Food storage is one feature of a hiking pack that is required in order to ensure survival in the outdoors. The food storage compartment needs to be able to withstand elemental conditions that may cause a traveler to lose the food inside. Choosing a durable hiking pack that has compartments and can distribute properly the load it’s carrying can prevent starvation and exhaustion. Below are some considerations when choosing which pack to bring on a hiking trip.
- Determine what items need to be included in your pack.
- One change of clothes, or several?
- How much food storage capacity do you need?
- Space for sleeping bags and shelter
- Emergency items
- Tools and equipment
Types of Packs
- soft packs – light loads, lighter weight, for short trips
- external frame – heavy loads, cooler (keeps pack away from body)
- internal frame – medium to heavy load, better at evenly distributing weight
Look for fabrics that are designed to withstand the types of environments and weather that will likely be encountered. Most fabrics are made to be water-resistant; heavier fabrics are available that will resist damage from hiking through dense brush. If you are planning on hiking in inclement weather, you should consider a rain-proof cover to prevent water from entering the pack at zippered areas.
The way the hiking pack is sewn together is also important. Look for threads that are moisture and rot-resistant. Check the places on the pack where seams come together and at pocket attachments. A quality pack will have bar-tacks in those high stress areas. It will also include high-impact buckles, clips, and zippers.
Add-ons for hiking packs include rain covers and additional pockets such as a waterproof map pocket and cell phone case that attach to the shoulder or chest strap in front of your body for easy access. Some packs have built-in expandable pockets for extra food storage capacity. The pockets will return to normal size as food is used up during the trip.