Backpack suggestions for kids

ajbroom11

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Mar 4, 2015
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5
Guys,

I need to get my son a backpack for an upcoming trip. He's 8 y.o and a little guy. Any suggestions on brands or models. Id like a size that would cover him for 2 to 3 nights. I've looked at a few that claim the pack adjusts with your kid as he grows? I really don't want anything super expensive, but good quality.

Any suggestions are much appreciated

Thanks
 

WasatchWill

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Jul 23, 2013
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I recently bought REI's older Passage 40 from their outlet site, for some daddy daughter trips up in the Uintas and elsewhere this year. I got it in blue though so that when my girls outgrow it, it can be handed down to the boys. It's less that $70 too. if they're still available later in the year, I could see myself getting another one two take both my daughters out at times.

At it's smallest torso setting, it fits both my 8 year old and 6 year old daughter just right. My 8 year old is a little shorter and skinnier for her age.

http://www.rei.com/product/879666/rei-passage-40-pack-kids-special-buy REI Passage 40 Pack - Kids' - Special Buy #REIapp
 

steve

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Dec 11, 2013
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This one looks pretty good. It's half the capacity of the ospreys, but it's also 2lbs lighter. 2 lbs is significant when you're 8. I've done several overnighters with a 17L pack. It was tight, but doable.

http://www.rei.com/product/879665/rei-tarn-18-pack-kids-special-buy

I guess a better question would be: what all will he be carrying? Just his sleeping bag and pad? Water? Food? Stove? I'm betting you're going to want to keep it under 12 lbs for him. If you get a pack with lots of volume, there's a tendency to want to fill it up with as much stuff as will fit, making it a heavy pack.

I never pass up an opportunity to plug my favorite backpacking book. I'll bet it'd be fun to read for even an 8 year old, but ultimately mom and dad are going to have to teach him how to keep things light:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/07...&tag=backcountrypo-20&linkId=73DEAQHDSUFZB5O5
 

WasatchWill

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The Tarn is an option, but I wouldn't recommend it if the child wants or is expected to carry their own sleeping bag among other items. I tried my older daughters out with them last year and it was a chore getting their sleeping bags, which are some Eureka Ladybug junior sized bags, into them, and after that, there was no room inside for anything else. Their clothing bags, along with their pads, were strapped to the outside. Small snacks were placed in the top pocket and a water bottle at the side and that was pretty much all the packs could handle. Of course, if the child's sleeping bag is a thinner, lighter weight down summer bag or even a synthetic rated for 40, which would be fine if the temperatures will be warm, you could probably get such a bag stuffed into it with a bit of room to spare for clothing and such. My kids' bags are quite puffy, rated for 30, and were purchased with higher elevations like the Uintas in mind. After trying them out last year, I figured it was worth moving up to the Passage for them to try out this year. Here's a few shots of the Tarns in action last year.

upload_2015-3-23_12-12-43.png

upload_2015-3-23_12-13-37.png

upload_2015-3-23_12-11-47.png
 

steve

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Dec 11, 2013
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Cute kids! You definitely have a lot more experience backpacking with kids than I do! Thanks for sharing your real-world feedback with that pack. It sounds like the right pack for a kid (and adults) depends on a lot of things:

1) how strong the kids are and their endurance level (how much weight they're capable of carrying)
2) how small and compact their gear is
3) how far they're going to hike

I guess I made some assumptions in my recommendation. Since many adult down bags in the 30* rage pack down the size of a football and don't weigh much more than 1 lb (though they're not cheap), I imagined a kid's bag being half that size and packing down even smaller. I understand the reluctance to spend over $200 on a kid's bag. Same goes for the pads, they could be cut in half (or maybe even quarters) if needed, but every kid's needs are different. Some kids don't even need a pad. :) But every kid will have different gear and different requirements to pack it along with them.

I was a scrawny kid my whole life, and backpacking was tough because I had a big adult pack that didn't fit right, and it was crammed full of gear I didn't need. I wish I had learned to go lighter sooner, because I really struggled to keep up with the group. When I was 12, I weighed 70 lbs and had a 35lb pack.
 

WasatchWill

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Cute kids! You definitely have a lot more experience backpacking with kids than I do! Thanks for sharing your real-world feedback with that pack. It sounds like the right pack for a kid (and adults) depends on a lot of things:

1) how strong the kids are and their endurance level (how much weight they're capable of carrying)
2) how small and compact their gear is
3) how far they're going to hike

I guess I made some assumptions in my recommendation. Since many adult down bags in the 30* rage pack down the size of a football and don't weigh much more than 1 lb (though they're not cheap), I imagined a kid's bag being half that size and packing down even smaller. I understand the reluctance to spend over $200 on a kid's bag. Same goes for the pads, they could be cut in half (or maybe even quarters) if needed, but every kid's needs are different. Some kids don't even need a pad. :) But every kid will have different gear and different requirements to pack it along with them.

I was a scrawny kid my whole life, and backpacking was tough because I had a big adult pack that didn't fit right, and it was crammed full of gear I didn't need. I wish I had learned to go lighter sooner, because I really struggled to keep up with the group. When I was 12, I weighed 70 lbs and had a 35lb pack.

Thanks. You're welcome and good points. And 35 lbs at the age of 12? Wow!

By the way. Those Tarns from REI are still great packs. They are terrific as day packs for kids and maybe even smaller adults.
 

Riggs

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Jan 31, 2014
Messages
66
I did what you were thinking, found some packs that were very adjustable. One was a North Face, one an Osprey. Nothing worse than buying over and over for kids because they outgrow it. I liked getting packs that were way more volume than they needed (or could carry anyway) at that age, then putting sleeping bag and pad in there without compressing them much. Then they felt pretty tough with that big pack. Later they could actually use the space.
 
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