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Best type of pack for a child.
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Justin Chaussee
(judach) - F

Locale: Earth
Best type of pack for a child. on 11/10/2009 16:29:52 MST Print View

What do you think the best type of backpack would be for a 10 year old boy? Here's what I'm debating: I could buy a frameless lightweight pack and spend a good amount of money just to have to buy another pack in a few years when he inevitably will grow out of it. I could buy an internal frame pack, but I think I'd run into the same problem with the frameless pack only it would be a heavier pack. Or I could buy an external frame pack at a weight penalty, but the pack would have the ability to be adjusted as needed and "grow" with him so the pack would last for a longer time. I'm leaning more towards an external frame, but thought I'd get the opinion of you fine folks before I made a decision.

First Last
(snusmumriken) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Neither on 11/10/2009 18:04:45 MST Print View

If this is the kid's first backpacking experience, don't get him a backpack - yet. Instead have him carry a daypack. Inside he can carry his own stuff: raingear, a warm layer, snack, bottle of water, headlamp, wistle, map and compass. You carry the rest.

Make it a short trip with a fun destination. Give him time to roam and explore. Give him some new gear of his very own: headlamp and multi-tool are good ones. That way he can be comfortable, have fun and you'll have to keep up with him rather then the other way round.

If he has fun the first couple of trips and begs to go on more, then is the time to go shopping for a backpack.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Best type of pack for a child. on 11/10/2009 18:38:50 MST Print View

At 10, you will have to buy another pack. They grow a lot in early teens. What my son wore at 10 versus now at 12 is way different. He is 5' 8" now. I know that at 16 he will be pushing 6 feet easily and need a new pack - his torso WILL change. More so, so will his sense of style.

Buying it to last is good and all, but let me add that better to have something they like and will love to use - you can of course sell or gift out the gently used gear he no longer wants. Consider it recycling. Same with sleeping bags.

Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
kid backpacking on 11/10/2009 18:41:27 MST Print View

My first backpack was a book bag type - clothes, sleeping bag, snacks and water bottle. And my book - you wouldn't get me to go anywhere without my book, when I was 10. We did some ambitious mileage with me carrying about 8-10 lbs and I don't recall having any issues with soreness or any real complaints. Keeping it light and enjoyable is more important on the first couple trips.

Once he's "hooked" there are only a few kid backpacks. The one I looked at while helping a friend shop for his 9 year old was a Deuter Fox, and there is also an REI branded pack - both have a good range of adjustment in the frame. One of those would allow him to carry more weight.

Justin Chaussee
(judach) - F

Locale: Earth
Re: kid backpacking on 11/10/2009 19:28:43 MST Print View

These are all good points. Maybe I'm rushing it a little...

My first backpack was an REI brand daypack now that I think of it. My dad used it for college and passed it down to me. That thing lasted forever!

Kelty makes a few kid's packs including an exterior frame pack. Personally, I'm a big fan of kelty packs because they are indestructible. I've had a kelty redwing for about 6 years now and you wouldn't believe what I've put it though but it's still good as new.

I guess I can wait on getting a nice backpacking pack until I know he is addicted to the sport.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: kid backpacking on 11/10/2009 20:02:09 MST Print View

There are three approaches:

1) use whatever you have today. Typically a book bag. Not everything will fit in, so you carry the rest. If he really enjoys the outing go to option 2 or 3.

2) Purchase a pack which has a highly variable torso length. External frame packs typically have the largest range but there are some internal frames that have a decent range.

3) Get something that fits well now, sell it and buy something larger when he grows more.

I did (1) and (3) with my daughter. First her day pack, then a Dueter Fox 30 pack, and then a Mountainsmith Seraph. If she has stopped growing (seems to be the case) the Seraph might be be her pack for quite awhile. We kept the Fox 30 as a loaner for awhile. I run father/daughter backpacking trips and we would help equip other families. Once her friends no longer fit the Fox 30 we passed it on.

I wrote up a few issues / ideas about kid packs awhile ago.


Edited by verber on 11/10/2009 20:04:09 MST.

Justin Chaussee
(judach) - F

Locale: Earth
Re: Re: Re: kid backpacking on 11/10/2009 20:06:35 MST Print View

Nice! Thanks mark, this is helpful!

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Rental? Best type of pack for a child on 11/10/2009 22:13:43 MST Print View

I concur that the first trip should be pretty short and he should only carry enough that he feels like he's contributing.

Check your local REI to see if they rent kids' packs. If not ask why not and see if they'll pull one from stock to put in the rental fleet.

(This falls firmly in the do as I say, not as I do category- our first family trip with 5 & 7 year olds was 3 days, 15 miles, 2500 feet climbing, and their packs each started at about 10% of their body weight)