What Size Backpack for 3-Day Hike?

What Size Backpack for 3-Day Hike
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Getting prepared for a 3-day hike is undoubtedly something very exciting to do. Your mind is sure to race ahead to the new sights and experiences that are waiting for you once you hit the road.

Yet, you shouldn’t neglect to put the proper level of planning into this outdoor adventure. One area where you need to be completely sure of making the right choice is when picking your backpack.

Why the Size of Backpack Matters

This is where you are going to carry everything you need during those three days of hiking. If you are far from home and don’t have enough food or clothing, then the trip can quickly turn into a disaster. This is a possible outcome if you choose a pack that is too small for all that you need.

Why the Size of Backpack Matters

On the other hand, what if the backpack you use is too big? In this case, it could tire you out and lead to the trek becoming far more difficult than it needs to be. You will probably feel like dumping all of the unnecessary stuff at some point along the way.

Choosing exactly the right model and size is, therefore, crucial to the overall success of your hike. So how do you understand what size of backpack you need for a 3-day hike?

Consider the Weather

What is the weather going to be like? You won’t need the same amount of clothing and gear for a hike in warm conditions as you will in cold weather. If the sun is shining, you will need fewer clothes for a start. It is also going to be important that you don’t over-heat with a huge backpack to carry.

When the temperature is lower, you probably need space for sweaters, scarves, gloves, and hats. These all take up a lot of your available space, but you simply can’t leave home without them.

Naturally, you don’t want to take any risks. For example, if you are going to be climbing up a mountain then you will need to take some warm clothing, even in the summer months.

Equally, you should consider the possibility of it raining or snowing on your hike. Either of these types of weather can require you to wear some extra clothing.

What About Cooking and Sleeping?

The other things that can most greatly affect your quantity of gear are your cooking and eating plans. Do you need to carry a tent, sleeping bag, food, and cooking equipment?

If you are going to pass through a number of towns or villages then you might not have any concerns about this. Yet, if you are going to be far from civilization then you need to take everything that you could possibly need.

As with the earlier point, you can’t leave this to chance. You may be planning on spending the nights in hotels and eating in restaurants, but if there is any doubt then you should take all of the items that you think might be necessary.

Consider the Weather

What about Emergencies?

Then there are things that you don’t want to use but need to take in case of emergencies. Good examples include a first aid kit and flashlight.

These items tend to not take up too much room, but it is easy to forget about them when planning what size of pack you need. Keep them in mind when working out the space that you want to have in your pack.

What happens if you see a bear? Do you know what to do if you see one?

How Much Can You Carry?

It is also crucial that you are honest with yourself about how much you can safely carry. To get started on this, you should think about the distance you need to walk and what the terrain is like.

What if you think that the gear we looked at earlier is going to be too much for you to carry? It can be a good idea to speak to the other hikers in your group, to see if you can come up with a sensible way of sharing gear rather than everyone carrying the same things.


As we have seen, there are a number of factors to take into account when working out what size of backpack you need for a three day-hike. This means that there isn’t one single answer to the question that you can always use.

As a general guideline, a 40 to 50 liter backpack is generally about right for a hike of this duration. There is a chance that you get it wrong on your first trek, but if you learn from the experience then it will be a lot easier to plan in the future.

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