7 Valuable Hiking Backpack Tips to Consider before Buying

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By: Sonia Zannoni

A few years ago, I seemed glued to my work and my couch at home. I would spend almost all day indoors at work and be so tired when I got home that I would sit on the sofa. I was barely outside for even 30 minutes a day, and I was steadily gaining weight. I was what you would call a “couch potato”! I was feeling depressed, and I was getting far too overworked.

I knew I had to make a change in my lifestyle, and with the help of my family, I did it!

Do you enjoy the outdoors, or do you mostly stay indoors? Are you looking for a way to exercise that doesn’t require you to go to the gym? Well, I have found a new hobby that will change your life.

The Joys of Hiking

One day, out of the blue, my brother invited me on a hiking trip. Now to me, I always viewed hiking as pointless “walking.” I was always a firm believer that if you didn’t have a destination, then what was the point of walking or even running?

However, once I started hiking, I was absolutely hooked. It was one of the most calming experiences I have had and made me out of breath plus it was a great exercise.

It was then I decided to incorporate hiking into my weekly activities. I recommend everyone start at least hiking for 10 minutes a day, so you can experience the outdoors while at your job. I promise you it will boost your morale and make you feel great.

Now, if you are going to hike, the first thing you need to do is buy a hiking backpack.

There are many things you need to consider when purchasing a hiking backpack. Even if you are a beginner or a more advanced hiker, it can be very overwhelming to find the best one that will have all the features you need.

So, I listed within this post some tips to help you buy the right hiking backpack for you.

My 7 Ultimate Tips

(1) The Cost

The cost is obviously a huge factor when you are buying a backpack. There are a lot of good models that are inexpensive and yet offer you the same features as a more expensive bag.

If you are a beginner, I recommend spending less than $200 to make sure that you like hiking first, rather than breaking the bank. Put your money into a product that is made great and will last through harsh conditions.

(2) Weight

Your hiking backpack needs to be light. Imagine going on a four-day excursion with a backpack that is too heavy; it will slow you down and make you uncomfortable.

If you are going on a long trip, of course, your backpack will be one of the heaviest pieces of gear that you have, so you should look for a hiking bag that can hold a lot of weight but isn’t heavy on its own.

(3) The Frame

If you want to get a lightweight backpack, you won’t need much of a frame. You should look for a hiking bag with a simple frame that can still hold a significant amount of weight (hopefully over 35 lbs.).

If you are looking to carry heavy loads, you will need to find a sturdier frame. However, that will make for a heavier hiking backpack.

(4) How Much Does It Hold?

On the product feature lists of hiking backpacks, it will tell you the maximum volume/capacity.

Most professional hikers usually fit 40-50L of gears in their pack.  However, if you are a beginner, you won’t need it as much.

Before you buy a backpack, make a list of what you will usually be carrying on your trips. How much volume you need will also depend on the climate/time of year.

If you are hiking through snowy conditions, you will require a larger rucksack (more volume) to hold your winter gear (snowshoes, goggles, mitts, gloves, hat).

(5) What Does It Look Like?

The goal here is to find a hiking backpack that is simple. Nowadays, the higher-end hiking bags keep the design simple, and this usually makes for the best backpack.

You want one that comfortably carries all your tools and gives you easy access to all that you need. If you have a bag that is poorly designed, with too many compartments and zippers, it can get confusing, especially on the road.

(6) What Is It Made Of?

Many of the best backpacks, which are lightweight, inexpensive, and can hold a lot, are made of nylon or cuben fiber. For the most part, the cuben fiber is the lightest material you can get. Both these materials last a long time and can endure harsher hiking conditions.

(7) Does It Fit?

The fitting is one of the hardest things to assess.

So, before you even start looking for a hiking backpack, I always recommend that you measure your torso length and your hip belt size. Doing so will give you roughly an idea of what category of hiking backpacks you should be getting. The fit is so important because, above all else, you need to be comfortable on your hike.

The worst thing you can do is to buy an uncomfortable pack. It will slow you down and make your overall hiking experience a tough one to get through.

Watch the video below to learn how to choose and snugly fit your hiking backpack properly:

Try It Out in Person, Buy It Online

I have found for the most part that the best hiking backpacks are available online, and for the best price. Do not order one without trying it on first in person. If it isn’t available at a store nearby, check the seller’s return policy. 

This way, if it doesn’t fit, or if it isn’t the style you wanted, you can return it for a full refund.

2 thoughts on “7 Valuable Hiking Backpack Tips to Consider before Buying”

  1. Wonderful Help.

    I love the outdoors and hike regularly with day hikes and my dog. My pack I have had for many years although it is a bit dusty with the day hikes being the priority.

    I went through the suggestions you made being that I am considering longer hikes. If your doing overnight are you suggesting a frame because of the weight? What would be considered heavy loads?

    Not considering cost what is the most important hiking quality? Appreciate your information.

    • To answer your first question, if you go on hikes lasting several days, I would definitely pick a hiking backpack with a frame. Nowadays many backpacks are built with an internal frame, which doesn’t add much extra weight to the overall pack.

      As for what I consider heavy loads, I find that carrying 50-60 lbs on your back to be quite heavy, personally. A load of your hiking backpack should not exceed 25% of your weight.

      Lastly, I think that the most important quality that a backpack should have is the fit. Your rucksack should fit perfectly to avoid any discomfort and shoulders as well as back strains.

      Hope this help.


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