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Backpack Buying Guide Hero Image

Backpack Buying Guide

Tell us how you’ll use your backpack--type of activity, amount of gear and water to stow, weight of pack, and features that fit your preferences--and we’ll find the best results. Learn More

How do you intend to use this backpack?

I need a small pack that can carry my essentials for a day on the trail.

Small pack with hydration reservoir and little storage.

Strong, comfortable pack with sleeping bag, shelter, and food capacity for days.

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Day Hikes

I need a small pack that can carry my essentials for a day on the trail.

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Multi-day Hikes

Strong, comfortable pack with sleeping bag, shelter, and food capacity for days.

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Hydration Packs

Small pack with hydration reservoir and little storage.

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Other

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Backpack Capacity

What size pack do you really need? Get a pack that's too big and you'll be sure to fill it with non-essential junk and end up tired and sore. But go too small, and you might not be able to fit the stuff you do need, like …

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Backpack Weight

While the weight of your backpack should definitely be a consideration, remember that what you put inside the backpack will have a much greater impact on overall trail weight...and your comfort. As a guide, pack weight …

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Liquid Capacity

Hydration reservoirs come in four sizes: 1L (34oz), 1.5L (50oz), 2L (68oz), and 3L (102oz). 1L and 1.5L are good options for kids and short-distance hikes/bike rides. 2L is the most popular with capacity for …

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Adjustable Fit

Hipbelts prevents the bottom of the pack from shifting and smacking you in the lower back and carry most of the pack’s weight. Shoulder straps are designed to keep the pack against your back but not intended to carry the load. …

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