Choose the Right Backpack | Sizing & Fit Guide

Choosing the Best Backpack for Your Outdoor Adventures   

When preparing for an outdoor adventure, one of the most critical decisions you'll make is selecting the right backpack. The right pack can enhance your experience by ensuring comfort and convenience, while the wrong choice can turn an exhilarating adventure into a burdensome ordeal. When choosing a backpack, it's important to consider aspects such as fitting, capacity, material, and durability to ensure that your gear matches the rigors of the outdoors. 

Backpacks selection from Great Outdoors

Understanding Backpack Fitting and Comfort

The process of fitting a backpack is critical for comfort and can prevent injuries associated with heavy loads. A well-fitted backpack feels like an extension of your body, evenly distributing weight and reducing strain on any single muscle group. To find your ideal fit, measure your torso length and waist size. Your torso length determines the right backpack frame size, while the waist size ensures that the hip belt can effectively transfer weight off your shoulders.

Backpacking/Hiking Pack Selection Guide

Use this table for if you are going on a backpacking or longer hiking trip (Assuming you will be carrying all your equipment yourself) to see which bag might work for you!

Backpacking Pack Selection Guide

Type of Backpack Description Capacity Recommended Use
Weekend For light packers using newer, less-bulky gear. 30-50 liters 1-3 nights
Multiday Popular for warm-weather trips or backcountry skiing. 50-80 liters 3-5 nights
Extended-trip Ideal for winter treks or when carrying extra gear. 70 liters or larger 5+ nights

Features to Consider

Feature Type Description
Frame Type Internal-frame Body-hugging, ideal for uneven terrain.
Ventilation Suspended mesh back panel Helps prevent sweaty back syndrome.
Pack Access Top-loading and panel access Eases access to gear without unloading from the top.

Capacity: How to Determine the Right Size for Your Needs

Backpack sizes range from small daypacks suitable for few-hours hikes to large backpacks designed for weeks-long expeditions. The size you need largely depends on the length and type of your excursion. For day trips, a backpack with a capacity of 10-30 liters usually suffices. For overnight trips, you may need 30-50 liters, and for multi-day treks, a pack that holds 50 liters or more is necessary.

Material Matters: Weather Resistance and Durability

The material of your backpack is not only about aesthetics; it's about survival when facing the elements. Weather-resistant materials keep your belongings dry, while durability ensures your backpack won't fail in the middle of a trip. Popular durable materials for backpacks include nylon and polyester, known for their strength and resistance to wear and tear. Brands like Osprey & Lowe Alpine consider durability as a key factor when making their bags - so you know they are built to last!

Features and Functionality: What to Look For

Beyond basic storage, modern backpacks come with numerous features to enhance your journey. A hydration system can keep you watered without having to stop, while multiple compartments can help organize gear and provide easy access. For specific activities, like rock climbing or skiing, look for packs with gear loops and tie-downs.

Discover Our Collections: Adventure & Travel, Alpine Climbing

Our Adventure & Travel Backpacks, Alpine Climbing Backpacks, and Hiking Backpacks collections are tailored to fit a variety of outdoor activities. From light travels to challenging ascents, these collections feature versatile, durable, and functional packs. Within these collections, you'll find a wide range of backpack options, ensuring that you can find the perfect fit for your next adventure.

Backpacking Essentials: Equip Yourself for the Long Haul

In our Backpacking collection, we offer all the essentials for your backpacking journey, ensuring you're optimally equipped no matter the duration of your adventure. It's crucial to have gear that won't fail you when you're counting on it most, so you can enjoy the wilderness with peace of mind.

Backpacking Quick Links


We've covered essential tips and considerations to help you choose the right backpack for your outdoor ventures. Remember to prioritize fit, capacity, materials, and additional features for a safe and enjoyable experience. Explore our collections and gear up with confidence for your next outdoor excursion.