With lightweight gear becoming a priority for many trampers, overnight-sized packs can now be used for multi-day tramps, and even some larger capacity daypacks can be used on overnighters.
Most overnight packs are between 35l and 48l, though packs as small as 25l are being touted for lightweight overnight missions. The packs typically feature a single compartment capable of holding a sleeping bag, food, cooker and other essential items. It is possible to strap a tent onto larger capacity packs, but not the smaller models. Pack carefully enough – and lightly – and you’ll cram all you need inside for multi-day walks.
A front stash pocket or bungee system is used to store quick-access items like a rain jacket. There will also be stretch mesh side pockets for drink bottles, as well as organiser pockets in the lid and on the hip belt.
Harness and back panel
Larger capacity overnight packs may have an adjustable back-length harness but most will be fixed length. A ‘trampoline’ back panel or grooves cut into a foam back panel provide airflow and musclesupport.
Ripstop nylon, Cordura or polyester cotton canvas are common. All offer tear resistance and are coated with silicon (a durable water repellent) to provide water resistance. Heavier, more durable fabrics are often used in high-wear or stress areas such as the pack’s base. Shoulder straps Padded straps contour around the neck and armpits to avoid chafing. Adjustable sternum straps slide into position to help stabilise the pack and manage pressure points.
Compression straps are found on all packs to provide stability to the pack and modify its profile to suit the amount of gear being carried. Straps may be long enough on larger capacity packs to strap a tent to its side or base, but check first if this is important for you.
Because loads can still be quite heavy, most packs in this category have a padded hip belt to support the weight of the pack. Lightweight packs, designed for carrying light loads, may opt for a webbing strap only.
Many packs come in women-specific options. These have smaller harnesses and shorter hip belts. Shoulder straps will be narrower and contoured differently to a standard pack.
Lowe Alpine Altus 42:47 / ND 40:45 $399.95
Four season hiking pack with extendable lid, base and side compression, adjustable back length, forward pull hip belt adjustment, U-shaped front opening, front stash pocket, stretch mesh side pockets, walking pole and ice axe attachment systems, daisy chain lash points. Capacity 47l (m), 45l (w) Fabric Robic ripstop Weight 1700g (m), 1660g (w). www.outfitters.net.nz
Lowe Alpine Airzone Pro 35:45 / ND 33:40 $429.95
Fully adjustable AirZone+ carry system, SpiderPlate bungee, side pockets, rain cover, top pocket, expandable lid, forward pull hipbelt adjustment with pockets, breathable harness and hipbelt, ice axe and walking pole attachments. Capacity 45l (m), 40l (w) Fabric 210D mini ripstop Weight 1540g. www.outfitters.net.nz
Lowe Alpine Cholatse 42:47 / ND40:50 $399.95
Air Contour+ carry system with thermo-moulded back pad with mesh to disperse heat and moisture, hydration-compatible, forward-pull hip belt, hook-and-loop back-length adjustment, front entry, expandable lid, walking pole and ice axe attachments. Capacity 47l (m), 50l (w). Fabric Ripstop nylon, 420D reinforcements Weight 1830g (m), 1680g (w). www.outfitters.net.nz
Lowe Alpine AirZone Camino Trek 30:40 $379.95
Hiking pack with AirZone breathable back for airflow, hydration compatible, side stretch pockets, walking pole and ice axe attachments, top entry, zipped front panel, and base entry with zipped divider, extendable lid, SpiderPlate bungee system. Capacity 40l Fabric 210D mini ripstop Weight 1430g. www.outfitters.net.nz
Osprey Talon Pro 30/Tempest Pro 28 $349.99
Injection-moulded backpanel and continuous-wrap harness and hipbelt that moves with the user, hydration compatible, dual-zippered hip pockets, ice axe and walking pole attachments. Recycled materials and PFC-free DWR. Fabric Nanofly polyethylene ripstop Capacity 30l (m), 28l (w) Weight 1210g (m), 1140g (w). www.southernapproach.co.nz
The North Face Hydra 38 $340
Full-trampoline back panel for breath-ability and comfort, adjust on the go Dyno Lift harness, T6 aluminum frame for load control, front stash pocket, hydration compatible, FlashDry breathable back panel, stretch side pockets, two tool keepers. Capacity 38l Fabric 70D nylon Weight 992g. www.thenorthface.co.nz
Montane Trailblazer 44 $199
Customisable body-hugging Covalent harness designed for fit and comfort, adjustable back system, mesh back panel, pre-curved central aluminium frame, quick release pole carry system, two chest straps, quick access bivi opening. Capacity 44l Fabric 70D body, 210D base Weight 980g. www.furtherfaster.co.nz
Patagonia Altvia from $259.99
Breathable suspended mesh back panel and shoulder straps, front-loading stuff pocket, auto-closing lid hip belt and side pockets, hydration compatible, rain cover, zippered lid and internal security pockets. Capacity 28l, 36l Fabric 140D nylon, 210D nylon base Weight 797g, 992g. www.patagonia.co.nz
Macpac Voyager 35 $279.99
Double compartment pack, top and bottom zip access and internal divider, AirFlo harness with a removable hip belt, dual walking pole attachments, front zip pocket with internal organisation, stretch side pockets, hydration compatible. Capacity 35l Fabric 210D nylon ripstop, 630D Cordura base Weight 1300g. www.macpac.co.nz
Macpac Torlesse 35 $269.99
Single large compartment with lid pockets, AirFlo harness with a removable hip belt, dual ice and walking pole attachments, front pocket, side mesh pockets, hydration compatible, compression straps, sternum strap with whistle, rain cover. Capacity 35l Fabric 210D nylon ripstop, 630D Cordura base Weight 1270g. www.macpac.co.nz