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How to Choose your Backpacks:
Your goal is to find a backpack that fits your:
- Trip length(are you going out for an overnighter or for a week or more?)
- Personal style of backpacking(are you more into comfort or weight savings? Is your gear old and bulky or weight- and space-efficient?)
- Body type(your torso length, not your height, matters most).
This article is dedicated to helping you achieve a good match on all fronts.
Choose the Right Capacity
We sort our backpacks according to their capacity—the volume of space available inside a pack. This is expressed in liters, and it’s often indicated by in a pack’s name.
What volume is right for you? It varies by person, sometimes by a wide margin. The following chart provides a general guide for which pack sizes typically work well for backpackers during summertime hikes. Your results may vary, naturally. Think about the types of trips you most often pursue to gauge where you fit on this grid:
|Type of trip*||Pack capacity (liters)||Empty pack weight (lbs.)|
|Day or overnight (1-2 nights)||20-50||1.5 to 4.5|
|Weekend (2-3 nights)||50-60||2.5 to 5|
|Multiday (2-5 nights)||60-80||2.5 to 5+|
|Extended (5+ nights)||80+||4 to 6+|
* Spring through fall; winter trips usually require a larger pack.
60 to 80L (multiday) packs,
Our Most popular packs are our 60 and 80L Packs. They are an excellent choice for summer-weather backpacking trips lasting 2 or more days.
60 to 80L packs are also used for:
- Backcountry skiing: for day trips, overnighters and sometimes 2-night trips.
- Climbing: for summit attempts that require an overnight stay during approaches.
Efficient packers using newer, less-bulky gear can really keep things light on 1- or 2-night trips by using a pack in the 20 to 50L range or on 2- to 3-night trips in the 50 to 60L range. Just be aware that packing light requires self-discipline and careful planning. If you can pull it off, though, the light-on-your-feet rewards are fantastic.
Extended trips of 5 days or more usually call for packs of 80L or larger. Savvy ultralight specialists, however, often go long distances with packs smaller than this. Just be aware that until you have mastered ultralight packing techniques, a pack can fill up pretty fast, particularly when weather is unpredictable.
Packs 80L and larger are also usually the preferred choice for:
- Winter treks lasting more than 1 night.
- Adults taking young children backpacking. Mom and Dad wind up carrying a lot of kids’ gear to make the experience enjoyable for their young ones.
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