Catskill Mountaineer

Review of Hiking Backpacks

For day hiking, you have two options. One, you can use a fanny pack, like the one pictured on the right. Two, you can use a smaller backpack. For most day hiking, many like to use fanny packs. But, everyone has an opinion on the subject. Here are some of the trade-offs:

  • Access to the fanny pack is much easier then a backpack. Just loosen the strap, and slide the pack around. With a backpack, you have to remove the backpack.
  • Backpacks make your back hot and sweaty. Fanny packs don't cause this problem.
  • Backpacks are usually too big for warmer hikes. Fanny packs are sized better.
  • Backpacks are sized better for winter day hiking then fanny packs. Winter hiking requires more clothing
  • Backpacks can house water storage systems where fanny packs usually have water bottle holsters.
  • Backpacks are more difficult for steep hiking. They have a tendancy to make you fall backwards.
  • Backpacks are more prone to causing back aches
  • Good fanny packs are very difficult to find. Very few manufactures make good ones

  • Before you can make a decison on which type of pack to use, you need to determine what you want to put in the pack. Here is a list of common items that you might use in the warmer months:

  • Water
  • Maps
  • Clippers or a knife
  • Food
  • Medical white tape for developing blisters
  • FootGlide for areas where blisters can develop
  • Bug Spray (summer)
  • Bear spray (optional)
  • Extra gloves (fall, winter, and spring)
  • Extra socks (fall, winter, and spring)
  • Hat (fall, winter, and spring)
  • Rain coat or large garbage bag (Spring, Fall, and Summer)

    In the Winter, you might bring extra gloves, coat, sweater,etc.

  • When you look at a Fanny Pack, there are certain features you need to examine:

  • Belt. It needs to be two inches high. Thinner belts are uncomfortable and do not support the pack properly. Most packs come with one inch belts, and should be disqualified immediately
  • The belt should support the pack properly, so that it does not fold over.
  • Water bottle holders. Some packs don't come with water bottle holders, and should be disqualified. Some force you to remove the pack to get to a water bottle. Do NOT accept packs like this.
  • The pack needs to be water proof, or at least water resistant. Water that gets thru during thunderstorms can ruin your camera, your lunch, and other items. Most are not water resistant.
  • The back of the pack (the part against your back) should have the ability to wick off sweat and breath.
  • The water bottle holders do not hold the water bottles in well. Many allow the bottle to fall out, or the elastic breaks shortly after you purchase it.

  • marmot fanny pack
    Marmot Walkabout - New

    Links and References: Forum - Ask questions or talk about Hiking Gear in the Catskill Mountains
    Marmot Packs
    Hiking boot & fabric sealer - Sno-Seal for boots, coats, tents, etc.
    Seam Sealer - Sno-Seal Seam Sealer for stitching on boots, coats, tents, etc.

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