From school days into adulthood, we’ve all toted around our favorite backpacks, trusting them to keep our belongings safe and secure as we move about the world. And when it comes to hiking, the same sentiment is true; we need a pack that will easily carry all of our favorite gear without slowing our pace.
Whether you’re gearing up for a multi-day trek through one of the US national parks or exploring the wonders of the wilderness in your town, carrying the proper pack can be the difference between epic enjoyment and trail-induced torment. To save you and your body some unnecessary pains, we talked with gear experts and guides to help you find the pack that works for you.
When it comes to choosing a pack, two things are paramount: comfort and functionality. Above all, you want a pack that fits your body well and provides comfort mile after mile.
“If your gear doesn’t fit you, you’re probably going to tap out a lot sooner. You’re probably going to think that you are limited to certain kinds of adventures because all you know is that at a certain point, you don’t feel good on trail,” says Jenny Bruso, founder of Unlikely Hikers, a nationwide hiking community that focuses on inclusivity in the outdoors. “What if the secret to feeling better on trail, stronger, more supported, is just having a better pack?”
The best thing to do is go and get fitted for a pack at a hiking or camping store like REI. But, if there’s not one local to you or you prefer looking online, there are ways to estimate the size and fit of the pack you’…….