1. A hiking backpack needs to distribute weight evenly. The most important factor to keep in mind is comfort. No matter how many cool features it has, if the bag does not sit comfortably on your back and shoulders, then it is not the right hiking bag for you.
2. Size The size of the backpack is all important; work out if you’d prefer a bag that is wider and shorter or longer and thinner. Obviously a bag that isn’t absurdly huge is first prize, but think about the duration of your hikes and how much you would practically need to take with you for a short day hike (snacks and water) versus a full-day hike (light lunch, water, additional clothes). Internal storage becomes a big component here, as it means the difference between having enough room or potentially having to take multiple bags.
3. Padding The key to a comfortable backpack is a balanced load. Too little padding will not protect your body from the strains of weight and can cause painful chafing. Similarly, too much padding will cause awkward and uncomfortable pressure against your body, which might lead to soreness… or you standing in a strange way to ease the pressure. A decent backpack should have padding on the back panel, shoulder straps and hip belt strap.
Hiking essentials to take with you:
1. Comfortable shoes and socks (and a few plasters)
2. A hat & sunscreen
3. Water & snacks or a light lunch
4. A warm jacket
5. A Thule hiking backpack and accessories