There are so many choices of holidays ranging from soaking up the sun on beautiful beaches to outdoor vacations full of activities such as hiking, kayaking and white water rafting. In addition to making any necessary reservation, packing is an important aspect of trip preparation. Likewise, what items you need depends largely on what you will do. If hiking is where you are headed, you will definitely need a backpack among other items such as boots and hiking socks.
You will find that there are many backpacks on the market from which to choose. They vary by size, color and material. It doesn’t stop there. You will find enough add-on items to suit even the most demanding gadget guru. Here are some of the basics you will need, and how much you need depends largely on the hike itself.
Small packs, such as fanny packs, are not really backpacks but they can serve the purpose for shorter hikes. They usually have a few pockets allowing you to store nutrition bars, a water bottle, disinfectant, and band-aids along with other items. Some also have small water bladders with tubes called hydration packs, which can often hold up to two gallons.
Keep in mind that one gallon of water weighs approximately eight pounds, so do not go overboard. There are alternatives for longer hikes when you need to carry more water.
Daypacks are also used for short hikes and come in one to three dozen liters in size. You can find them in a variety of styles. Some have a belt strap while others may have a chest strap, but all come with shoulder straps.
Larger backpacks are anywhere from 35 to 70 liters in volume and are referred to by many different terms, such as midrange, light duty packs and midsize. These packs can carry a lot of gear when used properly, but remember you still have to carry it during the hike. So, be careful how much you pack. These larger backpacks are made of a sturdier material and have a wider variety of waste belts and shoulder straps.
The largest backpacks can carry over 70 liters of volume and are referred to as full-sized, heavy duty and expedition backpacks among other names. They offer many special features to help you carry such a large load.
There are often special supports threaded through the shoulder straps and around the waist or back, which help stabilize the backpack and make it easier to carry during the hike. Oftentimes, they are designed to set higher up on the back to alleviate some of the strain from the lower back which can significantly help prevent back pain and fatigue. These largest back packs have many special support materials and balance features due to the large size. Many even offer special holders for a small tent or sleeping bags.
In general, though, a good rule of thumb is to only pack what you will need according to the length and location of the hike. Remember that you will be carrying whatever you pack!