Deciphering the perfect backpack for a thrilling trekking adventure requires more than simple guesswork. It's a blend of understanding your body, the nature of your trek, and the nuances of backpack design. This comprehensive guide offers insights into choosing the right trekking backpack, drawing on the wisdom of seasoned mountaineers.
Size Matters: Picking the Right Fit
The first critical step is ensuring the backpack fits the user's body size. This is determined by measuring the torso length and comparing it with the brand's size charts. Backpack sizes range significantly, from a compact 35L, suitable for a short hostel-to-hostel hike or for ultralight backpackers, to a whopping 55L, ideal for those seeking comfort on longer trips or colder months when heavier sleeping gear is required. Anything beyond that, and you're likely carrying too much for a pleasant multi-day trek.
Capacity: Choosing Based on Trek Duration and Type
The backpack's capacity, or literage, is another crucial factor. For a couple of days' hiking, a capacity of 50 to 60 liters is recommended. For longer excursions into areas of wilderness with little chance of resupply, larger capacities may be necessary. The Osprey Kestrel 38, Rab Aeon Ultra 28L, and the Arc'teryx Bora 65 are just some of the best options we've come across in our extensive testing throughout the UK's mountains.
Focus on Comfort: Quality Harness and Materials
Given that the majority of the weight falls on the waist and hips, the backpack's harness, including the back panel, hip belt, and shoulder straps, must be comfortable, ventilated, and robust. Materials and manufacturing are also essential to ensure durability and the backpack's ability to withstand weather conditions and the weight of trekking essentials like tents, clothing, sleeping bags, food, and water. Brands like Mystery Ranch and Granite Gear offer backpacks with hybrid internal/external carbon-fiber frames, compression straps, and load lifters for stability and comfort.
Ultimately, the choice of a trekking backpack is not a minor one, and a good investment can result in a gear that lasts a long time. Whether you're a novice hiker or a seasoned mountaineer, understanding these aspects will ensure you pick a backpack that complements your trekking adventure.