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What Size Rucksack for Hiking and Camping?

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 17 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Rucksack Hiker Hiking Camper Camping

A rucksack is an essential piece of equipment for many hikers and campers, but what size rucksack should you use?

If you’re planning a camping, backpacking or hiking trip, then the chances are you’ll require a rucksack. Worn on the back over bath shoulders, a rucksack bag is a great way of carrying your essentials and also spreading the weight, so that your back doesn’t suffer unnecessarily and hamper your walking.

There are a wide variety of rucksacks available to purchase, from small, compact rucksacks suitable for day trips, to huge great rucksacks that will take you around the world. When you’re deciding which rucksack is most suitable for your needs, then there are a number of factors to weigh up.

What Do You Need to Pack In Your Rucksack?

One of the factors involved in determining what size rucksack you need to buy is what you want to use it for and pack in it. If you’re carrying large pieces of equipment, such as a tent, then you’ll need to ensure that they will fit inside the rucksack – there’s nothing worse than buying a bag and then finding that it’s not big enough for your needs.

If you’re doing a day’s hiking and don’t want to carry too much with you, then a small bag may suffice, but if you’re unsure of exactly what size bag to choose then do try it out for size beforehand. This doesn’t mean going off for a walk with it, but you can take along your key items and try them out in the bag before you buy it to ensure everything fits in adequately.

The Weight of a Rucksack

The weight of a rucksack is crucial for anyone who’ll be carrying it on their back, especially for long periods of time. There’s sometimes a bit of a difference in the empty weight or rucksacks – those with metal frames can weigh a bit more than those without – and the size of the bag can play a part.

It’s also important to carefully work out what you do and don’t need to put in it. Although you may be tempted to take all your worldly goods with you just in case you need them, the weight soon adds up (sometimes worryingly quickly), and as you’ll be the one carrying it, it’s you that will suffer as a result.

Also, if you’re travelling by plane, perhaps going on a foreign camping or hiking trip, then you need to keep baggage weight allowances in mind as you pack. If you’re unsure what the baggage allowance is, then check with your airline, as the acceptable weight can vary from company to company.

Do try and be ruthless and discard any frivolous items. If the worst scenario happens and you find that you need it after all, then hopefully there will be a chance for you to buy a replacement when you reach your destination – as long as you’re not out in the middle of nowhere with no shops in sight!

Your Height and Build

Finally, the other important issue to consider when you’re weighing up the pros and cons of purchasing different sizes of rucksack is your own weight and height. A large 70 litre rucksack may be fine and comfortable for someone who’s 6ft, but could be too big and heavy for someone who’s a slight build and 5’3” in height.

If you buy and fill a rucksack (and it can be hard not to use the space you have) that is too much for you to carry, then you could end up toppling over and falling backwards as you put it on, and this never a good look!

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