A well-designed clean rucksack is necessary for all trekkers to keep hands free for unexpected things that they may have to do in wilderness. However, I tried different types of locally made, unbranded rucksacks before buying a Karrimor, a well-known brand based in the U.K. and an Avi, an affordable professionally designed rucksack brand from India. Even I stitched a rucksack with old thick white cloth and lined it with nicely cleaned plastic bags used for packing milk to make it waterproof. It was heavy but quite functional.
Nowadays a number of companies manufacture high-quality rucksacks, but roughing it in wilderness may reduce life of the rucksack if not maintained properly. Professionally designed rucksacks are made from tough fabrics with PU coatings to make them water resistant. If washed frequently, the coating will erode fast. However, cleaning is important. Some of dos and don’ts to clean and store a rucksack follow:
• Do read product care label before cleaning it.
• Use soapy water and brush it.
• Do not put a rucksack in a dryer or washing machine, as it will damage the coating.
• Do not iron a rucksack.
• Store it in well-aired and dry place and away from direct sunlight.
• Never store a damp rucksack.
• Never store it in a damp place. Dampness will cause mildew that weakens fabric threads and coatings.