Best Size Backpack For The Appalachian Trail

backpack appalachian trail thruhikeThere are two distinct mindsets in my opinion when it comes to gearing up for a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, or any long distance hike for that matter; do I wanna do things on the cheap, or do I wanna hit the trail looking like I just stepped outta the REI catalog.

That’s the mindset I was in when I decided on my backpack for my upcoming hike, and I’m a minimalist so I decided to do things on the cheap and just go with an old Army rucksack I had laying around.

So I cut off all the straps and gutted things like pouches and frames, etc. My goal was to get the thing as light as possible and then use a closed-cell sleeping mattress as a support liner.

It all sounded good in theory but the more I research the issue the more I realize that I’m just gonna have to break down and buy a backpack with about a 50 liter capacity (50L).

That seems to be the most consistent option with my style, which is to stay as light as possible without becoming some sort of ultralight weirdo guy.

That’s really the mindset I needed to channel; how light do I wanna go? What is the best size backpack for a thru hike of the Appalachian trail and where can I buy the perfect pack for myself?

I always start my search with Amazon and there are no shortage of packs available for purchase, so now I just have to find a pack that doesn’t break my bankroll, and also one that doesn’t weigh a ton.

I want to keep my pack weight (empty, of course) to less than 3 pounds. This goes for all my major gear; sleeping bag, tent, backpacking gear, rain gear, trekking poles, etc.

The video also shows the best way to load a backpack so that the weight is dispersed properly for maximum comfort, which means I would like to avoid discomfort. The guy in the video documented a thru hike on YT and I really enjoyed his series. Maybe I’ll link to it if there is any demand for that sort of thing.

Also, the pack in the video is a Z-Pack, which is a brand I’m leaning towards for my purchase. I haven’t ruled out the possibility of using my old Army ruck, but it’s highly unlikely. One thing that is a possibility is to start cheap on all fronts and then just accrue gear as I go. People leave all sorts of stuff on the side of the trail when they quit, which most hikers do once they realize what they got themselves into, but it seems highly unlikely that I would find just the right size backpack for my 2,000 mile thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail just lying on the side of the road!