Hiking Backpack Capacity
To find the best hiking backpack for you is good to start at the right end: How much capacity should your hiking backpack have? It all depends on the length of your trip and what type of trip it is.
Are you going on a day hike, or should you be away for up to a week? The difference is big. Broadly speaking, 15-30 liters apply for a day trip, 30-60 liters for a weekend trip, and 60-90 liters for a week’s hike.
If you are going to sleep in a tent and cook in a camping kitchen, this will consume a lot of space, and if you sleep in a cabin, you can clearly go down incapacity.
If you carry with your electronics in the form of, for example, cameras, flashes, and tripods, it can be good to look for a backpack with a good or special place for this.
Some backpacks have most of their capacity in the main compartment, while some distribute the space to large and several smaller compartments. It is usually a matter of taste, but, e.g., For the photo enthusiast, a backpack with several compartments can be a good option.
Do not forget that if you have an oversized backpack, you will probably fill it with unnecessary things that will make the hike harder and slower. If you choose one that is too small, you may not get important things like a first aid kit.
Fitting of the Hiking Backpack
When you have chosen capacity, it is important to find a backpack that fits according to how your body and how it is shaped. If you have borrowed someone else’s backpack at some point, it becomes clear how different we are built.
The backpack you choose should therefore match well with your body type. When choosing a backpack, you should measure the length of your back; here, many make the mistake that they are only going by their length.
You measure the back from the top vertebra to the hip. One of the most important parts of the backpack that should fit well is the hip belt; it is the part that both relieves the shoulders and gives you better balance. Also, make sure that the shoulder straps distribute the weight over the entire shoulder and not just the front one.
Functions of the Hiking Backpack
There are a plethora of features to choose from for your backpack. Different models and brands mean that the range is very large, just like all outdoor equipment nowadays.
Here it’s up to you, and almost only your imagination sets the limits for how many compartments, tensioning belts, dampers, or ventilation systems you should have. An overall function that can be good to decide on early is whether you want side compartments or not.
Without a side compartment, your backpack will be more flexible during transport, e.g., if you load and unload various buses, cars, and aircraft while a backpack with side compartments provides good space, for example, a camera, binoculars, or other equipment.
More small compartments also make it easier to keep track of where you have your things. Another function that can be good to take into account, especially if you are hiking in the Swedish mountains, is whether the backpack comes equipped with rain protection or not.
This can otherwise be bought as an extra accessory. You can unbutton the top lid and use it as a smaller backpack on some hiking backpacks.
Something that can come in handy if you, e.g., should make shorter day trips from a cabin or a camp. In our opinion, the set of functions is not what defines the best hiking backpack but rather the right functions.
To Pack a Hiking Backpack Correctly
A heavy pack can feel lighter if you pack correctly, so it can be good on how to fill your backpack. Many people make the mistake of putting the heaviest at the bottom, as when packing a lunch bag.
The truth is that heavy things should be packed closest to the back and preferably higher up in the backpack. Also, do not pack too much “backward” as you will easily become heavy at the back, and your hike will be much harder.
Then choose a backpack with a side compartment, so the weight is distributed over the entire pack. Using packing bags simplifies both packing and quickly finding the right thing in your backpack.
Some even choose to have different colors for different bags, so they find them even faster. Bulky things like tents and sleeping bags are good to have at the bottom, making them easy to access from the lower opening.
The exception is, of course, if the tent weighs a lot. Always have the rainwear, your shell jacket, and any rain cover close at hand in the pack as the weather can change in a few seconds.
If your clothes have gotten wet, make sure to pack them in separate bags, so the rest of the packing does not get wet. Finally, one of our best tips is to always pack your things in one place so you can easily find them, even when it’s dark outside!