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Almost a month later, but here's my two cents....

I do 5-7 days at at time on the AT in Maine.

My current pack is an Osprey Atmos AG 65 that I've had for 5 years.
https://www.osprey.com/us/en/product/atmos-ag-65-ATMOS65S18.html

It carries my tent, sleeping bag/pad, BV 750 bear canister, and all the other odds and ends I bring with me. I've had four multi-day packs over the years (all from big names in the hiking world), and this is by far my favorite.

My day pack is an Osprey Manta 34. It has a removable 3 liter water bladder. It's very comfortable for day hikes/climbs from my truck.

Multi-day pack or short trip day pack, I can't stress enough that fit is very important on a backpack. I would recommend going to backpacking stores and trying them on. A good store will have a knowledgeable help to assist you. Some of the things an outdoor-specific store will have is the ability to mix/match things like waist belts and frames within one manufacturer. Not everyone is standard size/shape. Some tall people have shorter torsos than the standard and vice versa. Also, a good store will have weight for you to put in the pack and will let you walk around with it (in their shop) as long as you want. Climb their stairs with a loaded pack on, bend, twist, get off balance, etc. Don't settle for something that looks good but doesn't feel great.
 

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So me and the fam don’t go on long hikes during the hot summer, 5 miles and under.

I’ve been using an old army issue backpack for years that a buddy gave me, its showing it’s age nowadays.

Is there any real difference in fit and comfort between it and the hiking packs?
If it's only 5 miles I'd get one of the Eddie Bauer Packable ones they have on sale for $10 to $15 bucks at times. That or an Osprey Daylite. To each their own, but I don't carry that much for hikes a few hours long like that. Food, water, jacket, emergency kit, etc.

https://www.eddiebauer.com/p/82300168/stowaway-packable-20l-daypack?sp=1&color=Onyx&size=ONE SIZE&sizeType=Regular&ch=pla&cm_mmc=GooglePLA-_-brand_PLA_B_Brand_New-_-Unisex_Gear_Backpacks_Packs_Luggage-_-0230168147000000&cvosrc=cse.google.0230168147000000&cvo_campaign=brand_PLA_B_Brand_New&gclid=Cj0KCQjwt4X8BRCPARIsABmcnOo-SYIN-KhLOJOj1dZXHii2S7JR7gBvR_JHZtQod8t8AhJPD8s2M-4aApvgEALw_wcBKhLOJOj1dZXHii2S7JR7gBvR_JHZtQod8t8AhJPD8s2M-4aApvgEALw_wcB
 

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What are you willing to spend? That is the question.

Check out Hill People Gear. Just Google it.
 

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Almost a month later, but here's my two cents....

I do 5-7 days at at time on the AT in Maine.

My current pack is an Osprey Atmos AG 65 that I've had for 5 years.
https://www.osprey.com/us/en/product/atmos-ag-65-ATMOS65S18.html

It carries my tent, sleeping bag/pad, BV 750 bear canister, and all the other odds and ends I bring with me. I've had four multi-day packs over the years (all from big names in the hiking world), and this is by far my favorite.

My day pack is an Osprey Manta 34. It has a removable 3 liter water bladder. It's very comfortable for day hikes/climbs from my truck.

Multi-day pack or short trip day pack, I can't stress enough that fit is very important on a backpack. I would recommend going to backpacking stores and trying them on. A good store will have a knowledgeable help to assist you. Some of the things an outdoor-specific store will have is the ability to mix/match things like waist belts and frames within one manufacturer. Not everyone is standard size/shape. Some tall people have shorter torsos than the standard and vice versa. Also, a good store will have weight for you to put in the pack and will let you walk around with it (in their shop) as long as you want. Climb their stairs with a loaded pack on, bend, twist, get off balance, etc. Don't settle for something that looks good but doesn't feel great.
My long distance pack is an Odyssey Atmos 65 and its awesome. My day pack is a 30L Gregory with a sleeve for a hydration bladder.
 

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My 48 hour pack is Camelbak Mule.

I carry food, shelter, hammock, eating utensils, water purification system (I carry water in a canteen on my belt) and a bunch more in it.
 

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You have not yet said what you plan to carry or how much weight.
This. If all you're doing is a 10 mile, round trip, hike in 5-6 miles, camp for a few days and hike out, you don't need much.

While time out is as important as distance, you really need to assess how much capacity and how much weight you'll need to haul. Once you start doing multiple miles for consecutive days, your pack design and fitment become exponentially more important; don't underestimate it!

You can find plenty of quality packs on-line, in second-hand stores that specialist in outdoors equipment, or the many end-of-season sales that stores like REI have annually. Best advice is to try out several packs at store like REI that has experienced hikers. Just understanding how a pack is supposed to fit is extremely important and once you understand how a pack should fit and you know your torso size, it's much easier to shop used, second hand or older models which will save you a ton of money.

Volume capacity verse weight load capacity; don't confuse the two. I've seen 65 liter packs that max out at 40 pound loads. Some people love those two-pound frameless packs, but once their pack weigh exceeds 20 pounds they are a bear to carry long distance. Volume will fluctuate seasonally. During the colder months, I end up with more volume but not much more weight. Some trips will require more water which is heavier, not as much extra volume, but your pack's suspension and frame should be able to handle it.

Budget is somewhat important, but until you decide to go all in, there's no need to buy a $500 pack system for one or two camping trips a year that only involve hiking into a site about 5-6 miles.

As a family and when the kids were around 4 and 7 years old, my wife and I packed just about everything and our stuff wasn't really "lightweight". We did several trips a year and every year the kids' packs got a little bigger and they carried more of their own stuff and when my son was about 10 and my daughter 13, they were fully kitted out with all their own gear and packing it themselves.

ROCK6
 

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My long distance pack is an Odyssey Atmos 65 and its awesome. My day pack is a 30L Gregory with a sleeve for a hydration bladder.
My big bag is a Gregory, it’s over 30 years old, I don’t even remember the name of the model anymore.

Ridiculously good bags, but the prices are up there.

As many are saying....try them on, they are all different, as are we, so what fits me may not fit you, nor the next guy.
 
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