Get in gear and hit the trails with this review of the best hiking packs of 2011. You don't need much in the way of equipment when it comes to hiking in the great outdoors, but you do need a good pack. Your backpack carries essentials like water, food, warm clothing, maps and first aid kits. When looking for a hiking pack, you want one that offers good support for the load you're carrying. It's always best to try on different hiking packs in person to see if it's comfortable and fits properly. Read below to find a pack that will get you and your gear on the trail in no time.
The Crestrail 65 by REI is a 65-liter hiking pack that provides comfort while being light-weight. The ergonomic waist belt moves with you on the trail to help distribute the weight evenly. The mesh back panel helps to wick away moisture and circulate air. Side zips, little compartments and four pockets on the front keeps your stuff organized and within easy reach. The pack weighs 4.9 pounds, making it an excellent choice for female or smaller hikers and the cost is $229.
Weighing in at a mere 1.3 pounds, the Osprey Hornet 32 is the perfect backpack for those light hikes or weekend backpacking trips. If you tend to over-pack, then this may not be the pack for you, but if you only need something to take along with you for those spur-of-the-moment day hikes, then you may have found your pack. At 32 liters, this pack can comfortably carry a load of 27 pounds and is priced right at only $139.
Adjustable torso length makes the Storm one of Kelty's more comfortable packs. Specifically made for loads less than 35 pounds, Storm has lots of cargo storage options than other, higher-priced packs. The side pockets are perfect for carrying water bottles or maps. The Storm also features two hydration sleeves and a front shovel pocket with a daisy chain for additional gear or rope and a zippered pouch. All of these extras and more are available for only $139.
Jansport's Body Wrap is a unique, light-weight backpack with an average load weight of 40 pounds. The Body Wrap is revolutionary, in that it has load-transferring capabilities because of its design. This makes it easier to take on longer hikes. Weighing in at only 3.8 pounds, the Jansport Body Wrap performs like an expedition backpack yet is light enough to be efficient for smaller day hikes. The lid converts to a separate summit day pack complete with its own hydration bladder.
Choosing the best hiking packs of 2011 can be a tough decision. With all of the many choices available on the market today, it's easy to see how one could get distracted along the way. Don't get pressured into paying for more backpack than you need, remain objective and go with the backpack that works best for you and the type of hiking you enjoy.