- Selecting the right backpack is crucial for a successful through hike.
- Thru-hiking backpacks have specialized features like lightweight materials and suspension systems.
- Key features to consider when selecting a backpack include size, weight, quality, comfort, and design.
Through hiking is a challenging and rewarding experience that requires careful planning and preparation. One of the most important aspects of preparing for a through hike is selecting the right backpack. A good backpack should be comfortable, durable, and able to carry all the gear and supplies needed for the journey.
Understanding Through Hiking Backpacks
A backpack is an essential piece of gear for any thru-hike. It is important to choose the right backpack to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip. A backpacking pack is designed to carry all the necessary gear for a multi-day hike. Thru-hiking backpacks are specifically designed for long-distance hikes, and they differ from regular backpacking packs in a few key ways.
One of the most important factors to consider when selecting a thru-hiking backpack is the capacity. Thru-hiking backpacks typically range from 40 to 70 liters in size. The capacity needed will depend on the length of the hike and the amount of gear needed. A multi-day backpack should be large enough to hold all the necessary gear, but not so large that it is uncomfortable to carry.
Thru-hiking backpacks are designed to be lightweight. The weight of the backpack is important because it can affect the overall weight of the gear carried. A lightweight backpack can help reduce the overall weight of the gear, making it easier to carry. Thru-hiking backpacks are typically made from lightweight materials, such as Dyneema or Cuben Fiber, to reduce weight.
Comfort is key when selecting a thru-hiking backpack. The backpack should fit well and be comfortable to wear for long periods of time. A properly fitting backpack will distribute the weight evenly across the hips and shoulders, reducing the strain on the back. Look for backpacks with adjustable straps and a padded hip belt for added comfort.
Thru-hiking backpacks need to be durable enough to withstand the rigors of long-distance hikes. Look for backpacks made from high-quality materials, such as ripstop nylon or Cordura, that can withstand the wear and tear of the trail. Reinforced stitching and heavy-duty zippers are also important features to look for in a thru-hiking backpack.
Thru-hiking backpacks come with a variety of features designed to make the hike more comfortable and enjoyable. Look for backpacks with features such as hydration compatibility, external pockets for easy access to gear, and compression straps to keep gear secure. Some backpacks also come with a built-in rain cover to keep gear dry in wet weather.
When selecting a thru-hiking backpack, it is important to consider all of these factors to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable hike. A backpack is an investment in your hiking gear, and a good thru-hiking backpack can make all the difference on a long-distance hike.
Key Features to Consider
When selecting a backpack for a through hike, it is essential to consider several key features to ensure that you have a comfortable and functional experience on the trail. Here are some of the most important features to consider when choosing a backpack for a through hike.
Weight and Capacity
One of the most important factors to consider when selecting a backpack for a through hike is weight. An ultralight backpack can help you move more efficiently on the trail and reduce fatigue. However, it is important to balance weight with capacity. A backpack should be able to carry all the gear you need for your trip, but not be too large that it is cumbersome to carry.
Comfort and Fit
A comfortable backpack is essential for a successful through hike. Look for a backpack with a supportive suspension system that distributes weight evenly across your hips and shoulders. The hip belt should fit snugly around your hips and be adjustable for a custom fit. Additionally, back ventilation and adjustability for torso size can help ensure a comfortable fit.
Durability and Material
A backpack for a through hike needs to be durable enough to withstand the rigors of the trail. Look for backpacks made from waterproof materials and with reinforced stress points. External frames can also add durability and support for heavier loads.
Organization and Design
A backpack with good organization options can help you stay organized and efficient on the trail. Look for backpacks with modular designs and multiple pockets for easy access to gear. A no-lid design can also help reduce weight and improve versatility. Additionally, some backpacks come with rain covers included for added protection in wet weather.
When selecting a backpack for a through hike, it is important to consider all of these factors to ensure that you have a comfortable, functional, and durable experience on the trail. Look for a backpack that balances weight and capacity, offers a comfortable fit, and is made from durable materials with good organization options.
Top 5 Backpacks for Through Hikes
When it comes to backpacks for thru-hiking, there are many options available. However, some backpacks stand out from the rest in terms of their carrying capacity, weight, and overall comfort. Here are the top 5 backpacks for through hikes:
Osprey is a well-known brand in the backpacking world and offers several backpacks that are great for thru-hiking. The Osprey Exos and Osprey Atmos AG 65 are both popular choices for thru-hikers. The Exos is known for its lightweight design and is a great option for those looking to carry a heavy load. The Atmos AG 65, on the other hand, is a more fully-featured backpack that offers excellent comfort and support.
Gossamer Gear Backpacks
Gossamer Gear is another popular brand among thru-hikers, known for their ultralight backpacks. The Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 is a great option for those looking for a comfortable backpack that can carry heavy loads. The Mariposa 60 is also compatible with a bear canister, making it a great choice for thru-hikers on the PCT. The Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 and G4-20 are also popular options for those looking for an ultralight backpack.
Zpacks is a company that specializes in ultralight backpacks and shelters. The Zpacks Arc Haul Ultra 60 is a popular choice for thru-hikers due to its lightweight design and comfortable fit. The backpack also features a dry stretch pocket, which is great for storing wet gear. The Zpacks Arc Haul Ultra is also compatible with a bear canister.
Other Noteworthy Backpacks
Other noteworthy backpacks for thru-hiking include the ULA Circuit, REI Flash 55, SWD Long Haul 50, Mountain Laurel Designs Prophet 48, Granite Gear Blaze 60, and Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest. Each of these backpacks has its own unique features that make them great options for thru-hikers. For example, the ULA Circuit is known for its carrying capacity, while the Mountain Laurel Designs Prophet 48 is a great option for those looking for an ultralight backpack.
Overall, when choosing a backpack for thru-hiking, it’s important to consider factors such as weight, carrying capacity, and comfort. The backpacks listed above are all great options that have been tried and tested by thru-hikers.
Backpacking on Popular Trails
When it comes to through hiking, there are several popular trails that backpackers can choose from. These trails offer a unique experience and can be a great way to test out a new backpack. Here are some of the most popular trails for through hiking and the backpacks that are best suited for them.
The Appalachian Trail is a 2,200-mile trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. It is one of the most popular trails in the United States and attracts thousands of hikers each year. The trail is well-maintained and offers a variety of terrain, from rocky ridges to lush forests.
For backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, a backpack with a volume of at least 50 liters is recommended. The backpack should also have good organization options and be durable enough to withstand the rigors of the trail. Some recommended backpacks for the Appalachian Trail include:
Continental Divide Trail
The Continental Divide Trail is a 3,100-mile trail that runs from Mexico to Canada. It is one of the longest trails in the United States and offers a variety of terrain, from deserts to mountains. The trail is less well-maintained than the Appalachian Trail and requires more self-sufficiency.
For backpacking on the Continental Divide Trail, a backpack with a volume of at least 65 liters is recommended. The backpack should also be durable enough to withstand the rugged terrain. Some recommended backpacks for the Continental Divide Trail include:
There are several long-distance trails in the United States, including the Pacific Crest Trail, the Arizona Trail, and the Florida Trail. These trails offer a unique experience and attract hikers from all over the world.
For backpacking on long-distance trails, a backpack with a volume of at least 50 liters is recommended. The backpack should also be lightweight and durable enough to withstand the rigors of the trail. Some recommended backpacks for long-distance trails include:
- Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60
- Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Windrider
- Zpacks Arc Blast
Backcountry backpacking is a great way to get away from the crowds and experience the wilderness. There are several backcountry areas in the United States, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, and Rocky Mountain National Park.
For backpacking in the backcountry, a backpack with a volume of at least 50 liters is recommended. The backpack should also be durable enough to withstand the rugged terrain. Some recommended backpacks for backcountry backpacking include:
Overall, when choosing a backpack for through hiking, it is important to consider the terrain, weather, and duration of the hike. A good backpack should be comfortable, durable, and have enough space to carry all of your gear.
Packing for a Through Hike
When packing for a through hike, it’s important to strike a balance between carrying everything you need and keeping your pack as light as possible. Here are some tips to help you pack for a successful through hike:
It’s important to pay attention to the weight of heavy items, such as your backpack, sleeping bag, and shelter. Look for lightweight options without sacrificing durability and functionality. Consider investing in a lightweight backpack, such as the ULA Circuit or Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest, to help reduce the weight of your pack.
Food is a crucial aspect of any through hike. It’s important to plan your meals carefully and pack enough food to sustain you throughout your journey. Consider packing lightweight, high-calorie foods such as nuts, dried fruit, and energy bars to help keep you fueled throughout the day. Don’t forget to pack a lightweight stove and cookware, as well as a water filter or purification system to ensure you have access to safe drinking water.
A quilt can be a great alternative to a traditional sleeping bag, as it is often lighter and more compressible. Look for a quilt with a temperature rating that matches the conditions you’ll be hiking in. Consider investing in a quilt with a hood or footbox to help keep you warm on colder nights.
By following these tips, you can pack for a successful through hike without sacrificing comfort or functionality. Remember to always prioritize weight reduction without compromising safety or comfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the best backpack brands for thru-hiking?
There are many backpack brands that are popular among thru-hikers. Some of the best brands include Osprey, ULA, Gossamer Gear, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, and Granite Gear.
What is the ideal weight for a backpack on a long distance thru-hike?
The ideal weight for a backpack on a long distance thru-hike is between 2-3 pounds. It is important to keep in mind that the weight of the backpack should not exceed 20% of the hiker’s body weight.
What is the recommended size for a backpack for thru-hiking?
The recommended size for a backpack for thru-hiking is between 50-65 liters. This size is ideal for carrying all the necessary gear, food, and water for a long distance hike.
What are some of the top-rated backpacks for thru-hiking?
Some of the top-rated backpacks for thru-hiking include the ULA Circuit, Osprey Levity 45, Gossamer Gear Mariposa, Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Windrider, and Granite Gear Crown2 60.
What features should I look for in a backpack for thru-hiking?
When looking for a backpack for thru-hiking, it is important to look for features such as durability, weight, comfort, ventilation, and organization. A good backpack should also have a supportive frame, water-resistant material, and adjustable straps.
Are there any backpacks specifically designed for thru-hiking?
Yes, there are backpacks specifically designed for thru-hiking. These backpacks are typically lightweight, durable, and have features that are essential for long distance hiking. Some examples of backpacks specifically designed for thru-hiking include the ULA Circuit and Gossamer Gear Mariposa.