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Hiking Backpacks

Product Selection

Choosing the Right Hiking Backpack

When searching for the best backpack for your next hiking trip, find a pack that will accommodate your gear. You can use these general capacity guidelines to help you make the right selection:

  • Day Hikes – Single day hike, 1,800-2,500 cubic inches (Up to 30 liters)
  • Overnight – Overnight or multi-day hike, 3,000-5,000 cubic inches (30-50 liters)
  • Expedition – Week long or winter hikes, of 5000+ cubic inches (55+ liters)
  • Storage Configuration – Keep in mind the ease of which your camping and hiking gear can be accessed while you are on a trail.
  • Pockets – There are many different types of pockets available on internal packs including elasticized pockets (increased capacity), hip belt pockets (carry small items) shovel pockets (large, general purpose) and more. Look for pockets that are easy to reach.
  • Side & Front Zippers – Not found on every pack, extra zippers can be used to retrieve gear that couldn’t normally be obtained without completely unloading a top loading pack.

If you’re looking for a pack to hold more gear, check out our selection of daypacks that come in a range of styles, sizes and colors.

Buying Tips

If you’re looking for a good hiking backpack for off-trail or extreme terrain activity like backpacking and other rigorous outdoor activities, internal packs offer the type of stability, comfort and freedom of movement that you’ll need when on rough terrain. Also known as internal frame packs, internal packs feature a frame that’s integrated into the backpack and designed to fit the contours of your body. The basic difference in internal packs is the loading method.

Loading Method

Top Loading Internal Packs – A top loading internal pack is generally a simpler and lighter design than some others. This form of hiking backpack tends to be more water resistant since there are fewer locations for the intrusion of water. Kelty backpacks often feature the top loading configuration.

Panel Loading Internal Packs – With large, zippered opening s, panel loading packs make loading and accessing cargo easy. Zippered closures give you the ability to find almost anything at a moment’s notice. There are several North Face backpacks that feature the convenience of panel loading.

Expert Advice

To save time, consider a few of our helpful tips when searching for the right hiking and camping backpack:

  • Add weight to internal packs when trying them on
  • Easy to reach pockets come in handy for quick access to hydration and survival and first-aid gear
  • For women, there are internal packs specifically designed for a woman’s shape