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

Top-Rated Backpacks

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

user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Deuter Futura 22 Daypack
$69 - $99
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Gregory Miwok 18 Daypack
$77 - $99
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Marmot Kompressor Daypack
$35 - $50
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Mountainsmith Mountainlight Scream 25 Daypack
$56 - $69
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Arc'teryx Arro 22 Daypack
$179
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Geigerrig Rig 1600 Hydration Pack
$86
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Deuter Kid Comfort III Child Carrier
$249 - $299
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey Sirrus 24 Daypack
$99 - $149
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
ALPS Mountaineering Cyclone Stuff Sacks Compression Sack
$22
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Mountain Hardwear Enterprise Daypack
$70 - $109
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey Sojourn 28
$320
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Deuter Speed Lite 30 Daypack
$99
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey Rev 6 Hydration Pack
$100
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
REI Flash 22 Pack Daypack
$25
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
The North Face Terra 35 Overnight Pack
$95 - $159
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
REI Pinnacle 35 Pack Winter Pack
$97 - $139
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey Ariel 55 Weekend Pack
$139 - $260
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Mile High Mountaineering Fifty-Two 80 Expedition Pack
$399
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Arc'teryx Altra 65 Weekend Pack
$449
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Aarn Guiding Light 60L Weekend Pack
$189
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
The North Face Slingshot Daypack
$50 - $79
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (7)
The North Face Hot Shot Overnight Pack
$74 - $99
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (7)
Deuter Guide 45+ Overnight Pack
$179
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6)
Gregory Triconi 60 Weekend Pack
$225
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6)
Gregory Z35 Overnight Pack
$87 - $159
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Deuter Futura Pro 42 Overnight Pack
$141 - $169
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
The North Face Terra 40 Overnight Pack
$149
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Black Diamond Speed 30 Daypack
$112 - $140
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Osprey Ariel 65 Weekend Pack
$25 - $290
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
REI Flash 62 Pack Weekend Pack
$189
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
The North Face Terra 50 Weekend Pack
$115 - $159
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Osprey Aura 65 Weekend Pack
$187 - $250
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Osprey Meridian
$360
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
CamelBak Fourteener Hydration Pack
$93 - $145
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Deuter Futura 28 Daypack
$76 - $109
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
CamelBak Day Star Hydration Pack
$52 - $80
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Osprey Stratos 26 Daypack
$130
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
The North Face Terra 65 Weekend Pack
$130 - $179
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
The North Face Base Camp Duffel Pack Duffel
$90 - $200
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
REI Crestrail 70 Weekend Pack
$239
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Osprey Kestrel 32 Daypack
$139 - $150
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Gregory Jade 60 Weekend Pack
$129 - $259
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Gregory Z40 Overnight Pack
$134 - $179
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
RIBZ Front Pack Front Pack
$58
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Osprey FlapJack Daypack
$90 - $100
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Arc'teryx Cierzo 18 Daypack
$59
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
CamelBak BlowFish Hydration Pack
$89 - $90
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Nite Ize S-Biner Backpack Accessory
$2 - $7
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
The North Face Recon Daypack
$60 - $99
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Kelty Lakota 65 Weekend Pack
$180
Page 2 of 88:  « Previous  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.