Top 5 Expedition Backpacks For 2016

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Heading into 2016, expedition backpackers have many options when it comes to choosing a big backcountry backpack. A few years ago, the focus then was on interior capacity, where now-a-days, gear is getting so light and compact that a smaller backpack (50-75 Liters vs 100+ from a couple years ago) can be used on 2-8 day trips and more. Let’s take a look at our top 5 best expedition backpacks for 2016 (which might not necessarily be new pack models).

#5 – Mountainsmith Lookout 50 ~ $180

The Mountainsmith Lookout 50 backpack might be a little on the small side for an expedition backpacking trip, but there are plenty of larger options below to choose from. We couldn’t leave it off the list, especially at this price point and with its features. The Lookout features excellent padding on the shoulder pads and hip belt and is a very comfortable bag with a sweetspot weight range right around 40-45 pounds. Once again, this might not be big enough if you plan to pack gear for mountaineering, but can handle a week long trip no problem. At this price point, you can’t go wrong, and is about as good as it gets bang for buck. Click the following link to pick up your Mountainsmith Lookout 50 (or step up to the Mountainsmith Apex 80) today.

#4 – The North Face Banchee 65 ~ $250

The North Face Banchee 65 features a proprietary OPTIFIT technology that helps you to dial in your fit no matter your body type, male or female, short or tall. We found this pack to be very comfortable because of this. It also weighs 3.6 pounds, which is pretty light for an expedition pack of this size. We found that the sweetspot for the weight is right around 50 pounds. Who wants to pack around more than that anyway, right? The Banchee does a great job distributing the weight with its suspension system, and is a joy to carry around for long periods of time. Click the following linkto pick up your North Face Banchee 65 today.

#3 – Osprey Xenith 75 ~ $320

The Osprey Xenith is one of the best performing expedition backpacks on the market today. It is comfortable, durable, and has the capacity to pack for an extended stay trip no problem. The 105 Liter incarnation made the list in place of the retired Argon a couple years ago, and there are good reasons that it is back for 2016: the Xenith is a well put together backpack, with 4 access points to the main compartment, as well as well placed external storage pockets. This makes it easy to pack and unpack. The external hydration pocket is another nice feature that helps you re-fill your hydration source without having to dig out your pack’s contents. The sweetspot for the weight is right around 60 pounds, which is a ton of gear in my book. The Xenith doesn’t lack in the comfort arena either, as it features great suspension and cushion, as well as a decently breathable mesh backing for those hot summer days. If you are looking for a no joke top of the line expedition backpack, the Osprey Xenith will deliver every time. Order yours through Amazon by clicking the following link.

#2 – Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 ~ $300

With a sweetspot around 55 pounds, the South Col 70 from Mountain Hardwear is a durable workhorse to get you there and back again. It is designed for mountaineering applications, but is more than adequate for extended-stay trips as well. The South Col weighs in a smidge over 4 pounds, which makes it a lightweight option in the expedition backpack category. Some of the weight was trimmed from the padding, as the shoulder and hip pads are noticeably thinner and less substantial than most packs in this category. We found the pack to be comfortable enough at the 55 pound sweetspot, but carrying more weight made a noticeable difference in comfort, so keep that in mind. One of the best features of the pack is the waterproof main compartment. No more worries about soggy gear if you don’t get your rain gear on quickly during a sudden downpour. Your main gear will stay bone dry. This feature has won over more than one field tester. Overall, the Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 is a fantastic option and was only beat out by one other bag on this list. Simply put, it is one of the best expedition backpacks on the market today. Click the following link to pick yours up today.

#1 – Gregory Baltoro 75 ~ $320

Coming in at #1 is the redesigned Gregory Baltoro 75. A few years ago, this bag was on the cusp of making the list, but was edged out by two other Gregory packs (the Whitney and the other being the audacious Denali Pro), and it was no secret why they featured 2 bags in our top 5. Gregory makes some of the most comfortable bags on the market, from the shoulder harness systems to the hip belts. They are just a pleasure to wear, and none more so than the Baltoro 75 (and its little brother the 65). All the way up to 60 pounds, this pack is comfortable and agile while on uneven terrain. Other features of this bag include an integral rain cover, 3 access points to the main compartment, divided lid compartment, a detachable day pack, large hip belt pockets (1 waterproof), and a re-worked design that makes the pack 12% lighter than its previous incarnation. This is a serious expedition backpack that is as durable as it is comfortable. If you are in the market for a do-it-all extended stay backpack, look no further than the Gregory Baltoro 75. Click the following link to order our number 1 expedition backpack for 2016, the Gregory Baltoro 75 today!

Backpacking Samurai Thoughts

As backpacking gear gets smaller and lighter, gone are the days when expedition backpackers need bags in the 100+ Liter range. You’re not doing yourself any favors bulking up to 80 pounds+ anyway. Slimmer, lighter expedition backpacks in the 50-75 Liter range are taking the spotlight, and the 5 packs above are all excellent choices, from the affordably priced Mountainsmith Lookout 50 to the Gregory Baltoro 75. Ultimately, comfort won out, as the Gregory Baltoro 75 just wasn’t matched by any other pack on our list.

What do you think of the list of expedition backpacks above? What is your top expedition backpack of choice? Let us know in the comment section below. As always, thanks for reading and happy trails!

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The Joys Of Ultralight Backpacking

In my earlier years of backpacking and spending time in the outdoors, I was all about the gadgets and gear. I wanted to have a tool for everything, and I wanted the biggest and best of everything. When I planned backpacking trips, I wanted to have the ability to do all sorts of outdoor activities, ranging from rock climbing to water sports. I was also younger and had a lot more energy and strength, so the weight of all that gear didn’t bother me as much as it does now.

I have definitely seen an evolution in my style of backpacking over the last ten years. Even just a couple years ago, I was in this accumulation phase of buying new gear and gadgets whenever they came out. I had storage bins full of different gear options for different backpacking trips. Rather than accumulate lots of different gear choices to bring along, I am now downsizing my gear bins. I am selling things that I no longer need on eBay and Craigslist. This is a shift in my mindset towards a more minimalist approach. To me, being minimalist or ultralight or lightweight can all mean the same thing – basically, backpacking with as little weight and with minimal gear on your back.

There is one obvious benefit of ultralight backpacking – less weight. And it is an amazing benefit. Carrying heavy loads on your back for many miles on uneven terrain can quickly sap your strength and morale. But there are also hidden benefits of backpacking light that might not seem as apparent on the surface. Let’s delve into these hidden gems as well as dispel some myths about ultralight backpacking.

Enjoying Nature

Glacier View
Without being burdened with heavy loads, you will be more able to focus on why you are in the outdoors to begin with – enjoying nature. Honestly, past experiences with super-sized backpacking rigs have taught me that they quickly hamper your ability to observe your surroundings. This can not only reduce your ability to enjoy your time outdoors, but can also be hazardous to your health (tripping and slipping, missing turns, wild animals). I remember more than a few hikes where all I could think about was just trudging a few more miles so I could get the pack off my back and rest. This mindset is all wrong and defeats one of the principle purposes that I backpack to begin with.

Enjoying Company

Another hidden benefit of ultralight backpacking is that you will be better able to give attention to the people you are hiking with. Carrying on conversations while on the trail with huge packs is often more of just a distraction or coping mechanism rather than an enjoyable conversation. I have found that lightening the load has allowed for more meaningful interactions with friends and family, and not just as a way to pass uncomfortable time.

Knowing Your Limits

Planning a backpacking trip can take a lot of time and coordination. You have to map your route, plan your stops and campsites, figure out the makeup of your group, and decide which gear to bring. That last part – deciding on your gear choices – can be laborious if you have mountains of gear options available to you and a high weight limit. Going into this planning phase with the knowledge that you will be limiting yourself to ultralight gear will simplify your options. It is important to realize that you might be limited on certain types of extended-stay trips because of your ultralight load-out, and this is especially true with the amount of food you can carry. But because of the above benefits of backpacking light, you will get more out of your trips even if they are condensed.

Having a minimalist approach will simplify the entire planning process. And as an added bonus, if you are good at improvising and have some Bear Grhylls bush-craft skills, you might be able to extend your stay without starving yourself by setting snares for food, fishing with small kits, and foraging for wild berries and edible plants.

Myths Debunked

There are some notable obstacles to ultralight backpacking, but a lot of them are overblown exaggerations. This is especially true with newer technology surrounding the outdoor market. One of the loudest complaints of ultralight backpacking is the loss of comfort. Several years ago, this complaint had a lot of pull, and for the most part, was an accurate depiction of minimalism in the outdoors. For example, the weight of your sleeping bag determined the warmth it provided. Twenty years ago, these new innovative micro-fibers that were lightweight and super insulative just didn’t exist in the marketplace. But with newer technology and innovation in outdoor gear design, the comfort factor is still there even at the micro-weight level, and the prices continue to become more and more affordable.

[amazon_image id=”B008FJH3VC” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”large” ]Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 Sleeping Bag – Men’s Long Blue Ridge Left Hand[/amazon_image]

Another complaint of minimalist backpacking is that you are limited with what you can do on your backpacking trip. This used to be my mindset when planning my trips and pulling my gear together. I never wanted to limit myself to a certain set of activities and therefore be less free; rather, I wanted to be able to do everything on every trip. I wanted binoculars to be able to glass for wild game. I wanted a fishing pole to be able to catch dinner. I wanted fancy cookware to make delicious meals. I wanted a chair to sit on at base camp. I wanted changes of clothes and shoes for lounging. And on and on. But what I found is that if I packed something and brought it along, I felt like I had to use it, or I carried it all that way for nothing.

I started to see that the reality of my mindset was not of freedom to do what I wanted at all. Instead, I felt like my plans were locked in and I had no room to improvise. Part of the allure of being in the outdoors is getting away from set schedules, routines, and day-to-day activities. But backpacking trips are all about planning and coordination (and when it comes to being safe, healthy, and getting home in one piece, rightfully so). In going ultralight, however, I have found it is easier to stay away from the drudgery that can sometimes find its way into the backcountry.

In Conclusion

I understand that ultralight backpacking is not for everyone. Ten years ago, it wasn’t for me. But I have seen my ways evolve over that time to embrace the benefits of backpacking light. If nothing else, it is an interesting concept. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to minimize your gear and free your mind and body to better enjoy nature and your company? Give ultralight backpacking a try. Here is a great article on getting started with ultralight backpacking.

What are your opinions of ultralight backpacking? What merits do you see in it? Let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and for adding to this community!

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5 Great Dual Purpose Daypacks For Back-To-School

When the summer days begin to get shorter, and the temperatures begin to back off of summer highs, back-to-school shopping comes to mind. If you are looking for a good backpack for your books, computers, and supplies that can also double as an able daypack on the trails this fall, you have come to the right place. Below, we’ll highlight 5 great dual purpose daypacks for this back-to-school season.

The North Face Vault – $50

[amazon_link id=”B00IAUUU8O” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Vault Backpack Style: A93D-0M3 Size:One Size For AllSize For All[/amazon_link]This is a fantastic choice for back-to-school, and can also be used on the trail to good effect. The North Face Vault backpack features 26 Liters of interior space, two large double zippered compartments (one larger perfect for books, binders, computers, clothing, hiking gear, etc. and one smaller for smaller gear organization, calculators, pens, etc.), exterior daisy chain for lashing additional gear to your pack while on the trail, and support giving chest and waist fitting buckles. It also comes in several different color options. One customer review states the following:

“This backpack is made very well – it looks good, it is very sturdy and we anticipate it will last the entire school year – (not like some of the other backpacks we’ve bought in the past)!”

If you’re looking for an affordable, durable, and spacious daypack, The North Face Vault is a perfect option. Click the following link to pick yours up today.

[amazon_link id=”B00IAUUU8O” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The North Face Vault[/amazon_link]

Osprey Talon – $75

[amazon_link id=”B00HPM8TG8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Osprey Talon 22-Litre Backpack (Meteorite, Medium/Large)[/amazon_link]The Osprey Talon is a 22 Liter daypack that resembles more of a hiking backpack than the Vault does, but it is more than capable of hauling your day-to-day school books and supplies. The Talon features a ridge-molded foam back panel with grip mesh covering as part of its Airscape suspension system that provides superior comfort for hiking, biking, and everyday use. The hipbelt distributes weight across the body, and also features a modified ErgoPull closure to ensure a secure fit. The sternum strap harness is adjustable and features a safety whistle. There is also a helmet strap (LidLock) to keep your bike helmet with you at all times. One reviewer says:

“First off, it’s an Osprey. Great reputation, lifetime warranty, and the Talon-22 definitely lives up to its name.”

The Osprey Talon is a great lightweight daypack with the support and harness to haul heavier books or hiking gear. If you are into biking (or are biking to class), you’ll love the LidLock feature, and this pack is hydration compatible. Follow this link to get yours today.

[amazon_link id=”B00HPM8TG8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Osprey Talon[/amazon_link]

Gregory Miwok – $100

[amazon_link id=”B008NB4K72″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gregory Miwok 22 (Prussian Blue)[/amazon_link]Gregory makes some of the most comfortable backpacking packs on the market, and their daypacks are no exception. The Miwok is lightweight and efficient for its ability to carry 22 Liters of gear or school supplies. From Gregory, “the Gregory Miwok 22 daypack is an ideal size for day hikes, long strolls, and other single-day adventures,” including a short or long day of classes. It features 6 pockets plus the main compartment, it is hydration compatible, and also features a lifetime warranty. The suspension system allows your pack to move with you, increasing the comfort. The key is the use of a set of flexible tendons that attach the shoulder harness and hipbelt to the pack body. See what this customer thought of the Miwok:

“Great product, I use it for everything from day backpacking to weekender, lately I have been using it as a carry on for flights across country.”

Gregory makes awesome backpacks, and the Miwok daypack is a fine choice for school or the trail. Pick yours up today by clicking the following link.

[amazon_link id=”B0045TB0FG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gregory Miwok[/amazon_link]

High Sierra Cirque – $50

[amazon_link id=”B004EBRG3K” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]High Sierra Classic Series 59102 Cirque 30 Internal Frame Pack Redrock, Auburn, Charcoal 21.5x12.75x9 Inches 1830 Cubic Inches 30 Liters[/amazon_link]This daypack features a whopping 30 Liters of internal space, enough for a laptop, several books and binders, or a ton of daypacking gear, and all under 2 pounds of weight. It offers a harness media pocket, daisy chains for lashing extra gear to the outside, suspension harness and padded hipbelt made of breathable mesh, and an integrated hydration compartment with dual exit ports.

One recent customer noted that they were “looking for a good sized hiking daypack that had a nice padded hip belt, and wasn’t terribly expensive. My initial reaction is very positive. I really like the design of this pack and it’s exactly the size I was looking for. The apparent quality of the materials and construction seem much higher than other packs I’ve looked at in the $50.00 price range, I’m actually really impressed with the quality at this price.”

If you are looking for a big daypack at a not so big price that is capable of hauling all of your school or trail gear, click the following link to buy yours today.

[amazon_link id=”B004EBRG3K” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]High Sierra Cirque[/amazon_link]

Kelty Redtail 30 – $60

[amazon_link id=”B00AATSCY2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Redtail 30 Daypack (Cobalt, One Size)[/amazon_link]Another 30 Liter bag rounds out our selection, and this one is from another company that is known for offering a lot of features for the price. The Kelty Redtail daypack is a great option for those interested in a large pack for hiking or carrying a lot of school supplies. It features a webbed hipbelt for lighter loads which is also removable, plenty of pockets for organization or school supplies or backcountry gear, side compression straps, mesh construction on the suspension harness and back panel, daisy chain, and a reservoir sleeve. It is lightweight and low profile. One reviewer said this about the Redtail daypack:

“Light…great padded straps…nice size for my gear and nice design on padding for your back…purchased another one for the wife.”

With a limited lifetime warranty from Kelty and all of these features, the Redtail is a great option for you. Click the link below to order yours today.

[amazon_link id=”B00AATSCY2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Redtail[/amazon_link]

The Bottom Line

This concludes our look into 5 great daypacks for back-to-school season. Any one of these is a great choice, whether you are getting ready to hit the books or hit the trails this fall, or both. Thanks for reading, and happy trails (and studying)!

What is your favorite daypack? Let us know in the comment section below. Thanks!

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New To Backpacking? Get Started For Under $300

Are you interested in backpacking, but not willing to commit a large amount of money upfront until you know you are going to like it? Are you on strict budget? If you answered yes to either of these questions, this article will hopefully help you to see that you don’t need to spend a small fortune to get into this great hobby. Below, I will go over some of my favorite low cost (but still high quality) gear to consider.

For the sake of this article, we will assume you have no backpacking gear. That means you will need to buy a backpack, tent, sleeping bag, and other items to keep you going, less the consumables (food, fuel, etc). Let’s say you have a strict budget of $300 to get all the gear you need to go on a summer weekend (3 day, 2 night) backpacking trip that is more or less on a flat trail.

Here is a breakdown of the items, and below will be more details of the gear choices:

  • Backpack$115 [amazon_link id=”B009R4CV3E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Coyote 80 Backpack[/amazon_link]
  • Tent$110 [amazon_link id=”B0043HH5CW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Eureka! Apex 2XT 2 Person Backpacking Tent[/amazon_link]
  • Sleeping Bag$40 [amazon_link id=”B006WPZBBA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ledge Sports Scorpion 45 Degree Ultralight Sleeping Bag[/amazon_link]
  • Water Prep – $25 [amazon_link id=”B004DZMD08″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Seychelle 28 Ounce Flip Top Water Filter Bottle[/amazon_link]
  • Food Prep$10 – [amazon_link id=”B000P9IR8I” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Stainless Steel Mess Kit[/amazon_link]
  • Total Cost = $300

Backpack – $115

[amazon_link id=”B009R4CV3E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Kelty Coyote 80 Internal frame Backpack, Forest Night, Medium/Large[/amazon_link]For the backpack, the Kelty Coyote 80 [amazon_link id=”B009R4CV3E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]can be picked up off of Amazon currently for $115[/amazon_link]. That is a great deal for a backpack that boasts 78 Liters (4750 cubic inches) of interior space. This is more than large enough for a 3 day excursion. It is more suited for a longer trip, but at that price point, it’s hard to pass this deal up. Additional features in this pack include:

Bag Features:

  • Top loading
  • 420-denier polyester Ball Shadow body fabric
  • 420-denier polyester Oxford reinforcement fabric
  • Hydration compatible
  • Reservoir sleeve
  • Front-panel access
  • Zippered side pockets
  • Mesh water bottle pockets
  • Side compression straps
  • Load stabilizer straps
  • Spindrift collar
  • Ice-axe loops
  • Daisy chain
  • Key fob
  • Zippered waist belt pockets
  • Lid converts into lumbar pack
  • Carry handle

Suspension Features:

  • CloudLock II adjustable suspension
  • LightBeam II dual aluminum stays
  • HDPE frame sheet
  • Removable HDPE reinforced dual density waist belt
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Ventilating back panel
  • Load-lifter/stabilizer straps
  • Sternum strap
  • Patented Scherer Cinch

Specifications:

  • Capacity: 4,750 cubic inches (78-liters)
  • Weight: 5 lb. 9 oz.
  • Measures 16 x 34 x 16.5 inches (W x H x D)

Highlights of the Kelty Coyote 80 backpack are the price point, the capacity, removable waist belt and lid (converts into hip pack), and construction. The pack is on the heavy side at 5 pounds 9 ounces empty, but as long as it isn’t over packed for a 3 day trip, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Tent – $110

[amazon_link id=”B0043HH5CW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Eureka! Apex 2 - Tent (sleeps 2)[/amazon_link]The tent of choice is the Eureka! Apex 2XT tent. This is a lightweight 2 person backpacking tent that is also a very palatable price right around a hundred bucks. We chose the Apex 2XT tent because of the price, as well as a few features, such as: the 2 door design with 2 vestibules totaling 27 additional square feet, solid construction, and light weight (6 pounds 5 ounces). Here are some additional features and specifications:

  • Seasons: 3
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Floor dimensions: 7′ 6″ by 4′ 11″
  • Center height: 3′ 10″
  • Minimum weight: 6 pounds, 5 ounces
  • Frame: Freestanding, shock-corded fiberglass
  • Vestibule: 2, with 13.8 square feet of storage each
  • Storage pockets: 2 mesh
  • Clothes line loops: 4
  • Flashlight loop: Yes
  • Warranty: Lifetime

This is great tent, and for the price, you won’t be disappointed. [amazon_link id=”B0043HH5CW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Pick yours up today[/amazon_link].

Sleeping Bag – $40

[amazon_link id=”B006WPZBA6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ledge Sports FeatherLite +20 F Degree Ultra Light Design, Ultra Compact Sleeping Bag (84 X 32 X 20, Red)[/amazon_link]Since this is a summer trip, we can get away with suggesting a summer sleeping bag. And that is completely fair, because if you are new to backpacking, you probably don’t want to get into a cold weather trip right off the bat because you might ruin your outlook on the hobby. Start with a mild, warm weather trip to see if you like it first, then as you get more experience and become more adventurous, expand. Back to the sleeping bag of choice – [amazon_link id=”B006WPZBBA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ledge Sports Featherlite 20 degree ultra light sleeping bag[/amazon_link].

The price is right at $40, and the weight is also a bonus coming in at 3.4 pounds. This sleeping bag is nice because is compresses well and takes up minimal room. It is a synthetic fill sleeping bag, so even if it gets wet, it should keep you warm down to 30 degrees or so. It also comes with a stuff sack. Pick up one of these affordable 3 season sleeping bags today!

Food and Water Prep – $35

For cooking your food, this [amazon_link id=”B000P9IR8I” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]stainless steel mess kit[/amazon_link] is just right. It offers a frying pan, pot, two lids (plates) and a plastic 8 ounce cup. At just over $10, all you need to have is a bed of hot coals and you can cook food or heat water.

[amazon_link id=”B004DZMD08″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Seychelle 28oz Flip Top Advanced Filter Water Purification / Filtration Bottle[/amazon_link]As for purifying your water, the [amazon_link id=”B004DZMD08″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Seychelle 28 ounce flip top water filter bottle[/amazon_link] is a high quality option that is affordable ($25). It removes 99.99% of bacteria, virus, contaminants, and pollutants from water. It can filter up to 100 gallons of water, depending on the quality of the water (dirtier water = less filtering capacity). It weighs just 11 ounces and you can fill it up from any body of water along the trail.

The Bottom Line

If you are just getting into backpacking, and you are worried that you won’t like it, it doesn’t make sense to spend a ton of money on gear. I can tell you that if you like nature, exercise, the outdoors, and camping in general, you are going to absolutely love backpacking. But keeping your start-up costs low just in case you don’t is a good idea. The nice thing about all of these items is that they could all be sold used to recoup most of your money if you decide you don’t like backpacking. Another nice thing about all of these items is that if you do like backpacking, they are high quality products that you will be able to enjoy for a long time.

Use this list to find the right gear for your needs. This is just a list of the most essential gear items. I didn’t include hiking boots because they require such a specialized fit and vary greatly in price. For a flat 3 day hiking trip, sturdy tennis shoes should be alright. Other items might include a good flashlight, first aid kit, survival kit, GPS, fitted hiking boots, multi-tool or pocket knife, and a sleeping pad. They will greatly increase your comfort and safety in the backcountry. As always, happy trails!

Do you agree with this list? What would be your $300 starting setup? Leave a comment below. Thanks!

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Backpacking Stocking Stuffer Ideas

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for the backpacking enthusiast in your life. Most backpacking ideas are a little on the large size to stuff into a stocking, but there are smaller gadgets and tools that every backpacker would be thrilled to see in their stocking this Christmas.

Water Treatment Items

These microfilters and purifiers are perfect to stuff a stocking with. Remember to take them out of the boxes, as this will make your job much easier!

 

Fire Starters

These fire starters make perfect stocking stuffers!

 

Cookware

These are some smaller cooking items that make perfect stocking stuffers.

 

Mischelaneous Camping Gear

Here are some other good ideas for stocking stuffers for the outdoor enthusiast.

Happy shopping and Merry Christmas!

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What Food To Bring On An Extended Backpacking Trip

Any time you spend more than a weekend in the backcountry, carrying enough food is an important consideration. You can always supplement your packed meals by catching native fish or picking wild berries, but you definitely shouldn’t count on these sources of food to survive. What should you pack for a week-long or longer trek? Below, we will go over the basics of planning your backcountry meals for an extended stay backpacking trip.

The Building Blocks Of Life

Food and water are essential for human survival. Most humans can’t live longer than three days without water. Hiking rough terrain with a heavy backpack requires constant water consumption. Depending on activity and body mass, humans can live as long as two weeks without food. But surviving more than a day or two without food limits your ability to find more or get to safety. Since you won’t be able to carry a weeks worth of water on your back, you will need to purify water along the way. This is easy enough to do with a filter (MSR Sweetwater, Katadyn Vario) or by boiling the water, as long as you are hiking near a water source.

Food is a different story. Unless you are Bear Grylls, foraging for food on the trail won’t be an option. You will need to plan on bringing all the food you will need along, and that means packing it all in your bag.

What You Need

The typical caloric intake for an average adult per day is 2000. This will more or less result in no net gain or loss of weight, under regular day to day activity. Backpacking on even flat terrain can be a strenuous physical exercise, let alone on rugged mountain terrain. You should plan on consuming somewhere between 2500 and 3000 calories per day or more, including at least 30-50 grams of protein. This will sustain your frame during the trip and will keep you fueled for the oncoming miles.

Portability Vs Palatability

The argument of portability versus palatability has raged on for decades among the backpacking community. A hot meal after a long hike can seem very refreshing for many hikers, yet a hot meal means you will probably need to pack a camp stove, pot, and hot meal ingredients, which will add extra ounces to your pack. Ultralight minimalist backpackers go to the other extreme of eating trail mix for three meals a day. A healthy balance is necessary here, because some hikers lose their appetite during hot days or at higher altitudes. A hot meal might not seem appealing on those days, and a more light meal might suffice. On the other hand, a hot meal on a cold or wet day might be the morale boost that you need, where cheese and crackers might come up short.

A food item might also be super portable and palatable, yet it just doesn’t work on the trail. For example, peanut butter is a high protein, high energy food that is light and easy to transport. But try to find a good way to get the peanut butter out of whatever you have transported it in. It just makes a mess. If you’re a peanut butter lover, it might be worth the hassle. If not, the dispensability is a nightmare.

Hot Meal Options

MREs

[amazon_link id=”B007HOB4FC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]MRE (Meals, Ready to Eat) Premium case of 12 Fresh MRE with Heaters. 5 Year Shelf Life.[/amazon_link]Most of us are familiar with MREs. These military rations are packed with calories, and can be supplemented with small snacks throughout the day. Most MREs can be coupled with a one-time-use MRE heater, so you won’t need a stove or other cooking supplies. There are many different entre options available, and plenty of sides to go along. A full MRE meal can have as much as 1500 calories by itself. These are easy to prepare, and loaded with nutrients to keep you going.

MREs are bulky and heavy. You don’t need any water to cook them, which is a plus. However, that means you are carrying extra water weight within these packs. If you have tried an MRE, you might not have been impressed with the flavor. A lot of hikers are particular about what they eat, and MREs usually don’t make the cut based on flavor alone. But if you are looking for an easy hot meal, these are great options.

Freeze-Dried Meals

[amazon_link id=”B000G2TOMM” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain House 72-Hour Emergency Meal Kit[/amazon_link]Mountain House used to own the freeze dried meal market. Now there are a lot of companies offering these type of backpacking rations. Freeze dried meals come in sealed mylar pouches (for a decent shelf life), and there is probably a wider variety of meal options than MREs. The nice thing about these hot meals is that they are dried – meaning there is no extra water weight inside the pouch. They are easy to prepare, and taste much better than MREs.

You will need to boil water to add to the pouch (so what you gain in not having to carry the water weight, you lose in the extra weight of a stove, fuel, and a pot), and the food takes time to reconstitute. These are also great options for hot meals on the trail.

Other Hot Meal Options

MREs and freeze dried meals might be the most convenient hot meals available, but can be a little pricey. If you get creative, you can easily create your own trail meals out of ingredients from your pantry. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Cup of Noodles
  • Pasta And meat Sauce
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Instant Soups
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Tuna Helper
  • Spam, Tuna, Salami, Salmon

These meal ideas are easy to prepare, and you can create your own portions with ziplock bags.

Cold Meal Options

A lot of backpackers will plan at least one hot meal per day, and this is usually dinner (extra prep time). Breakfast could also easily incorporate a small hot meal (oatmeal with hot chocolate or coffee/tea), but is a good time to go with a quick and easy cold meal. This is where some creativity comes in.

  • Cliff bars
  • Granola bars
  • Trail mix (home made or store bought)
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Dried Fruit
  • Crackers (animal crackers, Ritz, Triscuit, etc)

The key here is to have a variety of snacks to eat. If you only plan on having one hot meal per day, the rest of the day will be cold foods. The better the variety, the more likely you will keep up with your caloric needs. Taste fatigue can occur if all you eat throughout the day is trail mix. Candy bars are a nice break, but melt easily.

Drinks

Many backpackers get tired of the taste of water on long trips. Having some flavoring powder to liven up your water will do wonders for your morale. GatorAide and PowerAid both make electrolyte replenishing, water flavoring powders. Crystal Light pouches are a sugar free option. The small single serving packets are very light, and easy to add to bottles and hydration bladders.

Pack some instant hot chocolate, cider, tea or coffee for morning/evening sipping pleasure. These packets weigh next to nothing as well, and will help warm you up when it’s cold outside.

Packing It All Up

Backpacking Ziploc MealsBecause your food will take up a good portion of your backpack’s internal space on an extended backpacking trip, it is important to save as much space as possible. Remove unnecessary packaging from foods. For example, take crackers out of their boxes and pack them in single serving Ziploc bags. Remove MREs from their bulky packaging.

Organize your large meals together inside their own Ziploc bag. Label them accordingly. If you are planning group meals, besides organizing your pack, this will also make it easy to pull all the necessary ingredients together for the meal.

Remember to keep snacks within reaching distance. You don’t want to have to take your pack off to dig out some trail mix. Most backpacks have waste belt pockets, which work out perfectly for holding hiking snacks. Another reminder: if you are hiking in bear country, follow all the essential bear country food packing and hanging tips. This will prevent a potentially dangerous encounter. Below, you can click on the image to purchase the Backpacker’s Cache.[amazon_link id=”B0002ZB5Y8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Backpackers' Cache - Bear Proof Container[/amazon_link]

Just In Case

Preparing backpacking meals can be one of the most time-consuming planning steps of trip planning. Make sure that you go over the daily menu to see that you are getting enough calories and nutrients to keep you going. It is also a good idea to pack a few days extra meals or food, just in case you get stuck in the backcountry longer than expected. Here are some menu ideas, calorie counts, and pictures to help you get started. Happy camping!

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How To Plan An Extended Backpacking Trip

Backpacking in the Grand Teton National Park, ...

Backpacking in the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Backpacking is a great way to spend time in the great outdoors. Carefully planning your trip is essential for your safety as well as your trail comfort. There isn’t anything worse than getting partway down the trail on the first day of a multi-day trek only to find that you have forgotten an essential piece of gear. Forgetting a piece of gear on a weekend trip is one thing; for week-long or extended trips, it can become a safety issue. Below, we will go over several tips on planning an extended backpacking trip so that your hike goes smoothly.

Plan Your Party

Are you a solo hiker, or do you prefer to hike with others as part of a larger group? If you aren’t an experienced backpacker, you might want to go with at least one other person. Most of us know the story of Aron Ralston, who was hiking alone in a slot canyon in southern Utah and ended up having to cut off his own arm to escape alive. Hiking in a group not only gives you company on the trail, but provides protection from wild animals and safety when emergencies strike. Safety in numbers applies here.

Remember to choose companions that have similar abilities and likes. Some hikers like to hike fast, while others like to take more breaks and enjoy the views. Some like flat terrain, while others prefer rugged mountaineering. If you put different types of backpackers in the same group, one type is bound to be unhappy with the pace, terrain, etc. Keep this in mind while planning your backpacking party.

Plan The Route Details

A simple dry magnetic pocket compass

Planning an extended backpacking trip can be tedious, especially when there are multiple voices expressing their opinions. But that doesn’t mean that you can skip this step. Make sure everyone is on the same page before you start hiking. In this stage, you need to plan the exact route that you will be hiking. This will allow you to determine the total length, the duration of the trip, and each day’s mileage. Think about the geographic location and the time of year. These factors will greatly weigh on what gear you pack. Invest in some high quality topographical maps of the area, and learn how to read them. Also learn how to use a compass, so you can navigate with these maps. GPS devices are nice, but they are heavy and they could fail you at any time. Make sure you have a backup plan to getting around in the backcountry.

Check local regulations for backcountry permits, fishing permits, camping restrictions, campfire restrictions, or other special considerations. Will you be hiking in bear country? If so, remember to follow guidelines about proper food storage.

Gather Your Gear

Once you know the nitty gritty details of your trip, it is time to gather the gear together and pack it all in your backpack. This makes a great pre-trip activity for your group, so get everyone together to assess the gear situation. Remember to think about the weather and temperature conditions of the terrain you will be hiking. There is a significant difference in the weight of sleeping bags, for example, for cold vs. warm weather camping. If you will be hiking in the mountains, the weather can turn at any moment, so it is wise to have warm clothing just in case.

Backpack

[amazon_link id=”B001BBIMPM” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gregory Denali Pro 105 Mountaineering Pack (Chili Red,Large)[/amazon_link]For an extended backpacking trip, your backpack needs to be large enough to carry all the gear you need. Food will take up a ton of room on a week-long or longer hike. Expect to use a backpack with at least 4000 cubic inches of internal storage, if not more. Here is an article on the top 5 expedition backpacks on the market, and is a good resource for choosing your pack.

Food

You will generally want to have between 2500 and 3000 calories per day while on the trail. The more strenuous the hike, the more calories, and particularly protein, you will need to replenish your body. For extended backpacking trips of a week or longer, it can be a challenge to pack enough food to last the trip. Remember that dry food is lighter than wet food, and it is a good idea to pack a few days of extra emergency food, in case you get stuck. Here is a more in depth article on planning your extended backpacking trip food and meals.

Food Prep

[amazon_link id=”B005EM37UY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Jetboil Sumo Titanium Personal Cooking System (Sand)[/amazon_link]Food preparation items can easily be distributed among the backpacking party. Split the fuel, stove, and pots up to even out the weight.

Water

It will be impossible to carry a weeks worth of water on your back, along with the other essential gear items. This is where it is very important to plan your backpacking trip near water sources, such as rivers, streams, and lakes. You don’t have to hike along a river or stream the entire time, but make sure you have stops at several watering holes per day.

[amazon_link id=”B003A1MURC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]SteriPEN Adventurer Opti Handheld UV Water Purifier[/amazon_link]There are several ways to purify and carry water. Backpacking filters such as the MSR Sweetwater and Katadyn Vario are great for large groups. The SteriPen Adventurer Opti is an ultralight portable method for sterilizing your water. You can always boil it on a camp stove, but this will require extra fuel, which means more weight. Water bottle filters are also another way to go, since they incorporate a filter within your carrying mechanism.

Tents

Most minimalist backpackers tend to shy away from tents, since they are trying to carry the least amount of weight possible. Sleeping under the stars has its perks, but for an extended trip, you are bound to have a few foul weather nights. There are tons of backpacking tents on the market today. The key is finding a backpacking tent that offers the right balance of comfort and durability, while being as lightweight as possible.

[amazon_link id=”B0036GT87G” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 Person Tent[/amazon_link]One of the best lightweight backpacking tents on the market is the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2. There are several other options under the Tents category. The nice thing is that these tents are all 2 person tents, so you can break up your party into groups of two and distribute the weight around.

Sleeping Bags

[amazon_link id=”B0034HTDAY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Marmot Helium MemBrain Down Sleeping Bag, Regular-Left, Blue[/amazon_link]The sleeping bag you pack really depends on the time of year and expected weather of your backpacking location. If you plan on cold, inclement weather, opt for a synthetic bag rated at least 20 degrees below the expected temperatures. Synthetic sleeping bags will keep you warm even if they get wet, but are typically heavier than their down counterparts.

Clothing

Many beginning backpackers fail miserably when it comes to packing the right clothing for their trip. Here is what you need to think about:

  • What is the weather like?
  • What time of year will I be hiking?
  • How cold do the nights/early mornings get?
  • How warm are the afternoons?

The answers to these questions vary immensely depending on where you decide to trek. But generally, you want to remember a few things when packing clothing:

  • Avoid cotton
  • Use clothing that will keep you warm even when wet (think wool and synthetic fleece)
  • Pack clothing that layers well (synthetic base layer, insulating layer, and outer layers)
  • Pack extra high-quality hiking socks – these are vital to keeping your feet healthy and comfortable
  • Don’t forget rain gear

As for how much clothing you should pack, this is really up to you. You will be dirty in the backcountry; there just isn’t any way around it. If packing a few extra shirts and undergarments helps you stay comfortable, then do it. Otherwise, try to get the most use out of each article of clothing that you can. The less clothing you pack, the more space you have for other gear items.

Hiking Boots

[amazon_link id=”B002LH40EC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Scarpa Men's Bhutan GTX Man Hiking/Trail,Mud,43 Wide EU/10 Wide US Men[/amazon_link]The hiking boots that you use are very important to your comfort and ability to hike rugged terrain. Take your time choosing the right boots. Go to an outdoors supplier, and talk to an expert on the right fit. Make sure they are comfortable with the socks you have, as most wool-blend hiking socks are extra-thick. For more on choosing the right hiking boots, read our 2 part series here.

Miscellaneous Gear

The following list is not all inclusive of what you should bring, but is a good starting point for you rounding out the gear you might want to bring along.

  • First aid kit
  • Personal hygiene kit
  • Fire starting kit
  • Fishing kit
  • Flashlights (headlamps, lanterns)
  • Trekking poles
  • Binoculars
  • Multi-tool
  • Pocket knife

Camp comfort items – the following are a few comfort items, only if you have the space to carry them.

  • Small camp chair
  • Sandals
  • Swimming suit
  • Book
  • iPod

Trim Excess Weight

As you start to narrow down the gear you want to pack for your trip, get a scale and weigh everything. Tally up the total to see where you stand. At this point, you will want to start trimming excess ounces. Ounces add up to pounds, and too many pounds equals an unpleasant backpacking trip. For each item, ask yourself this question:

  • “Do I absolutely need this item?”

If the answer is no, leave it at home. If the item is a comfort item that you are not ready to live without on the trail, do your best to find the lightest alternative on the market. Another way to justify an item is to make sure it serves more than one purpose (the Jetboil cooking system utilizes a synthetic lid that also doubles as a throwing disc, for fun at the base camp).

As a group, distribute any gear items that serve a group function, such as tents, cooking items, etc. There might be more able backpackers in the group that can carry additional weight. If so, see if they would be willing to shoulder more of a burden to help out smaller framed hikers or novices.

Pack And Practice

Arcteryx Bora 95 Packing Guide

It might be worthwhile to plan an overnight or weekend practice run for the group. Pack up your bags and gear as if you were trekking for the duration of the extended trip, but just spend a night or two on the trail. This is a great way to make sure you have everything you need, as well as to test the load and weight of your pack. You might have packed too much, or maybe you feel like you can shoulder more weight. You also might find that the load is distributed incorrectly in your pack. All of these insights will help you have a more enjoyable time on the real extended trip.

Inventory Check

Before you leave, make sure everything you need is in your pack. A checklist is a good way to accomplish this, and also have a buddy look over your list and gear. This is also a good time to make sure everything is in working order. Test your water filter, camp stove, GPS (spare batteries), flashlights, and other items. Replace filters or batteries if you need to.

Itinerary

Before you take off, make sure you leave a detailed itinerary with a friend or relative that isn’t going on the hike. Include the route and location, the duration, where you plan to camp, who is hiking with you, and when you expect to return. If there are any problems in the backcountry, they will be able to get a hold of search and rescue to come find you and your party. Just don’t forget to contact them when you get home!

Bear Country Hiking

If you are planning on hiking in bear country, don’t think that your large group will keep a hungry bear from snooping around your campsite. Be smart and use bear-proof canisters for food. Also, don’t use a tent that has previously had food in it. This can cause dangerous encounters while you are sleeping.

Hang ALL of your food (snacks, meals, ingredients, even sealed energy bars and gels) from a tree. DO NOT bring any food inside your tent. This also goes for anything scented, such as shampoo, hair products, lotions, toothpaste, deodorant, gum and candy.

[amazon_link id=”B002E6VAHK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Frontiersman Bear Attack Deterrent with Hip Holster[/amazon_link]Pepper spray has been proven to be one of the best deterrents of an attacking or charging bear. If you are hiking in bear country, at least a few members (if not everyone) should have a canister of bear spray.

Have Fun!

Remember that backpacking is a great way to spend time in the great outdoors with family and friends. It takes a lot of work to plan and put together an extended backpacking trip, but the effort is well worth it to get away from the cares of the world. Good luck and have fun!

What did we miss? Leave comments below to add to these tips.

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The Top 5 Expedition Backpacks – Quality And Comfort Are Essential

When it comes to expedition backpacking, it is essential to utilize a high quality backpack. If your backpack is made from inferior products and falls apart on the trail, you won’t have an enjoyable experience, and you might even put your health at risk. Expedition backpacks are at the top of the price range, but don’t be deterred by that fact. These backpacks on this list are made of high quality materials and with superior craftsmanship. You can rest assured that they will not fail you while on the trail.

Below is a list of our top 5 expedition backpacks that we have tested on the trail. They are all superb examples of comfort and durability on the trail.

#5 Osprey Xenith 105 ~ $400

[amazon_link id=”B00B1VBRX6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Osprey Packs Xenith 105[/amazon_link]When you need to load up for your expedition, the Osprey Xenith 105 is a great choice. With a massive 6400+ cubic inches of interior volume, the Xenith 105 will hold everything you need for more than a week on the trail. This pack is comfortable, durable, and did we mention it holds everything? Click the following link to pick yours up today!

[amazon_link id=”B00B1VBRX6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Osprey Xenith 105[/amazon_link]

#4 Gregory Whitney 95 ~ $390

[amazon_link id=”B001BBPZ84″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gregory Whitney 95 Backpack (Trinidad Blue,Small)[/amazon_link]Gregory makes awesome backpacks. Two of their largest packs made our top 5 list, and for good reason. They are some of the most comfortable backpacks on the market, and their durability is second to none. The Gregory Whitney 95 backpack is an excellent choice for expedition trekking. With a capacity range of 5300-6300 cubic inches, you will be able to carry most of what you will need for an extended expedition. Comfort and durability once again is exemplified in this option. To buy your Whitney, click the following link right now!

[amazon_link id=”B001BBOEXQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gregory Whitney 95[/amazon_link]

#3 Mountain Hardwear BMG 105 ~ $350

[amazon_link id=”B00HNKMPSK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain Hardwear BMG 105 Backpack Black Large[/amazon_link]The Mountain Hardwear BMG 105 is another huge expedition pack choice that ‘hauls all’ of the gear you can possibly pack and carry. Come up with your own meaning for BMG – we think it should mean ‘Big Mountain Gear,’ since you will be able to plan hiking, mountaineering, climbing and long distance trips with this bag. With a capacity range of 5800-7000 cubic inches, the Mountain Hardwear BMG 105 has more than enough space to fit all of your climbing, guiding, winter, summer, etc. backpacking gear. Get your BMG today by clicking the following link.

[amazon_link id=”B00HNKMPSK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Mountain Hardwear BMG 105[/amazon_link]

#2 Arcteryx Naos 85 ~ $700

[amazon_link id=”B002UXZ8W0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Arcteryx Naos 85 Backpack Blackbird Tall[/amazon_link]Coming in at #2 is the Arcteryx Naos 85, a monster of a backpack that has the internal carrying capacity of 5000-5370 cubic inches. What really sets the Naos apart from the other bags on this list is the fact that it is truly an all weather backpack, featuring an impermeable heavy duty fabric as well as fully sealed seams and waterproof zippers. Expedition backpacking usually exposes you to the worst kinds of weather, and this backpack will keep all of your gear bone dry. With the all-weather designation, the Arcteryx Naos also boasts fantastic comfort on the trail. If you plan on wet weather, you can’t go wrong with the Arcteryx Naos 85. Click the following link today to pick yours up!

[amazon_link id=”B002UXZ8W0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Arcteryx Naos 85[/amazon_link]

#1 Gregory Denali Pro 105 ~ $550

[amazon_link id=”B00J07XSDA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gregory Denali Pro 105 Mountaineering Pack (Chili Red,Small)[/amazon_link]As stated in the Gregory Whitney 95 section above, some of the most comfortable packs on the market are made by Gregory. This is their flagship expedition pack, and is absolutely enormous. With a capacity range of 6100-7000 cubic inches, it rivals the BMG and Argon above. The Gregory Denali Pro 105 backpack is so massive that you have to be careful not to over pack it, or you could encounter some pain on the trail. Because of its comfort and fit, the Denali Pro is our top rated expedition backpack on the list today. Click the following link to get your Denali Pro today!

[amazon_link id=”B00J07XSDA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gregory Denali Pro 105[/amazon_link]

The Bottom Line

This was a close competition between all five packs, and when the results came back, a lot of us were surprised at the rankings. As you can see, there is a pretty good representation of the major backpack companies out there on this list. You would be well suited to go with any of the options on this list for sure. The previous edition to this article had the Arcteryx Bora 95 as the top rated backpack, but since it is next to impossible to find this backpack on the market today (we think it has been discontinued), we decided to update our ranking system. The number 5 backpack has also been updated, from the Osprey Argon 110 (a fantastic backpack) to last year’s Osprey Xenith 105. Thanks to John from the comment below for suggesting we look into this pack, and in fact, a few of us had already taken it on the trail, and since the Argon 110 is becoming more difficult to pick up, we decided to update this position as well.

We obviously left some great expedition packs off, and that was out of no disrespect for the companies or brands. We only had 5 to work with, and these 5 packs made the cut. Do you agree with our assessment of expedition packs? Tell us what you think by responding in the comments section below. Give us your own top 5 expedition packs if you like. We like to see what other backpackers think about the available gear. As always, thanks for reading and happy trails!

Click the following link to view our Top 5 Expedition Backpacks for 2016.

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Arcteryx Bora 95 Expedition Backpack

[amazon_link id=”B0012PQX9E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Arc'teryx Bora 80 Backpack - 4390-5000cu in Deep Blue, Tall[/amazon_link]When it comes to expedition backpacking, Arcteryx really comes through with high-quality and sturdy products. Their backpacks are rugged and durable enough to handle rough terrain for many years. The Arcteryx Bora 95 is no exception. This is a beast of a backpack designed to haul mega loads for extended expeditions on the the trail. Let’s look at some of the features of this backpack below.

The Arcteryx Bora 95 backpack has 5,200-6,000 cubic inches of interior cargo space (depending on the model) and is made with waterproof urethane coated fabric and water tight zippers to help keep all of your gear dry. The materials used include:

  • 210D Invista HT Ripstorm – Lining
  • 420D Invista HT Ripstorm – Body
  • 630D Invista HT Superpack nylon reinforcement
  • Thermoformed HDPE framesheet 6061 aluminum stays

There are multiple methods for accessing your packed gear. The top closure allows for easily stuffing in extra gear. A full length side zipper allows full access to all of your pack’s contents without having to remove and re-pack everything. Accessing the gear closest to the bottom of the pack is easy with the bottom access zipper.

There are also exterior pockets to help organize additional gear. Two lid pockets, one front pocket, and two side pockets allow you to add gear to the outside of your main compartment for easy access. There is an internal sleeping bag compartment that easily holds your bag separate from the rest of your gear. As with just about every backpack on the market, the Arcteryx Bora also includes a hydration bladder pouch for easy storage and compartmentalization of your H20.

Other features of the Bora include:

  • Two ice axe loops
  • Two external daisy chains
  • Key clip
  • Two external water bottle pockets
  • Hydration system hose clip
  • Six external compression straps

There are a couple of cool features included on the Bora that you might not find with other backpack brands. The first is something they call the ‘occipital cavity.’ This molded-in cavity allows your head to have full range of motion, and is a welcome and comfortable feature included by Arcteryx in this pack. Another feature of the Bora is that the top lid is removable, includes an integral waist belt, and can double as a waist pack, which is perfect for day hikes once you have established your base camp.

There are 3 different torso sizes of the Bora 95, with a short, regular, and tall option. There are also 2 different color options. The image at the top is the deep blue option, and the Bora 95 also comes in black.

To have the most comfortable backpacking experience possible, make sure you purchase a backpack that fits your torso. Click here for the torso sizing chart for the Arcteryx Bora.

Here is a breakdown of the capacity and weight of each model:

  • Short – 5248 cubic inches – 7 pounds
  • Regular – 5614 cubic inches – 7.5 pounds
  • Tall – 6041 cubic inches – 7.7 pounds

When looking at these weights above, the Arcteryx Bora 95 might not be the lightest-weight backpack on the market, but it is also not a minimalist backpack by any stretch. For the internal capacity, this backpack actually stacks up very well against the competition with regards to weight. The Arcteryx Bora 80, which has basically all the same features as the 95, is a step down in size and weight (and price as well), with the regular size weighing 6.5 pounds and having a capacity of 5248 cubic inches.

The Arcteryx Bora 95 expedition backpack gets high customer reviews. Many relate how durable and rugged the pack is, while others are impressed with the capacity that the Bora delivers. If you are looking for one of the best quality expedition series backpacks available on the market, look no further than the Arcteryx Bora 95. Click the link to purchase the:

[amazon_link id=”B0012PQX9E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Arcteryx Bora 80 Pack[/amazon_link]

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