Which Backpack is Right for You?

backpackersDoes your back hurt after a few days on trail, making your time out in the wilderness unenjoyably. Having the correct gear can be the difference from having a good time or a miserable one. This is why when I make a big purchase for some hiking gear I make sure to do my research and see if the product will work for my needs. Choosing a backpack is one of the biggest decisions to make.

A good backpacking pack is not only comfortable but has enough room to store gear on the inside and out. A pack can be modified on the outside with daisy ladders, straps, and clips but nothing can be altered on the inside. If you plan to backpack for the weekend a 40-liter to 50-liter pack is recommended. For longer hikes 60-liter and above packs are recommended. These sizes ensure you have optimal amount of room for your tent, sleeping bag, food, and clothing. Having to large of a pack can also be bad because it is important to have the minimum amount of weight on you as possible. The less weight you have, the longer you will be able to hike and the less pain you will be in.

The next important factor when choosing a pack is comfort. Comfort comes from multiple factors, including the brand of the pack that you chose and how your pack is fitted to your body. The personal at REI really do a great job sizing individuals up and finding the correct pack for you.

Being new to backpacking I had no idea what the differences were between the packs. All that I knew was that I wanted a 50-liter pack. This would meet my needs for backpacking on the weekend and could be use for travel. The individuals at REI first sized me at a large and notice because of my body frame I needed a pack that was higher on the shoulders. They showed me my options and I was stuck between an REI pack and an Osprey. Both were good quality packs. The REI had more external storage, while the Osprey internally had more organizational capabilities. After trying on and walking around with the packs weighted for a hour I decided on the Osprey 50 AG. The anti-gravity system in the Osprey fit to my body perfect and distributed the weight evenly.

I truly suggest never buying a pack on the Internet. Go in to a outdoor store with knowledgeable associates and be properly fitted. This truly can make the difference of enjoying backpacking or never wanting to see it again. Once you have found the pack for you please post what you like about it and any suggestions that I might have missed.

Photo is attributed to Michael Huxley at Bemused Backpacker

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