How to choose a backpack
Match It to your adventure
This is what we recommend
Multiple days, without a tent: 30-55L
Global travelling: 40-65L
Multiple days, with a tent: 65L+
Winter expeditions generally require big backpacks as you need space for larger sleeping bags and extra layers.
Find your size
- Start by finding your hip bones.
- The hip belt should be placed directly over them, so the hip bones is centred on the belt, or – if you have slim hips – you may want to have the centre of the hip belt just under your hip bone.
- Tighten the hip belt so it fits snugly over your hips.
- The shoulder straps should start at the back curve of your shoulders. There shouldn’t be a gap between the top of your shoulders and the straps. Likewise, the straps shouldn’t start too low down your back.
We don’t offer different back lengths. Rather, our larger backpacks have an adjustable carrying system, that you can easily customise to your back. This makes buying from the internet a lot easier. We do have women’s specific backpacks, however. These are shaped to better fit a woman’s form.
- Start with the hip belt; it should sit comfortably, preferably with its mid-point over the hip bone. You can tighten the hip stabiliser straps until the backpack sits closely against your back.
- Then move onto the the back panel. Our larger backpacks offer among the greatest adjustability potential in the outdoor industry. Just pull the two Velcro bits apart and slide the back panel to a length that suits your back.
- Then move onto the shoulders; ensure the straps sit on your shoulders, without a gap. Adjust the top stabiliser straps (if present) to ensure the top of the backpack isn’t leaning backwards. However, don’t pull it too tight. If there’s a gap between your shoulders and the straps, you’ve gone too far.
- Finally, the chest strap should sit comfortably across your chest, not too tight so the shoulder straps turn in. It should offer support and reduce the chance of chaffing around the armpits.
Oh, and do all these adjustments with a loaded backpack. It’s hard to get an accurate picture of how the backpack fits when it’s filled with nothing but air.
- You'll generally have to decide between lightweight and the number of features. Mountaineering packs are often light but simple; trekking packs are usually heavier but boast more features.
- If you want to be able to see all your gear - handy when travelling and camping - then go for a pack with a front opening. If you want to get going quickly, a top opening pack is better.
- A removable top lid means you can adjust your pack (and its weight) to your activity.
- Lots of internal pockets are good for separating clothing and gear - ideal for travelling and camping. Too many pockets over-complicate a streamlined mountaineering pack.
- Loops and daisy-chain webbing allow you to attach gear to the outside of your pack. This can be handy on longer treks (when it's not raining) or when on the approach to a climb. But for travelling and in more challenging terrain, too much gear on the outside can get annoying. Having said that, some backpacks come with ice axe and ski attachments. On certain adventures, these features can make all the difference.
Day trips: Ulvö 23L
Versatile, waterproof with easy access to your day-trip essentials. It has a zippered main compartment and side pockets in stretch. And 31% recycled nylon make green hearts beat a little faster.
Multiple days, without a tent: Kaipak 38L
Just the right number of pockets for you to separate your gear without struggling to find stuff in a hurry. It’s incredibly comfortable and has straps for trekking poles and is hydration system compatible.
Global travelling: Abisko 65L
Fully adjustable, roomy and not too heavy this backpack is ideal for travellers. The slimline silhouette makes negotiating crowded streets easy and the back panel ensures good airflow even in warmer climates.
Multiple days, with a tent: Keb 72L
Ergonomic all-season backpack for long trips on foot or skis. With its durable and sustainable materials, this backpack will last for many years of adventures in rough terrain. The slim profile gives freedom of movement and its well-planned compartments make it easy to organize gear.