When considering purchasing backpacks there are some differences that you need to know about, for example, hiking trips that last 2 days or more you should look at the internal frame backpack or the external frame backpack. Here I will explain the subtle differences between these two types of hiking backpacks.
External frame backpacks:
30 years ago the only backpacks on the market were the external frame backpack, however, manufactures soon realized there was a different solution to transporting equipment around on your back and developed the internal frame backpack. The first difference you will notice is that the external frame backpack is more rigid than the internal, this allows you to pack your equipment without worrying too much about the weight as the external is extremely good at spreading the load over your hips when walking. The external also offers you much easier access to your equipment due to the multitude of side pockets and internal compartments, plus when wearing the external it never touches your back when hiking, this allows for good airflow between the backpack and your body which reduces sweating. There is a downside to the external frame backpack and that is it’s rigidity, this can be a problem if you are going on a challenging hiking trail which involves a lot of body movement. Crossing streams, or climbing mountains can be a big problem with this type of backpack, as the weight is allocated away from your body you need to adjust yourself so the backpack remains in balance with you. For average easy walking hiking trips then the external frame backpack is more than capable of transporting your equipment, but for anything more adventurous I would look at buying one of the many styles of internal frame backpacks available. Checkout comparison of internal and external framed backpacks for more info.
Internal frame backpack:
The major benefit with the internal backpack is that it fits snugly to your body, this gives a much more stable feeling when hiking over rough terrain. Because they are not quite as rigid as the external type the internal backpacks come with compression straps to keep your equipment secure while hiking, the reason climbers and hill walkers prefer the internal frame backpacks is the fact they find it much easier to retain their balance in tricky situations. There are a few drawbacks with the internal frame backpack, the first is you should know how to pack your equipment correctly before going on any hiking trip. You do this by putting the heaviest items of equipment so that they touch your back when carrying, because this type of backpack is a really snug fit to your body packing your items this way will create a much better balance to your set up.
Another thing to consider is because the backpack fits snuggly to your back it can cause problems with sweating when hiking, it is a good idea to carry some extra base layers of clothing just so you can get changed if his becomes a problem. And finally one last tip when looking to buy backpacks, remember you will be out in the wilderness when taking a hiking trip. There is no home comforts out there so you will need to make sure you have the correct size of backpack to hold everything you might need, for example: if you are considering a day hike somewhere then a pack with a volume of 3000 cubic inches would be the ideal size. For a hiking trip of a week or more, then you should look at the bigger 6000 cubic inch backpacks, but remember the one golden rule to packing a hiking backpack for your trip, it should only be around a third of your body weight when packed. The most important piece of equipment you should always carry in your backpack is the first aid pack, and of course always remember to take your mobile phone with you as well.