Are you planning to go outdoors and you don’t know how to choose the right pack? Well, it seems hard to pick one among so many, right? It must fit your back if you want to have a pleasant trip, or else you will be disappointed.
It must be comfortable because you will carry it on your back and durable so you will have it for a long time. No matter if you are a beginner outdoorsman or an avid outdoor enthusiast, I will help you to decide which one is right for you.
Backpack buying factors
Not every pack is good for you. One of the most important factors is its size and length. It can be too small or too big so be careful and opt for the one that will fit your body and be proportional to the spine.
There are also other features that you should consider as side load, frame, pockets, etc. Before you jump and buy the first one that you see, let’s see which factors you should consider if you want to have the right product for the trail.
How to fit a backpack?
One of the most important factors to choose the right hiking backpack is to check if it fits on your back. It shouldn’t be too long because your spine will be overburdened.
It should fit your spine and provide comfort when using it otherwise you could face pain and injuries.
So, what should you focus on? Some rucksacks have adjustable back systems to help you adjust it according to the length of your spine and body structure.
I recommend that you try a full one and walk for a few minutes to see if you are comfortable wearing it. Remember, it must fit on your shoulders, spine, and hips, or else it is not a good fit for you.
What are the different types of backpacks?
You have to know which types of backpacks you have as an option. Consider all to know which type will fit you and your hiking adventure.
What is a daypack used for?
These are the smallest of all and appropriate for a daily hike. If you intend to go on a short hike on the hill or around the woods, this one should fit you fine.
What can you store in it?
They aren’t suitable for storing bigger gear like a tent but you will be able to store your personal items in them.
You won’t have a problem with storing a water bottle, a sandwich, a phone, an additional T-shirt and other smaller things in it. Their capacities vary between 20-35 liters.
It is lightweight, durable, and spacious. This one is meant for hikers who are going on short trekking. You will be able to store your basic camping gear and clothes in it.
Its capacity is around 40 liters and more. This one should have a bottle compartment so you can easily reach the water. It also has functional straps so you can attach a sleeping bag or other equipment to it.
It is for those who will go on an expedition to the mountains, for example. Its material is stronger and more durable than in a trekking one.
They are heavier than trekking ones and have to be more padded due to weight you will be carrying. It will also have extra external pockets, straps, and storage panels.
Backpack size guide & capacity volume
There are sizes and capacities that you should consider. The simplest rule is to bring one that will store crucial things and won’t burden you the more it should.
For example, do you need a large backpack if you are going on a one day trip in the woods? I don’t think so. Why?
Ask yourself what will you need on such a trip. Due to my experience, you won’t need a tent, pillows, and other bulky stuff that come in handy when you backpack for a long time.
So, let’s take a look at which one to choose regarding the type of trip you will go to and the capacity that will fit you.
A weekend trip
If you are going to spend time in nature for a weekend then you need a smaller pack that has 30-50 liters.
It should be lightweight as you don’t need extra strong (heavy) material to withstand the rough terrain. With this lightweight one, you will be able to store hiking essentials.
A few days trip
These ones can carry from 40-70 liters and are popular among hikers, backpackers, skiers, and others who love to explore the wild.
You will be able to store all the essentials in this one since you will have to have food supplies, a sleeping bag, an outdoor tent, and clothes by your hand.
A week trip
If you will be outdoors for more than a few days then you need a big pack. In the case of a long adventure, you will need to change your clothes and have enough food supplies to have a secure and enjoyable trip.
These ones have a capacity of 70 liters + and are big enough to store all your essentials and personal items in them.
Backpack features explained
Ok, and now a few words regarding its features. These are as important as choosing the right size.
If you worry about the precipitation, you can get a rucksack that is made of fabrics that are coated with synthetic layers to protect it from getting wet and all the stuff that you are carrying. A rain cover can solve your problem also.
A compartment for hydration system
It is recommendable that it has a compartment for a hydration system that you can grab whenever you feel thirsty. It should be accessed easily without putting it off your shoulders.
This feature is a must if you don’t want your items to get wet inside and if you don’t want to waste time by opening the rucksack to drink a sip of water.
Air flow channels
When you are on the trails for a long time on a sunny day you will sweat. The air flow channels will help you to ventilate the back. Its ridges will try to balance comfort with air flow.
A backpack with rain fly
We have two types of backpacks regarding the waterproof feature. Some don’t have this feature so they come with a rain fly. If yours don’t have it you can get it separately. This way you will secure it additionally.
They feature 2 types of frames that help you to carry weight. Here are their benefits and differences.
An external frame
You have two options when picking a frame – internal and external frame. An external one helps you carry heavyweight and is usually made of aluminum tubing.
It transfers the load weight to the hips for better balance and stability. This frame’s benefit is also an air pocket that comes between the pack and your back and enables ventilation.
An internal frame
An internal frame comes in many of them that sell today. You can’t see it because it is stitched to its material. These offer a proper weight distribution and more stability. You have aluminum or fiberglass ones.
How much does an average backpack cost?
Average backpacks that are quite sizable and you can store camping gear in them, cost from $40 up. The price depends on the brand, features of the product, and materials that it is made of. You can get a good unit for yet $100.
How do you waterproof it?
There are several ways to do it properly so the moisture won’t get to your pack’s interiors.
Use a pack liner
A heavy-duty plastic bag is a good way to keep your gear dry. Choose a liner that is much bigger than the pack you will carry. This way you will be able to roll it in the top and keep it closed.
This method will protect your gear from getting wet but the pack could leak if it’s not waterproofed with coatings.
Use zipper bags
Zipper bags will protect your equipment and gear from moisture. As they close tightly they will protect it 100%. What is important to store in them? Cotton and wool cloth items and devices need to be dry so store them in these bags.
Wool and cotton get wet soon and dries slowly so use the bags to protect them. Also take care of devices such as batteries, phones, headlamps and other.
Use a backpack rain cover
This is the basic equipment of all-year hikers who walk on trails no matter the weather. A rain cover for backpacks will protect the pack itself and the interior items from getting wet.
Most of them come with it and is usually stored at the bottom of the unit in a small pocket.
Waterproofing a sleeping bag
If you don’t want your sleeping bag to get wet at any chance take my advice and waterproof it. You will need a garbage bag and a normal stuff sack for the sleeping bag.
Insert the garbage bag into a stuff sack and roll up the top of the bag over the sack. Now grab the sleeping bag and put it inside the sack that has a plastic bag in it. While doing it, compress the air out.
Gather up the plastic bag at the top and hold it with your hands while you compress the air out by pushing it down to the ground. When you see that the bag has no air close it tightly and close the storage bag as well.
This way you will waterproof it and also get a nice small storage bag that won’t take too much of the space in the backpack.
The backpack that fits
Consider all these options if you want to have a pleasurable and safe hiking trip without facing the back pain or injuries.
Remember, your back and shoulders must be relaxed when you hike with the backpack. Choose the right rucksack regarding your personal needs and consider my tips.