How to choose your hiking bag
You want to explore new horizons and go on an adventure. You want to equip yourself and not forget anything. However, choosing your bag is not always easy. A hike can quickly turn into an ordeal if your bag isn't adapted to your practice, your needs and your morphology.
Whether you're going out for an afternoon, a weekend or an entire week, there are several criteria to consider when choosing your hiking bag.
To each practice its own hiking bag
As we have seen, the choice of your backpack depends on the length of your activity. The bag's capacity is measured in litres (L). It corresponds to the volume of the bag, pockets included. According to your practice, you will buy a larger or smaller bag. You can easily transport your food, warm clothes, mattress, sleeping bag, first aid kit, etc.
- For day trips, you'll need to carry a waterproof jacket, warm clothing, and some provisions and hydratation. In this case, a 30-liter hiking bag is sufficient.
- If you leave for two days, go for a bag of 40 to 50 litres with multiple storage and fasteners (straps, nets, etc.). You'll need to bring a tent, a mattress, a sleeping bag, new clothes, a first-aid kit and a toilet bag. Depending on the season and altitude, don't forget to take sunglasses, a beanie, gloves, and even rope too. Prefer lightweight materials and porterage comfort.
- For a trekking lasting several days, you'll need a bag between 50 and 80 litres depending on the material to be carried and your autonomy. If you're in complete autonomy, the capacity of the bag will vary accordingly and you'll go for the biggest volumes. It's important to check that your bag is equipped with several straps to carry your tent and a floor mat if necessary.
We advise you not to invest in a bag which is going to be too large, which might be too heavy. Otherwise, you'll be tempted to fill it with unnecessary accessories! Your bag should not exceed one quarter of your weight. Conversely, don't buy too small a bag. Your equipment might not fit inside and you might forget something you really need.
The ideal bag: durable, comfortable and waterproof
To make things easier for you, your backpack must have many pockets, it must also be resistant and waterproof via a rain cover for example (the brand Osprey equips almost all of its models with rain covers).To be comfortable during your trips, you absolutely need a bag adapted to your morphology. To find out if one is suitable, fill it, try it and tighten the shoulder straps. It's essential to properly distribute the load inside the bag in order to avoid any inconvenience or empty, useless space. Before any hike, you must adjust the straps and shoulder straps to spare your shoulders and your back. When a bag is properly adjusted, it allows to carry 60 to 70% of the weight of the bag on the hips and not to put too much stress on the shoulders. Comfort is also an important element, it takes precedence over weight. The padding of the belt, back and shoulder straps may be made of perforated materials. They promote ventilation and moisture removal. Adjustable shoulder straps allow you to adjust the bag to your body shape and distribute the weight.
How to properly store your hiking bag
Here are some tips for storing your bag and leaving in total serenity:
- Always put the most bulky items at the bottom of the bag, and stick the heavier ones like water against your back. Note that some bags are equipped with two compartments, top and bottom, to facilitate access to your belongings.
- You can place objects like your jacket or sleeping bag on the front..
- The lateral and ventral pockets are used for bottles, compasses, maps, or to put papers.
- At the top, only add lightweight items like sunscreen, a camera, etc.
- Finally, some bags have waistband pockets on the front of the bag, which allows for a very convenient access to your personal effects.
That's it, you're ready for hiking and to discover the great places!