There are few things that can really make or break your hiking/tramping/bush walking experience as much as your pack and for that reason it's often the most researched piece of kit that people buy. With so many things to take into consideration (size, weight, harness design and fabric just to name a few) it can be difficult to narrow the choices down to just one option. If you decide that this outdoor adventure thing is going to be a big part of your life going forward, you may find yourself in possession of several packs that meet more specific requirements but if you're just starting out then you want the pack that will suit you best, most of the time. The following overview will explain what the different pack styles are and how to find one that will be right for you, at a price that fits your budget as well.
Questions to ask yourself before you go diving into the black hole of gear reviews online:
1. How far and how long am I aiming to be hiking for? Mostly day trips, over-nighters or multiday missions?
2. How small and lightweight is the rest of my gear? If you're just starting out then you probably don't have the most space saving and minimalist collection of kit so a larger pack may be necessary in the beginning.
3. What sort of terrain am I planning on encountering and how well do I expect the pack to last as a result?
4. How much can I actually carry and how important is comfort versus weight and speed when I go out?
So I know what my needs are now what else do I need to look for when I hit the shops?
Last but not least: