How to buy a hiking backpack

As a lifelong traveler, we all like our lightweight, versatile gear unit that can withstand the rigors of the road. Gears should be reliable, versatile, durable and perform better than expected. Nothing is more real than buying a quality hiking backpack, especially considering that it will be your home. Especially for long-term travel, you can literally test your luggage and body limits, so this decision should never be impulsive. Buying a backpack shouldn't be an urgent decision, and you should always consider factors such as travel length, capacity, materials, functionality and comfort. When I seriously considered buying quality products for the first time, I worked for 3 hours at REI – I think they started to suspect that I was applying for a job.

If there is no indication in my three hours, buying a good backpack is not an easy task. There are hundreds of backpack manufacturers and styles, which can be understood to be overwhelming. No matter what you do, don't be cheap. You will damage your own interests, and eventually you will buy a new one. A good backpack is an investment. You don't have to spend $500 on your backpack, but be wary of being cheap, simple, and running a brand of 70 brands, because you will regret design flaws and lack of additional features. Spend a little more money to buy a good backpack from a trusted brand and it will be your partner for multiple trips. The Osprey backpack that I finally settled with me traveled from the United States to the Middle East for 10 years. I know that it still has 10 years of good times.

Travel backpack or hiking backpack

Before you start buying the right backpack, it's important to understand the difference between a backpack and a hiking backpack. The travel backpack is a backpack-suit hybrid with a zipper side panel similar to the trunk. Hiking backpacks are the most common cylindrical top-loading backpacks with belts, clips and top covers. I don't agree with some people that hiking backpacks are only suitable for remote areas, while backpackers have no place. The choice that suits you best depends on your personal preferences and the way you travel. The travel backpack is ideal for relaxing, orderly access to equipment and transportation from the hotel to the hotel. They are also suitable for short walks and even backpacks.

On the other hand, if you have a camping or long journey in your travel plan, you may want to consider using a hiking backpack. The hiking backpack is designed for comfort, proper weight distribution and toughness. Unlike travel backpacks, hiking backpacks have enhanced features such as full-size belts, shoulder and back suspensions, and plenty of load-bearing straps to reduce discomfort. Allowing top-down packaging is not convenient for taking your gear, but it is part of the proper weight for the package. A good compromise is to get a hiking backpack with a side load entrance.

I'm a bit generalized because their travel backpacks do have a higher capacity with a more advanced suspension system, but if you want a 70-litre backpack, choose a hiking backpack. Believe me, you will be happy for the unexpected 20-mile trek to reach the next town.

Personal backpack style

Next, determine how you usually like to travel. Unless you are willing to buy a different backpack for each trip, in the long run, figuring out how you travel will save you a lot of money and prepare the basic equipment for any trip. For example, if you usually travel long distances a week, you don't need to carry large amounts of luggage, you may need to carry a 35-liter to 50-liter [L] backpack, and long-term driving on the road may require 65 liters or more.

Although the size is very subjective, it should not be the only decisive factor. Some people can pack very bare bones while others need more. Consider the following factors:

Your travel time:

The capacity and total weight of the backpack will vary depending on the length of the trip. Short trips require less capacity, while long trips usually require more capacity. But please note that the larger the package, the heavier it will become. At first 50 pounds did not seem to be much, but after 2 months, it felt like a ton of bricks.

What type of activity will you be engaged in:

I personally think that a bag can rule all the luggage because I usually use my parcel for all items. However, it may not be the case for everyone. Knowing the type of activity you are going to do will help you focus on the perfect backpack. If you don't plan to carry too much, consider using a travel backpack or even a wheeled backpack, but if you expect to travel long distances, hiking backpacks may be more appropriate. I like to be prepared for any type of spontaneous activity, so I prefer hiking backpacks. In addition, hiking backpacks are usually more robust, so keep in mind that the more challenging the activity, the more stressful the backpack is.

Lightweight or kitchen sink:

Although I mentioned before that size is not the main determinant, it is still important to consider capacity based on the capacity you plan to bring. If your goal is to be ultra-lightweight, avoid using a large-capacity backpack, as this will inevitably put an excessive burden, or if you try to pack it lightly, the backpack will not be able to dispense the weight correctly. Conversely, if your backpack is too small, you won't be able to put everything in. Know what you want to carry and choose the capacity of your bag accordingly. Don't hesitate to take your merchandise to the store and see how the merchandise is placed in the package. Well-known retailers like REI will not have problems with this.

What to look for in a hiking backpack

Backpacks have as much functionality as they look, and more expensive models have the most bells and whistles. As with everything, your decision here is closely related to what kind of travel you like to do.


Your backpack may not be completely waterproof. This means that if drowning or pouring rain, clothes and equipment will still get wet. Although most backpacks now come with a rain cover, you still want it to be made of a strong, tear-resistant, lightweight silicone coated nylon or Cordura material to prevent rain or water from penetrating without penetrating.

Detachable backpack

This option is actually a personal preference, not a real trade break, as many travelers need additional packaging to take a day trip. But for those who are focused on light travel, carrying two bags can be cumbersome. I personally like the choice of detachable backpack, because it can only be used when needed. On my osprey, the top cover can be used as a backpack. It's not as comfortable as a dedicated backpack, but it does.

Heavy duty lockable zipper

Only one of the weakest links in a chain is powerful. No matter how good the material of the backpack is, if the attachment points of accessories such as zippers are weak, the entire backpack is worthless. Make sure the zipper is tough and lockable [if applicable].

Pocket and compartment

The more compartments, the better. Premium backpacks often have many compartments to help you store and separate your gear, so you don't have to wear a few layers of clothing to find chopsticks. For example, the map can be placed on top and your triggers can be conveniently stored in side pockets. Whether you decide to pack your bags, a separate pocket allows you to pick and place your equipment quickly and easily. Most backpacks will also be strategically placed in a pocket, such as on a belt, so you can use it with confidence without having to put down your backpack.

Lightweight interior frame

Backpacks usually have an internal frame, an external frame or no frame at all. I highly recommend the use of a lightweight internal frame made of sturdy carbon fiber rods. This provides more load support and looks better. The frame is cumbersome, eye-catching, and outdated technology, and the frameless backpack has excellent load-bearing capacity in heavier conditions. Believe me, without proper weight distribution, your shoulders will feel every pound of these pounds.

Side load channel

I see this feature less and less in newer backpacks, but if you happen to find a backpack with a side entry, you will be very happy. You will be able to remove items from the main compartment of the bag without having to start digging from the top. Your life will be simpler.

Suspension system with shoulder pads and load-bearing belts

Don't even consider buying a backpack unless it has an adjustable or fixed suspension system and a pile of load-bearing belts. The suspension system is usually the part that rests on the joint between your back and the pad. A fixed system means it fits a torso size, and an adjustable system can be calibrated. The entire system is designed to help stabilize the load and transfer weight to the buttocks. Load-bearing belts, such as the sternum belt, will also help to reduce weight and discomfort.


To minimize discomfort caused by sweating and troubled back, use a ventilated backpack. Most interior frame backpacks have a ventilation system or design feature that promotes airflow and creates a permanent breathable layer between you and the backpack. Although not essential for load support, it will definitely improve your comfort.

Padded full size hip belt

This may be the most important feature of any backpack, as the hips will bear 80% of the weight of the backpack. Pads in the belt help you avoid fatigue, discomfort, and of course load sharing. Make sure you get a full-size pad that extends forward around your hip bone, not just the thin belt with the clip.

Multiple belt and tool attachment points

This feature is personal and does not really affect comfort and load distribution, but I do think it is equally important. I like the idea of ​​having extra belts, clips and tools to fix points. You can perform instant on-site repairs for a variety of unexpected situations, so that the backpack functions more than just a backpack. You can tie, hook and bind all the debris on the go without having to carry other equipment. Some backpacks have begun to include "daisy chains" [usually found on mountaineering bags], which are a series of tool retaining rings.

Internal reservoir

The internal compartment accommodates your favorite hydrated bladder [eg Camelpak, Platypus] so you don't need to touch H2O with your hands. The opening in the backpack will give you access to the tube, which is a very useful feature for long journeys. You won't have to delve into the backpack or stop looking for the power of bottled water.

What size backpack do I need?

There are no clear rules for this issue, as it depends entirely on your own way of travel, travel time and weather. Generally, the colder the weather, the greater the capacity required; the larger the capacity, the greater the total weight. I try to pack up and pack only the things that fit my backpack. Therefore, the best advice is to find the right baggage capacity for you and pack only the items you absolutely need and the right ones. I have provided a very extensive guide below:

Stroke length / capacity [liter]

One-day tour 25-35 liters

1-3 nights 35-50L

3-5 nights 50 to 75L

5 nights above 65 + L

How to find the right person

For the best comfort and proper load distribution, you need to make sure the backpack is installed correctly. Ideally, you should try it before you buy it, but this is not always an option. In order to find the right size, you need to find the length of your torso, not the height, the distance between your seventh cervical vertebra and the distance [in inches]. In other words, from the root of the neck to the top of the hip bone. After making this measurement, please use the following guidelines:

Backpack size / torso size [inches]

Extra small 151⁄2

Small 16 to 171⁄2

Medium/conventional 18 to 191⁄2"

Big / high 20 +

As for your waist size, most backpacks come with an adjustable waistband, so accurately determining the size of your hips is not as important as determining the length of your torso. Just make sure the belt is above the buttocks and about one inch above and below the navel.

How much should I spend on hiking backpacks?

You'll find backpacks ranging in price from under $100 to $600. Unless you have an unlimited budget and only need the latest models, you don't have to spend more than $300. Say, I will also stay away from anything below $150 because they will lack basic features such as suspension systems or padded belts. Buying a backpack is an investment, and what you want most is to tear the seam or tear off the shoulder strap when you need it most. Just make sure your backpack has at least the above features and is comfortable.

Best backpack brand

There are hundreds of amazing great models of styles and models. I am not a brand that is better than the next brand. I can only tell you the brands I like and the brands I have confidence in. I have been using the same Osprey backpack since 2004, and my wife has been using Gregory for almost the same amount of time. Honestly, after endless airline abuse, field trips and overseas adventures, there is no need to replace any belts, zippers or clips. It is also worth mentioning that Osprey and Gregory offer a lifetime warranty on all handbags. You may never need it, but it's nice to know that the company supports its products.


Osprey has 40 years of backpack manufacturing experience and a lifetime warranty that demonstrates its quality. They are one of the biggest choices in style and size for a variety of adventures, and their backpacks feature the latest backpack technology. Osprey is my personal favorite and my preferred brand. You really won't make mistakes to these guys.


Like Osprey, these people specialize in backpacks. My wife will prove their quality and comfort. She has used backpacks for nearly a decade without having to repair or replace them. Gregory also offers a lifetime warranty.

The North Face

The North Face originated in San Francisco and has been developing adventure gear for more than 40 years. I have never had the fun of using their backpacks, but with his pedigree and lifetime warranty, I will have confidence in my backpack on any given day of the week.

Bow & teryx

In addition to having a very cool name, Arc&teryx has also introduced some great products. They are one of the more expensive brands there, but if you are willing to pay for it, you will definitely get high quality


Low-end brands, if you want to buy features at a reasonable price, is the best choice for Deuter. They have been involved in backpacking since 1968 and are very popular among Europeans.

Backpack accessories

Rain cover [alone or built-in]

Most backpacks are waterproof but not waterproof and therefore subject to constant rain. If your backpack doesn't have a built-in rain cover, this is a worthwhile addition. You don't need fancy money or spend a lot of money, just make sure it fits your package size. I use REI's Ducks Back rain cover and it works great.

Empty bag

The last thing you want to do is damage the backpack before you travel. With all the belts, bare shoulders and belts, it's easy to grab and tear them off. An empty bag will cover your entire backpack [there should be a duffel bag in the bag] and be protected during transport. Similarly, you can lock on the lockable zipper for theft protection. I have Osprey Airporter LZ. I want it to be lighter [about 1 pound], but I think it's worth doing it to make you more worry-free.

Ok, this is my guide on how to buy a great hiking backpack.