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 »

Category

Daypacks
Overnight
Weekend
Expedition
External Frame
Winter Packs
Hydration Packs
Front Packs
Lumbar/Hip Packs
Child Carriers
Dry Packs
Portage Packs
Rope Bags
Accessories

Brand

ULA Equipment
CamelBak
Gregory
Osprey
Deuter
Granite Gear
Patagonia
Sea to Summit
Arc'teryx
Black Diamond

User

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'
Girls'

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

Black Diamond Saga 40 Jetforce Avalanche Airbag Pack

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Great high end avalanche backpack that can be deployed multiple times. Best for single to multi-day backcountry expeditions and ski tours in alpine, medium to high risk conditions. If you only do a few days a year in these conditions, renting may be a more rational option. Excellent fit and carrying system for an avalanche pack. I'm a longer dude and got the M/L version. The hip belt has a metal buckle and is comfortable during longer ski tours. The volume is not accurate. It can probably hold around… Full review

GoLite Jam 50L

rated 3 of 5 stars I have the original GoLite 50. Like all GoLite lite products they look great but have some design flaws. The 50 pack is not at all stiff, unless it is almost loaded to capacity. I improved mine by making AL stays in the back to stiffen it. Otherwise it is just an empty sack. The front pockets intrude on the interior space. Full review

My Trail Backpack Light 50L

rated 3.5 of 5 stars My Trail Co. has redesigned the Jam series backpack from the GoLite days, with improvements to its lightweight and frameless design. This water-resistant backpack is designed for backpackers where low pack weight is a priority. When it comes to finding the right backpack, it appears there is never an easy choice with all of the available options in today's market. In 2016, GoLite had successfully ‘reloaded’ as My Trail Co, basing their operations out of Denver, Colorado. My Trail Co has resurrected… Full review

Osprey Mira 34

rated 5 of 5 stars The perfect day pack. This is a Rolls Royce of a pack that rides like a Lamborghini: In it, I put the filled 2.5 L hydration bladder which, btw, is THE absolute best hydration system I’ve ever seen in any pack, bar none, ever, my Crazy Creek chair (in the side stretch pocket) rain layers, extra layers, hat, gloves, Buffs, food for the day, hygiene kit, compass, flashlight, emergency supplies, first aid kit, lip balm, sunblock. And it’s not like I’m carrying this pack, it’s more like the… Full review

Osprey Exos 58

rated 5 of 5 stars I recently completed a 223-mile hike with an Osprey Exos 58. Not only did it easily accommodate 35 lbs, but I carried 4 liter-sized water bottles in the side pockets and a Lil' Sami bear canister inside. When a mouse chewed 3/4's of the way through one of the shoulder straps, Osprey express shipped a replacement to my next resupply point free-of-charge! My hike was not delayed at all. Second Osprey I've owned and am about to buy another! I recently completed a thru-hike of the Ouachita Trail. It… Full review

3F Gear 56L Backpack

rated 4 of 5 stars For the money this is a solid pack with many of the features other ultralight manufacturers charge hundreds for. This pack is quite a value for the UL backpacker as it offers many of the features of more expensive packs with the added benefit of the ability to purchase through Amazon and buy an extended warranty. The ripstop nylon is on par with the market and is as described. I think when you purchase something like this at such a low cost you're ready for some tradeoffs or uncertainty. But, I… Full review

Simond Alpinism 55+10

rated 4 of 5 stars An internal-frame backpack for weekend trips, mostly oriented on alpine climbers. It has convenient main storage compartment, high quality, durable materials, and lots of external attachment points. In the meantime it’s not very comfortable to wear and desperately lacks additional gear compartments. Me and my wife are less than amateur backpackers, and we don’t participate in multi-day backpacking trips. From ca. 2006 till beginning of 2017 I had been using very old and uncomfortable 55L backpack… Full review

Eureka! Sleeping Bag Carry Duffel

rated 4 of 5 stars A great bag. It holds everything very well. I have heard stories of some areas breaking, but not sure if it was taken care of properly. Full review

Deuter ACT Lite 45+10 SL

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Well organized, makes weight balancing a breeze. I love the easy of getting stuff into and out of this pack, including myself. I wore this thing while hiking the W in Patagonia over six days with zero hotspots. I was fitted for this pack at a big retailer—and I was most impressed with all of the points of adjustment that this pack offers. It is designed for women, but even then, I'm very short torso'd. Most packs gave me sore hips due to length, but this one cinched up great.  The pack is also… Full review

Top-Rated Backpacks

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

user rating: 5 of 5 (10)
ULA Equipment Catalyst Expedition Pack
$250
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
CamelBak Cloud Walker Hydration Pack
$79 - $85
user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
Gregory Z 40 Overnight Pack
$179
user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
ULA Equipment Ohm 2.0 Weekend Pack
$200
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Osprey Talon 11 Daypack
$67 - $100
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Deuter Futura 32 Daypack
$104 - $149
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Granite Gear Round Rock Solid Compression Sack
$25 - $34
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Patagonia Atom Daypack
$49 - $79
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Cover Pack Cover
$25 - $41
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Arc'teryx Altra 65 Weekend Pack
$450
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Deuter Kid Comfort II Child Carrier
$249 - $250
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Granite Gear Leopard A.C. 58 Weekend Pack
$250
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Deuter Trans Alpine 30 Daypack
$129
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Black Diamond Demon Daypack
$78
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
SealLine Pro Portage Pack Dry Pack
$200
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Osprey Manta 36 Daypack
$160
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Deuter ACT Trail 24 Daypack
$119
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Osprey Sirrus 24 Daypack
$90 - $130
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Mountainsmith Lariat 65 Weekend Pack
$145 - $229
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Porter Weekend Pack
$340
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest Hydration Pack
$160
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (50)
Osprey Aether 70 Weekend Pack
$199 - $289
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (24)
Osprey Aether 60 Weekend Pack
$195 - $259
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (23)
Osprey Exos 58 Weekend Pack
$165 - $220
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (22)
Gregory Z 55 Weekend Pack
$199
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (19)
Osprey Talon 44 Overnight Pack
$150 - $160
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (18)
CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack
$70 - $110
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17)
Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Weekend Pack
$157 - $209
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17)
Gregory Whitney 95 Expedition Pack
$263
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (16)
Osprey Kestrel 48 Overnight Pack
$180
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (16)
Deuter Aircontact 75+10 Expedition Pack
$289 - $300
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (14)
CamelBak Rim Runner Hydration Pack
$99 - $104
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (14)
Osprey Talon 22 Daypack
$75 - $110
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
The North Face Big Shot Overnight Pack
$119
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
REI Flash 18 Daypack
$40 - $44
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Mountainsmith Day Lumbar/Hip Pack
$90
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
ULA Equipment Circuit Weekend Pack
$225
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Gregory Baltoro 65 Weekend Pack
$179 - $299
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Osprey Aether 85 Expedition Pack
$310
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Osprey Volt 60 Weekend Pack
$180
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10)
Osprey Kestrel 38 Overnight Pack
$160
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10)
Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar/Hip Pack
$80
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (9)
Gregory Z 65 Weekend Pack
$119 - $238
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (9)
Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack Dry Bag / Compression Sack
$23 - $85
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (8)
The North Face Terra 65 Weekend Pack
$143 - $179
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Pack Duffel
$119 - $169
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey UL Raincover Pack Cover
$30 - $40
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 70 Weekend Pack
$175 - $349
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Kelty Redwing 32 Daypack
$100
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Windrider Weekend Pack
$340
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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.