Backpacking has grown in interest over the last few years, and with that newly found interest, comes a whole new series of backpacks to the market. If going for a multiday or week-long backpacking journey and shopping for a new pack, it can be overwhelming, unless you have some knowledge on the available products.
Features and Options
Before deciding on a particular make or manufacturer of backpack, an understanding of what is needed for a particular trip is necessary. The backpack is the foundation of a good trip and one of the most important pieces of gear found in the backcountry arsenal. Internal frame backpacks have far surpassed the external frame backpack in terms of weight, body conformity and ergonomics, comfort and fit. A good hipbelt, suspension straps and harness and stabilizing system are keys features to look for in a good backpack. Much like a solid fitting jacket or boot, the backpack's quality depends on the fit of the three mentioned attributes. Advances in technology have also introduced the lumbar pad, a small piece of closed cell foam that rests between the lower back and the pack itself.
Some of the best backpacks made today are produced by Gregory, Arc'teryx, the North Face and Marmot Mountaineering. The Marmot Eiger 65 is a large volume backpack that can also be used for alpine-style mountain ascents. The Arc'teryx Bora 80 is a high-quality large-volume backpack for multiday or week-long trips. It is one of the best on the market, as it is is heat-seam sealed, making it nearly 100-percent waterproof. The North Face Catalyst 75 is a perfect large-volume multiday pack that can withstand the abuse week-long or more trips put on a pack. Gregory's Denali Pro is one of the largest and best-quality mutliday packs on the market and is frequently chosen by professional mountain and backcountry guides.
Women's bodies are different than that of men and require different geometry for a comfortable fit. Gregory, the North Face, Marmot and Arc'teryx all offer women specific large volume backpacks. The Gregory Jade 60 is a great high-volume female-specific backpack that accommodates female hips with aplomb. The North Face Crestone 60 gives women a sizeable pack designed for their bodies. Arc'teryx offers the Arrakis 65, a heat-seam sealed multiday pack that is high-quality and comfortable. Marmot offers the Diva series of backpacks designed exclusively for women. Trails.com has a good selection of quality backpacks.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.