Articles

How to Choose Backpacking Packs || REI


hey I’m Miranda with the REI co-op a
pack can make or break your backpacking trip and there are tons of awesome
options out there right now let’s take a second to geek out about packs when choosing a pack one of the first
things you need to decide is the capacity the capacity of pack is largely
going to depend on the type of backpacker you are for example if you’re
an ultralight backpacker you’re probably carrying a lot less gear and you can get
away with something much smaller whereas if you like to have some luxury then
you’re probably going to want a larger pack but generally speaking if you are
doing a weekend trip you’re looking at a pack like this one that’s somewhere
between 30 and 50 liters this pack here is a 45 liter pack these are great for
weekend trips for overnight or for warm weather backpacking where you don’t need
to carry a lot of heavy gear if you’re looking for a multi-day pack you’re
gonna want something that somewhere between 50 and 70 liters this is my pack
here and it’s a 60 liter pack these are great for carrying some additional items
as well as layers clothing and more food and fuel so this is a pretty common
sized pack and it will work for a multitude of different trips if you’re
looking for something that this would carry a lot of gear you’re looking at an
extended trip pack so something like this one here which is a hundred liters
extended trip box cover anything that’s 70 litres and above these bags are
really designed to haul a ton of gear so they’re good for mountaineering or for
extended winter backpacking where you’re carrying a lot of heavy layers in gear
but they’re also great for parents who are backpacking with children if they
need to carry their kids stuff in the pack as well a quick note on ultralight
backpacking if you’re looking to get your base weight and that’s the weight
of your pack – consumables so all of your gear – your food your fuel and your
water if you’re looking to get that weight under 10 or 12 pounds then you’re
probably looking at a pack that’s a lot simpler and a lot lighter something more
like this guy here you can have your pack actually weigh a lot less on its
own because the gear that you’re putting inside is going to weigh less and it’s
going to be significantly smaller okay so that’s capacity
a pax frame is designed to transfer weight from your shoulders and onto your
hips for a more comfortable carry there are two main types of pack frames right
now the internal frame and the external frame this pack here has an internal
frame and this is certainly the more common type of pack nowadays and they’re
definitely lighter than external frame packs there are a few different ways
that a pack may have this internal frame this one has metal tubing that runs
around the outside of the pack but they may also have a metal V shape or even
just a hard sheet of plastic like this pack here this is definitely not
designed to carry as much weight as an internal frame pack like this but it’s a
good option for ultralight backpackers and it will still provide some structure
the other type of frame on a pack is an external frame pack these used to be the
go-to but we now have an updated design with the internal frame packs these bags
are very durable the frames are very durable but they’re not as common and
you really don’t find them very much anymore
these are a good option for people who want to lash a lot of gear to the
outside of their pack so they’re a good choice for hunters or anyone who’s gonna
be carrying unusually sized loads and they’re also just a really good throw
back if you want to experience what backpacking used to be like some
ultralight backpackers will choose to use frameless packs while these don’t do
as good of a job of transferring the weight to your hips you may not need
that if you’re carrying a lot less stuff these are basically just ruck sacks that
have backpack straps attached to offer some protection you can add a closed
cell foam sleeping pad on the inside of the pack and this will protect your back
from the gear inside and provide a little bit of structure keep in mind that any features that you
add to your pack are also going to add weight so you want to strike a balance
between the ease of use of the pack and the additional weight that you’re adding
there are a ton of different features that you may find on backpacks so we’re
just going to cover a few of the pretty common ones the first one is access most
packs are going to have top loading access like this one this is just a
cinch cord that opens up and allows you to get to all of your gear you may also
find packs that have side zippers or you zippers this gives you access into the
main compartment of the pack so you can get items that are the bottom or in the
middle of the pack this is a feature that I love I think it’s really easy
some packs may also have detachable pieces that turn into day packs
like this one this lid here has straps that come out and then this can be taken
off and used as a day pack for day hikes packs may also have this turn into a hip
belt or you may find packs to have a removable reservoir that comes out this
is a really awesome feature if you plan on backpacking in somewhere and then day
hiking from wherever you’re setting up camp my pack has the side of the panel
loading access and then it also has a moveable day pack and these are two
features that I love another really common feature is pockets so packs may
have pockets on the side for water bottles or two pockets on the hip for
different items that you might want to stash you can see this pack here has a
water bottle side pocket that you can access while the bag is on your back and
then there’s this shovel pocket in the front which is great for stashing an
extra layer there also might be pockets that are in the lid or in the bottom of
the lid like this one has that here packs will also have lash points or
daisy chains on the outside this is for strapping sort of strange loads to the
pack or if you want to talk to your crampons on the outside of your packs
they don’t scratch up the inside and then packs may also have tool attachment
points for attaching ice axes or this one has a spot for attaching a trekking
poles that’s just a couple of the features there are a ton out there keep
in mind that when you’re looking at packs you’ll want to look for features
that you believe will add value and avoid packs that have features that you
don’t think you want again there’s a ton out there so that might be extra cushy
hip belts which you want it might be a separate compartment for a sleeping bag
and just make a decision on what you find valuable and what you don’t want in
your pack the most important thing about choosing
a pack is finding one that fits you comfortably packs come in a variety of
frame sizes or torso lengths that relate to your back size when you come into a
store you can try on a variety of different packs since they’re all gonna
fit a little bit differently the best thing to do is to bring in your own pack
if you already have one or come in and have an REI specialist to fit the pack
for you there’s so much information on how to fit your pack so we have an
entire video about it and we’ll link that in the description below once you
have a pack that fits you you can use the straps to adjust the fit there are
also women specific packs and those are gonna have a slightly different fit to
them and different features such as straps that cut out a little bit CNA or
hip belts that provide a little bit more cushion or a little bit larger that’s it
for packs and if you have any more questions check out the video below or
subscribe and we’ll see you guys out there

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *