How to choose the best backpack to travel

Effective packers with newer equipment that is less bulky can reduce weight on 1-up to 3 nights using a pack within this category. Make sure you pack light. Requires discipline and planning. If you can do it, however, the benefits of light on your feet are amazing. Shop weekend packs.

Multiday (3-5 nights; 50-80 liters)

They’re the most sought-after backpacking packs available at REI and are a great option for warm-weather trips lasting three or more days. Packs that fall in the 50-80-liter range are great for short trips, when you’re packing a bit more lavishly, or for multisport activities such as backcountry skiing. Shop multi-day packs.

xtensive-trip (5+ nights and 70 liters or more)

A trip lasting 5 days or more generally requires 70 to 100 liters or more. They’re also typically the most popular option for winter hikes that last longer than a night. (Larger bags can be more comfortable to carry extra clothes and warm sleeping bags as well as a four-season tent that typically comes with additional poles.) They’re also an excellent alternative for those who are taking youngsters’ best wheeled backpacks, as parents and kids end up finding themselves carrying lots of children’s gear. Find extended-trip bags.

Going ultralight? Check out our article on Ultralight Backpacking.

Backpack Features

Frame Type

  • Backpacks with internal frames The majority of backpacks sold at REI currently are body-hugging internal-frame backpacks that conceal the structure within the back panel. They are made to ensure that a hiker is steady on rough, off-kilter terrain and could include a range of load-support technology that work together to shift the weight onto the hips of the user.
  • Exterior-frame bags When you look at an external frame backpack, you can view the structure supporting the load that is made of aluminum (usually) components on the exterior. Because the frame extends past the backpack, a bag such as this could be a good option for carrying a large and irregular load (like an oversized tent or inflatable kayak). External frame backpacks also have excellent ventilation, as well as a variety of ways to organize your gear.
  • Frameless backpacks Ultralight lovers who love to hike fast and light may prefer frames-free backpacks or a climbing pack with a frame that can be removed to save weight. But backpacks with no frame are uncomfortable with the weight of heavyweights.


Some packs have a back panel that is suspended from the mesh to help combat the sweaty back condition that is common when you have internal frame packs that sit on top of your back. Also known as a “tension-mesh suspension,” this is a trampoline-like design in which the frame-supported bag is positioned a couple of inches from your back and is then positioned against the air-breathable mesh. Other bags will feature vents (sometimes known as “chimneys”) in the back panel to resolve the same problem.

Pack Access

Top loading openings are fairly standard. Because items on the sides and bottom are the most difficult to access and access, smart packers store the gear they use for overnight storage there, and other items they require for hiking during the day near the top. Certain packs come with panel access, which means you can remove the main bag without having to unload them from the top. Remember that extra features like this can make it easier to add ounces and dollars.


Some people prefer lots but others prefer a simpler bag. When looking at pockets, take into consideration the dimensions and position of each. For example, elasticized side pockets are flat when empty, but they can stretch out to accommodate a water bottle or tent poles as well as other items that can be thrown around. They are often accessible while wearing the backpack. Pockets for hip belts can hold small items that you need during your hikes, like food, a cell phone, lip balm, or sunscreen. Shovel pockets are flaps that are stitched on the outside of a backpack and secured with a strap on the top. They were originally designed to hold the snow shovel, these pockets now appear on a variety of 3-season packs. They serve as storage areas for maps, jackets, or other lightweight, loose objects.

Its upper lid compartment (sometimes called the backpack’s “brain”) is also an issue of personal preference. Some prefer only one compartment for items like a headlamp or sunglasses some prefer a lid that has several compartments.

Removable Daypack

Some packs feature an unremovable daypack, which is ideal for trips that are less from the camp, such as mountain bids, or even supply runs in an out-and-back hike. The removable daypack is usually placed inside the top lid or reservoir compartment of the overnight bag The daypack is removed from the main backpack and transforms into a hip belt backpack or backpack with a lighter weight.

Sleeping Bag Compartment

It’s a zip-up storage area near the bottom of a backpack. It’s an excellent feature to have for those who don’t wish to carry a bag to carry your sleeping bag in or you’d like to take your sleeping bag from the backpack without removing other equipment. Although it’s intended to carry an overnight bag, it’s also able to accommodate other things you’d like to be able to access quickly.


If you’re using a light pack that has a minimal hip belt as well as a lumbar pad you may experience sore lower back, hips, or shoulders. If this happens to you, you should consider an elongated hip belt. (First, ensure that your bag is the right size and is fitted correctly.)

Attachment Points

If you are frequently traveling with a trekking pole or an ice ax Look for tool loops that permit you to secure them to the outside of the pack. (Rare is the bag that does not have at the very least two tools loops.) It is also possible to search for these:

  • Daisy chain It’s an extension of webbing that’s attached to the exterior of a bag that has several loops for gear to secure tools, helmets as well as wet gear that couldn’t fit in the main bag.
  • The patch is reinforced to prevent crampons from happening. This bulkier piece of fabric stops crampon points from causing holes in the bags.
  • Gear loops for extra gear Loops for gear either on the hip belt or on the body of the pack can be used to clip extra gear, including oversized things like skis.


If you anticipate rain during your travels This is an ideal option to bring. Interiors of pack fabrics are typically coated with a waterproof coating however water may seep through the seams and the zippers. Additionally, the exterior of the fabric can absorb some weight of water during rain.

Another option is to bundle equipment inside waterproof bags. The lighter stuff sacks are an ideal choice in stormy conditions since strong winds could tear a cover from a bag. (DIY version Line the interior of your backpack with the garbage bag made of plastic.)

Hydration Reservoir

Most packs include an internal sleeve, which holds the reservoir for hydration (almost always sold as a separate item) and two or three portals for the tube.

Backpack It’s perfect

After you’ve decided on the kind of backpack you’d like to have then it’s time to put on the backpack to your needs. It must be properly proportioned to your torso’s length (not the total height) and your hip circumference. An REI sales associate can help with this or you can ask an accomplice and follow the steps by our guide on How to Determine Your Torso and hip Size.

Torso Length

Some packs come in a variety of sizes, ranging from small to large. These sizes will fit a variety of the lengths of torsos. The sizes vary according to the manufacturer as well as by gender. Go to the product specifications tab to find the dimensions of the specific pack. Some packs have an adjustable suspension that can be adjusted to accommodate your body particularly if you’re in between sizes. (They’re an excellent choice for people who be sharing a pack with relatives.) The downside is that an adjustable harness can add weight to the pack.

Waist Size

The bulk of the backpack’s weight, which is typically 80 percent or more, should have your legs supporting it. Hipbelts for backpacks typically fit a variety of hip circumferences ranging from mid-20 inches to around mid-40 inches. Some people with slim waists have trouble fitting the standard hip belt fit properly and will require smaller sizes. Some packs come with interchangeable hip belts. This makes it possible to swap one to an alternative.

Women-Specific Backpacks

Since they are smaller frames Women’s backpacks are often suited great for younger (or less slender) backpackers of any gender. The torso measurements are generally smaller and more narrow than men’s backpacks. One thing to keep in mind is that the straps for the hips and shoulders in female-specific packs tend to be shaped to accommodate the larger breasts and hips.

Backpacks specifically for teenagers

These are typically smaller capacities and come with an adjustable suspension that can be adjusted to fit the growing child. Female backpacks, due to their smaller frame sizes are often suitable for younger backpackers of any gender. They also have smaller versions of male backpacks.

Additional Backpack Adjustments to Fit

  • The straps that lift load two straps are available. Each strap is attached to the top of the frame and then stitched onto one of the shoulders straps at the top. When you tighten them when wearing the pack, they bring the top of the bag closer to your body. This will result in the most comfortable and comfortable wear and reduce the weight on your lower back. The ideal situation is that the load lifters create a 45-degree angle between your shoulder straps as well as the pack.
  • Strap for the sternum the strap is a cross-section of your chest and allows you to join the shoulder straps. This can increase your stability. It’s a great option in the event of uneven cross-country terrain, where a naive move can cause your pack to move abruptly, and cause you to fall off balance.

Are you interested in speaking with a live professional on how to pick an appropriate backpack? If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Thanks to Virtual Outfitting, it’s simple to seek out professional advice and advice on gear from almost any location.

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