How to Choose Your Backpack for Hiking or Trekking

More than just luggage, the backpack will be your best traveling companion, whether for a day hike or treks lasting several days. It should be chosen with care so that it meets your needs and is as comfortable as possible. Millet has therefore produced this guide to help you find the backpack that suits you.

How to Choose the Volume of My Backpack?

The volume of a bag must be chosen according to the activity practiced, the duration of the hikes or treks, and the type of equipment to take. We can separate backpacks into three categories, depending on their volume:

  1. BACKPACKS FROM 5 TO 20 LITERS

In this category, we find:

  • Ultralight bags for trail running

Trail running bags are designed not to slow down the runner. The smallest formats have a volume of 5 liters for an empty weight of around 300 grams. Above all, they favor lightness and can contain a supply of water and food.

  • Freeride bags

The freeride bags must be light and not hinder the skier’s movements. With a capacity of around 15-20 liters, and a format designed to accommodate a computer, they also adapt perfectly to the urban environment.

  • Bags for hikes of a few hours

For solo hikes of a few hours, a bag not exceeding 20 liters is perfect. Just slip on water, a waterproof jacket, a snack, a first aid kit, and all you have to do is set off.

  1. BACKPACKS FROM 20 TO 35 LITERS

Backpacks with a volume of 20 and 40 liters are recommended for day trips or possibly for a 2-3-day trek with accommodation. For a day trip, a 20-25-liter bag is recommended. This makes it possible to take water and food supplies, but also specific equipment and technical clothing if necessary.

For a day hike with the family, it is advisable to choose a larger bag, since it will necessarily require more equipment. Even if children are equipped with bags, these must not represent more than 10% of their weight. It is, therefore, up to adults to have the honor of carrying the picnic for the whole family.

For those traveling light, a 30-35-liter bag may be suitable for an excursion of several days. But beware, a bag of this size can rarely contain the material necessary for a bivouac. Indeed, it isn’t straightforward to fit a tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping mat in a 30-35-liter bag.

  1. BACKPACKS OF 40 LITERS AND MORE

Bags with a volume of more than 40 liters are perfect for demanding activities spanning several days, such as:

  • An alpine excursion lasting several days
  • A trek with bivouac
  • A full autonomy excursion

In this category, some bags reach volumes of 75 liters. Here, everything depends on the equipment necessary for the smooth running of your trek. Before choosing a backpack, it is, therefore, essential to make a quick assessment of what it should contain in the best and the worst case (rain jacket, sleeping gear, food reserves, spare shoes, etc.). If the needs are fluctuating or one hesitates between two liters, many bags of more than 50 liters are provided with an extension of 10 to 15 liters.

Choose A Comfortable Backpack Adapted to Your Body Type

Like a piece of clothing, a comfortable backpack must be adapted to the wearer’s measurements.

  • BACK LENGTH

The length of the back indicates the height of the portion of the bag, which will rest directly against the skin. This measurement does not necessarily depend on the size of the wearer: you can be very tall and have a small back and vice versa.

To find the back length, you have to measure the distance between the iliac crest and the 7th cervical vertebra. You can measure this length on your own or get help in-store. Some bags have adjustable backs, which allow you to find the size that suits you best.

  • BACK SHAPE

Sex changes the build enormously, and that’s why there are women’s backpacks and men’s backpacks. A female hiking bag will have a narrower back, especially at the waist and shoulders. A back that is too wide or too small will be a problem, especially for carrying heavy loads because the weight will be less well distributed. Unisex bags are also found at Millet, with a back adapted to male and female standards.

  • LOAD REMINDER STRAPS

The recall straps are present on all Millet bags over 20 liters. Placed above the shoulders, they connect the straps to the back of the bag and help keep the load in place. Once adjusted, the charge reminders prevent the weight of the bag from dragging the carrier forward or backward.

  • THE BACKPACK BELT

A waist belt is essential on a hiking or trekking bag of more than 20 liters. It guarantees an excellent balance to the athlete and distributes the load optimally. With airy padding, it ensures a proper evacuation of perspiration and maximum comfort.

  • WHICH BACKPACK ACCESSORIES TO FAVOR?

A hiking or trekking backpack is designed down to the smallest detail to follow the sportsman in all his adventures. Bag accessories and options improve your comfort and make using your bag more comfortable. And it doesn’t matter the terrain, the activity or the weather conditions.

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