How do I choose a hiking backpack?
Start by considering what you need your hiking backpack for. If you are planning a long trek with a heavy load, you will want to make sure you have a hip belt, internal frame and wide shoulder straps to and evenly distribute the weight. If you tend to do short day hikes, something small and lighter will be better to keep you agile.
Other features you may want to look out for include breathable mesh backs, which will help you stay cool while carrying your pack, or built-in hydration packs. You might also like to have plenty of pockets, loops for your walking poles or compression straps - decide what is important to you before you buy, so you don’t feel caught short the first time you use it!
Want to know which hiking backpack is the best? Find out more about the best rucksacks for hiking with our rucksack buying guide.
How many litres should my backpack be?
Again, this depends on what you are using it for. Whether you want a camping rucksack, travel rucksack or a hiking backpack for short morning walks, one size doesn’t suit all. Here is a basic guide to help you out:
- A backpack for day walks only needs to be around 15 to 40 litres
- For a weekend camping trip 40 to 50 litres should suffice
- For multi-day expeditions you will probably need 60 liters and above
Which backpack is best for travelling?
Whether you are looking for the best backpack for travelling around Europe with, or just want a carry-on to avoid having to check-in your baggage, a travel rucksack is an important purchase.
If you are taking your travel rucksack on a plane, make sure you check the dimensions and weight restrictions to avoid baggage problems when boarding. For long treks or expeditions, you may think ‘the bigger the better’. However, a bigger pack will usually mean more weight and you may end up packing more than you need, so pack light and choose the smallest you can. Lockable zips are good to have when travelling, as is a carry handle for getting on the move quickly.
How do you fit a rucksack?
Once you have found a good hiking backpack or camping rucksack that meets your needs, you need to make sure it fits well. Follow these steps, when your pack is full, to ensure it fits correctly:
- Loosen the arms straps and allow the pack to hang from your shoulders
- Position the hip straps around your waist - this is where most of the weight will be supported
- Tighten the shoulder straps so the pack sits comfortably against your back without pulling you backwards
- Load straps should be at a 45 degree angle and your sternum strap should be in line with your armpits
Can you waterproof a backpack?
While it is difficult to create a completely waterproof backpack, it is certainly possible to make it highly water resistant to protect your belongings. One way in which you can do this is to use a waterproofing spray. While this won’t make your rucksack able to be fully submerged in water, it will help stop heavy rainfall seeping through.
See our waterproofing products.
For more protection from wet elements, a rucksack cover or dry bag is a great help. A rucksack cover is a thin covering made out of waterproof fabric that slips over the main body of your backpack. A dry bag, meanwhile, is a water resistant bag you can place inside your backpack that will keep your valuables safe and dry. See our great range of dry bags to help keep the contents of your rucksack dry.
What is a hydration bladder pack?
A hydration bladder pack is a rucksack with a built in hydration bladder. The best way to carry water during a hike, a hydration bladder allows you to carry a large reserve of water without bulky bottles taking up space. A hydration backpack also features a drinking tube which is built into the design of the rucksack, so you can easily keep hydrated on the go without fumbling in your pockets.
Shop our hiking backpacks, camping rucksacks, hydration packs and more online with Winfields Outdoors today to find the best selection at great prices.