With millions of us choosing to explore the world on foot and under canvas every single year, backpacks are a necessity—ever tried to drag a suitcase through the mud, or up a hill? But you don’t need to spend a fortune to get some seriously clever bits of kit. Below, some affordable and well-made packs for a variety of hauls.

Multiple Color Choices

Great value pack with external mesh pocket for water bottle and internal zipped storage too. Amazon

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Let’s be honest, in this country, you’ve always got to be prepared for rain, so one of the key features you should be looking for in a backpack is some form of waterproofing. In some cases that may be an additional cover that you can put over the top of your pack. Rain protection may also simply be that the entire thing is made from waterproof material. At the lower end of the budget, you’ll find packs—like this one—that have a waterproof section so when packing think about the stuff that can’t easily be dealt with if it gets wet—your passport for example—and assign space to the various pockets accordingly.

Thoughtful Storage

Cleverly thought out all-rounder with height adjustable chest strap and grab handle. Amazon

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Obviously it makes sense to think about where you’ll be taking your pack. If you’re only going to be hiking a few times a year, consider looking at a backpack, such as this one, that will do double duty and can be used as your commuting bag or gym bag. While clearly designed with the outdoors in mind—there are attachment points for storing walking poles, and it’s hydration system compatible—there’s also a laptop friendly internal sleeve and key clip, making it a well thought out accomplice, even if you’re just exploring the urban jungle.

Most Versatile Pick

Comprehensive features make this a useful option for everyone from hikers to cyclists. Amazon

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If you can afford to stretch your budget a little, your pack can offer a lot more features. With bigger packs, you want to look for a waist strap as well as a chest strap as this will help your pack sit more comfortably. More money also tends to buy you more pockets and smarter storage—little details like a helmet net cover for cyclists and rock climbers, a detachable mobile phone pocket, and a high-visibility rain cover.