How to find the best hiking backpack? The answer is not price, quality, or even volume. The best one is the one that meets the requirements of a hike in range, portable equipment, contains everything you need and is comfortable to wear.
For those who want to save money: we do not recommend making a hiking backpack according to patterns taken from the Internet, since you still won’t be able to achieve the same level of quality without special equipment.
To select a product according to all these parameters, it is worth understanding what is usually included in the contents of the luggage:
- Personal equipment includes: shoes, clothes, sleeping bag, dishes. Beginners often take extra things with them, and experienced tourists already know what they can definitely do without. And a small hiking backpack is cheaper than for a large one, so think over the list of hiking equipment well and in advance.
- General equipment, i.e. something that everyone will use on a hike: a burner, a tent, gas equipment, a first aid kit, and a repair kit. If you are travelling in a group, then the distribution of all these things will be mandatory.
- Special equipment is needed for mountain hiking, where you can not do without ropes and “iron”. Kayaks and catamarans for rafting. And in winter – snowshoes or skis.
- 4. You need to eat something, so you will also have to take food. And here you will require the skills of a supply manager who makes a grocery layout.
Keep in mind that a hiking backpack with dishes, a sleeping bag, and clothes is not everything, and you need to leave room for general equipment. For this, do not miss an important point: the type of matt that you will take with you. The cheapest and most common foam matt is attached outside, so there is no need to look for a place for it. But if you take a self-inflating or inflatable one, then prepare some space for it: the smallest one will take up as much volume as a 1 litter thermos and large ones are almost the size of a sleeping bag.
Note: it is advisable to leave about a third of the backpack free so that the group equipment can fit inside.
How to choose a hiking backpack according to its purpose?
Before buying a high-quality and reliable military hiking backpack or a small one for a couple of tens of liters, ask yourself the question: where will you go with it? The choice must be based on your answer, and not on your desire to pack less. Naturally, a 30-litter hiking backpack is not suitable for long hikes: it won’t even fit all your personal belongings, let alone the general use equipment.
Therefore, there is a simple methodology for guidance. The calculations are approximate, they are not the ultimate truth, but they are based on the experience of travellers who went to the mountains for a week and went out of town for a picnic.
- The easiest option, available to almost everyone, regardless of the level of physical fitness, is a weekend summer hike. It can be mountains or forest. This is where a 40-liter hiking backpack comes in handy: the optimal bag for all the necessary things for a pleasant pastime with family or friends.
- In case of trekking and mountain hikes lasting for up to 3 days, feel free to take a hiking backpack of 60 liters or a little more, and you will not regret it.
- Category and mountain hikes, including expeditions, require a serious and thorough approach. And a lot of space is occupied by specialized tourist equipment (ropes, safety system, and other hardware). Here the minimum volume is a hiking backpack of 80 liters.
- The most “heavy” trips are skiing and water rafting. Therefore, in this case, look for a hiking backpack of 90-120 liters. If it is not possible to bring the kayaks to the point of arrival, you will drag folding kayaks with you. In winter, with skis, the logic is even simpler: warm clothes weigh and take up more space than summer clothes.
Bringing a child with you is an entirely different story. A kid’s hiking backpack will be similar to an adult one, but its volume should be determined by age. We don’t take into account very small backpacks, however, a teenager of 12-14 years old in sportswear should lift a 50-litter hiking backpack easily. The same can be said about a women’s hiking backpacks: as a rule, they are smaller than men’s backpacks by at least a dozen liters.
How to make a hiking backpack lighter?
In some cases, the volume is not proportional to the duration of the hike: there are hiking trails where there is an overnight stay, food, and the minimum necessary “soap-and-snout” accessories. Therefore, before choosing a model for hiking backpack for a child, a woman or a man, consider the features of the route:
- Will you live in a tent or a house? If the roof over your head is “stationary”, you can save 5-10 liters of backpack volume. Living in a house, most likely, a sleeping bag will not come in handy. Therefore, even an initially calculated hiking backpack of 50 liters can quickly turn into a 30-litter one.
- Is it summer or winter: in the cold there will be more things that need to be carried, and the sleeping bag will be denser. Take a backpack with 10-20 more liters compared to the summer.
- 3. Food and gas for a week will take up about 15 liters.
- Does the route include the possibility of washing clothes or stopping for a shower? It would be good, since you would not have to lug around 10 pairs of socks and T-shirts. It may seem that it takes up little space, but in the end it really makes the backpack lighter.
By the way, an army hiking backpack is suitable for the most advanced travellers: it is multifunctional, has a lot of compartments and fasteners, but is available in volumes from 20 to 50 liters.
Probably, as a direct indication that the soldiers must meet the minimum volume, packing only the most useful stuff. Although we do not aspire to join the military, their ability to pack things is worth looking into. Someday, and you too might need to carry almost half as much as you do now.
Also, in the sports luck blog, you will find articles about selection of tourist shovels and carimats.