If you’re reading this It means you’re thinking about upping your hiking game with a new back pack. I’m jealous, new back packs are by far my favorite hiking purchases. I currently have 3 and am actually getting ready to purchase a 4th in the not so distant future. The reason I enjoy backpacks so much is they’re such a personal item. You get to set them up based on your needs for the way you like to hike. In many cases proper preparation can be the difference between an amazing hike or an incredibly unpleasant weekend. So before choosing the backpack for you make sure you have taken your own requirements into consideration first. I have provided a list of 5 basic things to consider before buying a backpack to help get you started.
The first thing I personally consider is always weight. I like to be as light on the trail as the situation calls for. Typically for day hikes I like to have a light pack. You want Something that allows you to comfortably carry water, food and possibly a second layer of clothing depending on the weather and season. You also want room for a few light weight pieces of gear (paracord, a poncho, a knife, etc.) Typically if you stick with hiking companies their backpacks are geared towards similar requirements.
Size is another important factor to consider when choosing the right pack for you. I typically hike with my smaller pack which is right around 40 liters. This is the perfect size for a day hike or even a light summer overnight hike if I’m planning on sleeping in the hammock. Depending on what I need for the hike I also like my 55 liter pack on occasions. It’s a little more weight to carry but your really able to pack a lot of gear for extended day hikes. If your going larger than 40 liters id recommend something that straps across the chest as well for a little added support. That little feature really does a lot to help prevent back pain.
Don’t be a hero. An uncomfortable Backpack means nothing but trouble. This thing is going to be on your back for hours at a time. You will be walking up and down rugged terrain and your body will be stressed enough without the added pain of an uncomfortable bag. Your mental endurance is going to be a key factor to your successful hike, this is why comfort is one of the most important things to take into consideration. To get this right I really focus on the customer reviews. I personally use Amazon but whichever site or store you choose for your purchase just make sure to focus on the customer reviews. Don’t only focus on how many stars it got in the rating but see what people are saying about it. See what people like about it and see what the complaints are. I typically stick to items that have a high amount of reviews because its easy to get good information on them.
Check out the amount of storage the bag has. Look into how many pockets there are, how many compartments, etc. I always stick with a backpack that is specifically for hiking because they are designed to store hiking gear. In my younger days I used to use my school backpack on the trail and that worked alright but there was a noticeable difference when I switched to a bag specifically designed for hiking. If your having trouble getting started I’ve included links below to bags that I personally like a lot in this article.
Make sure to choose a backpack made from high quality material. This is a must. Poor quality bags were not meant for the trail and will quickly rip if you plan to do any sort of serious hiking with them. I always recommend something that is water resistant and has a thick lining on it. If you’re nervous about this when choosing your bag brands like North face or Osprey come standard with high quality material. Just do a quick google search of the brand and bag that you like and make sure the reviews confirm that the material is fit for hiking.
To summarize this article in a nutshell, you want to go with a good quality backpack overall. This certainly doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money but you do want something that that’s going to rip after 4 hikes either. The material should have a little thickness to it and ideally something that’s at least water resistant. Pay attention to the little details as well. The zipper should be a decent quality and you want to make sure the thing functions well for hiking. At the end of the day a great backpack can really help enhance the hiking experience. Don’t let the quality of your hikes be brought down by not having the proper gear for the situation.