Guide to Choosing the Best Hiking Backpack

The rolling hills and towering mountains are there to offer refuge for your soul. However, these hiking trips can be plagued by freezing winds and a rugged landscape. This is where your hiking backpack will come to save you. Packed with equipment and protective gear, it will be your best friend.  But, how will you be able to get the perfect one? With so many available hiking backpack options, here are tips you can abide: 

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Types of Hiking Backpacks

Many backpack manufacturers claim that they have the state of the art features and latest tech. So, choosing the right bag amidst a plethora of backpack brands and kinds can be confusing.  Well, you will be able to do this more easily by determining first, the type of hiking backpack that you want. 

Frameless Hiking Backpacks

If you are planning on having a quick weekend getaway, then the frameless hiking backpack is your friend. Flexible and very lightweight, this particular type is aluminum rod-free. It mainly uses plastic as its frame sheet that can hold up to forty liters of weight. Best used during short trail treks and climbs, frameless backpacks fuse efficiency, and durability. However, if you have an injured pelvic muscle or swollen shoulders, you can experience some problems. This type lacks rigid sheets to evenly distribute the weight on your hips and shoulders.

Internal-frame Hiking Backpacks

A whole day trip carrying this type of hiking bag will not be a hassle for you. Equipped with flattened aluminum rods and thick frame sheets made of plastic, you can have more vertical support. Its sturdy construction will be able to transfer most of the heavy load to your hip from your shoulder. This way your hip muscles, which are thicker and stronger muscles, will be able to hold the weight. Internal frame hiking backpacks can withstand more than forty liters of your gear and still give you that comfortable climb.  

External-frame Hiking Backpacks

Well, if you are planning on a week-long adventure, backpacks with external frames are there for you. Built for heavy cargo, you will be able to have that weeklong adventure in the wild. Your additional gears and clothes will not be a problem with its ability to hold up to fifty liters. Made with thick, robust frames of aluminum, they will be able to support any person whether adult or teenager. This bag is the right fit for you if you’re planning on packing some bulky items, like ropes, cords, and many more.

What to look for in a good hiking backpack?

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The true testament to a hiking bag’s ability will rely on how good it can deliver during your actual trek. Here is an inventory of the key characteristics that you should examine and look for:

Capacity

This factor refers to the amount of weight your hiking bag will be able to carry. Now, you will always have to remember that the capacity of your pack is directly proportional to its size. The heavier and more loads that you want to carry, the wider and bigger your bag should be.  However, your choice of the amount of stuff that you want to pack will depend on the duration of your trip. There are packs that can support thirty-five liters and below, which are called daypacks. For thirty-five to fifty-five liter capacity, you can have medium backpacks. If you’re looking for the big guns then you can have the large backpacks that can pack fifty-five to seventy liters. But, for hardcore getaways, you should have the extra-large backpacks that can hold up to seventy liters and more. 

Material

Nylon and a hiking backpack is a match made in heaven. Used by hiking packs worldwide, nylon boasts itself as the best material for heavy-duty excursions. Intrinsically durable and resistant to any scratch and abrasions, nylon allows you to carry all that equipment without trouble. Now, the thing that you will have to look for is what they call denier. The higher the denier component will be, the stronger the pack. Backpacks with high-grade nylons are those that are often reinforced with Cordura and ripstop fabrics.

Fit

No one likes a loose and saggy bag on their back. The wrong measurement will hinder your physical strength while accurate fittings will enhance it. The best fit for you should fit with your torso and hip digits. The length of your torso must be proportionate and will match well with the length of your backpack. Your torso length starts from your shoulders to the end of your spine.  Hip belts will also come to play since it would help in balancing out the weight that you will carry. 

Durability

The ability of your bag to endure various temperatures and weather conditions adds up to its sturdiness. This quality will depend greatly on the type of material your bag is made and what brand it is. Heavy-duty packs would often use nylon as its main cloth, while daypacks would commonly utilize polyester. On the other hand, nylon bags are so much more expensive than polyester bags. 

Access

Your backpack’s access feature can go in two ways. It can have a panel-loading feature, which means that its zipper line is shaped like a U. This is comparable to how you would open your suitcase. Having this type of opening would allow you to find your stuff easier. But, it can also be a problem when the lengthy zipper cover gets damaged.  Backpacks that are top-loading would have a lid entrance. This is useful for storing more of your belongings and it is more convenient.

Pockets

Out in the wilderness, where things are unpredictable, pockets are your lifeline. This helpful feature is the one that holds your essentials. Located conveniently or strategically placed, your backpack pockets are there to give you easy access.  Ergonomically speaking, you should make sure that your pack has hip belt pockets, which is found on your waist and can store your phone or some snacks. It should also have side pockets that are wide enough to cater your water bottles and hiking sandals. Front pockets should be present as well to keep your jackets and maps dry. 

Other Features

Now the fun doesn’t just end with those details. There are additional innovations that you can add to your bag.  These can include the following:

  • Ventilation systemA good pack would not only deal with durability and strength, but your comfort. Trekking up a hill or any hiking adventure would mean exhaustion and heat. This can lead to excessive sweating and uncomfortable rashes. However, you can avoid this by making sure that your bag has good airways. It should have a mesh back layer, which enhances circulations.
  • Body straps Straps on your backpack ensure not only better attachment, but also even weight distribution. Your bag should have a hip and shoulder belt that are fit perfectly for you. These will aid you in carrying your equipment in rugged terrain.
  • PaddingMade of foam and thick layers of breathable cloth, they are there to provide you with plush comfort. Conveniently placed pads on the hip and on the shoulder will drive away any discomfort and back sores.

How to get the perfect fit?

Knowing the best backpack will require your sharp eye. This will depend on your torso length and your hip measurements. By having the right measurements, you can have a guaranteed comfortable adventure.

Important Questions to Consider

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The longer the hike, the more things there are for you to bring. A day outside your home is no big deal. The pack that you should choose should be able to carry twenty to thirty-five liters. Three days outdoors would require equipment for cooking and sleeping. This would entail a pack that has a thirty-five liter capacity. 

In order to help you find the perfect hiking backpack that suits your needs, you need to answer the following questions:

How long is the hike? 

The longer the hike, the more things there are for you to bring. A day outside your home is no big deal. The pack that you should choose should be able to carry twenty to thirty-five liters. Three days outdoors would require equipment for cooking and sleeping. This would entail a pack that has a thirty-five liter capacity. 

Where and When?

Weather is unpredictable. To be prepared for any fickle moments in the wild, you should choose a waterproof bag. You should also match your clothing to your destination. Humid areas require cotton apparel, while cool locations need thicker clothing. Bringing umbrellas and other protective gear are advisable.

Do you have the budget?

The cheapest pack that you can go for will be around $99 USD. The more expensive ones can be $300 USD. Now, this choice will greatly affect the material of the bag and its durability. If you are an adrenaline junkie who likes to go out more, then invest on the best bag you can buy. But, even though your bag is expensive, its longevity will depend on how meticulous you are in cleaning and caring for it.

What should I put in my hiking backpack?

Think minimal. The things that you carry should have multi-functions. You can also carry meals that are smaller, but have a high caloric value to save more space. As mentioned, the type of clothes should also match the weather and the destination. 

Nature is the perfect place for you to detach yourself from reality. By hiking through a trail or climbing towards a summit, you are allowed to reconnect.  Having the right hiking backpack will make it even more special and fun. Remember to always prioritize your comfort and invest in those that deserve it. After all, your pack is your lifeline.

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