How to Buy a Hiking Backpack

Being lifelong vacationers, we all love our lightweight, multipurpose gear which could withstand the trials of the street. Gear ought to be reliable, multifunctional, long lasting and perform past expectancies. Nothing might be truer whilst it comes to shopping for an awesome trekking backpack, in particular thinking about it’ll be your property far from home. Traveling, specifically lengthy-time period, will literally check the limits of your bag and your frame, and as such this selection must by no means be made abruptly. Buying your backpack must now not be a rushed selection and elements like journey period, capacity, material, functionally and luxury should always be considered. When I first were given serious about investing in a great percent, I was at REI for a great three hours -I assume they commenced to suspect I turned into making use of for a process.

If my 3 hours changed into any indication, buying a good backpack is not an smooth undertaking. With loads of backpack manufacturers and patterns, it can understandably be overwhelming. Whatever you do, do not move reasonably-priced. You’ll be doing your self a disservice and grow to be shopping for a brand new one anyhow. A true backpack is an investment. You needn’t spend $500 on a backpack, however be wary of cheap, no-frills, run of the mill $70 manufacturers, as you may remorse the layout flaws and lack of extras. Spend a bit greater for a terrific backpack from a trusted logo, and it’ll be your companion for plenty journeys to come. The Osprey % I finally settled on has traveled with me from the united statesto the Middle East for 10 amazing years and I realize it has another properly 10 years to move.

Travel Backpack or Hiking Backpack

Before you begin looking for the right %, it’s vital to realize the distinction among tour backpacks and hiking backpacks. A tour backpack is a backpack-suitcase hybrid with a zippered side panel just like a suitcase. Hiking backpacks are the greater typically visible cylindrical pinnacle loading packs with straps, clips and a pinnacle lid. Some people have an opinion that trekking backpacks are simplest desirable for the backcountry and has no vicinity for the backpacker, I disagree. What works for you in the end comes down to personal preference and fashion of journey. Travel backpacks are extraordinary for smooth, organized get admission to to equipment and transporting from hostel to hostel. They additionally feature properly for short walks or even as a daypack.

On the other hand, if you in all likelihood have camping or long treks to your journey plans, you could need to bear in mind a trekking backpack. Hiking backpacks are designed for consolation, right weight distribution, and sturdiness. Unlike a journey backpack, hiking backpacks could have improvements like full-sized hip belts, shoulder and returned suspension systems along with lots of load bearing straps to mitigate pain. Granted the pinnacle down packing is not as handy to get admission to your gear, however it truly is component in parcel to right weight distribution. A desirable compromise might be to get a trekking backpack with facet load get entry to.

I am generalizing a chunk as they do have journey backpacks that are inside the top capacity range with greater superior suspension structures, however in case you’re going to get a 70L travel backpack, you could as well go with a hiking backpack. Trust me, you may be satisfied you did for that surprising 20 mile trek to the following city.

Personal Backpacking Style

Next, decide the fashion of travel you typically like to do. Unless you’re inclined to buy a extraordinary backpack for every journey, identifying your journey style will save you a lot of cash ultimately and provide you with a bit of basis tools that’s geared up for any trip. For example, in case you usually move on week lengthy trips you need not get a high ability bag and will likely escape with a 35 liter to 50 liter (L) percent, while dwelling long-term on the road may also require 65L or greater.

Size is pretty subjective although and should not be the most effective figuring out element. Some humans are capable of percent very bare bones, wherein others require a bit extra. Consider those factors:

How long is your journey:

Depending on the duration of your experience the capacity and typical weight of your % will vary. Short journeys require less capability, and lengthy trips usually require more. But be aware that the larger the p.C. The heavier it becomes. 50lbs may not seem a lot before everything, but 2 months in and it will feel like a ton of bricks.

What Type of Activities will you do:

I in my view feel that one bag can rule all of them considering that I usually use my p.C. For the whole thing. However, this will no longer be the case for anyone. Knowing what form of activity you will be doing will assist you 0 in on that perfect backpack. If you are not making plans on sporting it around a lot, take into account a journey backpack or maybe a wheeled backpack, whereas if you foresee yourself doing long treks then a hiking backpack may be greater suitable. I like to be prepared for any type of spontaneous hobby, so I lean greater towards hiking backpacks. Also, trekking backpacks are usually made a piece harder, so maintain in thoughts that the more challenging the pastime, the more the pressure on the bag.

Lightweight or the kitchen sink:

Although I noted earlier that length isn’t the main figuring out component, it is still vital to don’t forget potential based totally on what you plan to convey. If ultra light is your aim, keep away from high potential backpacks as you may continually bring too much or in case you do manipulate to % light your backpack might not distribute the weight properly. Conversely, in case your backpack is just too small, you won’t be capable of fit the whole thing in. Have an idea of the equipment you’re bringing and pick the ability of your bag for that reason. Don’t hesitate to deliver your items to the store to peer how it suits in the packs. A authentic retailer, like REI, might not have a hassle with this.

What To Look For In A Hiking Backpack

Backpacks vary in capability as plenty as they do in look, with the greater high priced models having the maximum bells and whistles. As with everything, your decision here is carefully related to what sort of visiting you like to do.

Water Resistant

Your % is probably no longer going to be absolutely water-resistant. Meaning, if submerged, or in a torrential downpour your garb and equipment will still get wet. Although most backpacks now include a rain cover, you still want it to be made from a tough, rip evidence, and lightweight silicone covered nylon or Cordura type material that permits rain or water to bead off and not soak via.

Detachable Daypack

this feature is genuinely a personal choice, and no longer absolutely a deal breaker, as many travelers convey a further % for day trips. But for the ones targeted on travelling light, carrying baggage may be cumbersome. I for my part like the option of a detachable daypack as I actually have it handiest when I need it. On my Osprey, the top lid doubles as a daypack. Not as snug as a committed daypack, but it serves its purpose.

Heavy-obligation Lockable Zippers

A chain is handiest as robust as its weakest link. No matter how precise the material of the backpack, if the attachment factors, like zippers, are vulnerable the whole bag is worthless. Make certain the zippers are tough and lockable where relevant.

Pockets and Compartments

The extra cubicles the better. Good backpacks normally have some of cubicles to help save and separate your tools so you may not must sift thru layers of clothes just to discover your chapstick. For instance, maps can go inside the top flap, while your flip-flops are saved comfortably in the side pocket. However you decide to percent, separate pockets permit smooth and brief get right of entry to on your gear. Most backpacks may also have strategically placed pockets, like at the hipbelt, so that you can get to your tools without having to drop your %.

Lightweight Internal Frame

Backpacks normally include an internal frame, external frame, or no frame at all. I strongly advise a light-weight inner frame made from sturdy carbon fiber rods. This presents more load guide and just looks higher. External frames are cumbersome, conspicuous, and use dated technology and frameless backpacks have awful load guide at better weights. Trust me, with out right weight distribution, you are shoulders are going to experience each unmarried one of those kilos.

Side Load Access

I’m seeing less and much less of this function at the newer backpacks, however in case you do take place to locate one with side get right of entry to you’re golden. You’ll be able to access gadgets from the main compartment of the bag with out digging in from the pinnacle. You’re life will just be that a whole lot less difficult.

Suspension System with Padded Shoulders and Load Bearing Straps

Don’t even take into account shopping for a backpack until it has either an adjustable or constant suspension machine, at the side of a gaggle of load bearing straps. The suspension machine is the element that generally rests towards your returned and in which the padded shoulders connect. Fixed gadget approach that it fits to at least one torso length, whereas the adjustable gadget may be calibrated. The whole device is meant to help stabilize load and transfer weight on your hips. The load bearing straps, like the sternum strap, will also help flow the burden around minimizing pain and soreness.


To limit the pain from an traumatic sweaty again, get a backpack with air flow. Most inner-body packs could have some sort of ventilation device or design characteristic that promotes airflow, developing a everlasting breathable layer among your self and the backpack. Although no longer crucial for load help, it simply increases your consolation stage.

Padded Full-length Hip belt

This might be the maximum critical characteristic of any backpack due to the fact your hips could be wearing eighty% of your backpacks weight. The padding in the belt will help you keep away from fatigue, soreness, and of route load distribution. Make sure you get one that’s widespread, wherein the padding comes around your hip bone to the front, and isn’t always simply a thin strap with a clip.

Multiple Straps and Tool Attachment Points

This function is a personal preference and would not actually effect comfort and cargo distribution but I do feel it’s just as crucial. I just like the idea of getting extra straps, clips and device attachment factors. You’re capable of perform on-the-fly spot fixes for a whole lot of surprising occasions, making your backpack function greater than just as a bag. You’re able to tie, hook, and rig an entire mess of things even as on the road while not having to hold extra equipment. Some backpacks have started to encompass “daisy chains” (usually located on mountaineering packs) that’s a chain of device attachment loops.

Internal Hydration Reservoir

An inner compartment that holds your preferred hydration bladder (i.E. Camelpak, Platypus) so you have arms loose get entry to to H2O. Openings on the backpack will allow you get entry to to the sip tube making it a completely sensible function during your lengthy treks. You may not must dig into your % or stop your momentum seeking out your water bottle.

What size backpack do I need

There’s no definitive rule for this query, because it absolutely depends in your personal tour fashion, experience length and climate. Generally, the less warm the climate the greater the ability needed; the greater the capacity the extra the overall weight. I try and p.C. Mild and convey handiest what suits within the backpack. So the excellent advice is to discover a bag potential you’re cushty with, and % in only what you certainly want and what suits. I’ve provided a very extensive guiding principle beneath:

Trip Length /Capacity in Liters (L)

Day Hikes 25-35L

1-3 Nights 35-50L

three-five nights 50 to 75L

five nights 65 L

How to find the proper match

For the first-class consolation and proper load distribution you want to ensure your backpack fits successfully. Ideally, you ought to try it earlier than you purchase it, but it’s not usually an choice. To find the suitable fit your needs’ll need to locate your torso duration, now not your top, that is the space, in inches, among your seventh cervical vertebra, and your iliac crest. In different words, from the bottom of the neck to the pinnacle of your hip bones. Once you’ve got this measurement, use this guide:

Backpack Size /Torso Size in Inches

Extra small 15 ½

Small 16 to 17 ½

Medium/Regular 18 to 19 ½”

Large/Tall 20

As on your waist size, most backpacks have adjustable hip belts so finding your unique hip length isn’t always as vital as determining your torso length. Just make sure the belt sits on top of your hips, with about an inch above and below the belly button.

How an awful lot have to I spend on a Hiking backpack

You’ll discover backpacks ranging from under $one hundred to as excessive as $six hundred. Unless you have got a limiteless finances and want the modern-day version just due to the fact, it isn’t always important to spend more than $300. With that being stated, I could additionally stay faraway from whatever under $one hundred fifty as they may be missing on essential functions like a suspension device or a padded hip belt. Buying a backpack is an investment, and the ultimate issue you want is for the seams to rip or a shoulder strap to tear off when you need it maximum. Just ensure your backpack has, at a minimal, the above features and suits with no trouble.

The Best Backpack Brands

There are masses of remarkable brands out there with an similarly daunting number of patterns and models. I’m not surely the authority on which emblem is higher than the subsequent. I can most effective inform you the manufacturers I choose and those whose pleasant I trust in. I’ve been the use of the identical Osprey backpack given that 2004, and my spouse has been the use of a Gregory for almost as lengthy. I can definitely say, that after relentless airline abuse, backcountry journeys, and remote places adventures, not a unmarried strap, zipper or clip has ever wanted alternative. Worth bringing up as well, Osprey and Gregory offer lifetime warranties on all their luggage. You’ll possibly never need it, however it’s wonderful to understand that the business enterprise stands at the back of their products.


With forty years revel in production backpacks, and an entire life guarantee, Osprey exudes quality. They have one in every of the biggest selections of patterns and sizes for all types of adventuring, and their packs game the contemporary backpacking generation. Osprey is my non-public preferred and visit brand of choice; you simply can’t move incorrect with those guys.


Like Osprey, those men specialise in backpacks. My spouse will attest to their first-class and luxury. She has used her backpack for near 10 years without a want to ever restore or update. Gregory also stands behind their products with a lifetime warranty.

The North Face

Originating in San Francisco, The North Face has been growing journey equipment for over forty years. I’ve by no means had the pride of the use of their backpacks, but with their pedigree and lifelong warranty, I would experience confidant carrying their packs any day of the week.


Along with having a genuinely cool name, Arc’teryx pumps out a few quite notable products. They are one of the greater highly-priced manufacturers out there, but if you’re willing to pay the fee, you’ll most in reality get the excellent


A low to mid variety emblem, Deuter is a stable choice if you want feature for an inexpensive rate. They’ve been within the backpacking game since 1968 and are very famous among Europeans.

Backpack Accessories

Rain Cover (separate or constructed in)

Most backpacks are waterproof however now not water resistant, making them liable to continual rain exposure. It’s a worthwhile addition in case your backpack does not already include a constructed in rain cover. You needn’t get a elaborate one or spend a variety of cash, just make certain it suits your p.C. Length. I use REI’s Ducks Back Rain Cover, and it works perfectly best.

Airporter Bag

The final element you need is to have your backpack damaged before you even begin your experience. With all the straps, exposed shoulder, and hipbelt, it is smooth for some thing to get caught and tear proper off. An Airporter bag will cowl your complete backpack (suppose bag within a bag) and protect it for the duration of shipping. As well, you could put a lock on the lockable zippers as an extra layer of theft deterrence. I actually have the Osprey Airporter LZ. I wish it changed into lighter (weighs about 1lb) however I assume it is well worth it for the more peace of mind.

Well, there you’ve got it, my “how to buy an extraordinary hiking backpack” guide.