EPISODE 041: How to choose a hiking pack – HIKE OR DIE OUTDOOR ADVENTURE PODCAST

Choosing a hiking pack

Your hiking backpack is the cornerstone of your gear and therefor purchasing a new pack comes with a certain amount of pressure to make the right choice. If you have ever been unfortunate enough to make an incorrect choice on a backpack, you’ll know what I mean when I say that it unleashes a world of pain. Inevitably that flows through your entire hiking adventure and will most probably lead to a very negative experience overall.

With all of that in mind, what we have tried to do in this episode is relay as many of our experiences with hiking packs, both good, bad and in between in an effort to educate you in what to look for when setting out to buy a new backpack. At the very least I would think this information is going to raise some ideas for your consideration that have perhaps not been on your radar previously. We’ll take you through the basics of hydration packs, day packs and multi-day expedition backpacks. We’ll also breakdown the perfect scenario for using each pack and how to know when it’s time to bump up to the next size.

Along with the regular news and updates in this episode, we hope you enjoy the podcast and it equips you with a whole bunch of hiking backpack information for your next purchase.


This episode we are giving you the chance to win one of two Caribee M60 Phantom backpacks. 

Entry is easy! Just click the button below and fill out the form!


Official Podcast sponsors:

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Hike or die stickers - Available now!

Thanks to everyone who has purchased a sticker or sticker pack so far. We donated some of the proceeds to Soldiers for Wildlife at the end of March. We’ll do the same at the end of the next quarter to another not-for-profit organisation. 

There are still official HIKE OR DIE stickers in stock and ready to ship. They are available as a single sticker or in a 5-pack bundle.

Order now by visiting our official payment gateway and store:

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Outdoor Hiking Toilet nightmare

Photo credit: Ibrahim Rifath via unsplash.com

There are many fears in the life of a hiker, both real and imagined, but I don’t think this is one that you could have conjured up yourself if it didn’t actually happen. The thought of even using an outdoor toilet on a hiking trail is enough to turn some people’s stomachs, but the falling in and being trapped inside one for 20min, well that’s probably going to make people weak at the knees just talking about it.

While I sympathise with the hiker to some extent, the fall into the dark world of the inside of a drop toilet was due to her attempting to retrieve her mobile phone. I think we would all agree, herself included, that purchasing a new phone would have been the better option on this particular day.

Read the full article at backpacker.com

The Last Tepui - Trailer

While we can’t comment on the film itself at this point, the trailer for The Last Tepui has definitely got us intrigued.

Dr Bruce Means is a biologist who has visited the Tepuis (large flat topped towers or table top mountains, also known as a mesa) before but this time returns with Free Solo climbing legend Alex Honnold. The idea is that Alex will have the skills and experience to get Bruce to locations on the cliff faces that are inaccessible any other way than to climb.

National Parks aren't that great

The discovery of these National Park posters was very well received. I love the outdoors and hiking and everything that comes with it, even bad weather, bugs and dangerous snakes. However, I’m not silly enough to think the whole world feels that way. 

These posters were designed by artist Amber Share and are the result of her joining actual 1 star rating Yelp reviews with classic old-school posters. The two together make for some hilarious art pieces, the kind I think I would like to have on my office wall.

You can buy SubPar Parks prints, postcards, books, stickers and more at her website:

Check out the rest of the range on this instagram account:

See her other art projects on this Instagram account:


Sounds of the Pacific Northwest

This is a beautiful little cinematic piece. As the title implies, it’s heavily geared towards the sounds of outdoor adventures coupled with beautiful footage of some amazing locations. It’s quite a unique audio experience with stunning landscape footage to go with it. 

Check out Aidin Robbins’ YouTube Channel for more amazing outdoor films

A Night on the Edge: BIVACCO RONCONI

For those hikers afraid of heights, this is probably not the cabin to book for your next trip. Perched at 3169m, on the narrow spine of mountain range on the border of Italy, every aspect of this cabin and its surroundings are breathtaking. Bruno captures the elevation with a sequence of beautiful, and somewhat scary drone shots. 

Check out more of Bruno’s fantastic wilderness cinematography on his youTube channel:
Bruno Pisani Adventure

The mountains - a short cinematic film

Cinematographer Denis Barbas captures beautiful footage of the Dolomites and at the same time, uses this short film to answer the question he is often asked: “Why are you always in the mountains?”

For the most part, he lets the footage do the talking but he does also drop some nuggets of wisdom around his love for the mountains and being outdoors. Together with a nice choice of music and ambient sound, it will certainly get your mouth watering for your next hiking adventure. 

Visit his YouTube channel to see his other outdoor films: Denis Barbas


The discovery of David’s ‘Becorns’ video on YouTube is probably one of the most pleasant I’ve had in a while. He has created a very specific and very magical art form that somehow ties perfectly in with the outdoors and wildlife. His characters are so full of life and believable that it makes the outcomes nothing short of stunning. 

Follow David on Instagram: @davidmbird
and check out his prints on davidmbird.com

How to choose a backpack:

The following hiking packs were referenced during this podcast episode. I’ve included images of the packs and also links directly to the manufacturer websites for more detailed information.

We are sponsored by Caribee and that is part of the reason you will see many of their models listed below. However, it is important to note that both Craig and I had purchased and owned some Caribee backpacks prior to this sponsorship because we already trusted the brand. It is also important to note that we are not obliged to use only Caribee backpacks and that is why at times, we opt for other brands to fill specific needs, as you will see below.

Caribee Trident Waterproof Backpack

This is my go-to pack on a day hike if there is even a hint of rain. I can’t say enough good things about it. There is a heap of room to accomodate a full day hike but you can always pack less and tighten it right down if you wanted to.

Sometimes I’ll strap this (empty) to the outside of my multi-day hiking pack and once we’ve set up a basecamp, I’ll break this out for shorter hikes. It’ especially useful when we are transporting valuable camera gear across streams or through gorges where swimming is required. This is probably one of my most used packs for all of the reasons above. 

Learn everything about this waterproof backpack at Caribee.com



I purchased this backpack originally for short hikes and trail running. I didn’t have a pack smaller than around 35L at the time, so this was such a great purchase. Depiste being on 18L in volume, there is heaps of room for a water bladder and loads of other items like a First Aid kit, snacks and I can even squeeze my stove in there for a coffee on the trail.

I have had this pack for years and still use it. It’s held up to everything I’ve ever thrown at it but the more I got into trail running, the more I wanted an even smaller pack that I hardly knew was there. That’s when I purchased the Caribee Hydra as listed below.

Learn more about this hiking pack at Caribee.com


Caribee hydra 1.5L hydration backpack

I already had what I would consider a small back pack (see above) but the more I got into trailrunning, the more it bothered me to have something that big on my back. That’s when I purchased the Caribee Hydra, specifically to run in the outdoors.

It fits a 1.5L water reservoir and has a zip pocket to hold keys and a phone. To be honest, you’d have a difficult time fitting anything else but for this backpack, that is precisely the point. It’s so slim and compact on the back that I hardly know it’s there but I still have access to a good amount of water when I need it. 

Check out the Caribee Hydra pack here.

Caribee hydra 1.5L hydration backpack


This is one of our most recent additions to our backpack line up and its size fits somewhere in the middle of our existing packs. The M60 is small enough to synch down for a day hike (unless you are like me and are carrying for the whole family anyway) or pack it to the top for an overnighter.

Some of my most appreciated features to date on this hiking pack are the hiking pole loops,  front access zips, side pockets and diagonal straps above them, floating top compartment and the MOLLE straps if I want to add another little pouch of some kind.

The slimline design of this pack is also a standout for me It sits really well on my back as I’m moving through narrow terrain and I really notice the difference.

Overall, this pack is definitely moving up the rankings in my list of favourite packs and I look forward to any time I can get it out on the trail.

Learn all about the M60 Phantom backpack at Caribee.com


Moroka30 Alpine Stalker 75L

I used this as a hiking pack for many years, somewhere around the 7 year mark. I absolutely loved it. It has multiple access points (top, front, bottom), loads of straps, an extendable top and a sewn-in rain cover. Recently the shoulder straps failed purely from age deterioration and that is pretty much the only reason I went to look for a new pack.

I think it surprises people that we don’t shop for “traditional” hiking packs but I can’t tell you how much more convenient it is to be able to dedicate camera gear or snacks to a certain pocket so that it’s not just all tumbling around together. 

My next pack was the Outdoorsmans Long Range Pack as listed below. Again, I opted to go for a pack designed to take heavier loads, with focus on a comfortable and durable chassis and loads of external straps and pockets.

Learn more about the Moroka30 hiking pack

Moroka30 Alpine Stalker 75L


This is Craig’s current pack as mentioned in the podcast episode. It’s obviously a hunting pack but has a very modern, sleek design to what you might expect.

Craig’s set-up has the carbon fibre frame, Pro suspension system and a 7800 cu in / 128 L pack. Side pocket options are also available. The ability to customise your backpack preferences throughout the purchasing process (much like the Outdoorsmans pack below) is really useful and means that you are going to get something that suits your specific needs rather then a generic “one size fits all” approach that the majority of pack suppliers provide. Of course that all comes at a cost, but that’s for you to weigh up based on your own personal situation.

Learn more about this back pack and all of it’s options at kuiu.com



After my last hiking pack straps failed through old age (see Moroka30 pack above), this was the next pack I purchased. It’s a modular backpack system that not only has multiple strap options for items like tripods, water bottles or even an axe, but also several external pockets. 

The other thing that I really like about this backpack is how easy it is to customise, depending on my plans. I can leave the straps and chassis the same and checnge out the main pack to a smaller one as required. It only takes about 5 minutes in total to have it ready to go again.

“But why not just grab a smaller pack?”. It’s a great question and not something that I don’t ask myself. The benefits are that the chassis and straps are SO comfortable (and fit my longer torso so well) that I actually want to use it more often. Also, it still gives me the option to take a smaller pack, but still take a full 2L water bladder if I want to. I can then strap a full sized tripod to the chassis to if required. Something that can really be a pain with a smaller day pack.

Learn more about the Long Range Pack at Outdoorsman.com

Outdoorsmans Long Range Pack System