A man walking away from the camera somewhere in the countryside and putting his rucksack on.

PACKS BUYING GUIDE: WHICH PACK FOR WHICH ADVENTURE?


It's no exaggeration to say that any adventure is nothing without the right pack. It needs to be well-fitting, packed with all the features your adventure calls for and big enough to carry everything you need, including your emergency kit. We've got a huge selection of packs from the best brands on the planet, just waiting to get out there with you - here's everything you need to know to choose yours, and some of our favourites to help you pick one.

Pack Size Guide

We probably don't need to tell you that the size of pack you'll need is dictated by what you'll be carrying. If it's just a bottle of water and some energy bars for a day hike, your pack will be a lot smaller than the one you'd use to go backpacking for a week. Here's a rough guide:

Activity Type

Running / Cycling

Hiking

Backpacking

Extended Backpacking / Travel

Duration

< 1 Day

1 Day

2-3 Days

5+ Days

Rucksack Capacity

10-25L

20-40L

50-60L

60+ L

Pack Types

Fast-Paced Activity Packs

Packs for activities like running or cycling are often within the region of 10-25 litres. This type of rucksack is designed to be small, light and as closely-fitting as possible. They are often only big enough for a few items, ie. food and water, an emergency layer and a map or GPS. You should therefore only take one of these packs if you are confident in your route, your ability and the weather conditions,

 

Some of these smaller packs are designed to carry a hydration bladder - a soft rubber pouch that’s used for storing water and a long tube for drinking on the go. This is a great feature to look out for if you'll regularly be doing fast-paced activities like running or cycling. 

Day Packs

Day packs are, you guessed it, designed for one-day adventures. Usually at around 20-40 litres, daysacks are perfect for one-day hikes, city breaks or days spent climbing where you may need to carry additional equipment.

 

Day packs are often neat and simple in design, with a single internal cavity and a few small pockets for a phone or a water bottle. Many will have a hip belt and shoulder straps, as these help you securely carry what can still be a heavy load, although the straps are not as bulky as on the larger multi-day packs.

 

The size of your day pack depends on what sort of activity you need it for. Summer hikes and short excursions only require a 20- to 30-litre pack, whereas heading out into the hills and mountains in winter may require something closer to a 40-litre pack as these trips call for more gear.

Multi-Day and Backpacking Packs

At around 60+ litres, these packs are amongst the largest available and are perfect for heading into the wilderness for a few nights on a self-supported trip.

 

Main features include a large padded hip belt and chunky shoulder straps, which help to support and efficiently distribute the heavy load. They will have a large internal section for the majority of your items, as well as internal and external pockets for storing gear that you may want to access more easily.

 

Multi-day packs often have a variety of external straps and buckles. Some of these allow items like a tent or a roll mat to be strapped to the outside, whereas others are to compress and stabilise the load. Take time to familiarise yourself with these straps as although they may look alike, they have very different functions - and you don't want to be caught out in the wild.

 

With a large, heavy rucksacks it is very important that it fits you correctly to avoid getting injured.

Duffels and Wheeled Luggage

Sometimes, a duffel bag or wheeled luggage will be a better choice than a pack. These bags range from 30 litres up to 120+ litres. 

 

If you're travelling long distances on foot, over changeable and broken ground or will be staying in a range of accommodations then a rucksack is definitely the best choice - think backpacking, bothying or solo camping.

 

However, if you're off on a more conventional holiday, ie. you're travelling to your destination by train or car, will spend the majority of your time in one location and will only be walking small distances, then a wheeled or duffel bag could be the one for you. 

Women's-Specific Packs

Some rucksacks are designed to be women's-specific. This is to do with the overall shape, size and intended position of the bag. Women’s rucksacks have more rounded ‘S’ shaped straps, whereas men’s are more parallel. The hip straps on a women’s pack also sit a little higher, taking into account body shape differences, and the backs on women’s packs are shorter.

 

However, you are not bound to one type of rucksack or another based on your gender. If a rucksack fits you, then it's the right one. It's not always as complex as it seems.

It's important that your pack fits you correctly to avoid injuring yourself and maximise your comfort during your trip. Visit us in-store for a free rucksack fitting, and we'll be able to fit you for a new pack or adjust the one you have to fit you just right.


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