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Hiking Packs Guide

Which Hiking Pack would be best for my adventures?

Selecting the correct hiking pack for your body shape and size should correspond to the number of days you intend on hiking, and the weight you’ll be packing.

For a multi-day wilderness camping trip, you’ll most likely be needing pack that can carry all your essentials. Inevitably, this requires a greater packing capacity, making a 65L – 75L bag the ideal choice. Whereas quick, one night adventures or simple day hikes would require anything from a 25L to 35L, dependant of how much you intend on carrying.

Comfort, volume and quality are other key aspects to consider in the selection process. So, once you’ve considered these variables, and the technicality of your trip, follow this guide to select your optimal hiking backpack.

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By answering the below questions to ensure you understand what type of hiking backpack you need for your next adventure.

Weekend (1-3 nights; 30-50 litres)
If your trip is consistent of a quick overnight hike or two where you’re sleeping in a huts, or slackpacking, then staying light and fast is a priority. Efficient and critical packing can allow you to cover larger distances in comfort by making you light on your feet, and reducing strain on your shoulders and back. Being disciplined and leaving any extra luxuries at home by sticking with the essentials can make your quick getaway far less strenuous than it has to be.

Multiday (3-5 nights; 40-70 litres)
From multiday hiking, travelling or gear hauling, 40-70L packs are the most commonly used backpacks as they cater for most eventualities. For example, in colder climates they can be used to carry all your essentials, plus additional gear for safety or added comforts. These also achieve a high degree of functionality for travellers, as it’s easier walking in busy streets and airports with a backpack, when compared to pulling a suitcase.

Extended-trip (5+ nights; 70 litres or larger)
Longer trips of 5 days or more will normally require a pack of 70L+, with enough volume to accommodate for food, gear and clothing. The following are factors to consider when packing for an extended multi-day trip:
1. Snowy or cold winter hikes, larger packs can easily accommodate for warmer clothing, bigger sleeping bags and additional cold weather gear, such as heavier 4 season tents.
2. Longer trips - requiring more food and equipment.
3. Expeditions in extreme environments.
4. Families with children. (Parents end up carrying more of the kit)

Whether you’re hiking the Fish River Canyon, the Drakensberg or the Otter Trail, your destination as well as the season will influence the requirements for your most suitable pack. Doing some research on the local climate and the season you intend on hiking in will determine how much to pack in terms of extras for emergencies and comfort. Check the weather forecast to gauge an idea of the expected conditions before you leave on your trip to ensure you have all the right gear.

When hiking in these wild and untouched environments, the weather can change abruptly. Temperatures can plummet in just a few hours, winds can suddenly increase and sunny skies can shift to rain at the flick of a switch. Therefore it’s well worth the effort of putting the time in before the trip to ensure you’re prepared with a wide variety of gear.

In more arid regions, warm sunny days can be expected, where night time temperatures can drop drastically. Meaning that packing light UV protective and cool clothing is needed for the warmer day-time temperatures. Where the colder nights would require thermal base layers and warmer clothing.

Overall, your kit list determines the volume of the pack that you’ll need. It will also help you decide on the features design and what the bag is intended for. The goal is to optimize the performance of the bag, without hampering comfort.

Unfortunately, one size does not fit all. It is very important to take into account the bags volume (capacity in litres) as well as the frame size in relation to your body. Most packs can be adjusted to be more comfortable by adjusting the hip and shoulder straps. A major part in ensure even weight distribution, while everything is still accessible when you need it.

The most expensive gear in the world is not always the best gear, however the cost of backpacks are directly related to the quality of materials used and the features that the bag provides. The price one is willing to pay depends on your personal budget and future aspirations.

If you’re a weekend warrior and only do a few hikes every month, one doesn’t need to spend a lot of money in purchasing a technical bag. On the other hand, for a hiker who does regular multiday hikes, the financial investment would be more substantiated in purchasing a better quality bag that is more comfortable and will last longer. Backpacks with great ventilation & mesh material on the shoulder, hip and back straps will add additional comfort. It is vital that you also take care of your backpack by cleaning it often, maintaining it and taking care of your “companion”, so that you can keep on using your bag for as long as possible.

Jupiter II

65L + 10L

Ideal For

7+ days and moderate to heavy loads

Weight
Dimensions
2.52 kg
70 x 40 x 28 cm
Rain cover included
Adjustable Back System
Yes
65L Capacity + additional 10L expansion

The Jupiter II hiking and travel pack has been designed with comfort in mind, from the Adjustable Back System (ABS) to the split hip belt taking pressure off the nerve points. The 65L storage space plus 10L expansion gives plenty of capacity, with extra features such as a removable lid and a flight mode zipper for easy access to your gear.

Venus II

55L + 10L

Ideal For

7 days and light to heavy loads

Weight
Dimensions
2.32 kg
65 x 38 x 27 cm
Rain cover included
Adjustable Back System
Yes
55L Capacity + additional 10L expansion

A smaller version of our flagship Jupiter, the Venus II 55L hiking pack has been designed with comfort in mind, from the smaller Adjustable Back System (ABS) to the firm hip belt taking pressure off the nerve points. This pack is suited to smaller framed people. The 55L storage space plus 10L expansion gives plenty of capacity, with extra features such as a removable lid and a flight mode zipper for easy access to your gear.

Atlas

35L

Ideal For

4 - 5 days and light to moderate loads

Weight
Packed Size
1.3 kg
53 x 34 x 20 cm
Rain cover included
Adjustable Back System
Yes
Yes / 35L

The trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro has just been made easier and more convenient with this purpose built pack with a 35L capacity. The pack has lots of easy asccess for energy bars, snacks and essentials with attachment points and front pocket for additional storage.

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