Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Purchasing a Pack

Purchasing a backpack this season? For the best fit, comfort, and price—avoid the 5 most common mistakes people make when shopping for a new pack.

ROI is proud to represent Deuter in Canada so, for demonstration purposes, we use Deuter backpacks but these tips apply to the purchase of any brand pack. Hopefully, this will help you make an informed decision when purchasing your next backpack.

Mistake 1: Not weight testing the pack in the store

Any empty pack will be comfortable.  Packs are used to carry your stuff so you need to put weight in the pack to determine how well it fits and carries. Put the approximate amount of weight you expect to carry in the pack and walk around for about 10 mins.  This will give you a feel for the pack, how well it will carry the load and potentially expose any fit or comfort issues.

Average pack weights:

  • Single-day hikes 3-7 kgs
  • Overnight  8-12 kgs
  • Multi-day outings 12-22 kgs


Mistake 2: Incorrect fit & size

If the pack doesn’t fit you well the pack will be uncomfortable and the load will feel heavier.  So spend the time to have the pack professionally fit to you. A few things to consider when trying to find the right fit/size: 1-Some brands have different sizes. EG: For some packs, Deuter comes in Short, Regular and Extra Length. In larger volume packs, there are fully adjustable back lengths using a shoulder strap height adjustment. 2-Look for gender-specific fits. Deuter has a Unisex fit and also a women’s specific fit, the Deuter SL. Women’s specific fit has specific waist belts, shoulder straps and torso lengths which takes into account the differences in the female body.

Mistake 3: Too much emphasis on “lightweight”  

There are other important priorities to consider first… To be lightweight, sacrifices have to be made.  Common sacrifices made by brands are:

  1. Back system functionality which affects load carrying comfort.
  2. Lighter packs typically have fewer fit adjustments.
  3. Lighter materials made be used to make the pack weigh less which can affect durability.
  4. Fewer features, such as no rain cover.

Be sure to consider all of these factors in your purchasing decision. Not just because one empty pack is lighter than another. When you have a full pack with a load of 12 kg, it will be difficult to tell which pack weighs 300 grams less.  You won’t notice the 300 extra grams if the pack fits well and is able to carry a load comfortably. When carrying  the same load with a slightly heavier pack with the right features, chances are you’ll feel more comfortable and the load will feel lighter.


Mistake 4: Not considering the intended use

Urban daypacks are good for carrying your laptop, going to school and running errands around town, but consider function specific and volume specific packs for your wilderness activity or sport. Function-specific packs such as a Deuter Futura 26 is perfect for hiking. It has useful features, back ventilation and excellent carrying comfort specific for day hiking.  

For mountain biking consider a bike pack, for skiing consider a ski pack, for climbing, a climbing pack. You get the idea…

Question: Do you see what’s wrong in the image below?

Answer: The hiker is wearing Deuter’s bike specific bag in the alpine. Although the Race series can be used as a daypack there are more suitable options.


Mistake 5: Not trying on multiple brands

We all come in different shapes and sizes and certain brands will fit YOU better. We recommend trying on at least two different brands. Make sure to take the previous 4 steps into account and especially weight-testing when trying on different brands and models. Do your research but keep an open mind. What fits someone else well and suits their needs, might not fit you at all nor suit your needs. Seek store staff advice, and compare and contrast brands and models before making a final purchasing decision.


Hopefully, these tips will help you with your pack purchase. Stay tuned for future blog posts where we will be exploring in greater detail how to fit and purchase the right pack for you. Thank you for reading and if you have any questions, please comment below!


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