This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com and other Amazon websites.
If you love backpacking, you know that one of the most important pieces of gear to bring on a backpacking trip is, of course, your backpack. A good backpack can make the difference between an enjoyable hiking trip and one that seems excruciatingly long and hard. Choose the best option for your adventure with these tips for choosing the right backpacking pack.
Determine Your Pack’s Use
Before you take off on your hiking trip, determine the intended use of your backpack. Are you taking a day trip on the trails and just need a portable bag to hold your snacks, water, and emergency rain jacket? Then a compact daypack could be right for you. Going on a longer trip that will require you to pack some extra clothes and camping gear? You’ll likely need a larger size to accommodate the extra gear. Additionally, you’ll want to consider what features you need in your backpack and how weatherproof it needs to be depending on your location.
Fit Your Pack Correctly
The size of your backpack isn’t just about how much you can fit inside of it, but it’s also about how well the pack fits on your back. Once you decide what kind of backpack you need for your trip, visit a local outdoor sports store and ask to be measured for your pack. Because of the way a backpacking backpack is designed, you’ll need to consider the length of your torso, your hip and waist size, and shoulder measurements. Most backpacks are adjustable in these areas, but you’ll want to make sure the pack fits you decently without adjustment so that you can get the perfect fit once it is adjusted.
Try It Out
One final tip for choosing the right backpacking pack is to try it out and take it for a test run before you purchase it—if possible. Trying out a backpack will give you a good idea of whether it is comfortable on a long trip filled with gear. Before you purchase a pack, ask if you can put some weight in it, then adjust the straps appropriately and try it out around the store. Notice how the weight is distributed across your torso, shoulders, and hips, and evaluate whether it seems well-balanced. If it feels good on your test run, it will likely be comfortable on long backpacking trips as well.