Getting the Right Hiking Backpack

It is, of course, the use or uses for which you intend your backpack that will guide your choice. Below are the guides in getting the right backpack for your adventure journey

  • The Storage Volume

Expressed in liters, this will be the first criterion of your selection. Backpacks up to 35L are reserved for day hikes. Bags of 35 to 45 liters may be suitable for a weekend with an overnight stay in a refuge. For hikes of several days, you will choose bags of 50 to 80 L depending on the equipment to be worn.

  • Storage Facilities

The number of pockets and the ease of access should be taken into consideration. The main pocket is sometimes divided into two compartments with a removable wall. In this case, a zip at the bottom of the backpack gives access to the lower compartment. Some bags have, in addition to the opening on the top, access by a zip on the front of the bag, convenient for accessing your belongings during the day.

  • Specific Accessories and Functionalities

External hooks (straps, buckles, clips) to comfortably carry accessories (tents, mattresses, poles, ice axes, crampons, carabiners, skis); internal compartment for water bag with an opening for pipette; tightening straps to make the backpack more compact; some bags are fitted with waterproof covers. It is useful in case of rain and if your bag “sleeps” outside.

  • The Weight

This will be an important criterion if you are looking to travel as light as possible. The backpack will indeed be one of the most substantial elements of your package. Please note, however, that an efficient carrying system can explain and justify a few hundred grams more.

  • Comfortability

The comfortability of your backpack heavily depends on several elements:

  1. The carrying system: they are more or less sophisticated depending on the bags. The most advanced use flexible frames that ensure an excellent transfer of weight on the hips and that accompany the movements of the walker.
  1. Ventilation and moisture removal: The padding of the belt, back, and suspenders can be made of perforated materials promoting air circulation. Besides, the construction of certain bags creates a space between the back and the backpack so as to create a draft that allows moisture to be evacuated (mesh back, channel or ventilation chimney, etc.). If you are hiking in humid and hot weather, this criterion will be necessary. 
  1. The settings: the large bags have adjustable straps that allow you to adjust the bag to your body type and allow proper weight distribution; a well-adjusted backpack allows 60 to 70% of the bag’s weight to be carried on the hips and does not overload the shoulders. Load reminder straps also adjust the carry. Some backpack also has adjustable belts for a better fit at the hips. Finally, there is sometimes a chest strap.

If you have shoulder pain, it is because your bag is incorrectly adjusted, or the weight is distributed improperly. Remember to change your backpack correctly and Store your things carefully. The weight distribution must be balanced, and the heaviest objects must be near your back and, if possible, at the bottom of the bag so that the center of gravity of the bag is as close as possible to the body.

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