My husband and I have three younger kids (9, 7, and 5) and we like to take them backpacking.  My pack is 15 years old and I'm about ready for an upgrade.  I'm also considering purchasing a pack for my 9 year old.  Would you please advise as to what size pack I should buy both for myself and my 9 year old? 

We have pretty standard backpacking gear: down/synthetic down sleeping bags, sleeping pads, etc. We have to carry two tents (a two person and a three person) and two bear vaults for the family and our dog.   So the amount of gear we carry adds up fast. 

Thank you!


@Jami Thanks for reaching out!

We will give you some recommendations here in the community, however, we encourage you to think about scheduling a free virtual outfitting appointment with one of our product experts. They can talk you through the features and benefits of a backpack as well as any concerns you may have about fit. We also suggest checking out this Expert Advice article on How to Size and Fit a Backpack to learn how to make sure you're getting the best fit possible in your new backpack.

If you're carrying backpacking gear for your whole family, we recommend going with a backpack that is at least 65 liters in volume, and potentially more, depending on how bulky your sleeping bags are. Here are some options to check out:

As a sidenote, the Gregory Deva also comes in a 70 and 60 liter version, and the Osprey Ariel AG comes in a 65 and a 55 liter version.

For your 9 year old, take a look at these packs, designed specifically for growing backpackers:

When deciding what pack volume to get for your 9 year old, it is good to remember that a fully loaded backpack should weigh between 10-20 percent of your child's body weight.

Hopefully this helps gets you started, please don't hesitate to ask if you have other questions!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.