Hiking can be one of the most relaxing and healthy recreational activities as well as a great family activity. There's nothing quite like putting on a pair of hiking boots, strapping on a hiking pack, and setting off on a good long hike into the wilderness and into the middle of nowhere. Still if one is going to engage in the more serious multiday treks, then it is important to be prepared and get the gear right. Actually one of the most important parts of a hiker's gear is the backpack itself. It is very important to get the right hiking pack. See here for 20 bucket list hikes in the USA.
Do Get A Quality Pack
If one is intending on going on a good long hike and do so regularly, then it is important to get a good quality pack. The pack should be made of strong and durable materials and able to withstand repeated use. It needs to be lightweight and comfortable, everybody's body is different so every hiker needs to make sure that the pack works for them.
Don't Get A Large Pack
A golden rule of hiking, backpacking, and traveling is don't take too much stuff. This is doubly important with hiking as the hiker must carry all of their stuff. Hiking for 8 hours a day with excessive weight is needlessly exhausting. All the gear should be lightweight and miniaturized (that doesn't mean hikers can't bring along some niceties like a single book to read and a modest bottle of Scotch Whisky.) But every added pound is another pound that must be carried.
- Tip: A Correctly Sized Pack Is An Automatic Moderator Of What Can Be Packed
This is also where the hiking pack comes in. Don't get a needlessly large pack, it just needs to be the right size to carry the gear the hiker needs to carry. An appropriately sized pack will force the hiker to limit the number of things carried due to limited space. Also, it has the effect that with every new thing acquired, something else has to come out. And so equilibrium is maintained.
Do Consider The Type Of Hiking
Of course, this varies massively depending on the type of hike one is planning to do. If it is just a day hike on a well-marked trail on a good day, then only a small hiking pack may be needed for water, food, and a jacket in case the weather turns south.
It could be a couple of days of leisurely trekking with one wanting to take it slow and wanting to focus on the camping side of things. Then in this case a larger pack can be brought to carry more camping equipment (maybe even a bottle of wine for the campfire). One will need to bring the full hiking-made camping gear like a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and pot and stove. If the terrain is easy and the hiking times in a day are short, then one could carry more.
- Tip: If Being Alcohol, Consider Pouring It Into A Plastic Bottle So One Doesn't Need To Carry Heavy Glass
If one is going to do the Appalachian Trail, then it is important to follow professional guidelines and get the right equipment. The pack is an important part of that equipment.
- Fun Fact: The Appalachian Trail Is Said To Be The Longest In The World And Takes 5-7 Months To Complete
Don't Get An Overly Fancy Pack
There are some packs out there that have cool-looking but impractical features. An example being some packs and backpacks have an extendable handle and wheels to trundle the pack. This is impractical, a pack is to be carried and not trundled like a suitcase. This just adds weight and makes the form of the backpack less suited for carrying.
- Remember: A Good Pack Will Be Comfortable When Loaded And Propeiately Adjusted
- Tip: The Bulk Of The Weight Should Be On One's Hips And Not Shoulders If It Is On The Shoulders Something Is Wrong
Additionally, often the last season's backpacks will be just as good as the next season's so buying the new may be a needless expenditure of money when the old stock is on sale.
Good Hiking Pack Brands
There are a variety of great brands to choose from. Some of the leading brands include:
- Gregory Packs
Additionally, the New Zealand brand "Macpac" is a very good brand that one can't go wrong with. They have one of the best reputations for a specialized outdoors hiking and camping company. If ordering from them in the States, one may need to order online.