To help you find the backpack for your next adventure, outdoorgearweb wanted to spend some time looking at some common features of backpacks. There are many options for hiking backpacks and it is tough to know which is best. In this article we will focus on internal frame backpacks. These types of backpacks do a great job of distributing the weight across your back. In addition, to outlining some key features of internal frame packs we will show you our top 3 picks for internal frame packs.
First you will need to identify what type of trips you will be taking. Will most of your trips be weekend trips or will you be doing long term hiking or true expeditions. Internal frame backpacks come in three general size ranges which are identified by the volume of the pack. The weekend hiking pack is 30-50L, the multi-day pack at 50-70L, and the extended trip pack at 70L. When choosing your pack size you will also need to consider whether or not you are a light packer or a heavy packer. You may only go on weekend trips but if you are a heavy packer then you will want purchase a larger bag to accommodate. Remember though that the amount of stuff you pack will increase the weight you need to carry. The weekend pack limits the amount of gear you can carry so it does take some discipline in packing. The most popular size is the multi-day pack. This is because it is large enough to carry some extra gear for weekend trips but also because with careful planning and packing it can be used for longer trips. The extended size bags are good for winter camping because they can handle bulkier gear while still covering your daily gear needs. Each size has benefits and the more you get into your hiking hobby you may find you need a different type of bag for each situation.
Now that you have figured out the size that you will need, you will need to determine what types of features you would like to have on your bag. A top loading pack is pretty standard. This can be cumbersome while hiking so many bags have quick access zippers to lower parts of the bag to ensure that you can get to things quickly without having to unpack the entire pack. Having other pockets around the pack can help keep things organized and quite accessible. Having some within reaching distance can make trail snacks handy and keep you fueled as you move. The biggest pocket on the pack is normally the top pocket. This is generally removable and can become a hip pouch for quick day trips away from your basecamp. Outside pockets are great but remember that you should place things that you will need quick access to in these pockets and not try to overload the outside pockets.
All bags come with straps which help with different types of things. External straps for your sleeping pad or other bulky items can help you save room within your bag. Also, you should try and find a bag with a strap for your trekking poles. That way you have a handy place to store them when they are not in use. Sometimes bags also come with other attachment points to hold other specialized gear such as a pick ax, ropes, or climbing gear. Having these attachment points make your bag more versitile and outdoorgearweb highly reccommends finding a bnag with many attachment points.
Finally having water accessible while you hike is key to staying hydrated and preventing illness while you are exerting yourself out on the trail. Some packs come with an external water bottle holder. Others come with a Camelback style hydration bladder. Both have their benefits, but the hydration bladder is becoming more popular and makes hiking that much easier. On most packs with hydration bladders the mouthpiece now comes with a magnet to easily attach it to your chest strap. This makes access to water straightforward and distributes the weight of the water to the center of the pack.
Now that we have gone through some of the features of packs, which are the best in each size?
Weekend Pack 30L-50L
Our top pick for the weekend pack size is the Mountaintop 40 Liter Hiking Backpack with Rain Cover. This bag offers great storage at a light weight. It has the necessary straps to make your trip enjoyable, while making sure that you don’t overload yourself. It comes with six adjustable straps and a 90 day limited warranty. Not to mention its thick padding on the straps and waistbelt and its ability to provide ample air circulation so that your back does not get all sweaty.
2. Multi-Day Pack
Our top pick for the multi-day pack is the G4Free 50L+5L. This pack has numerous pockets all around the pack to provide easy access during a hiking trip. It is light for its size and has multiple tool attachments and straps. The pack also has space for a water bladder and it is water resistant.
3. Extended Trip Pack
Our pick for the big kahuna of a bag is the Mountaintop Hiking Bag 80L Pine Green. This pack is the big daddy with tons of space, straps, and pockets. It is water-resistant and lightweight for its size. Most importantly it has space for a water bladder, which will be necessary for the extended trips you will take. The bag also has a weight distribution system and padding to make even the longest treks enjoyable.
These three bags are the great options within their respective size classes. We have highlighted a few of the key areas that make them great. So when you are planning your next trek make sure to select the size of bag that makes the most sense for you and your gear.