The packs in this series are useful when you have heavier loads or a high volume of gear to carry. Examples include cold-weather trips where additional clothes and gear are required; long trips (> one week) without resupply points; or where one person is carrying gear for others as well - Dad carrying Mom's and the kid's stuff, for example. We've had a few customers take these larger packs to Europe when they wanted more room to bring back gifts. We carry several makes and models within this line - mostly large capacity Deuter's and Osprey models - but all are top-quality brands that are durable and fit well as you rack up miles on the trail.
These high-capacity packs have a lot of comfortable padding, with more frame support to accommodate heavier and/or larger loads on your hips rather than sagging in on your shoulders. You can specify at checkout which of the two main models we have in this line that you might prefer. The Osprey Volt 75 has lots of space yet weighs under four pounds. Even though there is a ton of space, we suggest keeping the weight down under 50 pounds with this pack. If you need to carry a large and even heavier load, the Deuter Air Contact might be better - it weighs around 6 pounds, but that extra weight offers great support and bulletproof-like construction. Anything around 50 pounds is a lot for backpacking; for most solo packers, we suggest renting a medium-capacity pack for typical backpacking trips, unless you fall into one of the needs above. We also rent expedition packs when you literally need to take the kitchen sink.
Most packs in this line have an adjustable shoulder harness, so the packs can be adjusted to most "torso lengths" unless you're really super tall or a child. What's a torso to a backpack? It's the length along your spine, starting at the top at your C7 vertebrae - that bone at the base of your neck that sticks out when you bend your head forward. Measure down your spine to a point on your lower back even with those hip bones that stick out and support your spare tire - the iliac crest is what that's called. It's tricky to measure yourself, so get a friend with a measuring tape to help you figure it out. For a picture/diagram of how to measure your torso, see here. As long as you're between 15 - 21 inches (most adults are) these packs should fit fine.
We also have a few packs available that are designed for women, although nearly all packs are reasonably unisex in comfort, form and function. We have some that will fit kids as well - call for details.
Learn more about backpacks, including the pros and cons of externals vs internals; info on fitting; how to load up with your gear and how to select the best pack for you. We also have a series of videos about backpacks. Or just give us a call at 480-348-8917 to ask any questions about the best backpack for your needs.
Note - this item has a high volume-to-weight ratio - that is, it may be light, but it eats up a lot of box space. Shipments including this item often require a bigger box and is subject to a rate surcharge by UPS, so the effective shipping weight calculated at checkout is higher than the actual weight. For some third-party user reviews of this and other gear we rent and sell, visit our backpacking and camping user gear review page.