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How to Make Sure You Choose the Right Backpack for Your Upcoming Trip


With the weather heating up and summer just around the corner, more and more people are starting to plan their summer backpacking trips. If you’re a first time backpacker, there are quite a few things that you need to consider before you first step foot into the backcountry. One of the most important things is making sure you choose a backpack that works for you.

Having the wrong backpack could lead to a lot of problems. It could make your trek ten times as difficult, and even cause back problems in some severe situations. Choosing the wrong backpack is one of the most common mistakes that new backpackers make, so if you’re able to avoid that mistake from the get-go you’ll be a step ahead of the pack. Check out this article to learn how to choose a backpack that works for you.

Pack Capacity

One common mistake that results in trouble for beginners is choosing a pack that’s either too large or too small. The backpack you need will depend on your expedition; if you go on a two week long trek through the backcountry you’ll need a larger backpack than if you go on a three day trip.

There are other factors that should help you determine what capacity your backpack should be. For example, a three day trip in the dead of winter will require a bigger backpack than the same exact trip taken during summer. If you end up taking a lot of trips, you’ll likely want to have a variety of different backpacks you can choose from, but if you’re planning for a short summer trip you won’t need a very large backpack.

Your Body Type

Different types of bodies require different shapes and sizes of backpacks. In order to get  the backpack that works best for you, it’s recommended that you go into a store and get fitted for one. However if you’re buying your backpack online, this might not be an option.

Expert backpackers say that choosing a backpack that’s relative to your torso size is the most important thing to consider when buying a backpack. Many first time backpackers make the mistake of choosing a backpack based on their height, when you should actually be choosing a backpack based on your torso length. You want your backpack to have a nice snug grip on your hips; not too tight, but not too lose. Measure your torso and know your requirements before ordering a pack, and you’ll have a much better time out in the backcountry.


Many newer backpacks offer some sort of slot to place a hydration pack, so make sure the backpack you’re considering has one of these. Chances are you will be carrying water on your trek, so cutting out the large bottles for a hydration pack built into your backpack will save weight which is crucial.

If your backpack doesn’t have a hydration pack, you’re not out of luck. You may be able to buy a hydration pack bladder and fit it somewhere inside the backpack. But for the best results, make sure it comes with one built in.

Author Ted Levin is a freelance writer and avid backpacker currently planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest this summer. You can connect with Ted on Google+ or Twitter.

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