Your physical carrying needs and requirements will be as varied as the number of reasons people take up the exciting activity of urban exploration. While some explorers prefer to travel light and are going to carry next to nothing with them, some other explorers will pack every piece of gear they may conceivably need for any possibility. Which raises the question: do you need an urbex backpack?
Neither approach to packing for urban exploration is wrong. In fact, you may find yourself fluctuating back and forth between carrying nothing to carrying everything depending on the situation. If it’s a local site you’ve been to before you may choose to carry the minimal gear.
However, if you have traveled to check out an exotic, special once in a lifetime location, you may pack choose to over pack, willing to carry the heavy load in order to make sure you don’t miss any opportunities.
The Importance of Urban Exploring Hands-Free
Bounding about while remaining hands-free is important. Not only for reasons of safety and security, but also for balance and composure. Bulky pockets can only carry so much and become uncomfortable quickly. Not to mention the very real possibility that if you insist on carrying a piece of gear in your hands, the likelihood of you setting it down and forgetting to pick it back up goes way up.
You will most likely want an urbex backpack of some kind and they make them in all kinds of styles and sizes. Any responsible urban explorer should always carry some gear with them and count these items as their “essentials”. If these essentials don’t fit nicely in your pockets or hang from your belt, the pack will become your mobile base camp.
Not only is it your lifeline for essentials, but also your supply line for those crucial extras you brought along to make urban exploring more rewarding. Heck, how else are you going to drag around a respirator or first aid kit if you don’t have a backpack?
How To Choose The Right Urbex Backpack
Once you answer the question of “do you need a pack?” you are faced with another question right away, “What kind of pack do I need?” That’s a simple matter of narrowing down a few variables and deciding what you specific needs you are looking for in a pack.
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Price is always important. Let’s face it, if price were no object, you’d get the best pack on the market every time. But the reality is that you have to determine what kind of budget you’re working with and what’s available. If you decide that you need a more expensive backpack model than you can currently afford, it may be worth waiting the extra time to purchase until you can afford it. Cheaper products are often inferior products and the world of urbex can be rough on the equipment.
Factoring Fit and Comfort
Comfort and fit is critical. You’re going to be carrying this thing with you everywhere you go and it’s going to become a part of you. If it’s not a comfortable fit, not only will you resent it, but you’re more likely to leave it behind and decide you can live without it on those day where it just “feels” so wrong.
Your backpack is carrying your gear so without the pack, you won’t have the gear. Making sure the backpack fits you is every bit as important as making sure you gear fits in the pack.
Factoring Style of an Urbex Backpack
Style may be something lower on the list of important factors but it is an important thing to consider. If you are going to shell out a bit of cash for an essential piece of equipment that you will have with you on each and every new adventure you undertake, the purchase should make you happy.
There are enough choices on the market that you don’t have to compromise and take a backpack that makes you unhappy. Your pack says a lot about you and it should reflect your enthusiasm for the activity. Some want understated muted colors, others want a flashy flamboyant backpack. There are options for everyone.
Factoring Overall Durability
Durability is everything. Above all the other backpack considerations, you absolutely need to make sure your new backpack purchase is rugged and durable, capable of withstanding the pounding, scraping, sliding and just plain wear and tear you are going to inflict upon it with your urban explorations.
If you’re a casual explorer that tends to stand off a ways and keep your hands clean then a light pack may be just what you need. But if you are the crawl into holes, scale the wall type, you are going to need a heavy duty backpack that can keep up with you. If your backpack fails, it means the exploration is over, so make sure you aren’t going home early.
Factoring Carrying Capacity
Carrying capacity is an obvious concern when looking for the best urban exploration backpack. What are you going to bring with you? What is your essential gear? What gear do you consider optional but occasional carry? Make sure your new backpack has room for the gear you always carry with you as well as some room for some expansion depending on where you’ll be exploring next.
For the every day site, maybe the smaller backpack fits your essentials just fine, but when you venture out to the unusual sites that may carry a few additional surprises, it pays to gave a backpack that fits some additional gear so you can remain prepared for unusual situations.
Factoring Pack Weight
Weight is a concern, but not one of the critical deal-killers. You do want the lightest weighing pack as you can get, but it’s your gear that is going to weigh you down throughout the day. The difference of a pound or two in a backpack is inconsequential when you stop to remember that it’s carrying all that additional gear you wanted to bring with you, and that’s where the weight is.
Don’t blame the pack for carrying those other critical pieces of equipment. That said, with durability, comfort, space, and price being equal, go with the lighter pack.
Factoring The Elements in your Urbex Backpack
Another consideration that is a nice luxury if you can get it is weather and waterproof compartments. Some of the spaces you’ll be exploring may be out and away from civilization and you could find yourself hostage to the weather in your trek to the exploration site, or crossing streams and rivers to get there.
Having a water tight backpack or at least a compartment is a nice commodity, but isn’t going to be a priority as there are other ways to keep critical gear dry.
The Best Urbex Backpack Options For 2020
Once you go through the possibilities of what you need and what is out there, it’s a matter of picking the right backpack and getting out there to begin hitting the next awesome urbex site. Here is a list of ten various urban exploration packs to help you get started.
Osprey Packs Daylite Shoulder Sling
Here we have the urbex minimalist pack. This sling style pack is designed for those that carry only what they need and don’t want to weigh themselves down with an oversized pack or too much gear.
A single large opening makes it easy to gain access to your equipment. An internal mesh pocket will allow you to keep some items segregated from jumbling around with the rest of the gear. Additionally, and a key clip will make sure you don’t misplace your car keys while bounding about. This bag may be small but it is perfect for that quick urbex site that doesn’t require tons of gear.
PacSafe Camsafe X9 Anti-Theft Camera Sling Pack
For those looking for a more substantial and rugged sling style backpack, the PacSafe X9 is an excellent choice. Touted as a high security backpack, the material is specially designed to be “slash-proof” and the zippers are locking style in order to deter those hit-and-run pickpockets.
The multiple compartments and padded movable interior sections make this a great urbex pack when you’re carrying a camera or other sensitive gear that requires a bit more protection. While this sling pack is on the expensive side, its minimal size and versatile capacity make it worth the cost.
Mardingtop Tactical Backpack
Good quality, widely diverse colors and sizes, available at a budget price. The Mardingtop Tactical Backpack is perfect for the urbex novice who may be getting into the activity and isn’t quite sure what gear to pack and what to leave behind. You won’t have to spend a lot of money to pick up this gem of a backpack.
The multiple straps and buckles will allow you to customize the fit for long treks and short hauls. The backpack is outfitted to accept a hydration bladder, this pack is perfect for the urbex sites that may be a hike to get to.
Burton Annex Backpack
The Burton Annex Pack is a simple and perfect urbex backpack when you have gear to carry and places to go. The large interior is roomy enough to carry more than enough of your equipment and has a separate sleeve to hold your laptop computer or tablet from clanging around with the rest of the gear.
External pockets will give you quick access to those pieces you need more often without having to rummage around the roomy interior to find them. Available in a variety of color schemes, this backpack is simply a beautiful piece of gear that will make a statement.
The North Face Borealis Backpack
The North Face is a well known brand for the outdoors sports enthusiast and the urbex community is familiar with their quality. You’ll see plenty of North face Borealis backpacks while out exploring the latest discoveries. With the famous brand name you also get a highly varied choice in color schemes. It’s an ideal brand for urbex backpack needs.
The popularity of this pack comes from its roomy size and rugged wear and tear. The heavy duty weight of the pack means those little snags and tumbles while exploring won’t tear the bag open leaving you scrambling to pick up your gear. North Face’s reputation is well deserved.
Zecti Waterproof Canvas Backpack
Promoted as the ultimate camera bag, the Zecti waterproof backpack is perfectly designed for the urbex backpack as well. Available in two variations with or without the lower interior facing compartment for camera lenses, the easily changed interior divisions make this the perfect backpack to keep your gear organized and easily accessed without mingling it all together.
This will keep down the noise in addition to minimizing wear and tear of your equipment. Stylish looking and waterproof, this simple looking backpack packs quite a punch for its size and price making this an excellent choice for the urbex community.
Lowepro Urbex BP 28L Plus Laptop Backpack
How can we look over urbex backpack options without taking a loot at one that actually has “urbex” in the name? Designed with rugged travel and exploration in mind, the Lowepro Urbex Plus is a quality made product that rides high on the back with space below for plenty of gear and equipment.
The strap has a compartment to keep your phone right at your fingertips but out of your hands allowing you to walk about hands free 100% of the time. The internal separation is removable for when you need to carry larger pieces of gear with you.
Osprey Talon 22 Hiking Backpack
Sleek design and compact size makes the Osprey Talon a great urbex backpack when you’re staying inconspicuous but mobile. The tight design doesn’t mean you’ll lose out on space, there is plenty of room for your gear and if you end up packing heavy or have a long haul to walk, the belt and chest straps will keep this pack tight to your body and keep you from worrying about your accessories.
This pack accommodates a 3L hydration reservoir which makes this an excellent day pack for the urban explorer on the go or just walking about town looking for the next urbex discovery.
Lowepro Fastpack BP250 AW II Backpack
Large enough to accommodate a 15” laptop, the Lowepro Fastpack 250 is designed and crafted for the heavy traveler and ready to take any abuse you can throw at it while protecting your gear. If you are hiking or traveling, the waist belt can hold the backpack to your form keeping it secure, or if you’re taking it on and off the belt is removable.
Zippered side pockets make this an excellent choice for urbex gear that needs to be secured away but retrieved more often than the rest of the gear. Available with a weatherproof cover, this backpack is a great traveling companion.
Evecase Professional Gadget Bag Backpack
Another professional level camera carry bag, this style of backpack is proving to be the best urbex backpack of choice. Padded interior compartments, customizable shaping and sizing of dividers, and an overall carry capacity that makes for a well organized traveler, the Evecase Gadget Bag is great for the urban explorer that has everything in its place and a place for every thing.
Depending on your travel style, one large compartment may be enough for you but this backpack offers you dozens of “spaces” for your gear to be just where you expect it to be, every time you look for it.