A common question I get asked on a hike is: I’m going hiking here next month for <insert number> days and I need a new backpack, what would you recommend?
I absolutely love chatting about outdoor gear and all the number of brands that exist in the market today.
I’ve had some good experiences with some and some not so good experiences with others.
However, in my experience with these sorts of questions, there is one element that is absolutely key to any response I give.
And that’s context.
By that, I mean context around where you’re going and for how long, as well as how often do you plan on hiking and camping.
In short, it’s frequency of use.
Again, this kind of ties in with another article I wrote late last year about how to build your hiking gear list appropriately.
There is a tendency to go out and buy a truck load of outdoor gear without actually knowing what you’re buying or how it performs.
How it relates to what I am talking about here is that you need to have some idea as to whether hiking and or camping is going to be a regular activity for you.
So, for instance, someone comes to me and says ‘I’m starting to get into day hikes and I need a pair of hiking boots.’
Great! How often are you going to go hiking?
‘Probably once every couple of months’.
Based on this response, I wouldn’t suggest buying a durable pair of boots from a brand such as Salomon or any other reputable brand.
Whilst I’m a big advocate for proper hiking boots, in this instance, this person could almost get away with runners.
You have to work out how often you will be doing this activity for.
I have a One Planet backpack that is heavier than most backpacks on the market, but it is highly durable.
They also retail anywhere between $500-600.
Why did I choose this instead of going out and getting something cheaper and perhaps lighter?
Because I knew I’d be hiking and camping regularly and I would need something that would go the distance.
That same person who is doing day hikes every couple of months may be able to get away with a Denali day pack as well.
I would never recommend Anaconda to any regular hiker, but their gear is typically aimed at people who are heading into the outdoors every so often.
So if you are in the market for some new outdoor gear, be sure to keep in mind how often you will be in the outdoors.
Sure, your budget is a big factor but frequency also plays an equally important role.
There’s nothing worse than forking out $400 for a pair of boots that collect dust because they only get used every couple of months.