Kid's Bacpack Recommendations?

4:29 p.m. on February 20, 2010 (EST)
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Any ideas on a good backpack for my 10 yo. I would like to get him something decent as he will be moving into the Boy Scouts next year as well as 2 to 4 day trips with me. I think it may be best to start him off with 15 to 20 pounds untill he gets used to it and increase the weight a little at a time.

Any suggestions?


10:11 p.m. on February 20, 2010 (EST)
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Most 10-11 year-old males are gonna grow a bit down the road. Thus, I wouldn't worry too much about the choice re: longevity. In fact, a choice of a moderately priced but suitably sized pack would, I think, be worth considering. Kelty, Deuter, TNF, Mountainsmith, Osprey, REI, Jansport, and others all offer packs designed/sized for youth. Jansport makes a pack it calls the Scout, I believe, or something similar; the BSA online gear store ( carries packs from Kelty, both internal and external frame, suitably sized and reasonably priced.

As for weight, there are rules of thumb that suggest no more than 25-30% of body weight be carried by a hiker, especially a beginner. When it comes to the first experiences with same, I think it better to err on the pack weighing too little rather than too much. That may mean you carry more than "your fair share" early on. But it may also mean that twenty years down the road, your pack is much lighter, and your son is carrying a bit more than his share, if you're lucky.

4:08 p.m. on February 21, 2010 (EST)
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I would look at the Osprey youth packs

Think it should work out well.

Can also look on some of the Lowe Alpine packs but they can be a bit too big...

5:00 p.m. on February 21, 2010 (EST)
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As always it's best to try a pack on before buying but I think it's especially important when it comes to kids. I know 2 different friends that bought a pack for there kids and when they goy home found out that they couldn't even tighten the waist belt. There son was too small in the waist and the belt wouldn't tighten down enough because of the padding on the belt.

6:35 p.m. on February 21, 2010 (EST)
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Osprey was my thought as well. I have an REI close to us so I can take him there to be fitted properly.

I just wanted to see if anyone had experience with kids packs.


3:26 a.m. on February 22, 2010 (EST)
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I am too young to have much of experience with kids - with packs or without :)

Osprey are one of the only brands that make packs for kids, as you want it too be a bit shorter and also adjustable for when he get bigger...

Taking him to REI will be the best. Good luck

8:16 p.m. on February 22, 2010 (EST)
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My daugher (age 7) tried to use a Kelty external frame pack, that didn't work out very well. We ended up taking her to REI and she now uses an internal frame pack instead. With the external frame pack she was always hitting her head on the frame everytime she tried to look up. The external frame pack was also heaver empty.

7:14 p.m. on February 23, 2010 (EST)
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I've been an adult scout leader for 12 years. I've used the Kelty Yukon Youth Model for my 2 sons. It's an external frame that's sturdily built and infinitely (just about) adjustable. They lasted until my guys were more grown-up and could use an adult pack. It will hold enough for a multi day backpack, and is also handy for summer camp, etc.

2:44 p.m. on February 24, 2010 (EST)
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completely agree with bsajeff. we currently have 5 scouts using the kelty yukon2900. my 13 year old has been using this pack for 2+ years now, with no problems. in this time frame, he has probably grown almost 12" so the adjustable-ness of the frame has been excellent.

1:36 p.m. on February 25, 2010 (EST)
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Osprey makes a good kids pack as others have stated.

5:52 p.m. on March 19, 2010 (EDT)
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I have five children. At age four they carry nothing but a whistle and a water bottle. At five I give them a ruck sack; a sturdy version of a school backpack, with some clothes, snacks and stuff. At seven or eight, depending on the child I give them my REI external frame pack which sizes down to them very well. This pack looks huge because I stuff an extra sleeping bag inside. My oldest is eleven and she has a High Sierra pack and she carries just about everything she needs minus the kitchen and tent. All this time my pack is stuffed to the gills with the extra stuff.

I agree that you should start off light. They will eventually want to carry all their own stuff.

When I met some guys near Peggy's Pond one said that it must suck carrying extra gear for the kids. He didn't get it.

8:54 a.m. on March 21, 2010 (EDT)
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Whatever you buy him now will be outgrown in a couple of here's a thought for then.

I've had good luck with the Deuter packs because they are HIGHLY adjustable. Probably won't fit a ten year old...but I put two Deuter Aircontact Zero 65+10's on two twelve year olds last summer and took them across the Teton range with no complaints (ok, no complaints about the backpacks, just about my trail cooking skills, lack of cell phone coverage, lack of cable get the idea).

The Deuter packs can be fit from about a 12 year old all the way up until adulthood (remember to adjust the aluminum stays, not just the attachment points for a comfortable fit), so they can grow with a kid--a huge money saver. Also, the Aircontact and Aircontact Zero series are significantly lighter than most other comparable brands, short of going ultralight.

April 23, 2018
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