Hey there - I am preparing for my first backpacking trip this summer. 7 miles in, 7 miles out. I need to purchase a pack and was curious if there were recommendations on how to size / try on a pack without having the store fronts open. Possibly curbside? Or at home measurement? Thank you!!
@morgangoz2 thanks for reaching out - sounds like you've got a fun trip planned this summer! Where are you headed?
We have a helpful article - How to Size and Fit a Backpack - which can help you determine what size frame you wear. We then have an article on how to choose a backpack. Two other ways we can help you pick a pack while our stores are closed:
Finally, many of our stores have reopened for in-store shopping, and a bunch more are slated to reopen over the next few weeks!
@morgangoz2 Basically you need to figure out the cubic volume of the load you will carry. One way is to gather all your stuff together and place everything in a box(es) and measure the volume they occupy. Get a pack that size or slightly larger (recommended).
There is much more to the process of buying a really suitable pack
Proper fit is critical. There is a virtual fitting routine somewhere on this site, or so I understand. The absolute best way is an instore fitting with a loaded pack.
You might consider borrowing or renting before purchasing. I have done both in the past, with satisfactory results (=good war stories).
I'll bet that a satisfactory pack for your trip will have a volume around 4,000 to 4,500 cu in; if more than that is needed you may be carrying too much, assuming a typical weekend or three day trip.
this is great information! I was worried about proper fit as well. thinking I will start with measuring volume and then head in store when the chicago one is open and consider renting as well. thanks for the reply! I appreciate it.
@morgangoz2 we had 2 more thoughts for you! First, we anticipate seeing several of our Chicago area REI stores reopen next week, so hopefully that'll be good timing for you to pick your back! Also, we've got a great series of articles on How to Go Backpacking that is super helpful as you think about your first backpacking trip!