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Expedition Packs

Expedition packs

Short escapes from the ankle biters and rellies are great but a couple of times a year I like to head out on a serious extended adventure. This year I'm planning on hiking The Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair and just can't wait!

If you're heading out for a long, extended backpacking trip or climbing expedition you need a larger backpack to haul all your gear of course. Every little thing in that pack counts if you're hiking 10K a day up and down slopes so choosing the right gear is even more important than usual! You can usually pick up water along the trail so think carefully about those little luxuries like the amber nectar you might normally pack for a night away. For extended hikes you'll need the Daddy of them all – an expedition or travel pack.

Expedition packs are made with larger storage areas that allow you to pack enough gear for those glorious extended getaways. My only problem is usually facing the thought of going home once I get out there for a few days! Most of these backpacks have capacities of at least 70 plus liters or just over 4,270 cubic inches. That's a lot of space but remember the weight if you're going to fill your expedition pack right up. Most of them are designed to handle loads of 50 pounds and more. They usually have relatively stiff internal frames for strength and plush suspension systems to keep you comfortable.

Although designed for backpacking trips of a week and longer they're also great for shorter trips in tougher conditions when you may need to take along more clothing to keep warm or other specialist gear. I've certainly got my money's worth out of mine!

Expedition packs

Expedition backpacks are generally made out of lightweight but strong and fabrics such as ripstop nylon and they should be coated to help keep the backpack dry. They can be top orside loading or panel loading and most of them come with external sleeping bag compartments making everything nice and neat to carry. Hip belts and shoulder belts are usually padded to help comfort. I recommend you try one before you buy and make sure you can adjust fittings to get a tight fit to your back. Some models have load adjusters to help disperse the load evenly and it's worth looking at these for that extra comfort.

A quality expedition pack should be hydration compatible and some have a system included. Once you get a fully loaded pack on your back you don't want to be stopping and unloading water bottles all the time. They come with varying numbers of pockets and compartments and may also have safety whistles, ice axe loops, tool loops, bungee cords, and lash on points which can all be useful if you're planning on certain types of adventures.

I'd be lost without mine but think about the type of trips you take and whether an expedition pack is really what you need. If you're only going to half fill it you may be better off with something smaller. Or you could top it up with some stubbies to get you through those long hot nights on the trail!

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