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
Dry Packs
Portage Packs
Rope Bags
Accessories

Brands

CamelBak
ULA Equipment
Deuter
Kelty
Granite Gear
Patagonia
Gregory
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

Osprey Exos 58

rated 5 of 5 stars Excellent lightweight pack (not ultra light), great for weekend, multi-day, and through-hiking. Would definitely recommend assuming you can get the correct fit for your torso. Have been backpacking for over 50 yrs., mostly high Sierras.  Male, 165 lbs.  Excellent pack. Had the previous version and put 52 lbs in/on it for the JMT (enough for a 10 day stretch). This model has a bunch of upgraded aspects. The older version top pack was difficult to detach. I sewed small quick release buckles on so… Full review

Mile High Mountaineering Salute 34

rated 5 of 5 stars One of the very best packs I've used. Carries and distributes loads well, and is made with durable materials. I can use this pack for day hikes to overnight stays. I tend to pack pretty lightweight as far as my tent and other gear is concerned so this backpack is perfect for my needs. Highly recommended for just about anyone looking for a well thought out, useful pack. Fit - I am a little over 5'10" with a waist between 33" and 34". I have a medium length torso and the pack fits very well. Easy… Full review

Osprey Exos 58

rated 5 of 5 stars This is a great all-around backpack if you don't overload it. With less than 35lbs of well-chosen gear, it works for both weekend and long haul trips, and you can manage 40lbs for a couple of days. I'm a 5'7", 145 pound, 63-year-old woman who works in the backcountry in summer, usually for 6-8 days at a time. My pack has to be light enough to let me move quickly, but big enough to carry my personal and work gear. I can't carry the 55 pound loads that I did when I was younger. After a year of frequent… Full review

Nite Ize S-Biner MicroLock

rated 4 of 5 stars A locking mini S-biner that can secure items while providing a quick-release option. Great for adding a tool to your keychain or a lightweight light to a zipper pull. Well-made stainless steel construction with a clever design that will please those in search of a secure but easily releasable attachment device. Sometimes it's the little things in life that make the difference. This is the case with Night Ize's S-Biner MicroLock, a small item accurately identified by its name. I've used a range… Full review

ULA Equipment Ohm 2.0

rated 5 of 5 stars Lightweight, yet plenty of room for gear. Designed for comfort and durability. Unusual and useful ability to carry water bottles on shoulder straps. Exceptional hipbelt support and comfort. The ULA Ohm 2.0 is a smaller pack in the ULA line, yet has the hipbelt of some of the larger models allowing it to carry substantial weights.  The ULA hipbelts are top-of-the-line for comfort given their light weight. The Ohm 2.0 has provided plenty of space for 4-day backpacks for me with room to spare.  Its… Full review

REI New Star

rated 5 of 5 stars I highly recommend this pack if you can find one used in good shape. Big enough for a long trip, not so big it isn't practical for a weekend. Well made and long lasting (mine finally quit after 19 years and 800+ miles). I bought my New Star two years used in 1997. It had seen some trail time then. Over the next 18 years, I added over 700 miles of use to it from there. The hip strap finally broke (actually only the plastic insert broke, the nylon and padding was OK; I finished two days and 16 miles… Full review

REI Great Star

rated 4 of 5 stars Very large pack with lots of size adjustment and all the basic features you want. Well made and long lasting. Prone to being under filled and causing gear/load to shift or sit oddly, especially on shorter hikes. Great for big/tall persons or longer trips. Just inherited my Great Star from my father after my New Star finally gave up (19 years and over 800 miles on it).  My dad bought the pack new in 1998 and it has about 400 miles on it from him. I can and have comfortably carried about 80 lbs of… Full review

Osprey Atmos 65 AG

rated 3 of 5 stars The revised Osprey Atmos AG 65 is a well-made pack that fixes many of the problems with previous models; however, the new edition of the pack is much heavier than earlier models. If the increased weight does not concern you then you will like the changes. All in all this is a robust pack that may no longer fit the needs of lightweight backpackers. I tried a size large pack; I weighed it at the local REI, and it weighed 5 pounds 4 ounces. Last year's model weighed 3 pounds 12 ounces on the same scale… Full review

Dana Design Astralplane Overkill

rated 5 of 5 stars The Dana Astralplane Overkill is the most durable, comfortable, indestructible load-hauler ever created. Best loadhauler ever made. Indestructible. Bought mine in early '90's and have hiked with it on at least 50 trips and it looks almost brand new. Mine is the Astralplane Overkill, so it is pretty heavy, but I've packed 80 lbs in it and it still fits like a hug.   If you can find one on ebay, buy it — they are legendary. The guy who made them now builds for Mystery Ranch and his new version… Full review

Top-Rated Backpacks

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

user rating: 5 of 5 (11)
CamelBak Rim Runner Hydration Pack
$33 - $100
user rating: 5 of 5 (8)
ULA Equipment Catalyst Expedition Pack
$250
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
CamelBak Cloud Walker Hydration Pack
$64 - $80
user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
ULA Equipment Circuit Weekend Pack
$225
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Deuter ACT Lite 40+10 Overnight Pack
$125 - $179
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Deuter Futura 32 Daypack
$145 - $149
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Kelty Redwing 50 Weekend Pack
$125
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Granite Gear Round Rock Solid Compression Sack
$20 - $26
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Patagonia Atom Daypack
$45 - $49
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Gregory Baltoro 75 Expedition Pack
$262 - $349
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Deuter Aircontact 65+10 Weekend Pack
$269
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Osprey Talon 11 Daypack
$89 - $90
 
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Equinox Katahdin Weekend Pack
$100
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Cover Pack Cover
$27 - $44
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Deuter Kid Comfort II Child Carrier
$211 - $249
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Deuter Trans Alpine 30 Daypack
$129
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Black Diamond Demon Daypack
$78 - $130
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
SealLine Pro Pack Dry Pack
$200
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Osprey Manta 36 Hydration Pack
$160
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Deuter ACT Trail 24 Daypack
$80 - $119
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest Hydration Pack
$160
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (36)
Osprey Aether 70 Weekend Pack
$279 - $290
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (30)
Gregory Palisade 80 Expedition Pack
$279 - $399
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (28)
Osprey Atmos 65 Weekend Pack
$186 - $259
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (21)
Gregory Z55 Weekend Pack
$169 - $239
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (20)
Osprey Aether 60 Weekend Pack
$249 - $260
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17)
CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack
$75 - $109
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17)
Gregory Whitney 95 Expedition Pack
$285 - $439
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (16)
Kelty Redwing 3100 Weekend Pack
$125
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (15)
Osprey Exos 46 Overnight Pack
$179
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
Osprey Talon 44 Overnight Pack
$150
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
Deuter Aircontact 75+10 Expedition Pack
$289
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Weekend Pack
$149 - $209
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Osprey Kestrel 48 Overnight Pack
$169 - $180
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Kelty Super Tioga External Frame Backpack
$180
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Osprey Aether 85 Expedition Pack
$310
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
REI Flash 18 Pack Daypack
$35
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10)
Osprey Kestrel 38 Overnight Pack
$149 - $160
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10)
Osprey Talon 22 Daypack
$99 - $100
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10)
Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar/Hip Pack
$70
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (9)
Gregory Baltoro 65 Weekend Pack
$247 - $329
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (9)
Gregory Z65 Weekend Pack
$155 - $259
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Granite Gear Leopard A.C. 58 Weekend Pack
$162 - $249
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey UL Raincover Pack Cover
$17 - $284
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Deuter Futura Pro 34 SL Overnight Pack
$149 - $159
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter Weekend Pack
$345
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Arc'teryx Altra 75 Expedition Pack
$479
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Mile High Mountaineering Salute 34 Overnight Pack
$229
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Outdoor Research Dry Peak Bagger Dry Pack
$69
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey Momentum 34 Overnight Pack
$104
Page 1 of 96:  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.