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Daypacks and Backpacks Size, Straps
- Best Hiking Backpack, Cheap Hiking Backpacks
- Daypacks and Backpacks Size, Straps
- Internal Frame Backpack, Backpack Fit
- Hiking Backpack Reviews
- Discount Hiking Backpacks Features Comparison Table
Hiking Backpacks Features
Daypacks and Backpacks Size.The most important feature to consider when choosing a hiking backpack is its interior capacity.
Hiking backpacks' sizes are commonly measured in liters, although sometimes you'll find cubic inches listed; one liter is the equivalent of 61 cubic inches. Large packs meant for multi-night trips are sized in the 50-90 liter range and often priced beyond the Cheapism ceiling. The High Sierra Explorer 55 (starting at $80, Amazon) and Teton Sports Scout 3400 (starting at $50, Amazon), however, each hold 55 liters and make our list of best cheap backpacks. Discount backpacks are generally smaller and tend to fall in the 18-35 liter territory. One of our picks for best small daypacks, the Osprey Packs Stratos 24 (starting at $80, Amazon), is a 24-liter model that's also available in 22- and 26-liter sizes. The REI Flash 18 (starting at $30), our other pick for best small daypack, has an internal volume of 18 liters -- anything smaller is hardly worth carrying. The 15-liter Outbound Manchester Backpack (starting at $25) garners a number of poor reviews due to its small size; some users say there isn't enough space to pack for a simple day hike.
Hiking Backpack Straps.Straps are a critical design component for several reasons. They help balance the weight and load, they hold items on the outside of the pack, and they compress the load for better stability.
Any good discount backpack or daypack should have a waist belt (also called a "hip belt"). A waist belt posits much of the weight on your hips and legs, which keeps your back and shoulders from bearing the full burden. Even if you're only taking a short day hike, your best choice is a daypack with a waist belt -- you'd be surprised how heavy even one bottle of water feels after a few hours on the trail. All the hiking backpacks we researched, except for the Outbound Manchester, feature a waist belt. In general, this feature differentiates a hiking backpack from a school backpack.
Chest straps (also called "sternum straps") also take some of the weight off your back. Not all cheap backpacks include these, however. It's okay to forgo chest straps for very light loads of the sort you'd carry in a daypack. REI's Flash 18, the smallest pack in our lineup of favorites, nonetheless comes with a chest strap, as do the other cheap backpacks we researched with the exception of the Outbound Manchester.
Padded shoulder straps are standard equipment on backpacks (even cheap backpacks meant for schoolbooks have padded shoulder straps), although padding on the Outbound Manchester is minimal. The shoulder straps typically have some kind of mechanism that cinches down to tighten against your body.
Don't Bother Cheap Hiking Backpacks
Outbound Manchester Backpack Review
Osprey Packs Stratos 24 Review
Teton Sports Scout 3400 Review
REI Flash 18 Pack Review
High Sierra Explorer 55 Review
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