Choosing the Right Hiking Backpack

When a person is getting ready to go on a hiking or backpacking trip, he must make sure that he has the correct backpack for the trip to ensure comfort and also be able to fit all the supplies needed for that particular trip. In addition, if a person needs to go through any types of water then there are also different levels of waterproof hiking backpacks for the appropriate levels of waterproofing, from water resistance to complete water proofed ability.

Types of Packs

If a person is going on a day hike and does not need to carry much more than a small meal and a couple of water bottles then a great choice in a hiking pack is a waist or hip pack. These packs do not have shoulder straps but instead sit directly on the hips and are fastened with the waist belt. The packs usually have some smaller pockets also for keys and wallets or bug repellant, and will have water bottle holders in most cases as well. The volume of these packs is up to ten liters, which is about the maximum without shoulder straps.

Another alternative type of hiking backpack is a hydration pack which serves to hold some small items and also a bladder of drinking water. This can hold up to ten liters as well and are specially made so that a drinking tube is fed through the shoulder or top of the backpack so that it is easily accessible to the hiker during the walk. This is a nice type of small pack too for hikers who go with their dogs into areas where water is not available for the dog to drink. They can squirt the water into the dog's mouth without touching it so the dog can drink while still having plenty of clean water for themselves.

A traditional lightweight hiking backpack that can carry more than a hip pack, usually between fifteen to thirty-five liters, is used for day hikes that are a little more extensive and require more materials to be brought along for the trip. These packs have shoulder straps as well as the hip belt so that the hiking backpack is held firmly into place and supported by the hips so that the back is not harmed.

A midsized hiking backpack is one that holds up to seventy liters and usually has multiple pockets and side straps and strap-on places for supplies. This type of hiking backpack is usually used when going on an overnight camping trip, or a lightweight style camping trip of a couple of days. It is also a great day hiking backpack, but often is more space than a typical day hiker needs unless they bring equipment along with them, such as cameras, laptops or books for study and reference.