Hiking backpacks

Hiking backpack

Before buying a backpack it is useful to evaluate the options of which fits best to your style of hiking. For example there is a huge difference between travel backpacks, day backpacks and hiking backpacks. Choosing the right backpack is vital for your endurance during a hike or daytrip. We are going to help you in choosing the right size and format of the backpack for your travel.

What kind of hiking are you doing?

This is probably the most important question to ask you before buying a backpack. If you are going on a daytrip it is possible to buy a simple backpack with some place to store some valuable items behind a zipper. But if you are travelling or making hiking trips between locations it is important to fit the backpack exactly to your needs.

Choosing a hiking pack

Choosing a hiking pack is even more complicated as this kind of backpack is often supported with aluminium to divide the weight on your hips and shoulders, the perfect fit is vital for endurance. Keep in mind that your clothes are heavier in winter and fall, so we recommend a bigger pack for these seasons. In wet areas it is vital to have a waterproof backpack or some kind of rain protection, because wet supplies are way heavier and nobody likes a wet pair of underwear.

Indication of your backpack size

Underneath you fill find a simple scheme that gives an indication based on clothes and supplies for a pack size.

Type of travel Pack volume (liters)
 Daytrip 5-20
Overnight trip 20-40
Weekend hike 20-40
Midweek hike 50-60
Extended hiking 80+

 

Size and fit of the Backpack

Since it is up to you to decide what size of backpack you need we can only give you recommendations about the right fit of the backpack. One point of advice is; try to buy a backpack that has enough space in the big compartment and not in the additional compartments often mentioned next to the volume. For example, you are buying a backpack that has a capacity size of 60 liters + 15 liters. And you are pretty sure the 15 liters extra will be used to store supplies and items then buy a bigger backpack with at least 70-80 liters capacity. This will definitely benefit the carrying weight as the weight is better distributed around your waist and back.

Fitting the backpack

Before buying a new pack look at the customizations that the backpack offers. For example is it possible to adjust the suspensions like the harness, front stabilizer straps and shoulder straps. The main difference between a hiking backpack and a daytrip pack is that the weight should rest on your hips. Definitely not on your shoulders as this will exhaust you when tracking longer distances. The legs support the hips and as you probably know the legs are the strongest muscles in the human body, so they can handle the extra weight. Distribute the weight in this order; hips and waist, shoulders and upper back. This weight distribution helps you to stabilize the backpack on your back, which improves movement and agility. Consider a backpack with a aluminium frame when you are hiking long distances as this helps carrying the weight and stabilize it.

How to distribute the weight in your backpack

All the backpacks offer different compartments in every possible way so it is important to know how to pack your backpack. One easy way to remember how to pack your backpack is by using a top down approach, lightweight items on top and heavy weight items on the bottom. The lower your gravity point is the easier it is to keep balance. We suggest a couple of ways to pack your backpack in the following scheme.

Hiking backpack weight distribution
Hiking backpack weight distribution

 

Compartment Weight of the supplies
Main compartment All the heavy stuff on the bottom close to your back. You can put some lighter items in front of the heavier stuff on bottom of your backpack.
Top main compartment Light stuff only
Top lid compartment Only small lightweight items, try to avoid filling it up buy buying a bigger backpack.
Front strap pockets Small items, can be heavy
Shoulder strap pockets Small lightweight items
Small back pockets Lightweight supplies.
Sleeping bag Strap the sleeping bag underneath your backpack or on the bottom of the main compartment as this lowers your gravity point.

 

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