How to choose your hiking backpack ? 

With the huge number of hiking backpack manufacturers, it’s not always easy to choose the right backpack for your needs. From a half-day hike to a trek of several days in remote areas, your restrictions and expectations are not at all the same. It is often said who “can do more can do less”. When hiking, however, be carefull with oversized bags that you will fill with more or less useless things.


The storage volume.

In order to choose the right hiking bag, you should first determine your practice and the duration of your expeditions. This will give you an idea of the size (storage volume in liters) of the hiking bag that you should adopt.


One day outings: Recommended capacity : 10L to 35L.





From the simple walk to the technical day in the high mountains, the choice of your bag and its accessorization will not be the same at all.

For a walk, you’ll take enough to ward off bad weather and something to eat lightly. A bag with a capacity of 10L to 25L will be more than enough.

For a ski touring or mountaineering outing, you will need a bag adapted for all safety accessories and a larger volume of clothing. A minimum of 20L (ski mountaineering races) is required but 30-35L are more reasonable.


Hikes up to 3 days: Recommended capacity : from 30L to 50L.





If you leave for two days with a night in a refuge, a 30 to 40L backpack will be enough for your clothes, some toiletries, your water bag or bottle of water and a small sleeping bag. In the case of a self-sufficient hike, you will need a 50L hiking bag to put your stove, mattress, tent and some food.


Trek of 4 days and more: Recommended capacity: 45L to 70L.



For those who like ultra-light trekking, who carry only the bare minimum, a 40L backpack will be sufficient. For others, depending on the duratio, the amount of food and equipment they carry, 50L and more will be needed. For treks in autonomy of more than a week, choose a hiking bag of at least 60L.

Note that some hiking backpack have an adjustable volume thanks to a chimney that allows you to increase the volume (55+10L for example).

The Portage.

The qualities of your backpack portage will result from the construction, the “back”, and the belt of your backpack. For small backpacks, used during the day, we generally have a back made of a foam frame and a very light waist belt.

As soon as you increase the loading weight and the capacity, you have to pay attention to the comfort of the waist belt which will support more than 70% of the weight.

Most brands now offer bags with a taut back, a frame with a net that separates your back from the bag and allows optimal evacuation of moisture. For heavy loads, where support is essential, prefer a perforated foam back.

Most brands offer bags adapted to the female body shape with back heights and belts designed for women’s hips.


The hiking bags of our elders consisted of a pair of shoulder straps, a tube and a flap. Today, the bags are equipped with a multitude of accessories to make your life easier:

Integrated raincover : Hiking bags are generally not waterproof and some models offer a waterproof protection that unfolds and covers the entire back of the bag.

-A space to install a water bag and all the necessary loops to attach your pipe.

-Multiple openings. Some bags have a specific pocket for your sleeping bag below the bag. No need to unpack everything to take it out of the bag. Others have a side zipper for easy access to your things.

-Pockets and external netting to put your small accessories.

Specific tie-downs: ice axe, sticks, rope, mattress, tent, etc.

The weight of the bag

The backpack will often be the heaviest part of your equipment. It’s always worthwhile to optimize your pack when you set off on long trips. For the same amount of storage space, one bag can sometimes weigh half as much as another. At Osprey, for example, the Levity 60 weighs only 870g, in comparison the Kestrel 58 weighs 1.7Kg. Lightweight backpacks, even with a large volume, are made to carry light loads. If you take a light backpack, you will have to optimize all your equipment, otherwise your carrying comfort will be degraded, which can spoil or even stop your hike.

Now you know everything about backpacks. Let’s come and buy yours on our Speck Sports website.