Backpack Shopping Guide

The Standard:

An internal frame pack with 4,000 to 5,000 cubic inches of capacity offers good versatility. Make sure the torso fits, then look for a firm hipbelt, curved shoulder straps that end just below your armpits, and enough clearance for your elbows and thighs.

Variables:

Do you want water-bottle pockets or a bladder-ready pouch? This dilemma and other decisions about features will help you design the perfect pack. Women should try out frames, harnesses, and hipbelts designed specifically for female hips and torsos.

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