How to Buy a Hiking Backpack

hiking boots
Being lifelong travelers, we all love our lightweight, multipurpose gear that could withstand the rigors from the road. Gear should be dependable, multifunctional, durable and perform beyond expectations. Nothing might be truer when it comes to purchasing a good hiking backpack, especially considering it will be your home away from home. Traveling, especially long-term, will literally test the boundaries of your bag along with your body, and as such this decision won't be made impulsively. Buying your backpack should not be any rushed decision and factors trip length, capacity, material, functionally and comfort should always be considered. When I first got serious about investing in a good pack, I had been at REI for a good 3 hours -I think they started to suspect I was applying for a job.

hiking boots
If my three hours was any suggestion, buying a good backpack is not an easy task. With numerous backpack manufacturers and fashions, it can understandably be overwhelming. Anything you do, don't go cheap. You will end up doing yourself a disservice and end up buying a new one anyways. A good backpack is an investment. You don't need to spend $500 on a backpack, but be skeptical of cheap, no-frills, ordinary $70 brands, as you'll regret the structure flaws and deficiency of extras. Spend a little more for a good backpack from your trusted brand, and will also be your companion for a lot of trips to come. The Osprey pack I finally settled on has traveled with me at night from the U.S for the Middle East for 10 awesome years and I know it has yet another good 10 years to go.

Travel Backpack or Hiking Backpack

Before you start shopping for the right pack, it is advisable to know the difference between travel backpacks and hiking backpacks. A travel backpack can be a backpack-suitcase hybrid with a zippered side panel such as a suitcase. Hiking backpacks would be the more commonly seen cylindrical top loading packs with straps, clips and a top lid. A lot of people have an opinion that hiking backpacks are just suited for the backcountry and possesses no place for the backpacker, I disagree. The things for you ultimately comes down to personal preference and elegance of travel. Travel backpacks are good for easy, organized access to gear and transporting from hostel to hostel. Additionally they function well for short walks or even as a daypack.

Conversely, if you possibly have camping or long treks inside your travel plans, you may want to consider a hiking backpack. Hiking backpacks are designed for comfort, proper weight distribution, and toughness. Unlike a travel backpack, hiking backpacks will have enhancements like full-sized hip belts, shoulder and back suspension systems along with plenty of load bearing straps to mitigate discomfort. Granted the most notable down packing just isn't as convenient to access your gear, that is part in parcel to proper weight distribution. An excellent compromise would be to get yourself a hiking backpack with side load access.

We are generalizing a bit as they will have travel backpacks which might be in the upper capacity range with increased advanced suspension systems, in case you're going to get a 70L travel backpack, you could as well go with a hiking backpack. Trust me, you'll be glad in college for that unexpected 20 mile trek to another town.