View tips in choosing the best hiking or bushwalking backpack, often previously known as a rucksack.

Tips to Choose the Best Hiking and Bushwalking pack

Tips to Choose the Best Pack

  • Size – choose. a pack appropriate to the activities i.e. one large enough to hold your essentials inside, but preferably not bigger than you need.
  • Construction – tough fabric (canvas, cordura or heavy duty nylon). Strongly sewn seams and reinforced anchor points for straps.
  • Correct fitting – fits close to your back and shoulders. An adjustable back length provides for Pack to be altered to gain correct fitting. This is a most important feature. This and hip belt are crucial design features when dealing with young spines.
  • Hip belt – Allows some weight to be transferred from shoulders to hips. Also assists stability.
  • Waterproofing – no pack is completely waterproof. Some fabrics are waterproof but stitching holes create water channels.
How much weight to carrying in your bushwalking pack

Weight Carrying Guide

Some approximate target weights:

  • Food – less than I kg per day. c4kg.
  • Clothing – 4kg
  • Water – is 1 kg/litre

Total – A maximum between 12-14 kg is desirable (depending upon build).


  • Males: 1/5 – 1/3rd body weight
  • Females: 1/5 – 1/4th body weight
Where to place items in your backpack when hiking


Good packing is a matter of balance and accessibility.

  • Pack heavy objects (e.g. tent, fuel, water) near the top in the following way:
    • Close to your back (but not sticking into your back!)
    • High up (but not higher than shoulders).
  • Lighter items not needed during the walk (e.g. sleeping bag, spare clothes) are at bottom of Pack.
  • Keep some items (like First Aid, scroggin, water) handy in Pack pockets.
  • Bulk is nearly as important as weight, so fill all hollows with articles (e.g. food in billies).
  • Use strong large plastic bag as Pack liner (no pack is completely waterproof).
Bushwalking Leadership SA