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
Patagonia
Osprey
Equinox
Sea to Summit

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

Cotopaxi Inca 26

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Comfortable bag for traveling in the woods or around town. A wonderful balance of features and function. Quality construction and design make this pack a solid pick for anyone looking for a bag to use every day for a number of applications. As an added bonus, Cotopaxi works with charities around the world and links each product to a specific charitable product. Highly recommended for pack that bridges the gap between recreational and work travel. The Cotopaxi Inca 26 is the day/overnight pack I… Full review

Mammut Trion Guide 45+7

rated 5 of 5 stars Great all round alpine pack with large front pocket great for easy access gear like layers or ski touring safety equipment. The Trion Guide is a well sized pack perfect for mountaineering, ski touring, and general hiking.  The fit is one size fits all, and its very similar to Deuters Guide series of packs. The padding isn't anything special, and the straps seem to fit well to my 5'10 narrow shouldered frame.  I can get just about anything I need for a weekend in the alpine. I have been able to… Full review

Lowe Alpine Peak Attack 42

rated 4 of 5 stars The Lowe Alpine Peak Attack is a 42L classic, single compartment mountaineering inspired pack. With those uses in mind the pack boasts added durability without a weight penalty, weighs 950 grams, and includes glove-friendly features (zipper pulls, buckles and grab loops) and a unique ice tool attachment system. This pack would be best for winter mountaineering, summer backpacking or as a large day pack for hiking or cragging. Specs (from Lowe Alpine): Volume: 42lt / 2565cu.in Weight: 0.95kg / 2lb… Full review

Equinox Gila Ultralite Horizontal Pack Pocket

rated 3 of 5 stars I used this add-on pocket as a second hip belt pocket for my Deuter Act Lite 75+10 Backpack. It took a bit of fiddling to get it securely in place but then it was a handy addition. This review is for the large size horizontal add-on pocket. My backpack only had one hip belt pocket so I added this to the other side. First I needed a pocket large enough to easily store my Samsung Note 3 cell phone along with a few other small items I wanted to keep handy. I also wanted a pocket large enough to store… Full review

Deuter ACT Lite 75+10

rated 5 of 5 stars Comfortable adjustable pack that can adapt to haul a lot or a little. Quality construction with some thoughtful details. Weighs in at 4 lbs 5 oz, a good compromise between weight and haul-ability. Age and prior back injuries has made finding a backpack I could wear a difficult task. With the Deuter Act Lite 75+10, I finally found a pack that I could not only carry but was comfortable also. For me, the key was to find a pack that did not put any pressure directly on my spine. The "air contact" system… Full review

Montane Dragon 20

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Finally a nice pack that allows for multi-day runs. It's not perfect, but in the most important aspect — carry while running — it's great. I was able to get this pack out for a two day trip into the Crazy Mtns. I had to load a little more kit as we received a big dump of snow and cooler temps. Kit consisted of a 30°F down quilt, inflatable pad (had to add a thin ccf pad due to temps), eVENT bivy, small pot/esbit stove, Steripen, down jacket, hooded midlayer, tights, spare socks and the usual… Full review

Montane Dragon 20

rated 3.5 of 5 stars A well-built and lightweight pack for ultrarunning and fast packing, big enough to carry layers, emergency gear, and food for long mountain runs in mixed weather, or for a UL weekender. Recommended for those kinds of activities, but not as a general purpose day pack. I received the Montane Dragon 20 from Trailspace a little too late to try it out in the 60 km Birkebeiner Ultra, but have put it to the test on some of my longer training runs and on a few day hikes. It is very well-designed and -built,… Full review

Blackhawk! Barrage Hydration Pack

rated 4 of 5 stars A heavy-duty "military style" 3-day pack that is designed to last forever, no matter what you do with it. Although BlackHawk! categorizes it as a hydration pack, I believe the hydration bladder is a small portion of this pack. I purchased this pack prior to a deployment overseas in 2008 and it still looks brand new today. In between being an every day carry item thru Kuwait and Afghanistan, it has also been used as a day pack for hikes and hunting. As well as a great commuter bag and travel bag. … Full review

Osprey Volt 75

rated 5 of 5 stars Great fit without a lot of weight. I would definitely recommend this backpack for anyone doing a 3-4 night outing. Just purchased this pack in July 2014. Have used it 4 times in the Adirondacks of NY and AT in NJ and Maine. I bought it for the lesser pack weight of 3lbs 12oz vs my other, older Osprey pack. This is a one-size-fits-all pack with an adjustable stay system that I really liked, especially if you're an in-between size like me. It carries 4,700 cu, so I did have to choose my gear wisely… 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
$412 - $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
$169
Kelty Redwing 50
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Kelty
Redwing 50
Weekend Pack
$125
Granite Gear Round Rock Solid
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Granite Gear
Round Rock Solid
Compression Sack
$22 - $29
Patagonia Atom
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Patagonia
Atom
Daypack
$31 - $49
Kelty Trekker 65
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Kelty
Trekker 65
External Frame Backpack
$140 - $179
Gregory Baltoro 75
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Gregory
Baltoro 75
Expedition Pack
$262 - $349
Deuter Aircontact 65+10
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Deuter
Aircontact 65+10
Weekend Pack
$246 - $269
Osprey Talon 11
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Osprey
Talon 11
Daypack
$71 - $90
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
$139 - $145
Deuter Kid Comfort II
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Deuter
Kid Comfort II
Child Carrier
$215 - $249
Deuter Trans Alpine 30
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Deuter
Trans Alpine 30
Daypack
$129
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
$160
Deuter ACT Trail 24
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Deuter
ACT Trail 24
Daypack
$109 - $119
Kelty Cache Hauler
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Kelty
Cache Hauler
External Frame Backpack
$250
Osprey Aether 70
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (35)
Osprey
Aether 70
Weekend Pack
$160 - $290
Gregory Palisade 80
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (30)
Gregory
Palisade 80
Expedition Pack
$366 - $399
Osprey Atmos 65
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (27)
Osprey
Atmos 65
Weekend Pack
$175 - $255
Gregory Z55
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (21)
Gregory
Z55
Weekend Pack
$159 - $239
Osprey Aether 60
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (20)
Osprey
Aether 60
Weekend Pack
$5 - $260
CamelBak M.U.L.E.
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17)
CamelBak
M.U.L.E.
Hydration Pack
$84 - $100
Gregory Whitney 95
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17)
Gregory
Whitney 95
Expedition Pack
$439
Kelty Redwing 3100
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (16)
Kelty
Redwing 3100
Weekend Pack
$125
Osprey Exos 46
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (15)
Osprey
Exos 46
Overnight Pack
$179
Osprey Talon 44
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
Osprey
Talon 44
Overnight Pack
$150
Deuter Aircontact 75+10
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Deuter
Aircontact 75+10
Expedition Pack
$289
Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Deuter
ACT Lite 65+10
Weekend Pack
$199
Osprey Kestrel 48
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Osprey
Kestrel 48
Overnight Pack
$169 - $180
Osprey Aether 85
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Osprey
Aether 85
Expedition Pack
$310
Osprey Kestrel 38
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10)
Osprey
Kestrel 38
Overnight Pack
$122 - $195
Osprey Talon 22
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10)
Osprey
Talon 22
Daypack
$99 - $100
Mountainsmith Tour
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10)
Mountainsmith
Tour
Lumbar/Hip Pack
$70
Gregory Z65
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (9)
Gregory
Z65
Weekend Pack
$181 - $259
Gregory Baltoro 65
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (8)
Gregory
Baltoro 65
Weekend Pack
$247 - $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
$24 - $39
Deuter Futura Pro 34 SL
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Deuter
Futura Pro 34 SL
Overnight Pack
$89 - $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
$99
Gregory Miwok 18
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Gregory
Miwok 18
Daypack
$69 - $99
Page 1 of 88:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  Next » 

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.