Multi-day adventures: Choosing the right overnight pack

How to find the best overnight pack

The allure of overnight hikes in Australia is undeniable – starlit skies, breathtaking sunrises, and the satisfaction of conquering multi-day journeys. But before you embark on your wilderness odyssey, selecting the right overnight pack is crucial. Unlike day packs, these need to accommodate more gear, ensuring comfort and functionality throughout your trek. Let’s dive into the practicalities of choosing your perfect Aussie overnight pack:

Step 1: Understand your trip

Duration and Season: Are you venturing out for a quick 2-night escape or a week-long expedition? Longer trips or colder seasons demand larger packs (50-70L) for carrying additional gear. But remember, the bigger the pack, the heavier it gets, so prioritising essentials is crucial. Opt for features that combat the Aussie heat: mesh panels for breathability, ventilation systems to keep you cool, and a built-in rain cover for those sudden downpours. Remember, staying comfortable and dry is crucial for enjoying your hike.

Terrain and Conditions: Rugged terrain requires a stable pack with a sturdy internal frame and hip belt (60L+). Hot climates benefit from ventilation features like mesh panels and lightweight materials. Balancing comfort and weight becomes essential. Consider how much weight you can comfortably carry based on your fitness level and the terrain.

Camping Style: Backpacking (carrying all your gear) demands larger packs (60L+), while hut-based trips allow for smaller options (40-50L). Ultralight options (discussed later) are also an alternative for experienced hikers willing to prioritise weight savings over comfort.

Need for hydration: Staying hydrated is vital, especially in remote areas where water sources might be scarce. Look for packs with convenient hydration sleeves or attachment points for external water bladders. This lets you easily access water on the go, keeping you energised and hydrated.

Step 2: Fit makes the journey

A poorly fitting pack can turn your multi-day adventure into a sore-ridden struggle. Ensure a comfortable fit by:

Torso Length: Crucial for proper weight distribution. Measure from your shoulder blades to your hip bones and choose a pack with an adjustable torso length for a snug fit.

Hip Belt: Transfers weight to your hips, reducing shoulder strain. It should sit snugly, not dig in, and have ample padding for long days on the trail.

Shoulder Straps: Padded straps distribute weight evenly. Adjust them for a comfortable fit that doesn’t restrict movement.

Step 3: Functionality for long hauls

Compartments and Pockets: Stay organised with easy access to essentials. Look for a main compartment, separate sleeping bag compartment, hydration sleeve, hip belt pockets, and external mesh pockets for easy-reach items.

Internal Frame: Provides stability and distributes weight effectively. Choose a frame that adjusts to your torso length for optimal comfort. Consider packs with load lifters and adjustable hip belts for fine-tuning the fit.

Additional Features: Consider trekking pole loops, compression straps for a secure and compact fit, rain cover, and reflective elements for visibility.

Step 4: Material matters

Durability: Opt for strong, abrasion-resistant materials like nylon or polyester, especially for rugged terrain.

Weight: Lightweight fabrics reduce overall load, crucial for longer hikes. But prioritise durability if carrying heavier gear. Finding the right balance between weight and durability is key.

Water Resistance: Consider a waterproof pack or a pack liner for unpredictable Aussie weather.

Bonus tip: Pack strategically

Every gram counts on multi-day trips. Choose lightweight gear, utilise your pack’s compartments efficiently, and prioritise essentials based on your trip’s needs. Remember, leave no trace and respect the environment.

By considering these factors and researching available options, you’ll find the perfect overnight pack for your Aussie adventures. Remember, balance comfort, weight, and features based on your needs and experience. So, pack your sense of adventure, choose your trusty companion, and explore the incredible wilderness Australia offers.

Ultralight Option

Experienced hikers seeking to minimise weight for longer treks may consider ultralight packs (30-45L). However, this often involves compromising on comfort and features, requiring meticulous gear selection and a willingness to embrace minimalism. Carefully assess your experience and needs before opting for this approach.

Leave a comment