So, I’m loading my pack for a week long, 80 mile jaunt through the White Mountains.
I love my pack. It is an REI Ridgeline 65. This pack has well over a thousand miles of travel. It is barely 4 pounds empty, and it is comfortable, bears weight, and it takes a beating.
In full disclosure, I work part time selling tents and such at REI, but I’m still going to pimp them. Preparing for this trip, I found my sleeping pad wouldn’t hold air. I put it in the bathtub and found hundreds of holes. I took it in to my local store and walked out with a brand new pad.
Any way, 65 liters. I think that is the magic number. It holds everything I need for a weekend and far more than I need for a long hike. While that may seem counter intuitive, on a distance hike I’m carrying as little as possible. On a two or three day hike, I’m bringing extra clothes, a fifth of something, a block of cheese, etc. 65 liters is a light enough pack for the distance jaunt (including food for my 80 hike, we’re clocking in at less than 25 pounds) and sturdy and big enough to haul creature comforts on a shorter outing.
There are ultra-light hikers out there who get far below 25 pounds. I recently sold a pack to a guy who said he regularly carries over 50 pounds. More power to both ends of the extreme. Always hike your own hike. For my hike, I’m going to be warm, comfortable, well fed, and hauling 25 pounds. That doesn’t include water. I’m hiking through the White Mountains where water is easy to come by. I’ll carry just a liter at a time.
65 liters. It’s my magic number.