How to choose your backpack?



The secret of a backpack, and the way it lightens your load, lies in its carry system and how its back construction. How do you carry several kilos – and sometimes more than 15 or 20 – without breaking your vertebrae? Whether for a long-haul hike along Corsica’s GR20 trail or a family outing to the Lac Blanc near Chamonix, a backpack is precisely designed to optimally distribute the load. Here’s how.

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The first criterion when selecting a backpack is the duration of your trip.

Short and long hikes call for different packs. In other words, a day-long excursion with a pack below 45 litre capacity only requires a simple carry system: your weight sits mainly on your shoulders. The waist belt, which is slim in such designs, serves principally to stabilise the pack.

But for longer adventures, with 45-plus litres of capacity on your back, a pack must be equipped with a more complex carry system to transfer weight onto your hips. “If you’re carrying a heavy load for a long time, 70-80% of the weight must sit on the hips,” says Clément Farcy, one of Lafuma’s backpack developers. “Their specific construction shifts the weight onto a wide, padded hip belt that wraps around the hips. The shoulder straps only serve to press the pack against your back, and to stabilise it when you’re walking.” This category of pack requires accurate adjustment of torso length (i.e. the distance between the top of the shoulder straps and the hip belt) – hence their adjustable back system.




For a one-day trekking




For a longer trekking



The back system, a strategic area

The back system is a strategic area in a backpack, as it’s in extensive contact with the carrier. Our developers therefore pay it special attention, to maximise comfort. As a result, models feature various types of back system: ventilated, contact, and foam.





The first category has a curved frame on which a mesh – in contact with the carrier’s back – is stretched. “This offsets the load, so you can pass your hand between your back and the load, thus providing excellent ventilation,” adds Clément. “In fact, it’s the best design for removing perspiration! The drawback is that the curved frame takes up space inside the pack.” This system is particularly well suited to long-distance hiking, but doesn’t fit the bill for more active sports such as cycling.



ventilight back system, particularly well suited to long-distance hiking

A stretched back with hollowed-out back panel to maximise ventilation


it’s the best design for removing perspiration!



The second category – contact back systems – ventilate by virtue of their unusual form. A rigid foam plate, providing a dense thermoformed frame, incorporates ventilation channels and perforations to maximise ventilation. “The load is pressed against the back, but only touches it in very precise areas,” explains Clément, “which makes it a great system for active sports.”



dot air back, lightweight and breathable, it's a great system for active sports

A stretched back with hollowed-out back panel to maximise ventilation


an ideal system to light hiking use and multisport



Lastly, foam back systems are the least technical type. The foam’s mesh covering provides ventilation courtesy of its honeycomb construction. Such systems vary in stiffness and weight, depending on the purpose and volume of the pack.

Women are properly catered for, as there are specific versions “with reduced torso lengths and specific S-shaped shoulder straps to free the bust,” concludes Clément.





All three systems are deployed in Lafuma’s backpacks, offering a broad range tailored to all your activities.