If you’re an outdoor enthusiasts you’ll want one of the best hiking backpacks.
There’s a few things you have to consider, however, when making your purchase and I’ll show you what’s most important in this post – after you’ll see my top picks for both men and women.
I’m sure you’ll see a product you’ll want to wear this year by the time you’re done reading.
How To Choose A Hiking Backpack
Here’s a quick video that can help out in this department:
Pretty simple, right?
Here’s what I think is most important:
- Pick the right type of backpack and capactiy
- Get the right fit
- Look at the smaller features (ventilation, padding, frame, etc.)
First and foremost, you have to look at your own needs and what type of hiker you are – doing so will lead you to picking the right kind of backpack. There’s a few to choose from and they are:
- Weekend Backpack: These types of products are made for 1 to 3 nights and are best suited for less bulky gear. They tend to be in the 30 to 50 liter range too.
- Multiday Backpack: Multiday backpacks are in the 50 to 80 liter range and are perfect for hikes that last up to 3 to 5 days.
- Extended Trips: Extended trip backpacks are for more serious treks and have a capacity of 70+ liters. If you expect to spend more than 5 nights in the wilderness, these products can work for you.
After you have this figured out, you should shift you attention to fitting. The two most important factors in fitting is getting the right length for your torso and make sure it’s snug on your hips.
This video explains the fitting process well:
Lastly, you need to look at the smaller features that make up this piece of gear. Things like padding, ventilation and pockets all make a difference. I’ll go more in depth with these features when describing the backpacks coming up.
If you want to learn more about picking a backpack, click here.
Now that you know what to look for when making your choice, let’s take a look at my top picks for men now – my top picks for women will be directly after.
Best Hiking Backpacks For Men
Osprey Aether 85 *Top Pick*
Osprey is a company well known in the hiking world and their Aether is a product that doesn’t mess around. This backpack is an amazing 85 liters and you’ll easily be able to bring along all the gear you’ll need for week long treks.
What’s really cool here is you can use this product as a daypack for shorter hikes too. How so? You can remove the top lid for a lightweight backpack. Here’s what it looks like when you take it off:
It’s like you’re getting 2 products in one! Some other nice aspects include:
- Anti-gravity suspension and backpanel makes wearing this product very enjoyable. It distributes weight all over so you don’t feel strained.
- IsoForm5 harness and hipbelt is adjustable so you can get a custom fit. This makes this product ultra comfortable.
- Hipbelt pockets means you can store snacks and other items that you can easily access.
- Ice axe holders allow you to confidently attack any terrain with the Aether on your back.
- Compartment that’s made specifically for your sleeping bag. This makes sure you have plenty of room for all your other gear.
- A few different colors to choose from gives you options in terms of looks.
I really like this backpack and think it’s one of the best you can get. It is, however, one of the more expensive on this list. If you just hike causally and don’t plan on doing any overnight or multiday hikes, you won’t need to spend the extra to own this product.
But if you live and breath the outdoors it’s definitely worth the investment. You’ll be very satisfied with what it can do for you and it’ll help you enjoy your hikes that much more.
Gregory Baltoro 75
If you’re someone that expects to take multiple day hikes, the Gregory Baltoro 75 is a product that you must consider. Besides being extremely high quality and well made, the Baltoro has plenty of room to fit all your gear because it has a 75 liter capacity. You’ll be able to comfortably fit all your gear for week long trips with this amount of space.
One thing I know you’re going to like with this backpack is every part of it is made to be as comfortable as possible. The straps, the padding and the harnesses are ergonomically designed and will feel good to wear for hours at a time.
If that’s not enough, you’ll like that this product comes with:
- Hipbelt that’s adjustable so you get a custom fit. It also has LifeSpan Foam built in and is another reason why this backpack is so comfortable.
- You can find LifeSpan Foam in the shoulder straps as well. Like the hipbelt, the shoulder straps can be adjusted.
- Weathershield pocket is completely weather proof and you can keep your vulnerable electronics in it. You won’t have to worry about your expensive smartphone getting ruined because it’s raining.
- Sidewinder bottle holster makes getting to your water much easier and you won’t have to strain to get something to drink.
- Plenty of different pockets and departments ensure you have plenty of space for all your stuff.
- Sleeping bag compartment means you’ll have even more space left over.
- A few different colors to choose from so you get the exact look you want.
As you can see there’s a lot to love here. The price isn’t bad either. I wouldn’t say this product is cheap but it’s not overly expensive either.
There’s also a ton of reviews for the Baltoro on Amazon and basically all are overwhelmingly positive. To look at what all these customers are saying, click below:
Mammut Trion Pro 50
The last product you saw could be used for week long excursions into the wilderness but not everyone needs that. Some people just like to spend a few days hiking and don’t plan on staying out for too long. If that describes you, the Mammut Trion 50 can work for you.
Because this backpack has a 50 liter limit it’s good for weekend trips and maybe a little more. If you plan on spending more time than that hiking you should look elsewhere.
Some top features include:
- Plenty of EVA padding all around this product ensures this backpack is ultra comfortable – you’ll be able to wear it for hours at a time, without any issues.
- Oversized back zipper means you’ll have an easy time accessing your gear. If you’ve ever experienced undersized zippers you’ll really appreciate this.
- Allows you to carry trekking poles and an ice axe.
- Plenty of pockets allow you to carry everything you can think of. There’s even inner pockets to keep all your valuables safe.
- Remvoable hip belt is another reason this backpack is so comfortable.
The Trion Pro is another product I consider to be a little pricey but worth it. It does come with a lifetime warranty so that should give you peace of mind that you’re getting a high quality backpack.
Arc’teryx Bora AR 63
Arc’teryx is a company I like a lot and they make gear for a bunch of activities – I think they make some of the best ski jackets, ski gloves and hiking boots on the market. Their Bora AR 63 proves they make excellent backpacks too.
This is the perfect product for weekend trips too. It comes with 63 liters so you’ll easily be able to fit all that’s needed for those types of hikes. Anything longer and you might want something a little bigger.
Some other benefits include:
- You can get a custom fit both vertically and horizontally because of the adjustable harness. There’s nothing better than a custom fit and this allows you to take longer hikes without getting strained.
- Allows you to carry 2 different ice axes so you can hike anywhere with this product.
- RotoGlide let’s you adjust back length to reduce chaffing. People of all heights will appreciate this feature.
- Makes use of weatherproof AC2 fabrics which is good if you go out when it’s raining or snowing.
- Many different pockets and easy to use zippers make wearing the Bora ultra convenient.
Here’s a video that looks at this product a little more closely:
As you can see Arc’teryx set out to make a high quality backpack and they succeeded in every way possible.
The Bora AR is one of the most expensive backpacks on this list. Do you absolutely need to own this gear? That’s up to you to decide. I do know you won’t be disappointed if you choose this product and it’ll make your hikes even more enjoyable.
Osprey Stratos 50
This is the second Osprey backpack on this list and this one, the Stratos, isn’t quite on the same level as the one you already saw. The Stratos isn’t low quality or anything like that but it’s not as big (this one is 50 liters) and not quite as rugged. It’s made for shorter hikes and isn’t really suitable for week long ones.
One thing I really like about this product is the internal hydration sleeve. This means you’ll have a spot to put your hydration reservoir and easily be able to access your water.
Some other aspects that make this piece of gear worth it includes:
- Pockets on your hipbelt. You’ll be able to stash some snacks or your phone and be able to get to it with ease.
- Integrated rain cover gives you an extra layer of protection in case the weather turns sour.
- Sleeping bag compartment ensures you can organize your bag the most efficient way possible and leave enough room for the rest of your stuff
- Airspeed suspension gives you a ventilated back so you don’t overheat. This suspension can be adjusted so you get the correct fit for your torso.
- Plenty of pockets all around and no matter what you bring along with you, you’ll be able to store it away.
- Let’s you bring along trekking poles.
Because it’s a little smaller and made for shorter trips, the Stratos isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg to own. To see what type of deal you can get on this backpack, click below:
Granite Gear Crown 2 60
Company: Granite Gear
The granite Gear Crown 2 is a product that’ll work for a lot of outdoor enthusiasts. It’s not so big that you can live out of it for weeks at a time but anything under 5 days will work with this backpack.
The Gear Crown 2 excels with adjustability too. The only way you’ll be able to hike with complete comfort is if you get a custom fit. You’ll need the hipbelt and shoulder harness to fit just perfectly. With this backpack you’ll be able to get that.
If that’s not enough, you’ll like that this product comes with:
- NeverWet liquid repellent materials through out makes sure your gear inside will remain dry.
- Stretch mesh pockets ensure you can bring along all your items with you.
- Internal hydration sleeve and port lets you hydrate easily and without any problems.
- Both structurally sound and lightweight. You can rely on the Crown to stand up to the elements without having to strain yourself.
- Removable top lid means you can cut even more weight if you want to.
This is a backpack that I really like and think you will too if you decide on. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s cheap but it’s certainly not the most expensive on this list either. I honestly think it could be with its quality and it’s nice to see it’s still pretty affordable.
Deuter Futura Vario Pro 50
The Deuter Futura Vario Pro 50 is another product that excels with short trips and shouldn’t be used on longer hikes (anything over 3 days would be pushing it). If you don’t plan on trekking any longer than that you’ll like what you get here.
This is another backpack that’s easily adjusted too. No matter your shape or your unique body size you’ll find a perfect fit with the Futura Vario. This ensures you get the most comfortable hikes imaginable.
Some other aspects that are top notch include:
- Aircomfort Vario suspension gives you a ton of ventilation so you won’t overheat on your back or sweat too much.
- Expandable collar provides 10 extra liters when you need it and you can just tuck it away when you don’t.
- Padded Vari Flex hipbelt lets you get the most natural movements possible and makes sure you stay balanced.
- Ergonomically designed so it forms to your body so you have the most comfort possible.
- Reservoir sleeve allows you to access your hydration reservoir with ease and you won’t have to worry about dehydration because of this.
- Plenty of pockets throughout the backpack means you can bring your phone, snacks, GPS and any other piece of gear you want.
- Pretty lightweight and only weighs a little over 4 pounds.
- You get a rain cover as well and you and your stuff will be protected in case it starts to rain.
What’s great here is it’s affordable too and one the most budget friendly backpacks on this list. Do I think it’s the same quality as some of the higher priced products on this list? Not exactly but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it. As long as your needs fit what the Futura Vario can do, you’ll be satisfied with this piece of gear.
Kelty Coyote 80
The last few products you saw were made for shorter hikes (in the 3 to 5 day range or less). The Kelty Coyote, however, is good for as long as you can go – it has 80 liters of storage which is more than enough for week long trips.
One thing you’ll really appreciate about this backpack is how it allows you to organize your gear and necessities efficiently. There’s plenty of pouches and pockets that are easy to access and you won’t have to dig through all your stuff to get what you want.
Some other top features include:
- Hydration pack compatible means you can bring a water reservoir along on your hikes to stay hydrated.
- Gives you the ability to bring along two ice axes and this ensures you can confidently tackle any terrain with this backpack.
- Waistbelt pockets lets you grab snacks or your phone with ease.
- Ventilated back area ensures that you back won’t be drenched in sweat, even if it’s hot out.
- Completely adjustable and you’ll be able to get a perfect fit for your own unique body.
- Pretty lightweight and it only weighs a little over 5 pounds – it also has a 55 pound weight capacity.
Most packs like this cost a lot to own. That’s actually not the case with the Kelty Coyote – it’s not inexpensive but it’s not overly expensive either. You know what makes this even better? It has perfect reviews on Amazon. If you want to see what other customers are saying about this product, click below:
Tatonka Yukon 60
The Tatonka Yukon is another product that’s best suited for shorter treks (anything up to 3 days). I’ve heard some people say it could be used on minimalist week long hikes but I wouldn’t do that unless you’re an experienced outdoor enthusiast – you might run into problems if you’re not.
This is also another backpack that allows you to get a custom fit. The shoulder and hip straps are completely adjustable and you won’t have an uncomfortable hiking experience because of this.
Some other top features include:
- The ability to carry an ice axe with you. This means you’ll be able to tackle any terrain no matter what season it is.
- Relatively lightweight and as a whole this product only weighs a little over 5 pounds.
- Different compartments for trekking poles, hydration packs and first aid. You’ll have all the necessities you need to be at your most effective.
- You get a rain cover and snow shielding pads. This just is another reason why you can go out in all weather with the Tatonka Yukon.
- Sleeping bag compartment on the bottom leaves you with plenty of room for the rest of your gear.
You’ll be happy to know this is one of the cheaper products on this list too and costs just a little over $100. I think that’s a great deal for all that you’re getting and I think you’ll come to the same conclusion if you decide on this backpack .
Osprey Xenith 75
Didn’t I mention Osprey was a company that you can trust? There’s a reason I added so many of their products to this list – they’re all high quality and dependable. This is definitely true with their Xenith 75 too.
The best part of this backpack is probably the cushioning. You can find this cushioning on the shoulder straps and hipbelt too. You’ll be able to hike around in complete comfort because of this.
Some other benefits that you’ll like includes:
- Mesh back area is ultra breathable and your back won’t overheat because of this.
- Plenty of pockets and compartments so you can easily store all your stuff. You won’t have to go digging through all your gear to get your phone or snacks either.
- Hydration sleeve makes storing your water reservoir simple and you can easily hydrate because of this.
- You can attach your trekking poles and 2 different ice axes. This means you’ll be able to go into any terrain.
- Pockets on your hipbelt ensures you can keep your phone and other gadgets close by.
- 75 liters means you’ll be able to go on week long hikes without a problem.
This backpack really is high quality and because of that it’s going to cost a little extra. How much extra? It’ll cost a little over $200. If you’re someone that loves the outdoors you shouldn’t mind paying this. The Xenith is a backpack you’re going to absolutely love.
Best Backpacks For Women
Osprey Women’s Aura 65 AG
The Osprey Women’s Aura 65 is a product that most people will love and it’s good for many different situations – this is a backpack that serious hikers can enjoy and be satisfied with that.
One of the reasons I say this is because it has a 65 liter capacity which means you can fit a lot of gear and essentials in it. I’d say you could pack enough to be comfortable for a multi day trip. Also, the top lid is removable and can be zippered off. When you want to save a little weight you can leave the top behind and when you have a little extra to bring you can leave it zipped on top.
Some other top features include:
- Many different compartments so you can have easy access to your gear and efficiently store everything.
- Let’s you pack trekking poles which allows you to tackle all terrain.
- Adjustable harness means you can get a customized fit. This ensures you are at your most comfortable when you’re hiking.
- Anti-gravity suspension on the shoulder straps and hipbelt is another reason this product is so comfortable. Also, this provides extra ventilation so your back doesn’t overheat.
- Padding everywhere makes sure the Aura is enjoyable to wear all day long.
Because this is such a high quality backpack it’s going to cost a little extra. I wouldn’t consider it too expensive but it’s certainly not cheap. I think it’s well worth the price, however, and I think you’ll agree with that if you decide on the Osprey Aura.
Gregory Deva 70
The Gregory Deva is another excellent backpack that’s perfect for longer treks – at 70 liters you’ll have more than enough room for multi-day hikes. Plus, this product is high quality and durable. It’ll be able to handle the elements and the ruggedness of the outdoors.
Another thing you’ll really like about the Deva is how comfortable it is to have on your back. The hipbelt is completely adjustable and it’ll fit you perfectly no matter what size you are. Also, it has Lifespan foam to help with comfort too.
Some other top aspects include:
- Ergonomically designed shoulder harness makes this product very enjoyable to wear – this harness is adjustable so you get a custom fit too.
- Sidewinder Bottle Hoslter makes your water and drinks easily accessible and you’ll be able to hydrate without any problems.
- Sleeping bag compartment leaves you even more room for your gear.
- Weathrshield pocket lets you bring along all your valuables and electronics without you having to worry about them getting ruined.
When you see backpacks of this capacity you usually can expect to pay an arm and a leg but that’s actually not the case here. The Gregory Deva is reasonably priced and an excellent value. You get a few choices in terms of color too!
Arc’teryx Bora Ar 61
Arc’teryx is an excellent company and if you’ve spent time outdoors you’ve probably come across their gear – either you’ve worn something from them or you’ve met someone that does. Maybe you’ve even seen someone with the Bora AR 61. If you have I’m sure you saw a very happy camper (or hiker!).
There’s only two words I would use to describe the Bora and that would be high quality. This is a backpack that any person would be lucky to own and will help you get the most out of your time outside.
That’s because it has excellent features, including:
- Ventilated back panel keeps air moving and prevents your back from overheating/oversweating.
- RotoGlide hipbelt helps this product move with your body side to side and up and down. This reduces chaffing and irritation.
- Gridlock shoulder straps are adjustable and you’ll be able to get a precise fit because of this.
- 2 mesh pockets on the hipbelt ensures you have easy access to snacks and your phone.
- Hydration reservoir lets you stay hydrated the most simple way possible (you’ll have to purchase the reservoir separately).
- Ice axe loops allow you to bring along ice axes. You’ll be able to hike anywhere with this product because of that.
This backpack is top of the line and because of that it comes with a top of the line price. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive on this list. Do I think it’s worth it? Absolutely. Do I think you need this backpack? That’s up to you. If you can’t afford it there’s plenty of other cheaper backpacks to choose from.
Osprey Women’s Ariel AG 65
Here we have another product from Osprey and this one, the Ariel, is just as well made as the first one you saw. This product has one of my favorite features available and it allows you to zip off the top so you get a separate, smaller daypack.
This basically means you get 2 backpacks in 1. If you’re just going on a few hour hike you won’t need this entire product. You can just take the top part if that’s the case. When you’re going on a longer trek you can zip the top back on and you’ll have more than enough room to pack all your gear.
If that’s not enough, you’ll like that this backpack comes with:
- Zippered hipbelt pockets ensure you can keep sunscreen, snacks and your phone in an easily accessible spot.
- Sleeping bag compartment leaves you enough room for the rest of your stuff and allows you to pack efficiently.
- Anti-gravity suspension and backpanel makes sure this product is ultra comfortable to wear and won’t cause you strain.
- IsoForm5 and CM belt means this product is completely adjustable and you’ll be easily able to get a custom fit.
- Ice ax holders allow you to tackle any terrain, no matter what season it is.
This is another product that’s a little pricey but definitely worth it in the long run – the Ariel will last forever and you’ll be able to use it as long as you want to. The Ariel generally gets excellent reviews too and if you want to check them out, click below:
Deuter Guide 40+
The Deuter Guide is an excellent backpack for short trips (nothing overnight or two). Anything more than that you’ll definitely want a larger pack to hold all your gear. But if you’re more of a casual outdoor enthusiast you’ll like the Deuter Guide.
One aspect that I know you’re going to appreciate is the adjustability of the hipbelt and shoulder straps. You want a nice comfortable fit with your backpack, nothing too loose or too tight. The fact you can adjust the two allows you to get that.
Some other cool benefits include:
- Backpanel is highly ventilated and this comes in handy when it’s hotter out – it’ll reduce how much sweat builds up there.
- Removable foam strip doubles as a trail seat. You won’t have to sit on a hard rock or stump because of this.
- Plenty of smaller compartments so you can efficiently pack everything and not have to go digging through to find your phone.
- Allows you to bring along ice axes which will come in handy during the winter.
Because this is a lower capacity bag and made more for shorter trips, it’s pretty cost effective. In fact, this product costs just a bit over $100 and that’s a really great deal for what you’re getting. As long as you’re not taking week long treks you’ll really find this price more than fair.
The North Face Terra 55
Company: The North Face
The North Face is a company that everybody knows – even people that don’t enjoy the outdoors know them. They have a reputation for making quality and reliable gear which is exactly what you’ll get with the Terra 55.
One thing to keep in mind is you won’t want to take week long hikes with this product. It’s made more for a couple nights in the wilderness and less. If that’s what you’re looking for you’ll like owning this backpack.
- It’s designed to be lightweight so you don’t feel strained from wearing it.
- OPTIFIT suspension fit system makes sure this product is ultra comfortable to have on your back and distributes the weight evenly.
- Anotomical fit ensures this backpack moves with your body in the most natural way possible.
- Sleeping bag compartment allows for the most room possible for the rest of your gear.
- Very large zippers means you’ll easily be able to access all your stuff.
The best part about the Terra is it’s pretty affordable. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s cheap but it’s one of the cheaper ones on this list. If you’re trying to save a few bucks this year and not lose much in the quality department, this backpack can work for you.
Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 60
Company: Granite Gear
The Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access is a backpack that I really like and one that’ll work for a lot of people – the only people that should look elsewhere are those that are very serious and can spend more than a week or more on a hike.
This product is more for the avid to slightly serious hiker. If that’s you, you’ll appreciate the features of this product. One aspect that’ll make you happy is the ergonomic design. It’s made to fit your back perfectly and feel very natural while you’re wearing.
If that’s not enough you’ll like that these come with:
- Dual density foam on the shoulder straps and hipbelt makes this product extremely comfortable.
- Hydration sleeve and port ensures you won’t be thirsty (you’ll have to purchase a hydration reservoir separately).
- Multiple pockets mean you can keep all your stuff organized. There’s spots for your phone and electronics too.
- Removable lid allows you to shed some weight when you want to travel light.
This is another backpack that won’t break the bank and you can find for well under $199. It comes in a few different colors too so you have options in terms of looks too. To see them, click below:
Tatonka Glacier Point 40L
The last couple of products weren’t made for long treks and time in the outdoors – nothing more than a few days. This is especially true for the Tatonka Glacier Point. This backpack is made for a night or two or less. Anything more than that and you might run into problems.
Not everyone needs a 70 liter backpack that’s made for week treks, though. Some people just aren’t that serious about hiking. A lot of people just like to spend a Saturday on their favorite trail and there’s nothing wrong with that.
If that’s you, you’ll like the Tatonka Glacier Point’s top features which include:
- Different compartments so you can pack away all your gear in the most efficient way possible.
- X Vent Zero Plus System allows this product to be ultra adjustable and you’ll get the perfect fit because of this.
- Hydration pack compatible ensures you won’t get dehydrated on your hikes.
- Mesh back panel improves air flow and this prevents your back from overheating/oversweating.
- Rain cover is included and this means you can protect your gear in case you get some rain.
The Tatonka Glacier Point is another backpack that’s ultra affordable and one that’s not going to cost several hundred of dollars. If you want to save on your backpack this year and don’t plan on taking any week long trips, this one can work for you.
Granite Gear Women’s Crown 2 60
Company: Granite Gear
Last on this list is the Granite Gear Women’s Crown 2 and this is the perfect middle ground backpack. What I mean by that is this product is good for moderately long hikes. It won’t quite work for 5+ day treks but it’ll work for multiple days and nights.
One aspect that’s really cool is the top can be zipped off. This is good if you’re taking a shorter trip and you want to shed some weight. You’ll save about 2.6 ounces of weight this way.
Some other top aspects include:
- Adjustable hipbelt means you get the perfect fit and boosts the overall comfort of this product.
- Mesh front pockets allow you to keep snacks and your phone close by at all times.
- Hydration port means you can pair this backpack with a hydration reservoir so you have access to your water at all times.
- Dual density shoulder harness makes this product enjoyable to wear and you get load lifter straps that balance the weight.
I mentioned this is a middle of the road product up top and I’d say this product costs a middle of the road price too – it’s not too expensive but it’s certainly not cheap either. This works for a lot of people. You may not want to pay top of the line price but you certainly don’t want to cheap out either.
Hiking Backpacks FAQ’S
1) How big of bag do I need if I only plan to spend a night or two out?
Answer: Not everyone is planning on hiking the Appalachian trail or want to spend weeks out in the woods. Some people just want to spend a day or possibly a night or two just to reconnect with nature.
If that’s you, you’ll want a bag that’s in the 30 to 50 liter range. This is enough to bring along all the gear and items to have a safe and fun weekend hike.
2) How big do I need to go if I plan on spending 3 to 5 days?
Answer: The type of hiker that spends anywhere from 3 to 5 days on trail is known as a mulit-day hiker They’re a little more serious than the group we just discussed and not quite as serious as the one coming up next.
Because they’ll be out there a few more days than the previous class of hikers, they’ll need something a little larger – in the 50 to 80 liter range. You’ll be able to fit everything necessary in your backpack to have a good trip.
3) How big do I need to go if I plan on spending more than 5 days?
Answer: Anyone that spends more than 5 days hiking is known as a backpacker and this class of outdoorsman is very serious. They’re the ones that hike the entirety of the Appalachian trail and do other feats like that which most people won’t attempt.
Because these people can be hiking for months at a time, they need a backpack that can support a trip like this. If you consider yourself one of these hikers you’ll need a bag that’s at least 70 liters or more.
4) How do I get the right fit?
Answer: Getting the right fit for your backpack is ultra important and if you get the wrong one you’ll find yourself in a lot of discomfort through out the day – you might even injure yourself over time. This is the last thing you want when you’re miles away from civilization.
In order to get the right size you have to correctly measure both your torso and your waist. Here’s how you measure your torso:
- First you have to locate your 7th cervical. This is the bony area where your neck and your shoulders meet. You can find this area more easily if you tilt your head forward and feel for it.
- Next you have to find the bottom of your torso. This will be found on the top of your hips and directly across. So picture a straight line going from the top of your right hip to the top of your left hip.
Here’s a video for the more visually inclined:
Not too bad right?
Of the two, finding your torso length is more important than finding your waist length – usually the two correspond. To measure your waist, though, just measure the area right above your two hips, all the way around.
5) How do I adjust the hipbelt?
Answer: The hipbelt is extremely important because 80% of the load should be carried by your hips. To ensure this happens you need to get the right fit with your hipbelt and make sure it’s properly adjusted to your body.
To do this, put your backpack on and make sure the padding of the belt is just above your hips. If it’s too low or too high you’ll have to re-adjust the shoulder pads to get the padding to the right height.
When you tighten your belt, it has to be tight without being constricting. If it’s too loose, the weight of the backpack gets transferred to your shoulders and back and this can lead to injuries. If it’s too tight it’ll feel very uncomfortable and it may restrict your breathing.
6) How do I adjust the shoulder straps?
Answer: It’s important to restate that your shoulders and back shouldn’t be carrying the load of the weight – that’s what your hips should be doing. So when you go to tighten your backpack, you want to make sure it’s tight but not too tight.
If you do go too tight, the load will then be carried by your shoulders and this will put a ton of stress on your shoulders and neck. These spots are prone to injury and this is especially true for your neck.
You’ll have to tighten and loosen the straps to find what works best for you but the anchor points on the straps should be an inch or two below your shoulders and near your shoulder blades.
7) How do I adjust load lifters?
Answer: The load lifters connect from your shoulder straps to the top of the back panel and help ease the weight from your shoulders, if they’re adjusted correctly. If you tighten them too much then it’ll put the weight onto your shoulders and this can pinch your muscles.
You want to make sure the straps are at a 45 degree angle when tensed from the backpanel down to your shoulders. And when tightening you want snug but not constricting.
8) How do I adjust the sternum straps?
Answer: The sternum is your chest bone and the sternum straps go around this part of your body – you’ll want this strap just an inch or so under your collar bones.
Like every other strap you want to adjust to make it’s snug but not too tight – if you do you’ll constrict your breathing and this can lead to discomfort and you may pass out on the trail.
9) What are some must have features?
Answer: There’s plenty of of features and you may be wondering about the ones you’ll need. Some features, like a sleeping bag compartment and axe holders are specific for a certain type of hiker – one that wants to spend a few nights in the wilderness and one that expects to face snow and ice, respectively.
Here are some features that I think everyone should look for:
- Hydration Reservoir: A hydration sleeve and reservoir is ultra convenient and allows you to drink water on the go. You won’t have to dig through your backpack or carry a water bottle around because of this. All you have to do is is get the little hose out and get a drink – you won’t have to stop or anything like that. Many backpacks come with an area that lets you put the reservoir in but most reservoirs have to be bought separately.
- Raincover: Another handy little feature is a raincover. If you hike enough and if you plan on spending several days on the trail, you’re going to run into some inclement weather from time to time. While many backpacks are waterproof it’s always nice to have a little extra protection. The last thing you want is all your stuff to get soaked and soggy.
- Removable Daypack: This isn’t the most common feature but it’s always nice to have. A removable daypack gives you the ability to zip off the top of a backpack for shorter trips. This way if you’re just spending a day hiking you won’t need to carry your entire 80 liter pack with you. Just take the top off and you’ll be ready to go.
- Sleeping Bag Compartment: If you’re someone that spends a lot of time hiking and plan on spending several days on the trail, a sleeping bag compartment is a must have. This means you’ll get a separate area made specifically for your sleeping bag and this saves you a ton of room. You’ll be able to carry around more essentials because of this.
- Elasticized pockets: These pockets are the ones that lay flat when not being used but can stretch around whatever you put in them. They’re perfect for your water bottle or any other object you want close by and that you want to easily grab.
- Hipbelt pockets: Hipbelt pockets is a feature that adds some convenience to your life. As the name suggests, they’re located on the hipebelt and gives you easy access to snacks or any other small item.
- Ventilation: Ventilation is important and ensures air keeps moving in your back area. This is especially useful when it’s hot out and will keep your back cool and prevents it from sweating too much.
- Padding: Padding is always nice and its benefits almost go without saying. With the right padding you’ll feel ultra comfortable all day long and be able to hike longer than ever before.
10) How much should I spend on my backpack?
Answer: There really isn’t one answer here that suits everyone. You really have to look at your own needs, where you plan on hiking and all that stuff. If you’re someone that only plans on getting out there from time to time and don’t plan on spending multiple nights in woods, you’ll spend less – you can find a quality backpack for between $150 to $200.
If you’re more serious, though, and like to spend a few nights and up to a month hiking, you’ll need to spend more. In some instances you can spend up to $400 and $500 but you can find quality backpacks for less. But I would spend at least $200 if you want to get a really nice product.
11) What are some tips in terms of packing?
Answer: Have you ever seen someone load WAY too much gear into their bag? The pack itself is bursting at the seams and there’s a million products and items strapped to the sides. It’s honestly a funny thing to see.
So the first thing you have to keep in mind when loading your backpack up is to make sure you have the right size – it’s honestly best to go a little larger in terms of capacity than smaller when purchasing – this way you always know you’ll have enough room.
Here’s a few tips that I’ve learned over the years:
- Share gear among friends: If you’re hiking with many people, make sure to spread the gear around. If there’s something that not everyone needs, have one friend carry it and you carry another piece of equipment that can be used by everyone (grills, pots, and stuff like this).
- Use down sleeping bags and not synthetic bags: A down bag can be compressed and made into a smaller package when compared with a synthetic bag. This saves you valuable space.
- Package your food correctly: Some on the go meals take up too much space because of their packaging. It’s best to take the food out of the packaging and put it into smaller bags and stuff like that. Also, you can just pack your own food without purchasing meals.
- Attach gear to the outside of your backpacks: You don’t have to fit all your stuff inside the backpack too. You don’t want to layer things too far back so it pulls you backwards and you want to keep everything as close to your back as possible.
Hike With The Best Backpack This Year
Hiking is one my favorite things to do and there’s just something so calming about being out in nature. You don’t have to think about life and you can just be for a little while.
To have your best time out there, though, you need to have quality gear and this applies to your backpack. If you get the right product you’ll be comfortable all day long and really be able to enjoy yourself. Get the wrong one and you’ll be miserable.
There’s a backpack on this list that’ll work for all needs and budgets too.
If you have any questions you can comment below and I’ll make sure to respond as quickly as possible. You can search around in the outdoor section up top for more gear reviews too. I’d personally check out my top picks of best hiking boots.
Are you excited to get out there on your favorite trail?