Our Pick For February
- AirSpeed ventilated trampoline suspended mesh backpanel
- ExoForm mesh hipbelt and harness
- FlapJacket top cover for use without lid
- 7mm side compression straps
Table of Contents
- The Best Choice – Osprey Men’s Exos 48 Lightweight Hiking
- Value For Money – Mountaintop 40 Liter Hiking Backpack
- The Cheap Choice – NEEKFOX Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack
- Highlander 45L Discovery Rucksack Lightweight Hiking Backpack
- Trespass Albus 30L Rucksack
- 65 Discovery Rucksack by Highlander
- TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack
- Hiking Backpack Guide
Top 3 Hiking Backpacks Right Now
- 30 Litres volume capacity
- Multifunctional - ideal for Uni, school, hiking or everyday activities
- 3 Zip compartments
- Internal Pockets
- Hardwearing 600D polyester fabric
- Air mesh back construction to allow ventilated airflow
- Adjustable sliding chest harness
- Front bungee storage system
- LARGE CAPACITY – The 120 litre capacity will ensure that you are able to fit all of your equipment...
- LIGHTWEIGHT – A lightweight backpack designed for the rigours of the outdoors, it weighs only...
- WATER/WEATHER RESISTANT – Made from high quality water resistant polyester with interior plastic...
- COMFORT – The ergonomic design makes it suitable for all shapes and sizes, with fully adjustable...
Everyone raves about hiking, and rightly so. Europe is well-known for its spectacular natural beauty, diverse landscapes and innumerable trails for hikers of all ages, stamina and experience. Indeed, hiking has become an appealing and popular sport, for its nothing less than a treasure hunt for nature’s hidden gems.
Yet, whether you long for a single-day walk or a once-in-a-lifetime hiking journey experience, the key to ultimately having a good time (and not the other way around) is to be properly prepared. In a hiker’s world, preparation equals mainly to a nice pair of sturdy shoes and the right backpack.
In this 7-best article, we will talk about the latter. We present to you the seven best hiking backpacks, along with some buying tips that will help you choose the perfect fit for your needs.
Without further ado, here is our seven best list.
1. Osprey Men’s Exos 48 Lightweight Hiking – The Best Hiking Backpack
Designed, as claimed by the manufacturer, “to split the difference between the 58’s thru-hiking prowess and the 38’s ninja-like agility”, the Exos 48 is considered ideal for weekend trips – or even more strenuous ordeals, depending on your packing style.
Featuring a surprisingly comfortable Exoform™ harness and an AirSpeed™ ventilated suspension, Osprey’s Exos 48 justifiably holds the first place in our 7-best list, making your hiking ventures as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
At a Glance
- Brand: Osprey
- Colour: BLACK/RED
- Size: L
- Style: Exos 48
- Season: Continuity
- Weight: 1.19kg
- Capacity: 48lt
- Dimensions: 79 cm X 40 cm X 33 cm (31.1 X 15,7 X 13 inches)
- Main Fabric: 100D High Tenacity Nylon
- Stow-On-The-Go™ Trekking Pole Attachment
- Stretch Mesh Side Pockets
- Toggles, Loops, And Clips
- Removable Lid
- Compatible with Hydraulics™ And Hydraulics™ Lt Reservoir
- Exoform™ Mesh Hipbelt and Harness
- Airspeed™ Ventilated Trampoline Suspended Mesh Backpanel
- Flapjacket Top Cover for Use Without Lid
- 7mm Side Compression Straps
- Stow-On-The-Go Trekking Pole Attachment
Looks and Features
Remember Sports Billy from the ’80s? Well, who doesn’t, right? Osprey Men’s Exos 48 is the hiking backpack equivalent of SB’s super-duper bag. Actually, when it comes to certain features, it is much more than that.
Featuring a gloomy yet appealing lead-grey hue with straps of bright orange and a length of almost 80 cm, the Exos 48 can be loaded with a whole bunch of gear; while its ergonomic, crescent-like shape wraps comfortably around your body, making it easy to carry around everywhere, you may decide to hike this weekend.
The perfect design and engineering quality along with the balanced specs and plenty of special features allow you to fully focus on your hiking experience, having everything you need with you. Let’s see how.
Exos 48’s capacity is neither at the low nor at the high range end. Forty-eight litres may sound a bit small, but remember, each litre can easily correspond to 1Kg of gear weight. So, the rule of thumb is that 48 litres may roughly correspond to 48 Kg. This is well under other backpacks capacity of 70-litre or even up to 90-litre packs, but these just offer a volume that will end up difficult to carry if you stuff in weighty things.
As we mentioned in the introduction, Exos 48 is designed for small hiking excursions, not for month-long adventures in the jungle. In addition, a 48Lt backpack will offer you plenty of space to put just enough weight to bear along on the way, especially if you are not built for heavy weight lifting.
Will you be carrying items that exceed the width or height of the internal space? No problem. Osprey Men’s Exos 48 has got you covered. The external of the pack comes with several side pockets, toggles, loops and clips and other clever features that will make your hiking experience a breeze.
The stretch mesh side pockets are simply genius. They can extend to wrap around every object you need to have readily available on the way.
Shoulder pads also have their own pockets for easy access, and the hip belt pocket is another amazing feature that adds up on the total storage space distributed in all the right places of the pack. The main backpack mesh can be used for keeping all the wet or waterproof gear in.
One of the most significant features of the Osprey Men’s Exos 48 is its mesh back. The mesh’s purpose is not to put things in (well, you can actually do that if you are totally desperate). It was designed to minimise friction over your back and to help keep your back cooler as the air flows between your body and the backpack.
Beyond this highly appreciated feat, named AirSpeed back panel, the backpack utilises high-quality soft shoulder pads that make you feel comfortable from the very start to even to the longest hiking adventure.
All the belts can be adjusted very easily to provide good fit on the body. Straps can be fastened without difficulty, they are durable and make the backpack feels steady, stiff and tight.
The Exos 48 ticks is overall a very balanced solution-oriented for the avid hiker consolidating all the important features a backpack should have and many more. The price is more than reasonable, considering that it certainly affords at least 3 – 5 years of trouble-free hiking. What we lacked from this version was the rain-cover. Should it be there in the standard equipment as it is in many other backpacks, it would be a bargain for both the amateur and the pro.
Highlander began as the start-up business of an ardent mountaineer, who saw a gap in the market for bespoke and durable outdoor gear, and within a decade or so it turned into a National retail chain exporting to Europe and beyond.
Sealing the firm’s prime quality, Highlander became an official supplier for the London 2012 Olympics and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Its 45-litre Discovery Rucksack hiking backpack is considered one of its top products.
At a Glance
- Brand Name: Highlander
- Style: Outdoor
- Main Material: 100% Polyester – 210d Hex Ripstop Fabric for Durability and Versatility; Hardwearing, Lightweight and Water Resistant
- Volume Capacity: 45 Liters
- Product Dimensions: 68 X 29 X 23cm (1 X 11.4 X 26.8 Inches)
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 Pounds (45 kg)
- Material: 240 Ripstop Polyester
- Adjustable Back System (65l and 85l Only)
- Water Resistant Fabric with Integrated Waterproof Rain Cover
- Twin Compartments with Drawcord Divider
- Bellow Side Pockets and Side Compression Straps
- Elastane Stretch Pockets
- Airmesh Back System and Chest Straps
- Lid Mounted Straps Allow Additional Loading
- Lid Pocket with Internal Zip Pocket
- Outer Hood Pocket with Floating Lid
- Large Padded Front Pocket
- Large Padded Hip Belt with Pockets
- Attachment Loops for Ice Axe and Walking Poles
- Front Compression Straps
- Pole Park Feature for Stowing Walking Poles
- Available Colours: Grey, Blue, Teal (greenish blue)
Looks and Features
Highlander 45L Discovery Rucksack is available in several colours, combined with grey or black: blue, red, teal etc. Its numerous features make it extremely versatile, ideal for campers, backpackers and summer festival goers.
If we wanted to sum up this backpack’s ultimate advantage in a few words, that would be pockets everywhere! The main storage area divides in two, separated by a chord. This feature is very helpful in case you want to separate wet and dry clothes or just to organise your clothes and items for a much easier trip.
At the top of the rucksack, a zippered pocket can become the home of your cell phone, ready to be reached easily when needed.
Another zippered pouch can be found in the waistband, while its exterior loops come to the rescue for these trekking poles to rest when not in use. And when the sky has its moody blues, an admittedly not so rare phenomenon in the UK, your backpack’s got you covered – in a bright yellow rain cover, included with the backpack.
The 45L capacity places this backpack somewhere in the middle; it is neither too small nor too big. With a smart packing system, your backpack can hold a bedroll, a camp stove, a few changes of clothing and food, and even give you some free space for that something extra you might get/buy on your way! Quite impressive, right?
In hiking backpacks, the fit is king. For that reason, Highlander 45L Discovery Rucksack is equipped with a fully padded and adjustable waist belt, transferring the weight from your shoulders to your hips, for a comfy fit. And, of course, the chest straps are also fully adjustable, so that the rucksack can adjust to almost every length and girth.
Highlander 45L Discovery Rucksack is definitely a value-for-money option. With its high-quality materials and the numerous pockets, people who love to have their items organised, even in a hiking day-trip, will find their match in a very good price. Still, the lining between the main and bottom compartments could have been better, but we can’t have it all, can we? Or, maybe, we can?… Let’s see the next on the list!
3. Trespass Albus 30L Rucksack – The Compact Backpack
The Albus is described as a spacious yet compact 30-litre adjustable backpack. Its manufacturer, Trespass, is one of the UK’s most successful outdoor clothing retailers.
Featuring two main compartments, a waterproof zip pocket on the front and side mesh pockets and made from durable polyester ripstop, Albus is just perfect for both lightweight hiking and daily chores.
At a Glance
- Brand Name: Trespass
- Style: Hiking Backpack
- Colour: Ash
- Volume Capacity: 30 Litres
- Weight: 0.9 Kg
- Dimensions: 45 cm X 30 cm X 12 cm (17.7 X 11,8 X 4.7 inches)
- Main Material: Durable Polyester Ripstop
- Season: Continuity
- Multi-Function and Adjustable Backpack
- Zip Closure
- Inner Pockets
- Front Pocket with Zipper
- Top Handle
- Multifunction Adjustable Backpack
- Side Mesh Pocket for Water Bottle and Internal Key Ring
- Three Zip Sections On the Front
Looks and Features
Trespass Albus 30L Rucksack is a small but efficient backpack that gets the job done without the bells and whistles of other high capacity models.
Be it a younger hiking enthusiast, or a short-range hiking adventure, the truth is that you don’t always need a jumbo for your gear. And carrying the weight of the world just because your backpack is an overshoot for the trip is at least unfair. Trespass Albus 30L Rucksack will set you free from such pains and let you enjoy the hike.
Nothing to show off here, just some bare 30L divided into two main compartments. Few outside pockets, mainly for bottles and one main outside double-zip pocket for some extra convenience with internal smaller pocket and key ring. Keeping things simple makes this model suitable not only for a secondary hiking backpack but for daily usage too.
The top quality of Albus 30L Rucksack is visible in all the details of the product. The back of the pack is specially designed to offer a sturdy and yet flexible response to the body’s movements. Wearing on and off the pack is very easy due to the adjustable straps. The overall fit is excellent and even after hours of using it is by no means tiresome.
For a price range of fewer than 20 pounds, this waterproof rucksack is indisputably a winner among the competitors. This medium-sized camping rucksack is great for day trips and generally short-range hikers. They are compact enough to double as a solid and roomy option for commuting and daily usage. Definitely 100% value for money choice and with the vast majority of the buyers posting 5-star positive reviews, the Trespass Albus 30L Rucksack is destined to become a hit and a best seller.
Highlander needs no introduction – besides, we have already mentioned its excellent reputation as an outdoor gear manufacturer. This backpack is basically the same model with our number two pick in our 7-best list but is much bigger and with some extra features, which make it much sturdier and suitable for longer hiking venues.
At a Glance:
- Brand name: Highlander
- Style: Outdoor
- Capacity: 65 Litres
- Weight: 1.36 kg
- Materials: 100% Polyester, Texturised
- Compartments: Two
- Adjustable back system
- Water resistant fabric with integrated waterproof rain cover
- Twin compartments with drawcord divider
- Bellow side pockets and side compression straps
- Elastane stretch pockets
- Lid-mounted straps allow additional loading
- Outer hood pocket with floating lid
- Large padded front pocket
- Large padded hip belt with pockets
- Attachment loops for ice axe and walking poles
- Pole park feature for stowing walking poles
- Back: adjustable, frame sheet, twin frame bars
- Hipbelt: shaped, stiffened
- Side and Front compression panel
- Rear & Base compression
Looks and Features
When it comes to outer looks, 65L Discovery Rucksack by Highlander is the spitting image of its little brother, 45L Discovery Rucksack. Same colour range, the same material used… no surprises here.
What was taken one step further? The features. That’s right! In the 65L version we have more features than the 45L, and, surprisingly, the cost remains relatively low!
What’s new in 65L Discover Rucksack? Firstly, the ABS (Adjustable Back System) feature, which ensures your backpack fits in the right position to your back and help you maintain a healthy posture.
Then, we have some extra pockets, making organising the backpack’s space a piece of cake. Another welcomed feature is the extra padded hip belt, which makes long hikes less tiresome, especially if the hiker’s body type leans to the lean side.
Another plus of this backpack is the extended capacity – up to 65L – which is welcomed by those who prefer long hiking treks, and not so welcomed by those who are up for one-day hiking. For the latter category, there is always the option of the 45L, with almost the same features as this one.
The fit is undoubtedly better than the smaller version, as the ABS feature, helps the rucksack to sit tightly and correctly on your back. Still, some people reported that the extra cushions placed in the back area where not giving a more comfortable feel. Yet, it was ideal for thin and short-backed people, as it is not as long as other options in the 60+L category.
All in all, 65L Discovery Rucksack has a lot to offer; it is spacious, with plenty of features and a very good price. Does it fit your bill?
5.NEEKFOX Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack – The Cheap Choice
Described by NEEKFOX as a “true space saver” due to its light weight and portability, this particular model was designed right from the start as a multipurpose backpack, perfect both for hiking and everyday use or short day travels. Indeed, it is true that it will serve you well as a carry-on, a day-trip pack or a small hiking backpack – ideal for “savvy, minimalist packers” as NEEKFOX puts it, who set portability and packability as their top priorities.
There isn’t much to tell about NEEKFOX, aside from that is has managed to build a solid reputation during the last years for making decent and versatile outdoor gear and backpacks.
At a Glance
- Brand name: NEEKFOX
- Style: Outdoor
- Dimensions: 25 x 15 x 45 cm (9,9 X 5.9 X 17.7 inches)
- Weight: 125 Grams
- Main Material Type: Nylon – Made from Tear and Water Repellent Material for Long-Lasting Performance with the Lightest Weight Possible
- Volume capacity: 20 Litres
- Colour: Gray
- zip closure
- Water Resistant Zippers – Preventing Rain From Getting Inside
- Small Packable Daypack Features
- One Zip Main Compartment
- One Front Zip Pocket and Two Mesh Side Pockets
Looks and Features
Let us start with the backpack’s portability. It is designed to fold neatly into a small storage pocket, making it a great choice for hikers who wish to travel by air to get to their hiking destination, saving them excess baggage fees.
Featuring a charming gloss black hue, suiting both men and women, NEEKFOX’s backpack is made of high quality thickened nylon fabric, designed to withstand scratches and impacts with pointy objects, which is perfect if you love hiking through thick plantation, rainforests, rockwork and scrub grass. Also, note the durable abrasion resistant SBS metal zippers.
Aside from these three compartments, there are several secondary storage spaces. You have two side expansible mesh pockets, basically for carrying water and/ or an umbrella, while several other multi-compartments help you keep things organised.
As mentioned in the introduction, this backpack’s prime trait is its light weight (less than 130 grams!), despite the fact that it offers a volume capacity of 35 litters. Inside, you will find two separate outside zipped compartments and a large main one, with an attached isolated layer that can easily contain several hiking clothes or a 13-inch notebook.
Well, suffice it to say that this backpack can make you forget you are even wearing it. Its widen. S-shaped shoulder straps are designed to distribute shoulder and back bearing stress evenly, adding comfort and stability even when its interior compartments are fully loaded, and you need to hike through rough or tricky terrain.
The pair of buckles attached on both sides will also keep elongated accessories placed in the mesh pockets more stable, affording you greater manoeuvrability while hiking, running or moving quickly through heavy bushes and narrow rocky passages.
Indeed, NEEKFOX’s hiking backpack is a space saver. Lightweight and extremely portable, it will serve your needs of day-long hiking and everyday tasks, withstanding the usual abuse with surprising tenacity and durability.
6. Mountaintop 40 Liter Hiking Backpack – Value For Money
You have probably noticed by now our love for relatively smaller backpacks. There is a reason for that.
Smaller hiking backpacks prove much more versatile and handy. They are easier to carry around; they usually contain all the things necessary for a day or two of hiking, they keep them safe and dry, and scarcely become an issue with air transportation. As for durability, that depends on the manufacturer, not on the size of the backpack.
Hence, this next pick for our seven-best list is Mountaintop’s 40-litre Hiking backpack. Let us take a closer look…
At a Glance
- Brand name: MOUNTAINTOP
- Colour: Sapphire blue new
- Material composition: Compound
- Weight: 820 Grams
- Volume capacity: 40 litres
- Sport: Hiking and Camping
- Season: Continuity
- Dimensions: 55 x 35 x 25cm (21,7 X 13,7 X 9.8 inches)
- Main Material: High Quality and Water Resistant Nylon Material, While Soft and Comfortable, Easy to Clean and Durable
- Rain cover
- Breathable Backpanel Foam, for Comfort Even for Extended Periods
- Main Compartment Secured by a Zipper
- 17” laptop compartment
- Bladder Compartment
- Several Exterior and Interior Pockets:
- Front Pocket with a Hidden Zipper and Key Clip
- 2 Side Pockets for Carrying Water Bottles and Beverages
- Straps, Zips and Belts:
- Contoured (D-shaped) and Padded Shoulder Straps for Attaching Small Items
- Belts with Magnetic Closures
- Adjustable sternum strap
- 6 Adjustable Straps Holding your Mat, Sleeping Bag, Tripod, Hammock, Or Other Gears in Place
- Adjustable hip belt
- Bottom zipped access to the main compartment
- Also Ideal for Camping, Shopping, Cycling etc.
- Carry-on friendly size for most airlines
Looks and Features
Mountaintop is a well-reputed outdoor-gear brand, known for its obsession for high-quality and affordable prices. Most of its backpacks have competed on par much more expensive models, offering sturdiness and ample space, as well as thoughtful and ergonomic features at much lower prices.
These general comments apply to this one too. Compact and cleverly designed, it is equipped with pads in all points where friction and contact to the body may cause pain or discomfort. The main fabric is both water and scratch resistant. The seams are impressively firm, along with the straps and belts.
The bag’s bottom side is wider than most models of this capacity, but that scarcely affects comfort even when fully loaded. The padded and contoured shoulders make sure of that, along with the breathable foam in the panel lining the back.
The colour combo is nice and stylish. We actually prefer the teal, light and dark grey combination from the others, but that is, of course, a matter of taste. The good thing about it is that you have more colour combinations available than any other of our backpacks mentioned above.
Many amateur hikers would say that a 40-litre capacity is just ideal for carrying all hiking and camping essentials for a venture of a couple of days. The key lies in proper packing. I have heard one claiming he managed to fit inside 40-liter backpacking the clothes and essentials for a 15-day hiking trip! He was surely exaggerating (and not very sensitive about his personal hygiene), but actually few amateur hikers would need more space for a few days in the countryside – provided you take full advantage of its main compartments and secondary pockets.
Its 17-inches compartment stays true to its word, but it will need some extra pushing to get it inside, especially the first time you use it. It has the standard, and handy rain cover that makes sure your gear remains dry even under a heavy downpour.
The neat main zipper allows you to access everything inside in a blink of an eye, without having to unpack the backpack. On top of that, the dividers make sure everything is kept neatly tight no matter how or how intensely you move your body.
In front, there is a small, almost hidden pocket, designed for personal items and valuables (phone, wallet, credit cards), keeping them at easy access while not catching the eye of pickpockets. A number of external, front, and side pockets provide additional space and make organisation easier than ever.
Last, you have the shoulder straps that allow you to carry extra gear and stuff without using space from the main compartment, be it a hammock, a sleeping bag, a mat etc.
Most reviewers reveal how surprisingly comfortable this backpack feels even when fully loaded – almost as if they did not have it on. Indeed, that is the case.
Even heavily loaded, the thick padded shoulder straps and the adjustable hip belt afford maximum comfort, no matter the terrain you might choose to hike.
It that is the case with hiking, you can easily understand what this backpack feels like in everyday chores, when the things you have to carry around are much fewer and lighter.
Mountaintop’s backpack boasts all the traits and features of a much more expensive model wrapped up in a great price. Indeed, be it capacity, comfort, and interior design – it excels at all, and also comes with a 90-day warranty.
Closing our list, we have something much bigger. The TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack is designed for amateur and professional hikers who need much more space for their sophisticated gear or plan to stay out in the wilderness for much longer.
At a Glance
- Brand name: Teton Sports
- Volume capacity: 65.5 litres (4,000 cubic inches)
- Colour: Metallic Silver
- Size: N/A
- Style: Backpack
- Dimensions: 81 x 45 x 40 cm (26.5’’ X 14’’ X 6,5’’)
- Adjustable Torso Length, from 19″ – 23″
- Weight: 2.26 Kg
- Weight 45 Kilograms
- Material type: 600D Ripstop
- Season: spring/summer 2015
- Ideal for: Camping & Hiking
- Padded Waist Belt with Wide, Locking Hip Straps
- Internal frame with dual aluminium stays
- Height-Adjustment Padded Shoulder Straps, Waist Belts and Padded Lumbar Area
- Designed with an Airflow System to Reduce Heat
- Hydration System with a Padded Water Bladder Pocket
- Supplied with a Rainfly
- Separate Sleeping Bag Compartment
- Waterproof Zippers On Side Pockets with a Pass-Through Feature for Fishing Poles or Tent Poles
- Velcro Mesh Pouch
- Daisy Chain Loops for Hanging Gear and Double Barrel-Lock Cinch Cords On Main Compartment
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
Looks and Features
There is not much to say about this backpack’s looks. The sturdy-looking impression you get the first time you cast your eyes over it is 100% accurate. Besides, it was never intended to charm you with its colours and looks. It was made for seasoned hikers who know exactly what they want from their backpack and will find it in it – and at a great price too. Note its fairly light weight for such a great capacity.
Featuring all sorts of handy stuff usually found only in the top end much more expensive backpacks, the TETON Sports Explorer 4000 is basically two things: comfortable and adjustable. Aside from its monster volume capacity, which we will describe below, it is equipped with an airflow system, designed to reduce heat while wearing it. On top of that, it has a hydration system with a padded water bladder pocket, accommodating a 3-litre water bladder (check if it is included or not in your retailer’s info).
The waterproof zippers on side pockets, the Velcro on centre mesh pouch, the daisy chain loops for hanging gear and the double barrel-lock cinch cords on the main compartment give you the ultimate control on your packing and organisation. Bear also in mind that, if rain finds you on the way, you can fully protect your gear from getting drenched with the attached rainfly.
Mastering a 65.6-litre capacity, this one has six different pockets and a main compartment, three mesh pouches, upper and lower gear loops and four compression straps. The floating pocket is designed for tent poles or similar gear to the sides of the pack, without limiting access to the zip pockets and mesh pouches. Last, the nice sleeping bag compartment makes organisation easier; it could be a little bigger, but still, It will work for most of you.
Designed for hikers of all stature, TETON Sports Explorer 4000 is equipped with height-adjustment shoulder straps, allowing the accommodation of a wide range of torso lengths (from 5 feet, 1’’ to 6 feet, 4’’ tall). The bendable aluminium stays, and thick lumbar and upper back pads afford comfort no matter the load. The adjustable torso, shoulder and hip straps also come with tensioners and breathable mesh. Pads are included in the shoulder straps, the waist belts and the lumbar area.
With a 4,000 cubic inch capacity, this internal frame backpack features dual aluminium stays. Thus, the backpack can easily adjust to the contour of your back in order to provide a comfortable fit.
Long story short, the TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack is perfect for those among you who have a lot of hiking and camping gear and intend to use it. Comfortable, with all the necessary straps, belts and pads (and several others that cover much more than the basic needs), it ensures maximum comfort for men and women of all statures, with its innovative torso adjustment and moldable aluminium stays.
Having the right backpack is essential for hiking. Aside from taking with you the gear you will need, as well as personal items, clothing and other essentials, you need to keep them dry, well-organised and easily accessible.
Below, you will find a small but concise buying guide that will help you pick the perfect hiking backpack for your needs.
First of all, we need to clarify that there are at least three types of backpacks:
Designed for single-day hikes, climbs, or bike rides, they are lightweight, soft-backed or frameless, and usually have small volume capacities. The best daypacks have hip belts.
Internal frame packs
Designed for heavier loads, external frame backpacks are equipped with aluminium stays, plastic frame sheets, curved Delrin rods (or some sort of combination) within the backpack, hugging the contours of your back, and cinching the load closer to your spine and transferring smoothly the weight to the hip area, while keeping arm movement free and unobstructed. They require careful loading to perform properly.
If you like summer hiking, opt for an internal with a breathable mesh suspended across the frame, allowing better air circulation and stability.
External frame packs
Also for big, loads, these backpacks are designed mainly for hiking, since the pack-bag is hung off an exterior frame, positioning the load away from the back – ideal for trail walkers. Featuring a higher centre of gravity, it boasts first-rate weight transfer to the hips, ample airflow between the pack and your back, and allows for a more upright posture. They usually have numerous pockets and secondary storage spaces.
Finding the Perfect FIT
Daypack fitting is pretty easy, and that is why they usually come in a single size. Make sure that the shoulder straps wrap comfortably around your shoulder, and that the hip belt snugs the bottom against your lumbar region.
Multi-Day External and Internal Frame Packs
Now in these two types, the fit is a bit trickier. First of all, it has to do with the “suspension system” – the part of the backpack that bears the weight and connects it to the body. It includes the shoulder straps, the hip belt, the frame, the back padding, and the lumbar area, and comes in three different types:
Not being adjustable, fixed suspensions come in various torso lengths, but have fewer moving parts, thus affording stability.
Equipped with a shoulder yoke moving up and down, this allows you to set the space between the shoulders and hips to your stature, and customise your packing.
It combines both prior systems, with different size hip belts and shoulder straps. It is ideal for people with body stature that is somehow unusual.
This is not so difficult to figure out. Just check the gear and clothing you usually need for your hiking ventures and leave some extra space. Never buy something so big that will make you look like a fool or force you to bring along all sorts of unnecessary junk. On the other hand, if your backpack is too small, then you will have to leave out something you might need.
The volume capacity is measured in litres or cubic inches. The following list may prove helpful:
- Daypacks – around 40 litres or 2,500 cubic inches. It will hold your food and beverages, camera, shell and warm layer, emergency kit, small first aid kit, GPS and other small items.
- Weekend Packs – around40 to 65 litres or 2,500 to 3,999 cubic inches, holding the aforementioned items plus a small tent, sleeping bag and pad, ultralight stove, cook kit, a few more clothing items, a weekend’s worth of meals.
- Weeklong Packs – around65 to 95 litres, or 4,000 to 5,999 cubic inches, holding (apart from the above) extra food, fuel and kitchen gear, non-necessary camping (chair, shoes, pillow), a bigger tent, a warmer sleeping bag and cushier sleeping pad.
- Expedition Packs – around 95 litres or 6,000 cubic inches, affording extra space for mountaineering gear.