Backpacks for Hiking and Camping

For those who love participating in outdoor activities and travel, you can find different types of backpacks available to suit your needs. Whether it's camping, hiking, hunting or backpacking, you'll have plenty of models to choose from. Depending on the quality and features, they can get rather costly, so it's best to do your homework before you go shopping.

Buying Guide

Look for quality material and popular brand names. Some designs have many pockets and compartments, some have few. It's a preference, but there is a nice in-between where the backpack is not too cluttered up with extras. The zippers need to be sturdy and zip easily. Metal zippers are more reliable than plastic, but some heavy-duty plastic zippers aren't likely to break on you. Be wary of designs with cheap, flimsy zippers that won't stand up to wear and tear. Be prepared for rainy weather and choose a durable, waterproof backpack.

Modern designs come in all shapes and sizes. The internal framework is a crucial factor for quality and comfort. Always try them on and ask the clerk questions. Some backpacks come with a hip belt to help distribute weight. Others don't but you can buy one separately. Don't go cheap here, you'll be happy with a good grade of foam padding a few miles down the trail. Look for firm but comfortable padding that won't deteriorate in the elements.

The more weight you carry, the harder the backpack falls on your shoulders. You don't need the straps digging into your shoulders. They should be easy to adjust and the padding comfortable. Velcro works great for securing you adjustments. Some backpacks and larger bags are wheeled, meaning they're equipped with wheels that you can pull out and roll the bag along. Keep in mind, you can't avoid carrying them, the wheels only work well on smooth terrain and are the handiest when you're at a resting area or campsite.

Backpacks for Children

If you're taking your child hiking, don't match him with an oversized or awkward backpack. Kids can't carry as much weight and you need to look for one that's comfortable and easy to carry. Lightweight, yet rugged material is ideal for youngsters. Some sporting goods stores will measure you and help you choose the perfect bag. Adults vary vastly in height and weight and they can match you up too! If you wish, you can measure yourself or child in advance, write down the information, and take it shopping with you. Read the tags for a torso and weight fit.

Other Bag Types

For shorter hikes, you don't need to carry a large backpack. You can try an alternative bag, such as a waist pack, fanny pack, lumbar pack or hip pack. These usually consist of a bag or pouch attached to a belt and are much easier to carry. Look for a mesh back for ventilation and an extra compartment for carrying a water bottle. Some of them come with a water bottle but make sure the compartment will hold a standard-sized bottle so you won't be stuck with using only the included bottle.

“A great many people, and more all the time, live their entire lives without ever once sleeping out under the stars.” - Alan S. Kesselheim