When you’re on a backpacking trip, the way you tote your gear will make all the difference between an enjoyable and miserable expedition. A good backpack is the staple of every successful adventure, which is why you need to pay special attention when choosing.
The backpack you pick needs to be sufficient in size, fit well on your back, and remain comfortable during long hours on the trail. In this article, we’ll show you the best backpacking backpacks on the market and discuss their features in detail so you can easily decide which one is right for you.
How To Choose A Backpacking Backpack – Buying Guide
The kind of backpack you strap on your back for backpacking expeditions can make or ruin your trips. Because of this, you must put in some effort and choose the best backpack for backpacking style that you enjoy. To help you with this, here are some of the most important features you need to consider.
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The volume of your backpack dictates how much equipment you’ll be able to bring on your trip. For shorter trips (1-3 nights), 30-50 liters will do. A 3 to 5-day trip requires 50 to 70 liters, while extended week-long trips need a minimum of 60 liters. If you want one versatile backpack to suit different expeditions, a 60-70 liter volume is a happy medium.
For a backpack to be comfortable, it needs to fit nicely on your back. For this reason, you need to ensure you get a backpack whose width and length suits your body size and shape. Your torso length and hips circumference determine what size pack for backpacking you need, so you need to measure carefully and then check the specifications to find a pack that will fit your body comfortably.
Women and Youth Sizes
To provide a better fit, women and youth models are often smaller and have a slightly different design. For example, women’s models have narrower shoulders and a shorter torso, while kids’ backpacks have smaller capacities and adjustable suspension that allows growth.
Related Review: Women’s Hiking Backpack
When it comes to the weight of the backpack itself, lighter doesn’t always mean better. Backpacking backpacks can hold the weight of the load they’re designed for and don’t skimp on material quality and important features for comfort such as padding.
Keep in mind that ultra-lightweight backpacking packs are designed for minimalist and ultralight backpackers and hikers, but a heavier pack can handle weight more comfortably. Generally speaking, a backpack that is 2-3 pounds can handle 15-35 pounds, a model that weighs 3-5 pounds carries 30-50 pounds, while backpacks over 5 pounds can carry 40-70 pounds.
Related Review: Lightweight Backpack
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Torso Sizes and Hip Belt Adjustability
It can be difficult to find a pack that fits both your torso and hips perfectly. A backpack with an adjustable length torso and hip belt is the next best thing to having a backpack custom made for your back. Because of this, you should look for a model with an adjustable suspension system as well as hip belts that can be tightened to keep the backpack close to your back.
Related Review: Adjustable Length Backpack
A frame is an important part of every high-capacity backpack because it improves balance and strength. Two options are available (internal and external frame) and the choice mostly comes down to your preference. Internal frames are lighter and look better but they often can’t support very heavy loads. External frames are stronger and transfer all the weight to the hips, but they are bulky and cumbersome.
Pockets and Organization
When you have to pack all your gear in one place, proper organization is very important. The best backpacking packs have a well thought out design with intuitively designed and placed external pockets and multiple access points for easy access to the main compartment. This will allow you to keep your gear neatly packed and easily find what you need.
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Not all your gear will fit in the main storage compartment, so it’s very useful if the backpack comes with additional attachment points on the outside. Look for a pack with webbing straps or elastic cord, tool loops, gear loops, and a sleeping bag compartment at the bottom of the pack.
Backpacks aren’t something you buy every day, so their durability is a very important aspect to consider. How durable a backpack mostly comes down to the material quality, frame strength, and type of stitching. High-denier nylon backpacks with aluminum frames are generally very durable, but checking the reviews for a specific model might show you how it performs in the long run.
A backpacking pack should be designed with sturdiness and carrying comfort in mind. With this in mind, you should make sure that the frame is strong and distributes the weight well. In addition, well-made chest and hip straps improve both comfort and load balance. Finally, make sure that the design has sufficient padding and a vented back as this will prevent sweating and boost comfort.
Related Review: Ventilated Backpack
Your new backpack will be exposed to rugged terrain, unfavorable weather, and extreme temperatures, so it needs to withstand all these conditions. Because of this, most backpacking bags are made from tear-resistant polyester and nylon. It’s a plus if the material comes with DWR coating for added water protection, and if it’s safe for machine washing because it makes maintenance easier.
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Q: How Heavy Should A Backpack Be For Backpacking?
As a general rule, loaded backpacking bags shouldn’t exceed 20 percent of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, your bag shouldn’t go over 32 pounds when loaded. This will ensure that you feel comfortable on longer hikes.
Q: How Can I Make My Backpacking More Comfortable?
One of the first things you need to do is distribute the weight evenly when packing. Afterward, when you put it on, you first need to tighten the shoulder straps. Then, tighten the hip belt to transfer the weight. Readjust the shoulder straps, and then tighten the chest strap to improve the balance.
Globo Surf Overview
Choosing the right backpack is one of the most important things when preparing for a backpacking expedition. Since you’ll be living out of it and carrying it around all day long, it needs to be comfortable, functional and balanced well. Hopefully, our reviews and guide have helped you choose the best backpacking pack that will make your adventures easier and more enjoyable.
More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:
- Hiking Pants
- Hiking Socks
- Shoe Glue
- Backpacking Sleeping Bag
- G Shock Watch
- Dslr Camera
- Tactical Boots
- Backpacking Stove
- Backpacking Sleeping Pad
More Backpack Reviews:
- Dog Backpack
- Osprey Backpack
- Roll Top Backpack
- Hiking Backpacks Under 100
- Budget Hiking Backpack
- Kids Hiking Backpack
- Solar Backpack
- Patagonia Backpack
- Under Armour Backpack
- Columbia Backpack
- Black Diamond Backpack
- Picnic Backpack
Which of the backpacking backpacks on our list is your top choice? We would love to read your thoughts or experience with the backpacking packs we’ve reviewed! Feel free to share in the comment box below.