Any old backpack you have laying about the house or can nab at the local retail store is not, unfortunately, going to be the best fit or even the right solution to carrying what you need. Regardless of if you're about to go hiking, camping, hunting or in training, you need a backpack that can survive everything you're going to encounter wherever you are taking it. You'll need one that will last, so you know you aren't wasting your money, and you need one that will do its job without making yours more difficult.
If you're in the market for a new backpack, our backpacking guide will help you pick the perfect one.
Things you need to know before purchasing:
- How long will you need it? 1-3 nights? 3-5 nights? Or will you need a backpack for 5 days or more? The more nights you'll be using the backpack, the larger it will need to be to accommodate everything you need.
• Weight: along with how long you'll be using the backpack, you need to think about how much weight you can carry and how much weight the backpack will add to it. Shelter, sleeping bag, blankets and/or a sleeping pad will add the most weight to your backpack, and everything thing else added to it. This is why lightweight backpacks are important.
- Ventilation. Does the backpack have any to combat a sweaty back?
- Pack access. How do you need to access your pack and items within? Top loading is standard, and that means items that aren't needed should always be deep to the bottom. Panel access backpacks let you have access to your entire pack once opened.
• Do you travel with an ice axe or trekking poles? You'll probably want a backpack with attachment points for your tools. You'll need to look for: a daisy chain, a reinforced crampon pouch or gear loops on the hip belt or low on the backpack's body.
• Rain cover and waterproofing: If you expect rain, will be trekking across rivers, waterfalls, or extremely moisture riddled conditions, you'll want a waterproof backpack with room for a rain cover.
Once you've taken stock of everything you will need or want out of your backpack, the last crucial step is to find one that expertly fits your back. Beginner mountaineers or hikers may not realize that backpacks should be fitted just like clothing.
- Find your torso length and waist size.
- Check backpack specs information for size details of the specific pack you are interested in purchasing.
- Check if the pack has adjustable suspension, which can be modified to fit your torso, especially for in-between sizes.
Being comfortable with your backpack is not the only major reason why you should consider what you need from it before buying. Safety is also a huge concern especially when tackling uneven terrain with extra weight that may shift around on your back at any given moment. Picking out the right backpack for your needs, gear, and size can ensure a fun trip and a safer return.