How to Pick Out a Hiking Backpack

How to Pick Out a Hiking Backpack

How to Pick Out a Hiking Backpack

5 Must Remember Things When Shopping for Your Next Pack


One of the most essential pieces of gear that you can bring with you on a hike is your backpack. It carries all of your essential gear that is critical for you to have a safe and enjoyable hike. It’s important to bring the right backpack for the trip you’re planning to go on. Bringing the wrong backpack can be a disastrous mistake!

Thankfully, once you know these 5 easy tips on how to pick out the right backpack for your trip, you’ll confidently step onto the trail with all the gear you need for your hike!


1. Purpose

The first thing you need to consider when choosing a backpack is what do you plan on doing with it the most? Is this your pack to go on short day hike or is it to go on extended overnight trips? By identifying your activity before you reach for a backpack, you’re going to begin thinking about what features you will need like size and compartments.


2. Size

After you have identified what you plan on using your backpack for, it’s time to begin thinking about how big you need your backpack to be. Backpack sizes are measured in liters. The smaller the number of liters, the less volume there is inside of it. The larger the number of liters, the more space there is.


In general, most small sized backpacks that are perfect for day hikes range in size from 20-35 liters. If you’re doing a short overnight hike, 40-65 liters will suit you fine. If you’re spending more than 3 or 4 nights on the trail, you’ll more than likely want to bring along a 70-90 liter backpack.


3. Fit


Once you’ve determined how much space you’ll need, it’s time to understand the best fit and measurements that suit your needs. There are a number of different ways to measure your body to assist with getting the correct measurements.  We have detailed ‘How to measure to get the correct backpack’ here.  Each brand makes their backpacks differently, so the way they feel might be differently despite being the same size.


When you find the right pack, it is important to test it before going on a hike.  A pro-tip here is to bring along the general amount of weight you think that you’ll be carrying with you on your hike. That way you can get a real sense of how the back will feel underload. If it’s uncomfortable anywhere, try on a different backpack until you find one that feels just right!


4. Compartments


After you have identified a couple of backpacks that are the right size and fit for you, start to make some assessments into the number of compartments it has inside. Organization is key to having a useful backpack on the trail!


5. Cost


There are so many backpacks on the market at so many different price points that the main key here is to purchase the backpack that is going to fit your needs and your budget. A good rule of thumb here is that the bigger the pack, the more expensive it’s going to be. Additionally, the lighter the materials it’s made out of, the more expensive it will be.


Know that you don’t need to get the best, most expensive backpack you can find right away. Try out a few over time and upgrade as you see fit!


Final Thoughts


Picking out the right backpack for everything you want to do is an important decision to make. Take your time and make it a point to compare multiple backpacks before choosing the right one for you!

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