decent hip belt and sternum strap.
 
Rock climbing: Depending on your activity (trad climbing, mountaineering) will determine how technical your daypack needs to be. How much gear you need and weight of your gear e.g. ropes, carabineers, shoes, harness, will help with choosing specific features of the pack that you require like internal pockets, daisy chain, crampon straps.  
 
Ski touring: The basic features of a back pack are essential when choosing for this activity. Things like a hip belt and sternum strap are important and it also pays to look at a more specific bag that has areas to carry your skies or board on the pack. The size will generally be determined on any extra clothing you need to take for the conditions.
 
Trail running/multi sport: some people choose a bum bag with water bottle holders because they like the fact that keeps your back clear so sweat can escape. But if size is an issue the other option is a technical slim line hydration pack that can offer a little extra space. With either choice it is a priority to get to know the fastening system of the pack so it sits properly while you are active.
 
Hydration packs: These packs range in sizes depending on the use and application that you are after, the smaller ones have bladders that range between 1.5 - 2 litres and are designed for the more active person for hydration as above. They also make models with a larger capacity orientated to the day hiker that wants to take more gear with them like a jacket, food and any other appropriate gear for the trip. Because they are bigger their bladders vary between 2-3 litres and generally come with a slightly bigger hip belt to deal with the weight.
 
Urban/school/work: these packs are ones that you would use as an everyday commuter. Generally mid size depending on what you want to carry, but these have specialty segmented compartments so you can organise your things better and some have extra padded areas for your multimedia items like laptops, ipads and smartphones.
 
Daypack styles:
Top loading vs. front or zip loading. Depending on your activity and use, will determine what style you will be looking for. The zip loading is typically used if you are after a wide opening for easy access to books and clothes that can be more difficult to locate in a top loader.
 
Top loaders do a better job of keeping gear dry in wet weather because anything that has zips is a potential water entry point even though they are covered with a small zip, They also tend to do a better job of keeping your gear from moving around to much as they typically come with compression straps to keep the load where you need it, and that is essential when participating in activities where you require balance.
 
Spend some time understanding your requirements and getting to know the different brands and models that are available. That way you’ll be sure to get the pack that is right for you.
If you need any help, or have any queries, please contact our friendly Customer Service team on Ph: 07 5593 4180 or service@wildearth.com.au
We’re here to help.
 

With so many brands and styles, choosing the right daypack can get a little confusing. Taking a few minutes to identify exactly what you need the daypack for will help make the selection process much easier, then it just comes down to picking your favourite colour.......that's a whole other problem altogether!


Let's start with a few basics about Daypacks:
These typically range between 15-35 litres depending on what you want to use the pack for, and are great for all kinds of activities like day walks, hikes, cycling or skiing. Being a smaller pack means the load is mainly carried on the shoulders, however some brands incorporate simple waist straps for stability, and many have different degrees of back support and padding with air ventilation for hotter climates.
 

Across different brands and styles there are many different materials used:
Textured nylons such as Cordura are used because they are very strong and abrasion resistant.
Polyester is a strong material and features mostly on entry-level daypacks.
Canvas, although a heavy material, is very water resistant and is often found in older bags.
Not many packs are considered waterproof, as anywhere there is a zip, creates a potential water entry point.
So in wet conditions it is recommended to use a pack cover or a pack liner inside the pack, or choose
a dry pack for added protection.
 

Now, let's choose your Daypack:
A daypack is only a small bag, so you do not want to have more than about 12kgs load in it. Because they normally do not have enough padding, or the benefit of a hip belt support, if you are carrying a lot of weight in a daypack, that weight will be directly loaded on the shoulders (this could become uncomfortable over time). It’s recommended to choose a daypack when you want to pack light for the day. Many have hip belts and sternum straps that are included as a stabilizing method to stop the pack from moving around too much on the body.
 
Main Daypack uses are:
Bushwalking: look for a narrow-profile pack so it is not too bulky on the trail. The duration of your walk will directly impact the size of the bag you should take. If you need to take extra clothing for different environments and weather, consider a suitable sized pack with a decent hip belt and a sternum strap.
 
Rock climbing: Depending on your activity (trad climbing, mountaineering) will determine how technical your daypack needs to be. How much gear you need and weight of your gear e.g. ropes, carabineers, shoes, harness, will help with choosing specific features of the pack that you require like internal pockets, daisy chain, and crampon straps.  
 
Ski touring: The basic features of a backpack are essential when selecting a pack for this activity. Things like a hip belt and sternum strap are important and it also pays to look at a more specific bag that has areas to carry your skies or board on the pack. The size will generally be determined by the amount of extra clothing you need to take for the conditions.
 
Trail running/multi sport: some people choose a bum bag with water bottle holders because they like the fact that it keeps your back cooler than having a pack strapped to it. But if size is an issue the other option is a technical slim line hydration pack that can offer a little extra space. With either choice it is a priority to get to know the fastening system of the pack so it sits properly while you are active.
 
Hydration packs: These packs range in size depending on the use and application that you require. The smaller ones have bladders that range between 1.5 - 2 litresand are designed for the more active person for hydration as above. They also make models with a larger capacity oriented to the day hiker that wants to take more gear with them like a jacket, food and any other appropriate gear for the trip. Because they are bigger their bladders vary between 2-3 litres and generally come with a slightly bigger hip belt to deal with the weight.
 
Urban/school/work: these packs are ones that you would use as an everyday commuter. Generally mid size depending on what you want to carry, but these have specialty segmented compartments so you can organise your things better and some have extra padded areas for your multimedia items like laptops, ipads and smartphones.
 
Daypack styles:
Top loading vs. front or zip loading. Your activity and how you intend to use your pack will determine what style you will be looking for. Zip loading is typically used if you are after a wide opening for easy access to books and clothes that can be more difficult to locate in a top loader.
 
Top loaders do a better job of keeping gear dry in wet weather because anything that has zips is a potential water entry point. They also tend to do a better job of keeping your gear from moving around too much as they typically come with compression straps to keep the load where you need it, and that is essential when participating in activities where you require balance.
 
Spend some time understanding your requirements and getting to know the different brands and models that are available. That way you’ll be sure to get the pack that is right for you.

If you need any help, or have any queries, please contact our friendly Customer Service team via LIVE CHAT, or Ph: 07 5593 4180, or via email service@wildearth.com.au

We’re always here to help.