How to choose the backpack to go trekking in the mountains

How to wear the Trekking Backpack Reading How to choose the backpack to go trekking in the mountains 7 minutes Next Camino de Santiago: what to bring?

Just like boots, they must be chosen carefully, first of all thinking about what use they will be used for.

Before letting yourself be carried away by the appeal of aesthetics or that of the wallet, it is better to ask yourself a fundamental question: how will I use my backpack?


Choosing the most suitable trekking backpack to go hiking in the mountains or to do the Camino de Santiago is not just a matter of identifying the best brands: on sale you can find numerous models of backpack for hiking, and to find the most suitable backpack to your needs it is first of all necessary to carefully evaluate the use to be made of it and the season in which it will be used. A backpack for simple walks in the summer can (and must) have different characteristics than a backpack for long walks such as the Via Francigena, for example; a backpack to be used in winter with snow must contain more material and have even higher waterproofing qualities than a backpack intended for summer use.

So let's see, based on the intended use of the backpack , the characteristics to be evaluated before proceeding with the purchase:

  • Liters or capacity
  • Form
  • Waist band
  • Back
  • External pockets

How many liters should a trekking backpack have?

Even if the capacity of a trekking backpack is measured in liters, inside a hiking backpack there must be clothes, food, technological objects, maps, camping equipment and everything necessary for any eventuality: the volume of all these objects, however. it is not measured in liters, hence the difficulty, for those who have to buy the first backpack, to evaluate the right capacity of a backpack suitable for their needs.

We can say that one day hiking backpack may not exceed 35 liters capacity: a 15-20 liter backpack is great for a walk without too much effort; from 20 to 30 liters it is a backpack in which to comfortably put everything you need during a day excursion (water, food, rain jacket, a guide or a book); a 35-liter backpack can be useful if, in addition to carrying everything you need, you also have to think about children, who may have some extra needs.

For  excursions and walks lasting several days that provide for an overnight stay in shelters or in other reception accommodations, we recommend a capacity that could range from 35 to 60 liters: in these cases it will be necessary to bring with you spare clothes, spare footwear, the necessary for the night and the awakening and in short, everything you need to stay away from home for two or more days.

If you then choose to camping or bivouacking independently you definitely need an XXL backpack of over 60 liters (on our store there is the Bigwalk 80 by Marsupio ): although the tendency to reduce weight and size can work miracles, a tent, a sleeping bag, a stove and necessary to prepare a meal, food supplies or water are all items that take up space in a hiking backpack.

What shape should a hiking backpack have?

Trekking backpacks are generally of slightly squared or more rectangular and elongated shape . For simple walks on tourist or hiking trails (marked with T or E) a more compact backpack can also work. If, on the other hand, inaccessible routes are foreseen, in the middle of the vegetation, or via ferratas or sections for expert hikers, a tapered backpack that develops vertically is recommended: so as to reduce the probability of imbalance as well as that of getting entangled in branches. or shrubs.

It is important to know that almost all brands of technical backpacks now provide both the men's and women's models , taking into account in this case the different physical conformation: circumference of the pelvis, shape of the shoulder straps and dimensions of the backrest above all.

For the same reason it is necessary also carefully consider the length, width and arrangement of the shoulder straps: once you have ascertained that they are padded and adjustable ( here the guide on how to correctly wear and adjust the backpack ). The chest strap is useful to prevent the shoulder straps from slipping out, and for large backpacks, over 40 liters, it is advisable to make sure that the load recall straps : these are the two buckles located between the upper part of the shoulder straps and the actual compartment of the backpack and can be adjusted, 'releasing' the pressure of the load from the shoulders.

Does the back of the backpack need to be padded?

No, on the contrary: the problem with the back is not that the backpack does not have enough padding but that allow air to pass (something that a fully padded back would not allow to do). Today there are also backpacks that have a perforated net that rests on the back, distancing the load from the body, letting sweat transpire. The best quality backpacks also include the possibility of adjusting the height of the backrest, thus adapting to people of different heights: this is also a detail to be evaluated in the case of an out-of-average stature.

Does the trekking backpack have to have external pockets?

Well, certainly yes. There are in fact small objects that would otherwise be lost in the main compartment; because there are objects of frequent use (the water bottle or hot drink) that must remain within reach; because there are delicate objects that it is better to always have an eye on (all technological gadgets for example); and why the pockets can help to better balance the load.

It is always better to have several small or medium-sized external pockets rather than a single large pocket external to the main compartment, again for a question of load balance; in large backpacks it is also good that the central compartment is divided into two or more compartments , accessible independently from the outside, to divide the material according to weight or use; and always in the medium-large size backpacks the external laces are useful that are used to secure the loads that normally are outside: each has its own specific function, in particular the very technical backpacks such as climbing or ski mountaineering ones, if you have any doubts you can still contact us :).

Some backpacks also include the presence of the so-called ' camel bag ', or the water pocket with a straw that comes close to the face: these are normally backpacks for specific uses, for example for trail running or MTB.

In conclusion, the best quality backpacks also have one pocket with built-in rain cover (those on our store are all equipped with this gadget): it is a waterproof hood that comes off and covers the entire backpack, fastening with an elastic on the edge, preventing rain from wetting the fabric, and that allows the trekking backpack to be really waterproof.

After evaluating all these features, it is now possible to proceed with the purchase, saving both time and money .

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