Everyone considers the lifespan and durability of a hiking backpack when making purchases. While it’s hard to predict the exact years that specific backpack will be your good companion, you have the most control in deciding that.

That’s because several factors affect the longevity of your hiking backpack including how you care for and maintain it. We will learn about the average lifespan of a hiking backpack, what factors influence it, and essential tips on choosing the optimal backpack.

How Long Does a Hiking Backpack Last?

It’s difficult to tell how long a certain hiking backpack will last. Because each backpack is built differently, the lifespan and durability vary.

If you take good care of your backpack, it should generally last between 10 and 12 years. Plus, it’s also worth mentioning that this answer applies to well-made, high-quality backpacks.

It also matters what brand the backpack is from. Reputable brands like Osprey promises the durability of a lifetime. But brand reputation is not the only factor.

What affects the Longevity of a Hiking Backpack?

There are several factors that will affect how long your hiking backpack will last. Apart from the factors below, you should also purchase a backpack that’s guaranteed with a good warranty policy if possible.

Related: What is a Bug-Out Bag?

Frequency of Use

If you wear the same shirt every single day, it’ll be worn out after a few years and you’ll have to replace it with a new one. The same principle applies to hiking backpacks. The more often you wear it, the quicker it’ll be broken down.

High-quality backpacks will be durable enough to be worn for a decade if you carefully maintain them even if you wear them every day. Also, try to pack sensibly because constantly overpacking damages the backpack.

Build Quality

The material and build quality is perhaps the most important factor in determining the lifespan of your backpack. Most high-quality backpacks are made with water-resistant nylon or polyester.

Apart from the main body material, the zippers should be heavy-duty and the stitching should be strong. It’s always best to take your time to research and read reviews on each backpack to ensure its quality.

Exposure to Nature

How much you expose your hiking backpack to nature also matters. In other words, exactly what type of weather conditions you carry the backpack around is also an important factor.

For example, if you constantly expose your backpack to the sun, the material will fade and the fabric will become brittle. Similarly, always carrying your backpack in wet, rainy conditions will corrode the zippers and weaken the material.

You can use Durable Water Repellent (DWR) or other water-protection methods to protect the backpack. But constant exposure to harsh weather conditions will shorten the lifespan of your backpack.

Cleaning and Maintenance

The dedication you put towards caring for and maintaining the backpack is also one of the determining factors. Deep cleaning once every two to three months while also doing light cleaning if it’s covered in mud, dust, or sand after hiking treks.

But you should also proper cleaning methods depending on your backpack. Other care tips include waterproofing, packing sensibly, cleaning & lubricating the zippers.

How to choose a Quality Backpack

Aside from cleaning and caring for your hiking backpack, it’s equally important to choose a quality backpack from the start. Even though reputable brands offer quality backpacks for high prices, it’s possible to find a decent one at an affordable price.

When you’re making a purchase, try to choose a heavier material with a water-resistant feature. Nylon and polyester are the most common materials that are high quality. Plus, pay attention to the zippers and stitching.

Shoulder straps are easily susceptible to tear (because they come in constant contact with the skin), so observe the sewing thread and material around them. And lastly, remember that your comfort is the most important priority. Not all high-quality backpacks promise comfort.

Summary

You’ve learned that the average (high-quality) backpack lasts around 10-12 years. It’s impossible to predict the exact lifespan of a hiking backpack, but several factors affect it.

Overall, you’re the one who can decide how long your hiking backpack will last. But it’s also crucial to choose a quality backpack from the start.