Overview of hiking backpacks: how to choose, manufacturers, characteristics, types

For long or short hikes, comfortable gear is essential. Its total weight should be evenly distributed without interfering with movement, the necessary items are always within reach. To do this, you need a comfortable hiking backpack, how to choose a model, determine the quality and reliability. Each of these questions needs to be considered in detail.

General requirements

Before choosing a hiking backpack, you need to calculate the duration of the trip, find out the weather conditions, the volume and weight of the cargo. For hiking in the mountains, special climbing models are used, expedition models are distinguished by their large volume. Classic hiking types are called trekking. They are designed for maximum convenience of tourists, independent travelers.

Конструкция походного рюкзака

General requirements for hiking backpacks:

  • Useful volume. It may vary depending on the amount of equipment and its packing. After packing, there should be up to 5% free space inside.
  • Protection against moisture, mechanical damage. The material is thick and waterproof. It must also maintain integrity after contact with objects, falls from a small height.
  • Pockets and compartments. They are needed for sorting equipment, further convenient access to items. It is important that there are not too many of them, otherwise the usable volume will be artificially reduced.
  • Ventilation and suspension system. During a long journey, moisture should not accumulate on the inside, with close contact with the back, scuffs do not form. It is necessary to study the location of the belts, the convenience of the hip belt.

After analyzing the main characteristics, the models are studied. The easiest way to choose a hiking backpack is to test it in practice. For this, it is recommended to try it on before buying. After purchasing, it is desirable to fully equip the model and check the convenience, uniform weight distribution.

Important: each type is designed for the maximum allowable weight. Exceeding it can lead to damage to the tourist backpack, loss of its original shape.

Types of backpacks

There is no strict classification of hiking factory backpacks. But manufacturers are trying to optimize certain models for tasks – long walks over long distances, difficult hiking conditions, optimal distribution of equipment and equipment inside. Therefore, before choosing a hiking backpack, it is recommended to study the basic characteristics.


To maintain the shape of the distribution of the load on the back and lower back, a frame is included in the package. It is made of aluminum, less often of plastic. In the latter case, this is done for small weekend hiking backpacks. The frame allows you to adjust the position depending on the total weight of the equipment. During the hike, the main load is distributed on the shoulders, and not on the spine.


Features of frame travel backpacks:

  • You can comfortably carry a large amount of equipment over long distances.
  • There are many models that differ in volume, design, number of main and additional compartments.
  • Convenient for beginners. The frame reduces the impact of incorrect installation.
  • Such species are inconvenient to store. When folded, they still take up a lot of space.

The total weight increases, since the mass of the frame can reach 1 kg. Therefore, such hiking backpacks are chosen with a large volume – from 60 liters or more. Otherwise, the meaning of the additional support plane is lost. Light weight can be transferred in a conventional, frameless model.

Important: there is a conditional division of tourist backpacks into women’s and men’s. The reason is the different distribution of the center of gravity in bodies. This can be fixed by reconfiguring the attachment points.


They are great for walking short distances. The soft bag makes it possible to compactly fold an empty backpack, which is important during the arrangement of parking lots or for storing equipment at home. To compensate for the lack of a frame, tourists and independent travelers often use a karemat, which is laid under their backs.


Information about frameless hiking backpacks, what you need to know before buying:

  • They have a small weight. For the manufacture of used fabric with protection against moisture and mechanical damage.
  • The cost is lower than that of frame models.
  • For proper weight distribution, you need to be able to stack equipment. Otherwise, a leek shape is possible, which will cause discomfort during the hike.
  • Few models with large volume.

Knowing the characteristics of frameless hiking backpacks, how to choose the right model, you can prepare for a long trip. Often two models are taken on a hike. Volumetric and massive equipment is placed in the frame. The frameless store essentials that everyone should be freely available.

Tip: It is recommended for beginners to walk with frame equipment for the first few years. After developing the skill of laying and distributing weight, you can move on to lightweight models.


They are designed to overcome a difficult route in poor hiking conditions. The peculiarity is a small volume (up to 60 liters), few external pockets and compartments. For manufacturing, manufacturers use a durable waterproof fabric that can withstand heavy loads. The purpose of assault hiking backpacks is to reduce the impact of equipment on the mobility of the tourist, while maintaining the integrity of the equipment. They are often used for freeride or mountain entrances.


How to choose an assault-type tourist hiking backpack:

  • Compact appearance, small frame made of aluminum or duralumin.
  • Minimum number of external pockets and compartments. Otherwise, there is a chance that they will cling to branches or other external objects.
  • There are straps for external fastening of climbing equipment – ropes, hooks.
  • Wide belt belt to reduce the load on the spine during the hike.

The disadvantage is a relatively small usable volume, cost. Such hiking backpacks have a highly specialized purpose. For normal walking routes on relatively flat terrain, you can choose classic models.

Important: there is a special back protection for freeriding. This must be stated in the passport, this must be checked before choosing a hiking backpack for mountain routes or ski slopes.


To reduce the overall weight, manufacturers make a soft frame. It does not rigidly fix the back, but does not allow the equipment to move or put pressure on the lower back. Such backpacks are chosen for traveling over medium and long distances. Often, an outer mesh is added for ventilation, which separates the outer plane from the back. Good for summer hikes.


Features of anatomical models:

  • The frame parts are soft.
  • They can be removed for cleaning or replacement.
  • The fastenings must be adjusted so that the back fits snugly against the body.
  • For ventilation, the outer part is made partially convex. This creates free space for the movement of air while walking.

Due to the design features, they are convenient for long and short trips. In terms of volume, tourist backpacks can be 30-80 liters. So you can choose a model for a day hike or a long hike.

Tip: for forest trips, it is recommended to take a model with bright colors. This reduces the likelihood of being unnoticed in the forest.

Feature overview

Before you choose a hiking backpack, you need to study its main characteristics. To do this, you can compare hiking equipment from different brands. It is important to take lineups of the same type. The basic conditions are spaciousness, reliability, resistance to mechanical damage, additional functions. It is necessary to study the description of the main characteristics of this type of hiking equipment.


The maximum capacity of a backpack is measured in liters. This indicator is called “volume”, but in fact it indicates how much equipment you can take with you. There is a nominal and useful volume. The latter depends on the number of compartments (internal and external), the possibility of increasing the size. But how to choose a tourist hiking backpack, if you do not know the features of its design. First – you need to make the maximum list of equipment and equipment. Based on this, a model is acquired.


By volume, hiking backpacks can be of the following types:

  • 25-35 l. Designed for hiking trips lasting up to one day. It can fit food, drinks, a tourist’s minimum first aid kit, a small supply of dry clothes.
  • 35-50 l. Suitable for hiking trips for 2-3 days. A separate category is backpacks for mountaineering or freeride. The differences of the latter are a lot of external straps and fastenings for fixing climbing equipment.
  • 50-100 l. Standard hiking models for hiking for 5-10 days. Here you can put a tent, tourist clothes, dishes and items for cooking. There are straps and puffs on the outer part for attaching bulky equipment.
  • 100-150 l. They belong to the category of expeditionary models. This backpack fits all the necessary equipment for hiking for 20 days or more. Most of it will be food, so you need to properly distribute equipment. It will be difficult to get the necessary things from the bottom.

You can have several types of hiking backpacks that differ in volume. Often, during long hikes, two models are taken. All the necessary things are placed in one, the second is needed for small trips in places of permanent parking. So you can conveniently distribute equipment.

Important: in addition to the volume, each travel backpack is designed for the maximum allowable weight. Exceeding it can lead to tissue damage.

Number of branches

For an even distribution of equipment, it is necessary to consider the location and number of compartments. In classic models, the interior space is rarely divided. This is necessary for warehousing bulk cargo. But to save small and relatively fragile things, before choosing a hiking backpack, you need to look at the inside and outside pockets.

Количество отделений

They may be for the following:

  • Clothes storage. For this, there are internal compartments with a large area. A mesh is usually used to secure clothing.
  • Small things – phone, compass, documents. They should be kept in separate, secure pockets. It is important that even with a full backpack, free access to them is maintained.
  • External branches. Are intended for fastening of a karemat, tent, climbing equipment. For long hikes, there should be a holder for a water bottle or flask.

Before choosing and buying a tourist hiking backpack, you need to revise the equipment. In the description of almost every model there are sizes of compartments, pockets and straps for fixing. This will help to develop a laying plan in advance.

Important: compartments for documents or money must be waterproof. If there is no additional protection, you need to make it yourself.


Tarpaulin or its equivalent is not used for the manufacture of modern tourist tents. It does not have sufficient strength, durability. The main materials are Oxford and Cordura . These are synthetic fabrics with good mechanical strength, elasticity and service life. When choosing a hiking backpack, you need to pay attention to the strength indicator – den . It is abbreviated as ” D “. The larger the digital index after it, the stronger the model.


Overview of materials for the production of hiking backpacks:

  • Cordura or Cordura. Developed by DuPont specialists. It is made from polyamide fibers, sometimes cotton is added for strength. Differs in the increased resistance to attrition, long keeps properties. Additionally, it is treated with moisture-proof impregnation. The disadvantage is a large mass; at low temperatures it loses elasticity.
  • Oxford. It is made of nylon, to increase the mechanical strength, weave matting is made. Light weight, easy to store. Disadvantages – the material is combustible, under prolonged exposure to sunlight loses its original color.
  • Polyester or polyester. To improve the performance, it is additionally processed with polyvinyl chloride. The material is lightweight, but has low mechanical strength. City backpacks are made from it. It is not recommended to use these for hiking.

Combinations of different materials are possible. you need to know how to choose a hiking backpack with maximum durability. The lower part is made of durable moisture resistant material. Sidewalls should have elasticity.

Tip: please check the model data sheet before buying. It should contain all technical characteristics, materials.

Additional functions

To optimize the internal space and the external part in tourist equipment, additional functions are provided. They are necessary for the uniform distribution of things, objects during the trip. Part protects from rain, snow, direct sunlight. These options must be checked prior to purchase.

Дополнительные функции

Additional features of the hiking backpack:

  • Top valve. It closes the neck, does not allow moisture to get inside. Often used as an additional mount. In some models, it comes unfastened and is worn on the belt.
  • Attachment points for equipment. These are loops or similar devices that can hold things in place. Necessary for climbing, mountain models. Are applied to fixing of a karemat, tent. There is a separate type of attachment – Daisy Chain.
  • Rain cape. This is an additional measure necessary to protect against moisture. It may come with a set. If you don’t have one, you need to take a rain cape separately for long hikes.
  • Pockets – on the waist belt and side elastic. They are necessary for storing small things, documents, money. Their advantage is that the equipment will always be there. To get it, you do not need to open the backpack.

The main purpose of additional functions is to improve the comfort of a hiking trip. With their help, you can evenly distribute all items, equipment and equipment into compartments and pockets. Also, when choosing a hiking backpack, the degree of its protection from external conditions is taken into account.

Tip: you can make improvements to the factory model yourself – add compartments, pockets, fasten additional loops.

Model validation

Experienced hikers and independent travelers never purchase a hiking backpack remotely. The first stage is fitting the model. It is checked how comfortable the shoulder straps and waist belt fit, whether the quality of the material corresponds to the passport data. If there is no experience in choosing and checking, you can take an experienced traveler with you. He can determine the primary quality by appearance.

Проверка модели

The second option is to rent a similar backpack and test it on a hike. This will help identify obvious disadvantages, find out the actual convenience during weather conditions. An alternative is to take a similar model from friends. But it won’t always be possible. Therefore, before buying, analyze all the properties and qualities.

TOP models and manufacturers

The production of tourist hiking backpacks is carried out by companies from the USA, China, there are several manufacturers from Europe. The price for an average model with a volume of 80 liters is 4000 rubles. However, it can reach 50 thousand rubles. It depends on the configuration, design, materials and brand.

TOP manufacturers:

  • Norfin. The brand is engaged in the manufacture of tourist equipment and equipment. Offers hiking models with a volume of 40-100 liters. The materials are wear-resistant, there are backpacks for mountain trips.
  • Tactical. Vietnamese manufacturer, produces equipment for long hikes, including in the mountains. Most of the models are frame, according to reviews they are of good quality seams, convenient location of pockets and additional compartments.
  • Tanoka. Makes affordable hiking gear. Convenient for short trekking, there are examples for long hikes. Features – many additional compartments, pockets.
  • Bask. The company produces amateur and professional tourist equipment, offers hiking backpacks with a volume of 20-140 liters. Good protection against moisture and mechanical damage.

In addition to these manufacturers, there are several domestic brands. They also offer good hiking gear. But recently there has been no expansion of the range.

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