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About Backpacking BackpacksBackpacking packs come in a wide variety of sizes and with a range of features, so it is important to understand your own needs before choosing a backpack. Start by thinking about the equipment you want to take with you. Want to carry a water bottle? Look for packs that include a pocket designed to hold a bottle. Need to attach extra gear? Choose a bag that comes with daisy chains and/or straps to attach items like sleeping bags, ice picks, etc.
Next you'll want to think about how long of a trip you plan to take your bag on. For day hikes, you might want to consider a day hiking pack instead of a backpacking pack. These are lighter weight and designed for less intense hikes. For multi-day trips, a suspension pack is probably your best bet to carry all your necessities on your back.
Finally, consider your torso length when looking at which size of backpacking backpack you need. Large, medium, and small sizes are telling you the torso size the pack accommodates best - not pack capacity. If you are tall but all your length is in your legs, you might actually need a medium sized pack. And no matter which size you choose, make sure your backpacking pack has a hip belt so you can take the extra weight off your back and distribute it to your hips.