The decision of what to bring on a hike is never easy, but which is better, hiking with a waist pack or hiking with a backpack? This article will compare the two and hopefully give you some insight into which one you should choose.
Waist pack vs backpack
A great advantage of a waist pack is that it only requires one hand to carry your essentials like hiking water bottle or bladder, snacks and a camera. Another great advantage of a waist pack is that it can be shoved under your shirt if you need to take photos without being noticed. A disadvantage with this kind of bag though is that they don’t have much capacity for anything other than the basics and are not too comfortable to wear for long distances.
The weight of a waist pack is usually between 3-6 pounds for most packs, whereas the weight of a backpack is usually around 20-40 pounds depending on the type of bag you choose.
Both waist packs and backpacks can be used, which one is best depends on what you are looking for. You can easily use a waist pack while mountaineering if you choose, but it may not be the best idea to carry all your necessary gear in this kind of bag. With a backpack, your gear will not only be more organized and secured within the bag but can also better distribute the weight on your shoulders rather than just on your back.
A backpack allows you to carry more than just the essentials, which is a great benefit when you are out for a longer period of time on the trail. With your extra gear and foods in your backpack, it can be more comfortable and easier on your back.
How much space will I need?
A waist pack may not be enough if you are looking for something to carry your extra gears like water jugs or sports equipment. A backpack will be better suited especially if you are hiking with a companion or even alone for that matter. The capacity of a larger waist pack can also vary depending on how big it is, so make sure to know how much space you really need before choosing one.
Which one is better?
The answer really depends on what you are looking for in an everyday bag. A waist pack will be easier to carry and move around with but may not be the best option if you spend most of your time outside. A backpack would be the better option if comfort and convenience are top on your list because it will allow you to carry more stuff with less effort. You can’t have it all though, because both waist packs and backpacks will only suit certain situations. Like for instance the vest vs jacket for hiking, there some situations that the vest is good than the jacket or vice versa.
Benefits of using a waist pack
Lightweight and convenient
When it comes to carrying stuff on your back, backpacks are the best option because you can actually carry more with less effort. With a waist pack, you will end up having to reach for your gear more frequently if it is not within arm’s reach. Many packs, such as the Gregory Deva 32 which I own, have integrated hip belts to help support the weight of its contents. This not only relieves stress from the shoulders but also helps keep everything centred and in place. This will be one of the bag’s main drawbacks as you will always have to be adjusting stuff to keep it in place.
Modular and customizable
On a trip, clothes may be required during certain parts of the trip while others may be unnecessary. A waist pack can be adjusted to fit the required amount of clothing while remaining within a specified weight limit. Also, different segments of the same trip may require different gear. In this case, you can adjust the trip by switching out some items from one pack to another without having to bring multiple packs with you.
Better accessibility and less hassle
It is always easier to access things that you have on your person compared to things that are on your back. Although some larger backpacks like Gregory Deva 32 have pockets for easy access, it is always more convenient to reach for a small item from a specific pocket than rooting around inside your bag searching for said item.
In addition, with a waist pack, you do not have to dig around in your bag to reach for an item. Simply unzip and take out what you need without fishing around inside your bag which is especially nice during strenuous hiking.
Another thing that is convenient about waist packs is that they are more lightweight so they won’t add extra weight on the back or shoulders when going downhill. There’s nothing worse than a backpack starting to slide out from underneath you while running down the trail because it’s too heavy, and I’ve experienced that feeling many times myself. But with these types of packs, they will stay put on your hips even if the weight distribution gets uneven.
Less visible than backpacks
Having a waist pack will help you blend in with the crowd, which is something that many backpackers tend to be concerned about. Your packs are also less noticeable because they are less bulky than backpacks and don’t make any noise when walking. Everyone walks quite quickly so it wouldn’t be hard to covertly hide your pack when on the move.
Clambering over rocks
One thing I would like to caution with this type of pack is that it may hinder you from climbing over some obstacles. You have to pay attention to where your waist pack is placed and how much room there is between your waist pack and other obstacles, such as rocks or muddy terrain. It may be a good idea to wear some waterproof pants or gaiters and hiking boots to reduce the chances of having your pack get caught on something. Of course, if you are hiking with a partner, they can carry the extra weight in their backpack for you.
But if this is an issue that you’re concerned about, there are also new designs of packs that have straps that go around your thighs preventing any sort of movement whatsoever. This is especially useful for people who like to run and hike at the same time, as they don’t have to worry about their leg straps getting in the way when running downhill or sliding down wet rock faces.
Storing important and expensive items
Unlike backpacks, waist packs can hold quite a lot of important items. It’s possible to fit a wallet, keys, camera or even a cell phone inside your waist pack without having to worry about them falling out. If you get the right type this shouldn’t be an issue because they will be very securely attached and won’t fall out easily. Also, these types of packs usually come with chest straps so you don’t have to worry about pulling them out while running on the trail or scrambling over rocks.
Comfortable for long hikes
While you may be carrying quite a bit of weight in a waist pack, the extra weight is distributed very well over your hips so it will not be excessively tiring. If you are hiking with your backpack on and getting tired, you should try switching to carrying the weight on your hips which will relieve stress from your shoulders and improve blood circulation. Also, because waist packs usually have lower padded straps than backpacks, they can be adjusted to fit properly while wearing a backpack which is a huge plus for people who hike in wet climates or when travelling long distances. This also adds to the comfort factor for longer hikes as you don’t have to constantly readjust the pack while hiking.
A major benefit of a waist pack is that you are more mobile. You don’t have to stop and adjust your pack every time you want to move from one place to another because it’s always in the same place on your hips. Also, you will not be as heavy carrying your backpack while hiking so this allows you to carry other valuable items such as a camera or food which add top value.
Important Considerations When Choosing a Waist Pack
Matching your weight limit: Every pack has its own weight limit depending on how much gear was added together when purchasing it. For instance, the Gregory Deva 35 waist pack has a maximum weight limit of 46 pounds (21 kilograms). Most packs have a maximum weight limit of 50 pounds (23 kilograms). If you think that you may exceed the weight limit, it’s best to contact the seller and ask them if they can make any adjustments before purchasing.
Padded straps and hip belts: The most important feature is the padded straps which are used to hold everything in place while hiking. This is especially important if you are wearing a backpack as you don’t want the weight shifting around while walking. Another important feature is a hip belt for extra support and to distribute weight properly over your hips.
Are waist packs waterproof?
A waist pack is actually a very good option if you are looking for something lightweight and convenient. A backpack will always have the advantage of being able to carry more gear but this is a small price to pay for having a bag that is easy to use in day-to-day tasks such as commuting or hanging out at the park…
Waist packs can also become quite heavy especially when they are full, which can be a big drawback if you are hiking on rougher terrain or even just strolling around town. Also, if you are carrying heavy items in your waist pack, likely, the straps will eventually tear.
The bottom line is that waist packs have many great benefits but they come at a price. If you want to maintain your gear in top shape for a long time, then it is best to invest in a backpack instead of a waist pack.
Many people confuse them for the same product and use them interchangeably or they don’t know what type of backpacks exist and some even think that there is no difference between all these varieties.
Can you wear a fanny pack with a backpack?
Everyone is concerned about comfort and fashion when it comes to clothes. For hiking or a casual walk, you will need the right garments with you.
- You don’t want the extra weight – You will appreciate having your hands free and use hiking sticks while carrying your backpack when going for that hike.
- Hands-free convenience – The main reason why hikers love backpacks is because of their hands-free convenience. A waist pack would only add more weight and inconvenience and it can also damage your lower back as the weight sits directly on it instead of the hips.
- Weight distribution – Backpacks distribute the weight evenly across your hips making it easier to carry more supplies and items while on a hike.
- Quick access – You can quickly access your gear without taking off the backpack.
- Storage space – You will appreciate that backpacks feature a lot more storage space than waist packs or fanny packs.
Support belts or load lifters on the backpack shoulder straps can help take some of the load off your shoulders so that you don’t have to carry all the weight on your back, which causes discomfort and pain in the long term. Using a support belt takes the pressure off of any kidneys, which is an excellent idea for anyone suffering from kidney pain.
Can you use a regular backpack for hiking?
You can use a regular backpack for hiking, but you will need to adjust it to suit the activity. For long hikes, or if you will be carrying a lot of equipment and clothes, it is best to use a hiking backpack that has been designed specifically for these activities. There are features on hiking backpacks that make them better suited for the task than regular backpacks.
Hiking backpacks have better support systems, which take the weight off of your shoulders so that you can focus on the view while carrying your supplies. They also make it easier to move around when climbing over rocks and up steep hills.
Hiking backpacks are designed with specific features for carrying equipment and water. If you choose to use a regular backpack, you will need to make sure that the straps are adjusted properly. You also need to make sure that the backpack is tall enough and has handles that you can use while climbing over rocks or down uneven slopes.
How much weight should I carry in my waist pack?
I’ve seen many people carrying heavy loads on their waist pack while hiking in rough terrain for example Inca Trail. There’s no doubt that the extra weight will strain your lower back and leave you fatigued after many hours of hiking.
As a general rule, the weight you carry in a waist pack should be between 10% – 20% of your body weight. If you are not sure how much you weigh or if you want to know how much your backpack should weigh, then simply divide the number on the scale by 2 and this will give you an approximate weight limit of what your backpack should weigh. For instance, if you weigh 130 pounds (59 kilograms) then your backpack shouldn’t exceed 65 pounds (29 kilograms).