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What Size of Hiking Backpack Do I Need?

What Size of Hiking Backpack Do I Need?

Figuring out the appropriate size needed for any hiking vacation could be a difficult task. Hiking backpacks come in various sizes ranging anywhere from 1000 cubic inches (ci.) up to 6500+ cubic inches.

If you plan on going on a high-volume day hike or a light overnight camp out consider a hiking backpack around 2000 to 3000 cubic inch range.

This size of hiking backpack has enough storage to hold the essentials for a great hiking vacation. Essentials that may include a light sleeping bag, camping stove, camping tent, food and water, and warm hiking clothing.

The Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack and the Kelty Redwing are great hiking backpacks in 2000 to 3500 cubic inch range.

The Teton Sports Scout 3400 is extremely light, weighing only 4.5 lbs. I own a Teton Sports Scout 3400 and it’s been a great pack. I used it while hiking parts of the Pacific Crest Trail in Northern California and Central Oregon.

The Kelty Redwing is a classic coming from a very well known company whom I really like when it comes to hiking backpacks. This solid backpack is hydration compatible, weighs just over 3 lbs, and has 5 pockets plus the main compartment. That’s a lot of pockets for an internal frame hiking backpack!

GoLite Dawn is the perfect hiking backpack for a great day hike!

Hiking Backpacks from 3,500 to 4,500 cubic inches

If you need something a bit bigger for your hiking vacations then a backpack in the 3,500 to 4,500 cubic inch range could be what you are looking for.

You will find this size great for three-season weekend trips. They hold all the camp essentials as well as a few extras for a 2-3 day trip.

You can even go further with these hiking backpacks if you team up with a partner who could help carry the load of shared camp items.

Two great hiking backpacks that come in this size are the Kelty Moraine and the Gregory Acadia. The Kelty Moraine features 2 side pockets, a large front pocket, a top pocket, and the main compartment; making equipment access is a snap! I own a Kelty Moraine which I have put to the test many times during my trips back to my hometown in Cordova, Alaska.

I’ve packed out many cohos and sockeye salmon, as well as Sitka Blacktail deer with this hiking backpack and its, has yet to give me any problems.

Gregory Acadia is a very popular hiking backpack. These are 2 great hiking backpacks for a 2-3 day hiking vacation.

Hiking Backpacks from 4,500 to 6,000 cubic inches

The most popular size of hiking backpack among backpackers are backpacks ranging from 4500 to 6000 cubic inches.

These are great for trips ranging from long weekends to multi-week excursions.

Backpacks this size will comfortably hold all the essential camping equipment, additional warm clothes, plus any extra camp comforts you may want to bring along for more enjoyable hiking or camping experience.

The lower end of this range is good for most backpackers. Be careful; you don’t want to buy too large of a pack; the more compact and lightweight your load, the better.

Two popular hiking backpacks made in this size are the Osprey Aether 75. The Osprey Aether 75 weights 4 lbs 11 oz – 4 lbs 14 oz depending on the size you choose and features dual side mesh pockets for quick storage and accessibility of hiking equipment.

Hiking Backpacks from 6,000 and up cubic inches

If you are planning a month-long hiking vacation or just a week of snowshoeing or camping you may want to choose a hiking backpack that is 6000+ cubic inches.

All your extra camping gear and hiking clothing will fit into a hiking backpack of this size. These hiking backpacks are also useful for family camping equipment (e.g., camping tent, camping stove, camping food, extra water, and liquid) during family hiking vacations.

Th Roamm Nomad 65 Backpack Pack, holds up to 65 l + 15 l of gear and has an average weight of 5 lbs and 6 oz, not bad for a pack this size! Since the Roamm Nomad 65 is an external frame hiking backpack, you are likely to pay less for it then an internal frame hiking backpack of similar size.

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