02/11/2016 04:43 EST | Updated 02/11/2017 05:12 EST

How To Shop For The Right Backpack

From ski packs to hydration packs and everything in between, there are ways to figure out the exact type of backpack you'll need for any given situation. Let's find out what's right for you!

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I love having the right bag to tote around all my belongings. If I am out on a shoot, or outdoors or running around town.

I recently spoke with Michael Connor, MEC Toronto store staff. He shared with me the top tips on how you can pick the right backpack for your needs. If you are out for a run, or going to school, having the right bag and a good fit, can make the world of difference.

What are the features that make a backpack?

Running packs are typically small and include a waist belt that keeps the pack tight against the runners back. In their main compartment there's room for a hydration pouch and not much more. Often running packs will have pockets on the waist belt or the pack straps to store small items like sun screen or energy gels.

Front country ski packs are a bit bigger and they'll generally have a sleeve for a hydration pouch. Typically they will also have a padded goggles pocket at the top. On very cold days I love keeping a large warm puffy jacket in the backpack that I can wear on long chairlift rides.

Not everyone likes hydration packs for skiing. The hoses can freeze, even with insulating tube covers. To avoid freezing try getting in the habit of taking frequent small sips from the tube.

An alternative to drinking through a tube is to carry a water bottle inside the pack. These will remain unfrozen if they are arranged close to the back panel of the pack and are wrapped in spare insulating layers. Also try filling them with warm water at the start of the day, instead of cold water. Thermoses filled with hot chocolate also work well!

How to choose the right backpack to suit your needs?

Start by working out just what you need the bag to carry. That will inform the size you need.

If you'll be carrying the pack most of the time look for the best harness you can find. If the bag is mostly for storage and carrying things between destinations i.e., from home to the bus and then from the bus to your office or school, consider a shoulder bag.

How to ensure you have the right fit for the backpack?

Ideally your bag should load most of its weight onto your hips through a waist belt. There should be no gaps or spaces between your shoulders and the shoulder straps.

What tips do you have for the newbie buying an outdoor backpack and a school/urban backpack?

A bigger bag will encourage you to carry too much stuff.

If you're planning on using the bag to carry something specific on a regular basis (say a laptop, yoga mat, or clarinet) bring that item with you when you go shopping and try fitting it in the bag.

Although it's not always possible, we recommend placing heavier items in the middle of the backpack instead of at the bottom or top.

I am going to use these helpful tips for my backpacks!

Your suggestions are always welcome as I continue on my journey to live life to the fullest. Let's have the very best year ever!

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