We borrowed a lot of gear for our backpacking trips last year. After deciding it was something we wanted to stick with, it was time to start shopping for our own gear. Picking out a backpack was one of the most difficult decisions with all the choices available. Not only does each pack feel different when you put it on, there are a wide range of capacities available. I didn’t want to go too big, and carry around more pack than I needed, but was afraid to go too small and not have enough room.
This info-graphic from REI pretty much echos much of what I read in books and on the internet. Those looking to travel fast and light may want to go with a smaller capacity pack. Since I find myself in the role as the family Sherpa, I went with a pack in the upper capacity range. I want to have enough room to take on a bit extra should I need to; for example, I found that taking a few things from my son’s pack noticeably gave him a boost in stamina and morale.
Check out REI’s backpacks next time you head outdoors!
In addition to the capacity of the pack, you’ll want to get the right size pack to fit your torso length. I recommend going to a place like REI that can help you get fitted, and also has a large inventory of packs. I was surprised at how different the packs from the various manufacturers fit. Some felt like they wanted to get away from my body, while others felt like a custom fit. Go try them on!