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  • Writer's pictureSuperior Wilderness

What sized UL pack should I choose?

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

Picking the appropriately sized pack is an important step when planning an upcoming hike. While there are lots of variables to consider, the most important factors are:

·The length of the trip

·The weight/compactability of your gear

·Your own personal preference

In this article, we’ll walk you through several different ranges of pack sizes, and outline the utility of each. Keep in mind that your pack should always be one of the last (if not the last) pieces of gear you purchase. Saving your pack until the end will ensure that the amount of stuff you hope to bring will actually fit!

25 - 35L

25L -35L packs are ideal for day-hikes, weekend trips, or extended trips for ultralight backpackers who have their gear list dialed. If you are looking for a pack that allows you to travel as as fast and light as possible (and you’ve got the corresponding get to make this possible/comfortable), packs within the 25L-35L range are fantastic. If you aren’t looking for an exceptionally minimalist trail existence (or don’t have the corresponding gear to make this possible/comfortable), 25-35L packs should be reserved for overnight or weekend trips.

40L - 45L

35L - 45L packs are designed for multi day trips, and have become a standard choice for many ultralight section hikers and thru-hikers. Additional days on trail requires more food, and the added liters of pack space allows for the increased gear/food demands of these longer trips. While a great size range for those who are packing light and intentionally, the 35L -45L pack range still requires a discerning and minimalist approach. Unwilling to part with some of the luxury and personal items in your kit? 35L - 45L might feel a little small. While this range of pack size is serviceable for day trips and overnights, you might find your pack under stuffed. This in tern makes 35L - 45L packs a great option for casual outings where your base weight is less important (and you might want to bring a brew or two for the campsite).


Packs that are more than 50L are designed specifically for extended trips. They are the workhorses of the backpacking world, and exist to carrying the heaviest loads for the longest distances. An excellent option for thru hikers, 50L+ packs provide a little bit of space for luxury items, larger gear, or important (but perhaps non essential) items. While obviously larger than their lower litered compatriots, 50L+ packs (especially ours) are still fantastic options for ultralight backpackers. Traveling in the frontcountry? 50L+ packs are also an exceptional choice.


Questions about which sized pack to choose? Shoot us an email at

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