One of the key essentials when exploring the outdoors is a proper hiking backpack. A good quality, comfortable backpack will improve your hiking experience significantly as they are designed to be lightweight and they provide the necessary support for your body to be able to carry all your essentials without being a burden on your body, which is a win-win.
BACKPACK (FOR DAY HIKES):
When looking for a backpack, you want to look for mesh in the back and/or straps for breathability, a lot of pockets for organization, at least 20L of space or 36L version if you’re planning on packing extra layers, and some version of a waist strap for support. It is important to try on a variety of backpacks as they will feel different for each person due to individual anatomical differences. Therefore, take the time to shop around before narrowing down on one.
BACKPACK (FOR OVERNIGHT HIKES):
You want to consider the same features for an overnight pack as you would a day pack, such as breathability, pockets, etc. However, one of the key differences will be the size. Since you will be packing a lot more for an overnight trip, you want a backpack large enough to fit all your essentials. A recommended size for an overnight backpack is 65L.
Another important feature to look for is a backpack where the top part can be detached and converted into a small day bag. This will be extra helpful if you’re on an overnight or multi-day trip and want to explore your surroundings without taking all your gear.
WEIGHT OF BACKPACK:
Now that you have your backpack or backpacks, you want ensure that they are the right weight for you. Since various considerations go into figuring out the right backpack weight, it is tough to give an exact estimation. Generally speaking, a loaded day backpack should not weigh more than about 10 percent of your body weight and a loaded overnight backpack should not weigh more than about 20 percent of your body weight. However, depending on your fitness and strength, you may be able to carry more; therefore use this as a guideline. The key is not to overstrain your body so keep that in mind while shopping for gear to pack.
WHAT TO PACK:
The key essentials will help ensure that you’re safe in case of emergencies, which is the number one thing to prepare for when heading into nature.
The key essentials are a headlamp, sun protection (hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen), first aid kit, knife, fire (matches, lighter, and stove), GPS, extra food, extra water, and extra clothes. If you’re planning a camping trip, you want to pack all the above essentials, plus all your overnight gear. The key essentials for an overnight trip are a tent,sleeping pad, sleeping bag, camp stove, camp pillow, water bottles/reservoirs, water filters, mugs, utensils, and of course food.