How to Choose a Hiking Pack

The type of hiking pack you need depends on how you’ll be using it. The pack capacity and features you need for the trail are different for a day hike, an overnight hike or a longer backpacking trip.


Day Hike

A day hiking pack only needs to be big enough for the essentials, so a 15-30 liter pack is a good size to look for. You don’t need many bells and whistles, but features like water bottle pockets or multiple compartments can make organization a bit easier. If you want to go super-light, a sling pack or hip pack is also an option.


Overnight or Multi-Day Hike

For an overnight hike where you need to bring along camping gear, you’ll want a backpack with a capacity of at least 30-50 liters. In addition to the features of a day pack, look for things like a rigid frame that keeps the pack off your back, hip and sternum straps, a large compartment for overnight gear and extra pockets for more organization.


Backpacking or Expedition Hike

If your hike is longer than a couple of days, you’ll need room for things like extra layers and clothing, extra food and more camping gear – so look for a pack with a capacity of at least 50-70 liters. With the increased capacity, the pack should feature extra cushioning and lumbar support, lashing and stashing points for gear and plenty of pockets to keep everything organized.


Fitting Your Pack

Make sure the hip straps sit right above your hips and the sternum strap is positioned across your chest. You know the pack fits properly when the top of the shoulder straps are right at the top of your shoulders and the hip straps fit right on the top of your hips.

Other Gear to Consider


Sleeping Bags



Men's Socks

Women's Socks

Kids' Socks

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