Picking The Right Backpack | Hermit's Hut Base Camp 1

Picking The Right Backpack

You love to hike and we want to help you enjoy it as much as possible.  After choosing the correct boots it is now time to pick a pack that will fit, not only for the type of hiking you like to do but more importantly fit you.  There are three main factors to consider when choosing a pack:  First thing to decide, is  how long will you be out there  to determine the size you will need (day, overnight backpacking or longer), next is to match up the activity you will be using the pack for (day hiking, backpacking, ultralight or mountaineering and climbing) and finally your size and body type. (Torso length is the most important here).

Our goal is to find a backpack that fits you and handles all of your packing needs

Backpacks come in three basic designs:  Top Loading, Panel Loading and Top/Panel loading.  Another factor when choosing the right pack is if you need a hydration bladder or just outside pockets for water bottles.  We carry Backcountry backpacks, Daypacks, Expedition Packs, Hydration Packs and Lightweight and Summit Packs.

Daypacks  Whether you are going out for an hour or all day your pack needs to carry certain basics.  Going for a short hike?  Plan on bringing a small first aid kit, water and enough extra room for your keys, wallet and maybe a camera and a light jacket.  If your are going to be our for any length of time you also need to have room for a snack or lunch and raingear and/or extra layers. Daypack capacities range from 6 to 30 liters.  If you hike alone or like to keep moving you will want a pack with a hydration bladder.  Daypacks are pretty easy to fit since weight is not much of an issue.  Just make sure  it fits comfortably and has the room for the gear you are taking.

Backpacks  This is where it gets trickier.  Just doing weekenders in good weather?  Then a smaller pack ranging from 35-60 liters will do.  If are are going to use the pack for multiple days, climbing/mountaineering or winter hiking you will need a bigger pack, 6o liters and above.  Backpacks come with either internal or external frames.   If you are going to stay on the trail then an external frame will work for you.   However, the trend now days is for internal frames.  Internal frame packs fits snugger to your back giving you a more balanced feel.  If you are going off trail, this is the way to go.

Fitting Your Pack  A pack that is loaded correctly and  fits properly is a wondrous thing.  It can make the difference between enjoying your hike and feeling like you are on a death march.  The first thing to make sure your pack fits is to measure your torso.  The torso length is measured from the large vertebrae that protrudes from the back of your neck to the vertebrae that sticks out between your two hip bones.  Once you have that measured consult the packs specifications to find where  your fall in the size ranges.  Manufacturers specifications vary so be sure to check before assuming you fit into a small, medium or large.  Also pick the right gender for the pack.  Once you have a decided on a pack it is time to try it on.  At Hermit’s Hut we have sand bags we use to weight the pack to simulate the weight you will be carrying Make sure all the straps are loose  and the put the pack on. The packs hip belt should fit just above your hip bones when you buckle it.  Tighten the hip belt and then work on the sternum and shoulder  straps.    Tighten the shoulder straps so they are  flush to your chest and the front of your shoulders.  There should be a slight gap in back.   Everything feeling good? The majority of the weight should be resting on your hips and the shoulder straps should f eel snug but not tight.  Now connect the sternum strap and pull snugly across your chest.  Now you can do minor adjustments with the hip belt stabilizer straps and the load straps on the shoulder straps.   Make sure you spend some time walking around.  If you are using the pack for climbing, skiing or mountaineering  try to simulate the movements you will be making.  

What’s the next step?  Get out and enjoy.






Types of Packs and Sizes


Daypacks  Since you are not taking as much gear these packs are smaller.  The size of these packs can range from

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One thought on “Picking The Right Backpack

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