Big and Tall Hiking Backpacks: Do You Really Need It?

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There are countless articles out there that review the ‘best’ hiking backpacks on the market. While this information is useful, in reality, the best backpack for you is always going to be the one that fits your body correctly.

Choosing the perfect camping backpack is not as easy as picking out a suitcase. Brand name and style mean nothing in comparison to comfort and functionality. It should fit you properly can mean the difference between an enjoyable mountaineering trip and a miserable experience. The last thing you want on the trail is back and shoulder pain.

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Unfortunately, most trekking backpacks are designed with average-sized hikers in mind. It can be challenging to find a proper pack that fits you comfortably if you are a more significant person.

To make this process easier, here are some tips that big and tall hikers should keep in mind when shopping for a backpack, as well as some of our favorite hiking backpacks for bigger guys.

Consider the Purpose of Your Pack

Consider the Purpose of Your Pack

When choosing a backpack, one of the first things to consider is the capacity you need. Carrying a pack that is bigger than you need means carrying uncomfortable excess weight. On the other hand, if your pack is too small, you’ll struggle to fit everything you need for your hike.

There is a big difference in the types of hiking backpacks required for day hikes and multi-night backpacking expeditions.


If you plan to take your pack out for a single-day hike that does not require overnight camping, take a look at daypacks.  With daypacks, your shoulders support the weight rather than your hips. This feature makes daypacks best suited for carrying loads of less than 20lbs.

Expedition Backpacks

These packs are designed to carry heavy loads comfortably. They’re perfect if you plan to camp overnight during your hiking adventure. There’s plenty of room for a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, and everything else you need to camp safely. These larger hiking backpacks use a hip belt to carry some of the weight away from your shoulders and direct it towards your center of gravity.

How Your Hiking Backpack Should Fit 

How Your Hiking Backpack Should Fit

It does not matter how big or tall you are. They should fit you the same way as everyone else for maximum comfort and support. Here is what you should watch out for: 

Torso Length

Match your backpack with your torso length. Even if you are tall, you could carry a significant amount of your height in your legs. To find your torso length, measure the distance between the center of your shoulder blades and the top of your hips. Use this measurement rather than your total height to find the correct backpack for your body.

Shoulder Straps

Regardless of your height, the shoulder straps of your pack should extend two to three inches past your armpit.

Hip Belt

It sounds obvious, but your hip belt should always sit directly on your hips. If it’s too high or too low, the weight of your load will not be adequately distributed.

Our Picks for the Best Hiking Backpacks for Bigger Guys 

Below we will take a look at some of the packs that are perfect for taller hikers and backpackers. Because people come in all shapes and sizes, we prioritized adjustability when choosing these backpacks.

Osprey Rook 65 Backpack

Osprey has a reputation for making quality backpacking and camping packs. They design them for comfort and functionality, which is perfectly demonstrated by the Rook 65.

The pack comes with some innovative extra features that make it useful. It includes an internal hydration sleeve that can accommodate up to 3L of water, which is great for staying hydrated on the trails. You also get an integrated rain cover, so your gear stays dry even if you get caught in the rain.

The Osprey has plenty of storage space and pockets, which makes it a perfect hiking backpack, especially if you plan on camping. Where the pack shines is in how comfortable it is. An adjustable hip belt and upper and lower compression straps help this backpack stay balanced and close to your body. Taller backpackers will appreciate the flexible back panel that fits torso lengths between 17 and 22 inches.

With the Osprey, you get a comfortable and intuitive hiking backpack that can be customized to fit tall backpackers.

Teton Sports Scout 3400 Hiking Backpack

Teton Sports designed the Scout 3400 with comfort and adjustability in mind. The backpack is intended to fit all body types and can be adjusted in the torso, waist, chest, and shoulders. The Scout 3400 is advertised as being so adaptable that it can be modified to fit everyone from children to the tallest adults.

The Scout 3400 is also really light for its capacity. You get 3400 cubic inches of storage space in a lightweight 4.5lb backpack. You also get a great deal of support with the backpack’s internal frame lumbar pad. Considering the low price point, storage capacity, and adjustability, the Scout 3400 is a great overnight hiking backpack for outdoor enthusiasts of all sizes.

Esup 50L Hiking Backpack

Esup offers a multi-functional and highly adjustable hiking backpack at a reasonable price point. You get a lot of bang for your buck and a backpack that is capable of fitting a wide variety of body types.

You get breathable mesh shoulder and back padding, which helps relieve strain on your body during longer hikes. The pack also uses S-type shoulder straps, which means they can comfortably fit hikers with broader shoulders. 

You get fully adjustable shoulder straps and an adjustable hip belt with pockets. In addition to being water-resistant, the pack also comes with a rain cover in case you get caught in wet conditions.

The Esup backpack is unisex, and due to its high level of adjustability, both big and small hikers can comfortably use it.

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