Choosing the Right Backpack for Hiking
By Sara Butler
Hiking is a popular pastime for a lot of people, and for good reason. It’s a great way to get out, get moving and appreciate the natural beauty of the world around you. While hiking is good for you, in order to maintain your health there are a few things you should keep in mind when going for a hike, and one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is deciding what kind of backpack you will carry for longer hikes. Here’s what you need to know about the type of backpack you choose for long hikes and how it can impact the health of your spine.
Why Backpack Choice is Important
Your goal should be to minimize the risk of injuring your back while hiking. If you have a backpack that doesn’t fit you correctly or isn’t the right size you are just increasing the odds of experiencing an injury to your lower back, middle back or neck. Hiking is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, so keep it enjoyable by making the right choices.
You might think choosing the right backpack is as easy as going to your local sporting goods store and choosing the one you like the look and feel of. Of course, it’s not that simple! There are several things you need to keep in mind when buying the right hiking backpack for you.
Aside from what backpack you choose you also need to condition the body for hiking by making sure to work your way up to longer hikes over time and stretching before and after a hike in order to keep your back and other muscles healthy.
How to Choose the Right Backpack
The factors for choosing the right backpack? Well, they include the following:
- Frame – When you’re buying a structured backpack for hiking, it’s worth it to spend a little extra money for a titanium frame. The weight of an empty backpack is important, and cheaper backpacks will be constructed of heavier materials that will only add to your load and increase your risk of injury. Also, spring for a backpack with an internal frame – they’ll be a lot more comfortable to other types.
- Fit – You need to measure your torso in order to find the right size backpack, and you’ll need to measure across your shoulders to where your upper back comes together. Then find the top of your hip bones and create an imaginary line between your hips at that level. Measure between where the imaginary lines meet at your lower back and where your neck meets your shoulders, this will give you torso length.
When you’ve finished these measurements you can look at the information on backpacks often in the form of a scale to find the right one for you.
If you have questions about how to fit a backpack for hiking properly, talk to your chiropractor!