What Size of Backpack is Best?

    Hi, Dave.

    Thank you for putting so much information together on your website. I am a beginner and am looking to do some backpacking. Probably no more than a week long trip, and 3 season at most because I live in Southern California. What size pack would you say I should be looking at? Appreciate your help.


    Dave says:

    Thanks for your kind thoughts, Daniel.

    The size really depends on whether its internal or external and how much you want to pack. For long trips I use a 5200 cubic inch/85 liter pack that holds everything. It will run up to about 55 pounds.

    For minimalist trips I use a 40 liter back. I’ve put between 18 to 35 pounds in it. Both are internal.

    If you like an external frame you can get by with about a 55 to 65 liter pack, since you can strap a few things, like your tent and sleeping pad, on the outside.

    For all around use a 70 liter internal pack would probably be okay. Comfort, though, and ease of use, organization, durablility are key factors to consider.

    Lately, I’ve been going for simplicity, lightness and durability. I’ve been looking at getting a 70 liter internal for my long trips. Bottom line–get something that is comfortable and will fit what you need to carry. Getting something too big just tempts you to carry everything, whether you really need it or not.

    Happy camping!

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