Unless you want your trip to unintentionally become into a fit camp, you should pay great attention to the backpack you are going to be carrying during your trip.
In order for you to select a good backpack, you should know that there are some things to consider:
Your backpack should be comfortable enough to allow you to carry at least 20-30 pounds. It should be proportional to your body; the shorter you are, the smaller your backpack should be. Why size is really important? Not only because it will dictate how much you can carry with you, but also because a correct sizing proportion between body and backpack helps balance the weight properly. This reduces back pain or topping over due to weight.
When trying out different backpack sizes, you should ask a sales representative to put some weights inside the pack so you know what 20-30 pounds feels like on your back.
Also, size dictates if you can use your backpack as a carry-on on your flight or not.
You should try to get a backpack that is waterproof or at least semi-waterproof. One of the worst things that can happen is getting all your things wet while running under the rain. Also, the material should dry quick enough to prevent creating a bad “environment” inside your bag. Many packs come with a cover you can put over them in case of a downpour.
Backpacks come with internal and external frames. External frame backpacks tend to be bulky, ugly, and have rods sticking out that can get caught on anything along your way. And who would want that? These days, you should buy an internal frame backpack. Internal frames tend to look better, be lighter, and more comfortable.
Many backpacks are top loading (you get everything from the top) but these are not the most efficient in terms of searching for stuff. If you need to get something that is packed at the bottom, you have to take everything out first. A good option is to have a front panel loading backpack. These ones have a zipper along the length of the backpack that allows you to get into any part of your backpack without much difficulty.
Make sure each compartment of your backpack has two zippers that can be locked together.
This helps organize and separate your things better.
Padded Hip Belt
Since most of your pack’s weight is going to be carried on your hips, make sure that the hip belt is padded to make supporting the weight more comfortable.
Padded Shoulder Strap
This makes carrying the load much more comfortable as your pack will be pushing downward on your shoulders.
This strap helps bring the weight forward by connecting the two shoulder straps over your chest. It also helps distributing the weight and relieves your shoulders from some of the weight, saving you from some excessive shoulder pain.
Lumbar shaped packs make carrying the load much easier as they help distribute the weight more evenly. Some even provide some space between your back and the back of the pack to provide for some “breathing action” along your back. This reduces your sweating on your back.
While style is the least important factor when selecting a backpack, let’s face it; style plays a big part on your decision-making. Just keep in mind that while you choose something you like in terms of design, it should also be efficient and comfortable. If not, your “fashion statement” will cost you some headaches and back pains along your trip.
Of course, the price will play a huge part on your decision-making. Just have in mind that backpacks range from $50 to $300+, and that not necessarily the most expensive pack will be the best pack. You will see that a $100-$200 pack can do better than a really expensive pack if it fits all your needs.
Generally, you will travel with a backpack and a daypack. Daypacks are much smaller and are used to keep all the things you need during the day accessible (and even things you rather not leave alone on your backpack). But when carrying both packs, the backpack is used as usual, and the daypack is generally used in the front. Carrying both packs this way might look weird, but it helps balance the weight on your body. You’ll see it is a common practice among backpacker to do this.
Knowing all these factors, and how they apply to you and your needs, will help you choose the right backpack.
Below are a few recommended backpack you can choose from. For more options, I recommend visiting rei.com.
Osprey Atmos 50 Pack
The Osprey Atmos 50 Pack redefines expectations for weight, ventilation and comfort. An updated suspension provides a customized fit for greater comfort than ever on the trail.
Mammut Trion Guide 35 + 7 Pack
The Mammut Trion Guide 35 + 7 pack offers a variety of packing options and outstanding wearing comfort. It covers the needs of the 4-season climber on single-day or weekend adventures.
The North Face Banchee 35 Pack – Women’s
The North Face Banchee 35 Pack for women is a smaller Banchee–not a stripped down one–that has just as many features and backbone as its larger siblings to take on any adventure.
Mountainsmith Youth Scout Backpack – Kid’s – 2014 Overstock
Outfit aspiring explorers with the Mountainsmith Scout pack, featuring a lightweight aluminum frame and plenty of storage to keep kids comfortable and well prepared for their first wilderness forays.
Deuter Aircontact 70 + 10 SL Pack – Women’s
The women’s Deuter Aircontact 70 + 10 SL pack is a feature-rich gear hauler. Enjoy its quality, durability, capacity and comfort on your next multiday adventure in the great outdoors.
The North Face Terra 40 Pack – Women’s
A versatile, midsized outdoor do-it-all, The North Face Terra 40 Pack for women offers an updated, super-comfortable suspension system and enough volume for multiple days out.
Osprey Xenith 75 Pack
Load up the Osprey Xenith 75 pack for your next multi-day backpacking trip and enjoy its supportive and highly customizable fit, beefed-up frame and deluxe suspension.
Kelty Sanitas Pack – Youth
With a padded harness and durable frame, the Kelty Sanitas Pack comfortably hauls a sleeping bag, tent, and other gear. Designed for ages 8 – 12, the Sanitas is perfect for scouting and family trips.
Arc’teryx Nozone 75 Pack
The robust Arc’teryx Nozone 75 pack takes on rugged alpine terrain and intense use with ease. Its features can be stripped down to customize it to your specific objectives and activity needs.
The North Face Banchee 50 Pack
Lean and mean, The North Face Banchee 50 Pack is perfect for forays into the backcountry. It has no shortage of pockets for organizing and easily accessing your gear.
Deuter ACT Lite 50 + 10 Pack
The sleek and spacious Deuter ACT Lite 50 + 10 pack features a light-and-fast design that will keep you cool on long weekends and multiday trekking adventures.
REI Crestrail 70 Pack
The REI Crestrail 70 pack incorporates the latest concepts in pack design, materials and components, balancing comfort with performance and durability for weekend or multiday trips.