What to Look for in Beginner Hiker Backpacks


When you’re just starting out as a hiker, you have to gather all kinds of different supplies. One of the most important of these supplies, however, is your backpack. Unfortunately, a lot of new hikers don’t devote much time to choosing the right backpack. Read on to find out what you should look for when shopping for a backpack.

They’ll spend forever picking the right boots and the right tent, but then, when it comes to a backpack, they just grab the first thing they find and expect it to work. In reality, though, a backpack is every bit as important as a tent or boots. The right pack can make the difference between a successful hike and a miserable hike.

Ample Capacity

First things first, always make sure you choose a backpack that is capable of securely holding all of your items. There’s nothing worse than trying to pack your backpack and realizing it’s too small and that you’re going to have to make some tough choices about what to bring and what to leave behind.

To avoid this troublesome situation, always get together all your gear before you buy a backpack. That way, you’ll know how much stuff you’re dealing with and how much room you’ll need.

Good backpacking backpacks- and you should always purchase a backpack specifically designed for backpacking- will be clearly marked with how many liters they can hold.

For hiking trips of more than a day or two, always aim for packs that can hold between 50 to 80 liters. In fact, it’s smart to buy an 80 liter backpack for all your hiking trips because you can never go wrong with too much room, while the same can’t be said for too little room!

Internal Comforts

On a long hike, your backpack can start to feel pretty heavy on your shoulders. A poorly designed pack could even lead you to have painful strap marks indented into your shoulders and arms.

To avoid discomfort, choose a pack that has padded, wide straps. These will prevent rubbing and blistering on the arms and shoulders and will also be a lot easier to carry. If possible, you should also choose a backpack with a padded hip or waist strap for added security and comfort.

On very long hikes, even the most well-made backpacks can get uncomfortable, so as a bonus “pro” tip, be sure to shift the position of your pack or to take carrying breaks from time to time.

Get Professional Help

There isn’t one “perfect backpack” that can be used by everyone. The “right pack” varies from person to person and is dependent on a lot of factors, such as the wearer’s height, weight, and posture. As such, it’s always smart to visit a store that specializes in hiking and camping gear.

At these specialty stores, you can usually find knowledgeable professionals with special sizing tools to help you find the right pack for you and your needs.

Even if you don’t end up buying from one of these stores, visiting them and getting some fitting and sizing tips can be extremely helpful. You can always take what you’ve learned and use it to find a perfect and affordably priced pack online.

As you can see, a lot of thought and preparation needs to go into finding the right pack. As such, don’t make your backpack a last minute purchase. Plan for it just as you do all of your other hiking gear, and you’re sure to have a pleasant, comfortable hiking experience.