Backpacks

Whether you’re setting off on an alpine climb, afternoon trail run, or extended thru hike, you need a pack to carry your outdoor gear and essentials while on the go.

Below you'll find our top picks for the best backpacks for hiking, backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, trail running, and more, thanks to hundreds of independent reviews by real hikers, backpackers, alpinists, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

From field-tested ultralight packs to load haulers to kid carriers to hydration packs, our reviewers have shared their real-world experience to help you select an appropriate, dependable backpack for your next outdoor adventure. Find your pack. Pack your gear. Head out.

Learn more about how to choose a backpack below »

Categories

Daypacks
Internal Frame
External Frame
Winter Packs
Hydration Packs
Front Packs
Lumbar/Hip Packs
Child Carriers
Portage Packs
Rope Bags
Accessories

Brands

Gregory
CamelBak
ULA Equipment
Deuter
Kelty
Granite Gear
Osprey
Equinox
Sea to Summit
Patagonia

Genders

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'

Price

less than $25
$25 - $49.99
$50 - $99.99
$100 - $199.99
$200 - $299.99
$300 - $399.99
$400 - $499.99
$500 and above

Recent Backpack Reviews

Osprey Talon 44

rated 5 of 5 stars It is relatively light and versatile for a wide range of activities. The harness system is comfy and durable. Perfect for ultralight backpacking trips. Fit: ¬†This is the pack that we chose to do a 12 day JMT hike. We decided on this because of weight and most importantly fit. The harness system makes it easy to mold to your body and the hip belt was perfect for the load (36 lbs). ¬† Comfort: With the fit comes comfort due to its multiple adjustment points. This pack must be tried on first because… Full review

Mountainsmith Mountainlight Scream 25

rated 5 of 5 stars This pack is a great lightweight and minimalist choice for day hikes. It is easily packed down small to fit into a larger backpack. Durability exceeds anything else in its class. It is a frameless pack with minimal padding, so it has its limitations. If you take those considerations into account before buying this pack, you might just find that it's perfect for you. Fit: This is a one-size-fits-all pack. I'm about 5'10" and have a 19-ish inch torso, and it fits me really well. I'm a fairly normally… Full review

Deuter Futura 28

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Great daypack. Durable, comfortable, good storage features. Highly recommended! Comfortable pack, many pockets, I love extra storage options, the back ventilation is nice, minimal back perspiration! I am 5'4" with a longer torso and the s/m size works well for me. I have had this pack for three years and it is durable for all my crazy adventures! I also appreciate the lower sectioned zipper on bottom, great for shoes or wet items, can also be unzippered inside to make main upper larger. Great pack. Full review

Big Agnes Pumphouse

rated 3 of 5 stars The BA Pumphouse is too low-volume to be a good inflation device, and that property is the main feature that differentiates it from any other lightweight, waterproof, roll-top stuff sack. It does, however, have an unintended use -- it makes a good solar water heater. Although it is listed as just a stuff sack in the headline here on TS, it is really intended for use as a mattress inflater, with the suggested stuff sack and pillow as secondary uses. The bottom of sack has a little nozzle on it that… Full review

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack

rated 4 of 5 stars A minimal day pack for short side trips on longer backpacking trips. No promises on comfort, and it is not very durable or waterproof, but that's reasonable given the small weight and size. I wouldn't recommend it for all-day hikes but it fills its niche well. We brought a pair of these along on our JMT through hike, and my daughter and I did several side trips to some of the nearer and easier summits using them. Short side trips when carrying larger pack are all I ever intend to use it for. When… Full review

The North Face Crestone 75

rated 5 of 5 stars Comfort is the one word I would use to describe this pack. Plenty of room and great support. Great pack with enough room for a thru hike. Love this pack, a bit on the heavy side though. Full review

GoLite Jam 70L

rated 5 of 5 stars A very well designed, ultralight frameless pack at an affordable price. Since reducing my base load weight to under 20 pounds (including a 5 lb. CPAP), I decided to try an ultralight backpack. I have been using a Kelty Trekker 65 and a Yukon 48 for years, and never expected to find a lighter pack that was capable of handling my necessarily bulky load with the same amount of comfort. After taking the Jam 70 on an overnight hike, I was not disappointed in its simplicity, comfort, capacity, and compressibility. Full review

Klymit Motion 60

rated 3 of 5 stars The Motion 60 is a lightweight, large capacity backpack built around the Airbeam Framesheet, that Klymit has become famous for. Its best features are the cavernous hipbelt and water bottle pockets, the Airbeam technology and the layout of the pack. It is however, way oversized for an UL pack and suffers from excess in many areas. It would be best for someone needing a large sized pack without the need to haul big loads. Specs (from Klymit): Weight: 2.6 lbs/ 1.18 kg Volume: 55L +5L pocket Waist Size:… Full review

RE Factor Tactical Advanced Special Operations (ASO) Bag

rated 5 of 5 stars Bag has everything I need! Great bag perfect for traveling. It's very durable and the waterproof bottom is a huge plus. I really liked the large opening on the top so I could fit larger items into the bag. Full review

Top-Rated Backpacks

Sort by: name | rating | price | availability | recently reviewed

Gregory Denali Pro 105
user rating: 5 of 5 (12)
Gregory
Denali Pro 105
Expedition Pack
$466 - $549
CamelBak Rim Runner
user rating: 5 of 5 (11)
CamelBak
Rim Runner
Hydration Pack
$35 - $100
ULA Equipment Catalyst
user rating: 5 of 5 (8)
ULA Equipment
Catalyst
Expedition Pack
$250
CamelBak Cloud Walker
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
CamelBak
Cloud Walker
Hydration Pack
$60 - $80
ULA Equipment Circuit
user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
ULA Equipment
Circuit
Weekend Pack
$225
Deuter ACT Lite 40+10
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Deuter
ACT Lite 40+10
Overnight Pack
$135 - $169
Kelty Redwing 50
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Kelty
Redwing 50
Weekend Pack
$100 - $124
Granite Gear Round Rock Solid
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Granite Gear
Round Rock Solid
Compression Sack
$22 - $29
Kelty Trekker 65
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Kelty
Trekker 65
External Frame Backpack
$135 - $179
Gregory Baltoro 75
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Gregory
Baltoro 75
Expedition Pack
$276 - $349
Deuter Aircontact 65+10
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Deuter
Aircontact 65+10
Weekend Pack
$215 - $269
Osprey Talon 11
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Osprey
Talon 11
Daypack
$63 - $89
Equinox Katahdin
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Equinox
Katahdin
Weekend Pack
$100
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Cover
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Sea to Summit
Ultra-Sil Pack Cover
Pack Cover
$27 - $44
Deuter Futura 32
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Deuter
Futura 32
Daypack
$116 - $145
Deuter Kid Comfort II
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Deuter
Kid Comfort II
Child Carrier
$199 - $249
Deuter Trans Alpine 30
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Deuter
Trans Alpine 30
Daypack
$103 - $129
Patagonia Atom
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Patagonia
Atom
Daypack
$31 - $49
Black Diamond Demon
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Black Diamond
Demon
Daypack
$97 - $129
Osprey Manta 36
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Osprey
Manta 36
Hydration Pack
$120 - $159
Deuter ACT Trail 24
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Deuter
ACT Trail 24
Daypack
$87 - $119
Kelty Red Cloud 110
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Kelty
Red Cloud 110
Expedition Pack
$180
Kelty Cache Hauler
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Kelty
Cache Hauler
External Frame Backpack
$187 - $249
Osprey Aether 70
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (35)
Osprey
Aether 70
Weekend Pack
$203 - $295
Gregory Palisade 80
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (30)
Gregory
Palisade 80
Expedition Pack
$316 - $399
Osprey Atmos 65
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (27)
Osprey
Atmos 65
Weekend Pack
$167 - $255
Gregory Z55
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (21)
Gregory
Z55
Weekend Pack
$149 - $239
Osprey Aether 60
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (20)
Osprey
Aether 60
Weekend Pack
$5 - $259
CamelBak M.U.L.E.
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17)
CamelBak
M.U.L.E.
Hydration Pack
$75 - $100
Gregory Whitney 95
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17)
Gregory
Whitney 95
Expedition Pack
$351 - $439
Kelty Redwing 3100
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (16)
Kelty
Redwing 3100
Weekend Pack
$94
Osprey Exos 46
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (15)
Osprey
Exos 46
Overnight Pack
$125 - $178
Deuter Aircontact 75+10
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Deuter
Aircontact 75+10
Expedition Pack
$231 - $289
Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Deuter
ACT Lite 65+10
Weekend Pack
$130 - $199
Osprey Kestrel 48
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Osprey
Kestrel 48
Overnight Pack
$144 - $179
Osprey Aether 85
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Osprey
Aether 85
Expedition Pack
$232 - $310
Osprey Kestrel 38
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10)
Osprey
Kestrel 38
Overnight Pack
$119 - $159
Mountainsmith Tour
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10)
Mountainsmith
Tour
Lumbar/Hip Pack
$70
Osprey Talon 22
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (9)
Osprey
Talon 22
Daypack
$70 - $100
Gregory Z65
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (9)
Gregory
Z65
Weekend Pack
$170 - $259
Gregory Baltoro 65
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (8)
Gregory
Baltoro 65
Weekend Pack
$262 - $329
Granite Gear Leopard A.C. 58
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Granite Gear
Leopard A.C. 58
Weekend Pack
$250
Osprey UL Raincover
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey
UL Raincover
Pack Cover
$18 - $39
Deuter Futura Pro 34 SL
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Deuter
Futura Pro 34 SL
Overnight Pack
$119 - $155
Arc'teryx Altra 75
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Arc'teryx
Altra 75
Expedition Pack
$425 - $479
Osprey Momentum 34
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey
Momentum 34
Overnight Pack
$104
Fjallraven Kajka 75
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Fjallraven
Kajka 75
Weekend Pack
$400
Outdoor Research Ultralight Compression Sack
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Outdoor Research
Ultralight Compression Sack
Compression Sack
$20 - $53
Deuter Futura 22
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Deuter
Futura 22
Daypack
$79 - $99
Gregory Miwok 18
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Gregory
Miwok 18
Daypack
$84 - $99
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How to Choose a Backpack

Like most outdoor gear, choosing the right backpack depends on how you plan to use it and selecting one that fits you, your needs, your budget, and your gear.

Capacity (or How Big?)

Consider the following questions to help determine capacity, or how big of a pack you really need.

  • How long are you heading out for: a day, an overnight, a week?
  • What's your outdoor style? Are you a minimalist, or deeply attached to creature comforts, or somewhere in between?
  • How much and what gear will you bring for specific trips and activities? Don't forget group gear and seasonal items (for example: winter gear will take up more room).

Pack Sizes

Obviously you need a backpack that fits all your gear. If possible, lay it all out, including food and water, and be honest about what you'll need to fit in your pack.

Backpack sizing varies between individuals and manufacturers, but the following ranges are a basic starting point:

  • Day Pack:
    less than 2,000 cubic inches
    up to 30 liters
  • Overnight:
    2,000 - 2,999 cubic inches
    30-50 liters
  • Weekend and Multi-Day:
    3,000 - 4,499 cubic inches
    50-73 liters
  • Week-Long and Expedition:
    4,500+ cubic inches
    74 liters and up

Pack Tip: Don't buy a backpack bigger than you need. You'll be tempted to fill it and carry more than necessary, or you'll end up with an annoying floppy, half-filled pack.

Fit (Is It Comfy?)

Nothing beats the expertise of a knowledgeable pack fitter. Find one at your local outdoor retailer. In the meantime, here are some additional tips to help you choose a backpack that fits you well.

Torso Length

Size a backpack to your torso length. Don't assume you need the tall (or the regular or the short) model based on your height. The sizes of different manufacturers' frames may correspond to different torso lengths. Check each pack's technical specifications.

To find your torso length, have someone measure from the iliac crest at the top of your hipbone to the prominent bone at the base of your neck (the seventh cervical vertebrae). (See how to properly fit a backpack in this instructional video.)

Pack Gender

Many pack manufacturers produce women-specific or short torso versions. Women, kids, and others with short torsos can consider backpacks sized for them. On average, these fit the average woman better.

Pack Tip: Don't get stuck on a pack's gender though. Buy the one that fits you best.

Straps and Padding

Shoulder straps, which control the fit of the suspension system, should be well padded and adjustable.

An adjustable sternum strap, which connects the shoulder straps, helps bring the load weight forward and off your shoulders.

Since it supports your pack's weight, make sure the hipbelt provides adequate padding. Some pack makers offer interchangeable hipbelts in different styles and in sizes for both men and women for a better individual fit.

Load

Fitting your gear in the pack is one thing. Making sure it rides comfortably is another. What's the typical weight of your gear? Check that it matches the manufacturer's recommendation, particularly if you're opting for an ultralight pack.

During a fitting, load the pack with weight to see how well it carries. Walk around with the loaded pack, practice taking it on and off, move around, and climb up and down stairs and slopes.

How well is the pack's load distributed? Does it remain comfortable over its carrying capacity and intended uses? Does it feel stable?

 

Features & Organization

Consider the pack's organization. Is equipment stowed securely? Is it easy to access? Intuitive?

If you'll be carrying any specialty gear, such as ice axes, snowshoes, skis, or a snowboard, look for a pack with features or accessories designed to hold those items, rather than trying to jury-rig them on later.

Depending on your different activities you may need more than one backpack, perhaps a large internal frame pack for multi-day backpacking trips and a small daypack for day hikes.

Find the best pack for you and your activities and you'll be ready to hit the trail.