During the start of the hiking season in 2014 I got caught in thunderstorm coming down from Apgar Lookout. Sometimes miserable things can have long lasting positive aspects. The next day I went to Sportsman's in Kalispell and ended up with a Osprey Daypack, in retrospect I wish I had listened to the salesman and gotten an Osprey Backpack. Either way it was a life changing event for me!
The Osprey Daypack made me realize that yes I could take up backpacking again after a four decade gap.
So last September I went back to the Sportsman's in Kalispell and got myself an Osprey 48 Backpack. Two days later I started a four day backpacking trip on the Gunsight Pass Trail, four days later I returned to my car in the parking lot at Lake McDonald Lodge ready to start planning for my backpacking trips for the summer of 2015.
When I started back hiking in earnest about ten years ago I made the mistake of getting a backpack instead of a good daypack. It was expensive, bulky, heavy and a hindrance on the trail.
The backpack after several uncomfortable hikes remained in my mudroom for several years, unused gathering dust. Finally sold it to someone who was going backpacking.
This web site is a day hikers guide to Glacier National Park. Fifteen miles, 3,000 feet of elevation gain is pushing my hiking limits. This year I will attempt to make an exception of this by hiking Mount Brown, but I plan on getting help with my gear on that hike.
Unlike a lot of folks my age, I'm closer to 70 then 60, thanks to improvements in backpacking gear , and Major diet changes, my day hike range has increased to 20 miles, and my first backpacking trip was for four days.
There are plenty of short, easy hikes in
Glacier National Park. On the short hikes a fanny pack can meet your needs. Since I'm carry camera gear on every hike a fanny pack doesn't work for me. Book bags are not really daypacks. I've hike with people using book bags instead of daypacks and at the end of the hike they regretted not having a good daypack.
Daypacks rank just below hiking boots in terms of how enjoyable the hike or hiking vacation is for you. The hiking season for the higher elevations is short; summer as most people think of it, doesn't usually start above 6,000 feet before mid July. What does this have to do with daypacks? It means that winter like conditions can occur in July, August and September. It means that if your halfway into a seven hour hike and it starts to snow and all you brought was a water bottle and bear spray, then your going to regret not having a daypack with rain gear, and a fleece jacket. Temperatures can drop 40 deg F in a few hours in the upper elevations.
Daypacks and hiking boots need to be fitted to your body. When fitting a daypack how long your back is in relation to the length of daypack is one of the critical areas to verify. For me the width of the daypack is equally important. I'm not particularly fond of making like a duck because my daypack is too wide too allow my arms to swing freely.
Glacier National Park sunset, from Hidden Lake Overlook, obscured by smoke
from the Roberts Fire of 2003.