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What Backpack Should I Get?

Selecting the Ideal Backpack Design for Your Next Hiking Adventure

Is your next travel adventure plan for a rugged, epic hike over rough and rocky terrain or a simple overnight camping trip? What backpacking needs are expected? For either trip, you need a high-quality, dependable backpack that supports easy, organized packing. Remember that packing and carrying light is essential for healthy, happy travel and trekking. While hiking, your backpack is among the four weightiest items on your back. The other three are your sleeping bag, sleeping pad and tent.

Adventure travelers with a passion for trekking, hiking and camping in mountains, deserts or jungle areas must plan carefully. They know the importance of keeping the weight low for packed gear and essentials while on, or forging, the trail. They must include everything needed to survive and thrive while deep in the back-country or densest woodlands. For maintaining their desired trekking pace, these savvy hikers pack to please their muscles and backs.

By choosing the right backpack to meet your travel needs, you can help ensure an exciting and safe trip, too. By packing smart and light, you can fully enjoy every new and fascinating aspect of your next hiking adventure.

Questions to Consider When Shopping for Your Perfect Hiking Pack

1.  What Size and Style Backpack Should I Buy?

“What backpack should I get?” is a frequently asked question. The backpack size to purchase for your next hiking trip depends on the length and locale of your trip. Once you know what backpacking needs you have, you can select your pack more easily. Your choice also depends on the amount of gear and essentials that you need to take along. When planning for your first few backpacking excursions, it is common to pack too much. Experts recommend getting a 40 to 50­liter pack for most hiking and trekking adventures. Purchase a backpack that is lightweight yet sturdy and durable enough to last for the long-term. Select a comfortable pack that can be adjusted to fit the length of your torso.

2.  How Should I Pack My Hiking Backpack?

“Light” is the primary keyword here. Pack your backpack lightly, organizing your gear, clothing and other essential belongings neatly. Place heavy items at the bottom, near the back of your pack. Use the interior compartments, pockets and pouches to store smaller or any fragile items.

3.  How Much Should I Spend for My New Backpack?

There is no need to overspend when buying your new backpack. There is a fairly wide range of prices for optimal quality backpack brands and designs on the consumer market today. After asking, “What price backpack should I get?,” shop according to quality features rather than pricey options. Choose a quality pack within your budget that suits the type and duration of your trekking, hiking and camping adventures.

Top-Rated Backpack Choices for Safe and Exciting Trekking and Hiking

Leading backpack designs for your healthy and happy trekking, hiking and travel adventures include the following:

1.  Best Backpack for Men and Experienced Trekkers and Hikers: Gregory Mountain Zulu 55

The versatile Gregory Mountain Zulu 55 offers top-quality use as a sturdy hiking backpack and a handsome travel pack. It is the perfect choice for men and for athletic, experienced hikers and trekkers. Weighing 3.5 lbs., it has a load range of 40 lbs. and a capacity of 55 liters. Available in attractive blue and green shades, this pack is composed of 100% nylon. It comes with a fold-away rain cover for extra protection during wet weather conditions. This pack has an adjustable torso length and an OpenAir back panel for superior ventilation.

This backpack is designed to include a cross-flow suspension system. This feature is extremely helpful for equal distribution of your hiking gear weight. At the same time, it provides an abundance of continuous airflow to maintain a cool pack temperature. Featuring the classic top-loading design and pull cord, this pack also has a sturdy front zipper. The front access design is especially helpful during long or rugged treks. This pack has a SpeedClip attachment that ensures compatibility with the 3-D Hydro reservoir sold by Gregory.B01788Z5XS - Gregory Mountain Products Zulu 55 Liter Men's Multi Day Hiking Backpack

Tucked away in this backpack’s interior is a handy, removable summit bag. This small day-pack is ideal for shorter excursions and for hiking in rough terrain or on steep slopes. It is also the perfect size to carry on day treks or coastline hikes. This bag is also a good choice for carrying daily essentials during sightseeing tours in stop-over cities during travel. This backpack’s hip belt is expertly padded and it offers a pair of convenient exterior pockets for easy access. This pack is designed for virtually any type of hiking or travel. Any backpacking needs that arise will be resolved by this versatile pack design.


• Interior sleeping-bag compartment included
• Ideal choice for a daily carry-pack
• Torso adjustment for customized comfort


• Not designed as carry-on bag
• Lacks laptop or tablet pouch

2.  Best Hiking Backpack for Women: Gregory Jade 53

This appealing Jade 53 model backpack from Gregory is designed specifically for use by women. Weighing 3.4 lbs., it has a loading range equaling 40 lbs. and a capacity of 53 liters. This pack is available  in grey and teal. It is priced in the higher range of hiking backpacks. This style is designed specifically for carrying all the essentials women need while on the trail, coastline or mountainside.

B07F4GYQL5 - Gregory Mountain Products Jade 53 Liter Women's Overnight Hiking BackpackThis backpack is promoted as the female version of the Zulu pack. As a cross design between a hiking and travel backpack, this model is well-suited for use on varied excursions. This product includes a cross-flow suspension system, which distributes and balances your gear. This feature also provides full airflow to maintain a cool temperature for your pack. One handy element of this pack’s design is the U-shaped front zipper for easy access. Styled with a female-oriented fit, this pack adjusts to suit different back lengths.

Made of 100 percent nylon, this pack also has a floating 3-D comfort cradle for your lower back. Additionally, the features include OpenAir back panel ventilation and a harness and hip belt designed for women. A zippered pocket beneath the pack’s top lid holds a convenient fitted rain cover. This design also offers a shoulder harness-based Sunglass QuickStow system for secure storage of your shades.


• Front-loading access with zippered closure
• Sleeping bag storage compartment
• Handy day-pack included


• Not suitable for airplane carry-on
• Lacks a laptop or tablet pocket

3. Lightweight Backpack for Smaller, Lower-Weight Trekkers: Osprey Atmos 50

For smaller trekkers and backpackers in the lower-weight range, the Osprey Atmos 50 pack offers easy carrying and comfort. Available in appealing grey, red and blue shades, this backpack weights 4.2 lbs. It offers a loading range of 40 lbs. and a capacity of 50 liters. This pack is recommended for lightweight hikers who plan to include sleeping bags, hammocks, tents or other heavy items in their gear.

The unique construction of this pack enables smaller trekkers to carry extra clothing or gear on extended trips. Its top caliber design helps prevent over-stressing muscles and rapid tiring while on the trail. This design has a floating top lid that is removable for convenience. It also includes dual pockets with zipper closures, plus web attachment points. The built-in internal hydration sleeve is compatible with a reservoir of 3-liter capacity or less. The Osprey pack features dual ice tool loops and bungee tie-offs. It also includes a sternum strap with a safety whistle attached. Also, this backpack design provides convenient sleeping pad straps that are removable. This backpack is considered by many experienced hikers and trekkers to be among the most comfortable designs. It’s easy carrying style is especially advantageous on long or strenuous hiking over uneven terrain.

B074P6RPSC - Osprey Atmos AG 50 Men's Backpacking BackpackPros

• Advanced suspension system
• Lightweight carrying comfort
• Integrated rain cover design


• Top-loading only for gear
• Not suitable for carry-on bag

4. Ideal Backpack for Beginners:  Kelty Redwing 44

This adventure travel pack is an excellent selection for beginning backpackers. Initially, many novices try out this model as a day-pack for short, day excursions or single-night stay camping trips. Weighing just 2.6 lbs., this backpack design offers a capacity of 44 liters and a load range equaling 20 to 40 lbs. Available in attractive green, blue or black, this pack can double as carry-on luggage on many airline flights.

This pack has a stylish, sporty look. Designed as a hiker’s day-pack or compact overnight travel bag, this pack can carry all the essentials. Despite its compact style and light weight, this pack by Kelty can hold a surprising amount of gear, clothing and other items. Its interior has plenty of compartments, pockets and pouches. These separate storage options help beginning trekkers and hikers stay organized during their early backpacking trips.B014JQ9GG4 - Kelty Redwing 44 Backpack

The hybrid U-zipper feature provides both top and front-loading for this pack. This easy access to gear and belongings is quite helpful for novice hikers and campers. This design has an abundance of exterior pockets, a spacious front pocket and a stretch frontal pouch. It is equipped for using compatible hydration systems. This pack model also includes top-grade suspension features. It has a Hex Mesh back panel with quality ventilation. Other attractive features are sturdy shoulder straps, a waist belt and a sternum strap. More helpful aspects of this backpack design include its convenient load lifter straps.


• Hybrid front and top-loading option
• Compact, lightweight design
• Weight-distribution hip belt


• Not as well made as some other leading brand backpacks
• Promoted as carry-on pack, but too large for some airlines

5. Perfect Backpack for Long Hiking Trips: Arc’teryx Bora 50

The durable Arc’teryx Bora 50 backpack is a great choice for long adventure trips in the rugged back-country. This pack weighs 4.7 lbs. and offers a capacity of50 liters and a load range of 50 to 60 lbs. Although it is in the higher price range for sturdy, dependable travel packs, this pack is designed for long-term use. This attractive blue pack for serious trekking and backpacking is made of durable nylon with high-performance weather protection.

Every detail of this pack’s design offers superb quality and wear. This backpack features a composite frame and an amazingly comfortable hip belt suspension system. Even if you carry an excess of heavy gear on backpacking trips, the outstanding hip belt design distributes the weight expertly. This enables you to trek farther and longer without experiencing fatigue. When carrying this backpack, you need no rain cover. The pack’s top-quality nylon surfaces are ideal for repelling rain, snow and moisture in damp climates.

B01ICAUHAM - Arc'teryx Bora AR 50 Men's BackpackThis high-performance backpack is suitable for multi-day and extended trekking and backpacking trips. It is designed for technical hiking, rugged trekking and long adventure traveling over varied and rough terrain. This pack’s excellent weight distribution capacity makes it ideal for hiking on sharp inclines or rocky landscapes. When carrying this backpack, your energy levels will not be over-stressed. You will also benefit from less stress and strain on your back, hips and knees.


• Weather-resistant construction
• Sleek, minimalist style
• Innovative design for easy carrying


  • Lack of extra pockets and pouches
  • No side loading and unloading of gear

Concluding Thoughts

We hope this discussion is helpful when you shop for your new hiking and travel adventure backpack. After comparing the various features and advantages of each brand and model, you can make your buying decision more easily. Of course, the ultimate decision will be your own. You can now answer the question, “Which backpack should I get?” with confidence. You are the best-suited person to know your ideal backpack design when you see and examine it. After informed consideration of your top favorites, make your best choice and purchase that perfect pack.

Wishing you many adventurous hiking trips and exciting travel excursions!

2 thoughts on “What Backpack Should I Get?”

  1. You indicated when packing the backpack to “Place heavy items at the bottom.” Even though that may seem intuitively correct, I was under the understanding that a certain amount of heavy should be packed more towards the top of the pack, that way it aligns the mass keeps it closer to your center of gravity as you are walking along. If you place a lot of heavy items down low inside the pack, you end having to bend forward more to compensate for the changed center of gravity.

    • Alan –

      Thank you for taking the time to let us know your thoughts. What you say is correct. This was a silly mistake on my part. I will make an adjustment to the article soon to reflect what you’re saying.

      Thanks again for reading the article and joining the Tribe.

      Sincerely yours,

      Chief Backpacking Officer
      Backpacking Tribe Nation


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