Which backpack fits right for you?
There are many choices of backpacks and they are separated into categories depending on the needs of the person. Some people use them for camping, with little hiking involved, so they would need a day pack. Others like to take a multiple day hike that goes on, and they need the space to store everything they can. A performance pack that is light weight with a frame could make all the right difference in your hike. There are also hydration packs that carry the water for you, allowing you to leave your hands free. Here we are going to introduce you to several types and show you which would be best for your outing. (For those that are still learning about the right pack to use, the number with the L next to it, signifies how many liters it holds.)
Field & Stream Mountain Scout 65L Internal Frame Pack
This is a large pack, made for a large person. It is made for a big frame as that is how spread out the shoulder straps are. It contains a large top loading compartment, compression straps, and a sliding cushioned strap suspension system to adjust to the perfect fit. The hip straps are also padded for extra comfort. There are two removable aluminum stays that aid in the transfer of weight onto the hips. There are plenty of pockets, including two gusseted side pockets that expand for more storage, a reservoir pocket that is hydration compatible, and specialized sleeping bag compartment, and mesh water bottle pockets on the sides. This pack contains two integrated handles, and a stash pocket that houses rain cover when it is not in use. It also contains buckles to help secure your load. When empty, the total weight is under five pounds. This does come in smaller sizes, and makes a great starter pack, and can last quite a while.
(Trying this pack on was a challenge for me at first since I’m not a large person. However, it adjusts well and the weight distributes easily.)
Jan Sport Kathadin 70L Tech Pack
This is a great pack for those that are taking a multi-day trip, having hiking adventures or backpacking across country. It has an adjustable suspension that fits a nice medium build. It contains a sternum strap, a hip belt with mesh pockets, and side compressions straps to help prevent overload shifting. There are plenty of easy to reach pockets, and an interior organizer. The large top load main compartment has a compression lid, and the front pocket works for quickly storing gear and accessories. The duel density padded shoulder straps come with a hydration tube compatibility. Several lashing points allow you to tie it together as needed. One of the lightest backpacks out there because of the material weighing in under 4 pounds.
(This pack comes in different colors, adjust easily but for the price the material does look a little thin. When comparing it, and talking to other hikers it is not the first choice, but does come with a great lifetime warranty. Three out of five people I spoke to though said it was great, with two of them using it all the time.)
High Sierra Long Trail 90L Frame Pack
For the serious backpackers, this is a pack for you. The 90-liter capacity is one of the largest out there, although there are a few that have more. It is generally more than enough for a trip as it allows you to hold just about everything. The ERGO-FIT shoulder harness has adjustable load lifters with special mesh and foam padding. The adjustable sternum strap stabilizes the pack for comfort on the move. It contains duel contoured aluminum bars that adjust to fit the shape of your back. The molded back foam has airflow channels to help keep your back dry. A sleeping bag fits in the drop bottom. There is plenty of pockets, and duel exit hydration ports. The top load compartment has a gusseted drawstring, and can be accessed from the front pocket as well. The duel mesh side pockets hold water bottles up to 1000 ml. Overall weight for this is just over 6 pounds when not loaded.
(I tried this pack on and it made me want to rethink my own pack. Unfortunately, I don’t do enough camping or hiking to justify a pack like this in my life. If you do, then this might be the pack for you. It was extremely comfortable, although it took a little work to adjust it the way I wanted to.
The North Face Terra 65L Internal Frame Pack
This is one of the few packs I found that came not only in different colors, but made for different sexes too. Case in point, the hip belt is anatomically correct for a man or a woman depending on which style you get. The comfortable harness is sleek and anatomical too, so those ladies that are larger in the chest can feel more comfortable. It contains a special suspension fit system that ensures balance and comfort. Being that this is a long-standing line it has been improved and updated with a zippered sleeping bag compartment. The medium pack weighs under five pounds, while the larger model is just over five pounds.
(Most packs that have a frame wrap around the frame, which makes this pack nice. Since the frame is on the inside it keeps the shape, which makes it easier to pack, and unpack.)
The North Face Women’s Terra 55L Internal Frame Pack
This pack is almost identical to the pack above, except that it is more tailored for the ladies. The hip belt and the shoulder harness are all made specifically for a lady, and they make it in two different sizes. The specifics are also the same as the pack above, except for the weight. The small version weighs about four and a half pounds while the large is only a few ounces more before being packed.
There are plenty of different brands out there, and while you can keep trying them all until you run out of money or realize you are wasting it, or you can check the reviews to see what others are doing. I personally went to several sporting goods stores to see what was available in the store and online so I could get a feel for them as well as see them in person. These were some of the top-rated packs, although there were some over the $200 range and others under the $100 range for the light packer too.