How to Choose your Trekking Backpack

Overwhelmed by the endless hiking backpack choices? Not sure, which one fits you? Check out this complete guide that takes you through each step of the selection process.

Picking the right backpack is an essential part of planning your treks. Too big, and you’ll have to carry too much weight on your back and shoulder. Too small, you will not be able to fit all your essential gear. Choose the wrong backpack material, and your gear will get soaked in the rain.

With so many backpack choices and models out there, finding the perfect backpack for your hikes is a science. Here, in this post, you can find all that you need to choose the right backpack for your outdoor adventures.

Three Factors to Consider While Choosing a Hiking Backpack:

  • Size
  • Features
  • Fit

Backpack Size

Before you start looking at the available sizes, you need to decide the type of treks you will be doing and how long will your journey be. For instance, if you are going on a 6-hour trek to reach your destination, then you want your backpack to be as light-weight as possible. On the other hand, if you are going to be trekking for 2-3 days, then your backpack should be able to hold all the essential gear that you require.

Generally, the size of hiking backpacks is measured in litres and range from 40 to 120 litres. Here’s a general guideline for the right size, based on the number of days of your trip.

  • Weekend – 1 to 3 nights: 30 – 50 litres
  • Multiday trips – 3 to 5 nights: 50 – 80 litres
  • Extended trips – 5 nights and more: 80 litres or more

Backpack Features

Choosing the right features can be quite confusing, as there are dozens and dozens of features flaunted on the market. Remember that not all features are suitable for everyone. For instance, if you are going to be trekking in hot, dry climates, then an integrated rain cover is not a mandatory feature for you.

Before you choose a backpack with a specific feature, ensure that you will be using that feature. Here are some of the popular choices:

  • Integrated rain cover to protect your backpack from sudden showers.
  • Hydration compatible backpacks that hold water with a hose for easy sipping, while on the move.
  • Removable daypacks that are a great plus for short day trips from the base camp.
  • Sleeping bag compartments.
  • Backpack frame style.
  • Ventilation and padding.
  • Adequate pockets – hip pockets, side pockets, front pockets, and lid pockets.
  • Backpack access mode – side zipper, top openings and more.
  • External hooks, straps, and loops.
  • Load lifter straps.

Trekking Backpack

Backpack Fit

Finally, you need to purchase a trekking backpack that fits your body perfectly. There are two main elements to consider while focussing on the fit:

  • Torso length
  • Waist width

Step 1: Measure your Torso

Stand straight and locate the C7 (the bump at the base of your neck, where the neck connects to the shoulders). Next, use your thumbs to locate the midpoint of your hip bone. Get a friend to measure the length from the C7 to the hip bone. This is your torso length.

Step 2: Measure your Waist Width

Locate your hipbones and measure the circumference.

Step 3: Find the Right Fitting Backpack

Using the two measurements, you can check out backpack sizing charts to find if you fall in the XS, S, M, L, or XL. Remember that backpack sizes, vary from one brand to another so make sure to reference the sizing chart before you choose one.

Get Trekking!

Now, that you know all about choosing the right backpacks, all that’s left is finding your preferred colour. Purchase the right backpack and start packing for your adventurous trips!