Selecting a backpack is very much like picking out a suitcase – the length of your trip will dictate the size of your pack.

But do you need one at all?

Well, if you are going for a one-hour walk you can grab a bottle of water and head on out. If you are going for longer than an hour, it may make sense to throw a couple of bottles into the pack and maybe a snack or two and carry it all on your back.

Larger packs – this one is a 68 liter – are designed for overnight hikes when you may need to pack more food, more water, a sleeping bag, tent and other equipment.

If you are going for half a day, you’ll need more of the above and maybe that first aid kit as well.

And, if you are going for an overnight, you will need to pack a camp stove, extra clothing, extra food, a tent and a sleeping bag.

So the longer the hike, the bigger the pack.

Backpacks used to be sized in cubic inches but manufacturers have switched over to cubic liters in recent years. But comparing packs based on size is probably not a good idea.

Waterproofing, outside pockets, how it fits, adjustability, number of outside loops and inside pockets and water bladder storage are all considerations.

Volunteer Work on the AT!

Smaller bags – this one is a 30 liter – can hold just about everything you will need for a day hike.

And there are literally hundreds of backpacks to choose from.

All depends on how much you want to spend, how far you will be going and how much usage it will see.

Here are some great websites to help you decide:

+ REI advice.

+ Outdoor Gear Exchange.

+ Adventure Junkies.

+ Backpacker Magazine.

+ The Trek.

+ Best Reviews.


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