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4 Simple Ways To Choose A Durable & Functional Outdoor Backpack

Stay comfortable and organized on your next outdoor adventure!

By Vanquest Team

Choose the perfect backpack for your outdoor adventures.

Like many of you, we at Vanquest enjoy outdoor adventures! Our passion for outdoor activities and gear design led to the birth of the Vanquest brand in 2011. Today, we create a variety of bags and packs designed for outdoor, everyday carry, and tactical use. We are here to help you stay organized and ready for your next adventure.

When selecting your outdoor or hiking pack, the first step is to determine how much stuff you want to carry (how long is your trip). Backpacks and outdoor bags have capacity measurements, usually in liters, to help you choose one that fits all your camping equipment and travel essentials. These measurements are useful for categorizing backpacks into three common sizes/types, and these are (1) small daypack (15-26 liters), (2) medium for overnight backpacking (26-40 liters), and (3) large for multiday expedition (40+ liters).

Small day pack for short hikes and weekend adventures.

A day pack typically ranges between 15 and 26 liters, offering just enough space to accommodate your daily essentials for a short hike and an exploration of new trails with friends. Day packs also find popularity among ultra-lightweight campers who carry compact shelters and sleep systems.

Let’s take a look at the popular KATARA-16 sling backpack and the JAVELIN-18 sling backpack: Made from super-durable Cordura fabric, they are perfectly sized for your day hike. Moreover, both the KATARA and JAVELIN can be converted effortlessly into cross-body sling bags, providing you with more carry options.

For weekend explorations, the TRIDENT-21 backpack features ample padding and dividers to protect and organize your valuable belongings, including photo/video equipment. If you require something more spacious, consider the IBEX-26 backpack with an external MOLLE-air panel, elastic shock cord, and hiking-pole loops.

These day packs all incorporate a semi-rigid frame sheet for efficient load carrying, as well as MOLLE attachment points for expansion. They are also hydration-compatible, allowing you to bring water for a short hike. Coupled with a breathable mesh back panel and ergonomic shoulder straps, these day packs ensure your comfort and keep you cool on the trail.

Overnight backpacking needs upgraded suspension and larger capacity.

If you’re planning an overnight camping trip, you’ll typically require a backpack with a larger capacity ranging from 26 to 40 liters because you’ll need space for a sleep system and additional room for your overnight supplies. Once you venture into the 30+ liter range, an upgraded suspension system becomes essential to effectively manage the increased weight.

Within the overnight backpack category, we offer both the TRIDENT-32 backpack and the larger IBEX-35 backpack.

The TRIDENT-32 backpack offers a class-leading suspension system, similar to that of the IBEX-26 with a rigid frame that allows for optimal weight distribution. The ventilated mesh back panel enhances breathability. Well-padded shoulder straps and a pull-forward waist belt provide great weight distribution for heavier loads. The backpack is fully padded with dividers to protect and organize your valuable belongings such as photo/video equipment. With the capacity to hold a 3-liter hydration bladder and a 32oz bottle in the side bottle pocket, the TRIDENT-32 ensures you remain hydrated during your overnight trip.

The IBEX-35 backpack shares a design akin to the IBEX-26 but boasts a larger main compartment, more pockets, more attachment points, and our most advanced suspension system for your ergonomic fit. The shoulder yoke can be adjusted vertically to fit your torso length. Along with contoured shoulder straps, load adjusters, and a well-padded pull-forward waist belt, you can comfortably carry your camping gear all day. These suspension upgrades let you enjoy more time on the trail with enhanced comfort.

Over the years, many professional users and agency clients have relied on both the TRIDENT and IBEX backpacks for their durability, versatility, and functionality.

Multiday expedition needs the largest capacity and advanced suspension for comfort.

For your multiple-day backpacking trip, you need the largest backpack that balances capacity, storage organization, and comfort, because you’ll be relying on it for the next few days or longer. You’ll typically require a backpack larger than 40 liters, along with the most advanced suspension system for optimal comfort.

The MARKHOR-45 backpack is our largest backpack, with a capacity of 45 liters. During the development phase, we dedicated significant time to

perfect its suspension system: Ergonomic shoulder straps, load adjusters, and a well-padded waist belt to distribute weight to your shoulders and hips. The adjustable shoulder yoke also offers a broad range of vertical adjustments to properly fit your torso height.

As an upgrade from the smaller IBEX-35 backpacks, the MARKHOR-45 comes equipped with a “Beaver Tail” gear management system and a pair of ELASTO Gear Locks. The removable/reversible front panel, known as the “Beaver Tail”, offers unmatched versatility: You can use its elastic shock cord side to secure supplies, and use the opposite MOLLE side for MOLLE accessories attachment. ELASTO Locks provide additional retention points for items such as hiking poles or an axe.

The MARKHOR-45 is also hydration-compatible with two side bottle pockets to ensure you remain well-hydrated during your outdoor adventures.

Over the years, many first responders, search & rescue units, and state/federal agencies have entrusted the MARKHOR-45 backpack for their toughest missions due to MARKHOR’s unmatched durability and functionality.

Organizer pouches to keep your supplies organized on the trail.

Finally, you will need a few organizer pouches and accessories to keep your small supplies together during your outdoor adventure. Here are some ideas:

A general-purpose pouch like the EDCM/PPM/FTIM organizers can be your best friend on the trail. Their useful sizes range from pocket size up to personal survival kit size, and you can use them to organize your everyday essentials, build a toiletry kit, or use them as a medical kit. For more specific first-aid medical uses, many of our first responder clients go for the FATPack 5×8 and FATPack 7×10 medical pouches. All these pouches are MOLLE compatible, and you can attach them to larger MOLLE packs using MOLLE Sticks when needed.

Some other organizer pouches have hook fastener back panels that turn the inside of any loop-lined bag into a highly customized system. For example, the STICKY PACKING CUBES are expandable to allow for bulky items (like clothes) to be organized & compressed for your outdoor trip.

And remember to stay hydrated on the trail! You can attach the modular HYDRA Bottle Holder onto any MOLLE webbing surface or wear it on your belt. It adjusts for height and width, and with elastic retention on top, it fits a bottle of any size. When not in use, the HYDRA closes flat for low-profile carry.

 

Final thoughts…

From day trips to multiday expeditions, Vanquest bags and backpacks are designed to meet your most challenging outdoor demands. By combining thoughtful designs with advanced suspension systems, our backpacks are engineered to withstand harsh outdoor uses. Enhance your travel experience by using organizer pouches to arrange small supplies, transforming your adventure into an effortless journey. Explore the great outdoors with confidence knowing your Vanquest backpacks are built to help you explore trails and create lasting outdoor memories.

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