Choosing the Right Capacity
Up to 3,000 Cubic Inches – Good for a winter or mountain day hike when you will need more gear. Or an ultralight overnight pack in warm weather.
3,000 – 4,000 Cubic Inches – Good for a 1 or 2-night trip. Will hold all camp essentials plus warm clothes and enough food for a couple of days.
4,000 – 5,000 Cubic Inches – Good for up to 3 days of overnight camping.
5,000 – 6,000 Cubic Inches – Good for a week of overnight camping. If you only own one backpack and plan on taking a long hiking trip at least once a year this is the pack for you.
6,000 Cubic Inches and Up – For multiweek trips or winter hiking with lots of gear. Also for parents who carry most of the families load.
Determine What Size Backpack You Need
You want to choose a pack well suited to your individual dimensions. You need to customize it to your body shape.
Your torso length, not your height, determines your pack size. Here’s how to measure yours:
This distance is your torso length.
- You will need the help of another person to do this. Have that person locate the bony bump at the base of your neck, where the slope of your shoulder meets your neck.
- Next, locate the top of your hipbones. Place your hand on your hips and feel where your pelvis protrude from each side. This is where your packs hipbelt grips on to. A properly positioned hipbelt will straddle your iliac crest, about an inch above and below that line.
- Start at the spot you found on the top of your spine and measure down the spine down to a point on your spine even with the top of your hip bones.
Generally, your measurement will fall into one of these frame-size categories:
Small: Up to 17 1/2″.
Medium/Regular: 18″ to 19 1/2″.
Large/Tall: 20″ and up.
If you fall inbetween two sizes it is a good idea to go to a local store and try on different packs to see which is the best fit for you.
How Much to Spend On Hiking Backpacks?
Most internals cost between $200 and $300. Externals rarely exceed $200. You can find some external-frame packs for less than $100; a few high-end internals sell for nearly $500.
If you go on at least 1 overnight trip per year, invest in a quality hiking backpack with a capacity that matches your needs. Discount department store hiking backpacks are poorly made, do not last long, have cheap padding that will not keep you comfortable and can ruin a good hiking trip.
Instead I recommend you order
hiking backpacks at Backcountrystore.com
They have a huge selection of high quality hiking backpacks to choose from such as The North Face, Kelty, and Jansport.
Plus if you have a question you can get answers immediately with their Live Help. Their Gear Experts will help you select the right gear and answer your technical questions, all without having to make a phone call.
They even offer free shipping within the continental United States on orders over $50.
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