How to Buy a Hiking Backpack

Being lifelong travelers, all of us love our lightweight, multipurpose gear that can withstand the bustle of the road. Gear should be dependable, multifunctional, durable and perform beyond expectations. Nothing could be truer when it comes to buying a good hiking book bag, especially considering it will be your home Backwoods Shirt away from home. Traveling, especially long-term, will literally test the limits of your bag and your body, and as such this decision should never come in impulsively. Buying your book bag should not be a raced decision and factors like trip length, capacity, material, functionally and comfort should always be regarded. When i first got set on choosing a good pack, I was at REI for a good 3 hours -I think they begun to suspect I was applying for a job.

If my three hours was any indication, buying a good book bag is not an easy task. With hundreds of book bag manufacturers and styles, it can understandably be overwhelming. What you may do, don’t go cheap. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice and end up buying a new one anyway. A good book bag is an investment. You doesn’t have to spend $500 on a book bag, but steer clear of cheap, no-frills, average $70 brands, as you’ll regret the design flaws and absence of extras. Spend a little more for a good book bag from a trusted brand, and it will be your companion for many trips to come. The Osprey pack I eventually settled on has traveled with me from the You. S to the Middle East for 10 awesome years and I know it has another good 10 years to go.

Travel Book bag or Hiking Book bag

Before you begin shopping for the right pack, it’s important to know the difference between travel rucksacks and hiking rucksacks. A travel book bag is a backpack-suitcase hybrid with a zippered side panel similar to a luggage. Hiking rucksacks are the more commonly seen cylindrical top packing packages with connectors, videos and a top motorcycle. Some people have an opinion that hiking rucksacks are merely suited for the backcountry and has no place for the backpacker, I disagree. What works for you ultimately precipitates to personal preference and style of travel. Travel rucksacks are perfect for easy, organized access to gear and transporting from hostel to hostel. They also function well for short walks or even as a daypack.

On the other hand, if you possibly have camping or long treks in your travel plans, you may want to think about a hiking book bag. Hiking rucksacks are made for comfort, proper weight distribution, and toughness. Unlike a travel book bag, hiking rucksacks will have enhancements like full-sized cool belts, shoulder and back suspension systems along with plenty of load having connectors to mitigate discomfort. Granted the top down providing isn’t as convenient to access your gear, but that’s part in parcel to proper weight distribution. A good compromise would be to get a hiking book bag with side load access.

I am generalizing a bit as they do have travel rucksacks that are in the second capacity range with an increase of advanced suspension systems, but if you’ll receive a 70L travel book bag, you may as well go with a hiking book bag. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did for that unexpected 20 kilometer make your way to another location town.

Personal Hiking Style

Next, determine the style of travel you normally like to do. Unless you’re happy to buy a different book bag for each trip, figuring out your travel style can save you a lot of money in the long run and give you a part of foundation gear that’s ready for any trip. For instance, if you generally go on week long trips you doesn’t have to get a high capacity bag and might probably get away with a 35 liter to 50 liter (L) pack, whereas living long-term on the road might have to have 65L or greater.

Size is pretty very subjective though and really should not be the only determining factor. Some people are able to pack very bare bone fragments, where others require a bit more. Consider these factors:

How long is your trip:

Depending on the time your trip the ability and overall weight of your pack will change. Short trips require less capacity, and long trips typically require more. But remember that the bigger the pack the heavier it will become. 50lbs may not seem a lot at first, but 2 months in and it will feel like a ton of bricks.

What type of Activities will you do:

I know think that one bag can rule them all since i generally use my pack for everything. However, this isn’t always the case for everyone. Knowing what type of activity you’ll be doing will help you zero in on that perfect book bag. If you’re not considering carrying it around much, think about a travel book bag or even a wheeled book bag, whereas if you foresee yourself doing long treks a hiking book bag may be a lot better. I love to be prepared for almost any quickly arranged activity, so i lean more towards hiking rucksacks. Also, hiking rucksacks are generally made a bit tougher, so keep in mind that the more challenging the game, the greater the tension on the bag.

Lightweight or the kitchen sink:

Although I mentioned earlier that size is not the main determining factor, it’s still important to consider capacity based on what you want to bring. If ultra light is your goal, avoid high capacity rucksacks as you’ll invariably bring too much or if you do manage to pack light your book bag won’t distribute the weight properly. On the other hand, if your book bag is too small, you won’t be able to fit everything in. Have an idea of the apparatus you’re bringing and pick the capacity of your bag accordingly. Don’t hesitate to bring your items to the store to see how it fits in the packages. A professional retailer, like REI, won’t have a problem with this.

What To look for In a Hiking Book bag

Rucksacks vary in functionality as much as they do in character, with the more expensive models having the most amazing features. As with everything, your decision here is closely related to what type of traveling you want to do.


Your pack may not be going to be completely waterproof. Meaning, if sunken, or in a torrential downpour your clothing and equipment will still get wet. Although most rucksacks now come with a rain cover, you still are interested to be made of a difficult, tear proof, and lightweight silicon sprayed nylon or Cordura type material that enables rain or water to bead off and not soak through.

Completely removable Daypack

this option is really a personal preference, and not only a deal breaker, as many travelers bring an additional pack for day trips. But for those focused on traveling light, carrying two bags can be cumbersome. I know like the option of a completely removable daypack as i contain it only when I need it. On my Osprey, the top motorcycle greatly improves as a daypack. Significantly less comfortable as a dedicated daypack, but it serves its purpose.

Heavy-duty Lockable Zippers

A archipelago is only as strong as its smallest link. No matter how good the material of the book bag, if the addition points, like zippers, are weak the whole bag is worthless. Make sure the zippers are tough and lockable where applicable.

Pockets and Chambers

The more chambers the better. Good rucksacks usually have a number of chambers to help store and separate your gear so you won’t have to dig through layers of clothes just to find your chapstick. For instance, maps can go in the top flap, while your flip-flops are stored easily in the side pocket. However you may pack, separate pockets allow quick and easy access to your gear. Most rucksacks will also have strategically placed pockets, like on the hipbelt, so you can get to your gear and never having to drop your pack.

Lightweight Internal Frame

Rucksacks generally include an internal frame, external frame, or no frame at all. I strongly recommend a lightweight internal frame made from strong h2o and fiber the fishing rod. This provides more load support and just looks better. External frames are cumbersome, noticeable, and use outdated technology and frameless rucksacks have awful load support at higher weights. Trust me, without proper weight distribution, you’re shoulder muscles are going to feel every single one of those pounds.

Side Load Access

I’m seeing less and less of this function on the newer rucksacks, but if you do happen to find one with side access you’re golden. You’ll be able to access items from the main drawer of the bag without digging in from the top. You’re life will try to be very much simpler.

Suspension System with Padding Shoulder muscles and Load Having Connectors

Don’t even consider buying a book bag unless it has either an adjustable or fixed suspension system, along with a bunch of load having connectors. The suspension system is the part that usually sets against your back and where the padding shoulder muscles connect. Fixed system means that it fits one torso size, whereas the adjustable system can be calibrated. The whole system means to help become stable load and transfer weight to your sides. The stress having connectors, like the sternum band, will also help move the weight around reducing pain.

Setting up

To reduce the discomfort from an annoying flushed back, get a book bag with setting up. Most internal-frame packages will have some sort of setting up system or design feature that promotes airflow, creating a permanent breathable layer between yourself and the book bag. Although not necessary for load support, it certainly increases your satisfaction.

Padding Full-size Cool belt

This is among the most important feature of any book bag since your sides will be carrying 80% of your rucksacks weight. The padding in the belt will help you avoid fatigue, discomfort, and of course load distribution. Make sure you get one that’s full-size, where the padding comes around your cool bone to the front, and it not just a thin band with a clip.

Multiple Connectors and Tool Addition Points

This feature is a personal preference and doesn’t really impact comfort and load distribution but I really do feel it’s just as important. I like the idea of having excess connectors, videos and tool addition points. You’re able to perform on-the-fly spot repairs for a variety of unexpected circumstances, making your book bag function more than just as a bag. You’re able to tie, hook, and rig a whole mess of things while on the road and never having to carry additional gear. Some rucksacks have initiated to include “daisy chains” (typically available on climbing packs) which is a series of tool addition loops.

Internal Hydration Tank

An internal drawer that holds your favorite hydration bladder (i. e. Camelpak, Platypus) so you have hands-free access to WATER. Openings on the book bag allows you access to the drink tube making it a very practical feature during your long treks. You won’t have to dig into your pack or stop your momentum looking for your water bottle.

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