How to choose the perfect bag for a hike’s Avatar

Geneviève Asselin-Demers


To follow up on my text on hiking shoes, here I am again with a second text, but, this time, on backpacks.

To follow up on my text on hiking shoes, here I am again with a second text, but, this time, on backpacks.

It is therefore very important to shop in a specialist outdoor store. Competent people will know how to align you to the right model for your size, gender, type of hike and physical fitness. As for the ideal size: it all depends on your needs. With a bag that is too small, you may forget or lack the necessary equipment during your excursion.

On the other hand, a bag that is too big is like a bag, the more space there is, the more you drag useless things and thus make it much too heavy for absolutely nothing (superfluous material). A backpack that is too large may cause pain in the shoulders, back and lower body joints (knees, ankles, etc.). Backpacks are classified in liters. For a hike of 1 to 3 nights, it is recommended to have a 30-50 liter bag. For those 3 to 5 nights, you should expect to need a bag of 50 to 80 liters. For long hikes of 5 days and more, we go with 70 liters and more.

A second important criterion is the degree of adjustment. The higher the quality of a backpack, the more adjustments there are to the shoulders, chest and waist. The bag will take on the shape of your body and thus it will become one with yourself and this is the desired effect in order to enhance your overall experience.

Third important criterion to check: all the technical characteristics of hiking backpacks. We have to ask ourselves what is important to us and determine what type of adventurer we are. We must check the structure, ventilation and padding that suit us according to the hikes planned in the calendar and the time of year. It is important to have many pockets (belt, side, top) in order to store all the necessary equipment. There may even be the option of inserting a hydration pack for those who do not wish to carry water bottles. Several courtesies, hooks and outside loops can also be very useful in order to slip a sleeping bag, a mattress, hang walking sticks, insert a water bottle or any other article that can remain outside the bag. Some models offer a built-in waterproof cover or a removable daypack, it’s up to you to see if this is really necessary in your situation.

Once the bag is selected, you must have adjusted it. An adequate adjustment will ensure you distribute the weight well (75/25: 75% at the pelvis and 25% on the shoulders) and thus find your outing much more pleasant. If you don’t have the chance to do it in store, there are several tutorials on the web to enlighten you and help you once you get home.

It is always important to readjust the fasteners during the excursion, a small stop will allow you to avoid some aches.

In short, I hope these tips will help you find a backpack that is comfortable, practical and suitable for your needs. There are several styles, brands and colors available, so good shopping!