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Clear backpacks, mesh backpacks and cordura backpacks

Not so long ago, a backpack was just a bag with a couple of ropes. But time does not stand still and technology has gone far ahead. Today, a backpack is not just a bag of fabric - it is a stylish accessory using modern materials and technologies. The task we face in this article is to help answer the question: What are the main types of backpacks and why it is so? The variety of types of backpack today is so great that sometimes one can get confused.

There are many kinds of shoulder bags: they differ in construction, material, and design. There are backpacks designed for sports, urban travel; there are also cloth backpacks for students, children, women, men. All of them have their own functional and visual features - we will consider the most common types and also talk about the criteria for choosing a good backpack. We suggest that you familiarize yourself with the main types and hope that this information will help you make the right choice.

What are the types of backpacks?

There are soft and external frame backpacks. The soft one is the lightest and most compact, which folds up easily and could be placed for example, into a kayak. External frame classic backpacks are the most common type. It is most often made of aluminum, a plastic used less commonly, repeating the anatomical shape of the back. In large-volume backpacks, the external frame is sewn into the fabric, in small ones it is separated from the material for ventilation. Some models allow one to remove it and use the flat backpacks as a soft one. The easel backpack is an external frame with straps, a belt and a bag attached to it. Other items can also be attached to the external frame of such tough backpacks — a tourist ax in a case, a bowler hat, ropes, etc. This type is used only for hiking, as well as in distant places for carrying equipment of speleological, geological, climbing expeditions or for supplying essential goods to residents of remote mountain villages. Wheels are sometimes attached to the bottom base of such large sports backpack, turning them into a trolley.


The easiest way is to start classifying backpacks by volume:

  • small - up to 40 liters (as a rule, these are urban, backpack for sports)

  • average - 40-70 liters (this is the forest backpack, tactical ones)

  • large - more than 70 liters (usually these are large sports backpack)

Tourist backpacks

The main distinguishing feature of this group is its large volume. On such models, it is unlikely to find small pockets, more likely that one will notice different external screeds for tents, mats, etc. The backs of such forestry adventuring backpack are stiff, the straps are adjustable for the convenience of carrying and loading distribution. Most often, a protective cover is included, as tourists often fall into bad weather conditions.

They are presented on the market in one of the largest size ranges - they come in volumes from 70 liters to 140 liters. They are designed for long expeditions. As mentioned above, in most cases they are equipped with an external frame back - although when it comes to a backpack with a volume of up to 80 liters, there are models equipped with an anatomical back without a metal insert. This design provides redistribution of the weight of the contents but does not add weight to the backpack itself.

Camping backpacks are equipped with many additional functions that make the trip more convenient: they have many external mounts adapted for different types of tourism (for example, mountaineering backpacks with special ski mounts), many of them can access the contents through bag bottom. There are also models with a drinking system.

Tourist backpacks

Urban backpacks

They are designed for everyday use in the big city. Basically, one puts and carries what he needs to walk around the city, to study, to work. In such models, you can find a special compartment for a laptop, an organizer for a phone, pens. The back in such backpacks is most often anatomical, the straps are wide, and sometimes there is a waist belt.

The back of urban backpacks can have adjustments and features, and there is a huge number of such stuff:

  • anatomical form, breathable fabric

  • height-adjustable shoulder carrying sling with soft lining, trimmed with breathable mesh fabric

  • the chest strap, height adjustable with elastic insert

  • the hip belt can be: removable, adjustable in volume and tension, with a soft lining, sheathed with a breathable mesh fabric

Urban backpacks

Usually, its volume is within 30 liters. In this extensive category, several subcategories can be distinguished:

  • The drawstring backpack is a frequent choice of modern youth. It is very light and flexible. You can put the most necessary things in it because it is used every day. Its main advantage is lightness, and the disadvantage is the lack of compartments except for several external pockets. It is convenient to use - just pull the cord and a drawstring backpack is closed.

  • Mesh backpacks are made of mesh material that is strong enough to withstand the minimum load. Although it shines through, it is impossible to fully examine the contents. Previously, they were used on the water so that it drains quickly, but now they have become a fashion accessory. They are well suited for security measures since you can view the contents, but unlike the transparent ones, reading information is quite difficult.

  • School backpacks are often equipped with an anatomical back. They have several departments, one of which is designed for textbooks. As a rule, there are many small additional compartments for a pencil case, water bottles, an internal small compartment on a clasp for notebooks, etc.

  • Student backpacks often look more minimalistic and they are most often soft. But in addition to one or two main large compartments, there are many small ones for various office supplies and other small things.

Sport backpacks

They are characterized by minimal weight, bright colors, and the ability to install a drinking system. Some urban and bicycle backpacks are partially under this definition. Sports backpacks fit things for a small outing. Such the ones have a well-designed back and mounts for equipment from the outside. Moreover, they may even have a compartment for a laptop inside. The main difference that sports backpacks of small volume make out is the variety of colors. With such a backpack it's convenient not only to wear changeable clothes, shoes, and equipment but also to stand out against the background of the gray city.

Sport backpacks

Bicycle backpacks

They are distinguished by a back - it is curved and provides maximum ventilation. True, in the region of the shoulders and lower back, the classic backpack is still snug against the back. The curved back can be uncomfortable if you need to put something voluminous in the main compartment of the backpack. As a rule, it has a compartment for a drinking system, which sometimes can be included. Be sure to have reflective inserts on the backpack. And in a special pocket - a protective waterproof cover from rain and snow. To fit your preferences the back and straps of the backpack have a wide range of adjustments to make it as comfortable as possible. Most often, side pockets and side ties at the classic backpack are provided. The backrest usually has rigid inserts to maintain its curved shape.

Bicycle backpacks

Mountain climbing and ski backpacks

They were originally developed specifically for hiking and mountaineering. Its design involves an external frame back, due to which the average weight of the ski shoulder bag is from 1.2 to 1.7 kg. These are medium-sized backpacks with a volume of 30 to 50 liters. They are designed for short mountain trips lasting several days. They have many additional functions (special fastenings on the outside of the tough backpacks), suggesting the ability to fix bulk things outside the bag. Usually, it has a simple monotonous khaki shade design.

Mountain backpacks

Backpacks materials

Nowadays synthetic fabric is the most common. Frequently usable are:

  • Cordura backpacks material


  • Oxford backpacks material


  • Visitor backpacks material


  • Nylon and Polyester 600D backpacks material

    Nylon and Polyester 600D

  • TitanTex backpacks material


Cordura is a strong synthetic (sometimes with the addition of cotton) fabric, very resistant to abrasion, has water repellent properties. The fabric is made from threads up to 1000D. The higher the number, the stronger and heavier the fabric is. Usually, the heavier fabric is placed in the most abrasive places, and the parts that do not carry the load are made of lighter materials. The disadvantage of this fabric is its high weight. Besides, in cold weather, it can harden.

Oxford is a fabric woven into several threads, much thinner, softer and lighter than Cordura. Also, it is cheaper, but, unfortunately, its strength and water resistance are lower.

TitanTex is a new synthetic material reinforced with Kevlar fibers. The fabric is quite light, but also quite expensive.

The choice is yours: how important is the look and weight of the backpack? How long should he serve you?

Answering these questions, one can easily choose the right material. In short, we can say that for simple walking trips, Cordura is suitable. For hiking Cordura or Oxford are preferable. Strength or lightness? For bicycle backpacks the Cordura is very suitable - the weight here is not fundamental, in contrast to strength. It makes sense to purchase nylon or polyester products, not for extreme conditions, and only if you expect to use it during a couple of seasons.

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