I have been on quick hikes here and there, but have been wanting to advance into longer hikes that include camping. I already have a pair of La Sportiva hiking shoes I absolutely love. I had imagined hiking shoes would be heavy and rigid, but these fit like a sneaker. I also have two pair of Balega socks.
The next step was buying a backpack. Being a new hiker, I was unsure what type of backpack I needed. To get the best advice, I headed over to REI Co-op where Team Member, Rob, helped break everything down.
Rob told me backpacks come in men’s and women’s styles with one of the biggest differences being how the chest strap is designed. The first thing he did was measure along my spine from the top of my shoulders to the small of my back. The lower straps of your backpack should sit just above your hipbones. I’m 5’8’, so I was surprised to be considered small.
Rob taught me the number on the backpack referred to the amount of weight the backpack could carry. I must consider how many miles I plan on hiking and much weight I plan to carry; including the weight of the water I am going to carry. I hadn’t thought of that. This was when things got a little complicated; I know I want to go on longer hikes, but I also know I need to build up my endurance first.
I was really torn between the REI Co-op Trail 25 and the REI Co-op Trail 40. REI Co-op Team Member, Rose, was there to provide more insight. One of the reasons I want to hike is for the beautiful photo opportunities, so I had to consider the size and weight of my camera. Also, Rose and I discussed how camping doesn’t mean I’d be going on long hikes to get to the campsite. In the end, REI Trail 40 was my choice and I’m looking forward to many adventures with my new backpack.