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

Gregory Miwok 18
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Gregory
Miwok 18
Daypack
$69 - $99
Marmot Kompressor
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Marmot
Kompressor
Daypack
$40 - $50
Kelty Lakota 60
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Kelty
Lakota 60
Weekend Pack
$180
Mountainsmith Mountainlight Scream 25
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Mountainsmith
Mountainlight Scream 25
Daypack
$70
Geigerrig Rig 1600
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Geigerrig
Rig 1600
Hydration Pack
$144
Deuter Kid Comfort III
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Deuter
Kid Comfort III
Child Carrier
$299
Osprey Sirrus 24
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey
Sirrus 24
Daypack
$99 - $149
ALPS Mountaineering Cyclone Stuff Sacks
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
ALPS Mountaineering
Cyclone Stuff Sacks
Compression Sack
$19 - $23
Mountain Hardwear Enterprise
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Mountain Hardwear
Enterprise
Daypack
$70 - $109
Osprey Sojourn 28
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey
Sojourn 28
$320
Deuter Speed Lite 30
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Deuter
Speed Lite 30
Daypack
$99
Osprey Rev 6
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey
Rev 6
Hydration Pack
$100
REI Flash 22 Pack
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
REI
Flash 22 Pack
Daypack
$50
The North Face Terra 35
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
The North Face
Terra 35
Overnight Pack
$98 - $159
Mountainsmith Spirit
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Mountainsmith
Spirit
Daypack
$70
REI Pinnacle 35 Pack
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
REI
Pinnacle 35 Pack
Winter Pack
$139
Mile High Mountaineering Fifty-Two 80
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Mile High Mountaineering
Fifty-Two 80
Expedition Pack
$259 - $399
Arc'teryx Altra 65
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Arc'teryx
Altra 65
Weekend Pack
$399 - $449
Mountainsmith Wraith
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Mountainsmith
Wraith
Daypack
$100
Aarn Guiding Light 60L
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Aarn
Guiding Light 60L
Weekend Pack
$240
The North Face Slingshot
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
The North Face
Slingshot
Daypack
$50 - $78
Osprey Argon 85
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (7)
Osprey
Argon 85
Expedition Pack
$399
The North Face Hot Shot
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (7)
The North Face
Hot Shot
Overnight Pack
$69 - $99
Deuter Guide 45+
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (7)
Deuter
Guide 45+
Overnight Pack
$179
Gregory Triconi 60
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6)
Gregory
Triconi 60
Weekend Pack
$225
GoLite Jam 50L
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6)
GoLite
Jam 50L
Weekend Pack
$110
Gregory Z35
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6)
Gregory
Z35
Overnight Pack
$119 - $159
Deuter Futura Pro 42
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Deuter
Futura Pro 42
Overnight Pack
$169
The North Face Terra 40
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
The North Face
Terra 40
Overnight Pack
$105 - $149
Black Diamond Speed 30
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Black Diamond
Speed 30
Daypack
$105 - $139
CamelBak Alpine Explorer
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
CamelBak
Alpine Explorer
Hydration Pack
$80
Osprey Ariel 65
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Osprey
Ariel 65
Weekend Pack
$49 - $295
REI Flash 62 Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
REI
Flash 62 Pack
Weekend Pack
$189
The North Face Terra 50
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
The North Face
Terra 50
Weekend Pack
$113 - $159
Osprey Aura 65
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5)
Osprey
Aura 65
Weekend Pack
$129 - $250
Osprey Meridian
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Osprey
Meridian
$360
CamelBak Fourteener
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
CamelBak
Fourteener
Hydration Pack
$95 - $145
Deuter Futura 28
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Deuter
Futura 28
Daypack
$109
GoLite Jam 70L
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
GoLite
Jam 70L
Weekend Pack
$130
Osprey Stratos 26
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
Osprey
Stratos 26
Daypack
$95 - $130
The North Face Terra 65
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4)
The North Face
Terra 65
Weekend Pack
$156 - $179
REI Crestrail 70
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
REI
Crestrail 70
Weekend Pack
$239
Osprey Kestrel 32
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Osprey
Kestrel 32
Daypack
$139 - $150
Gregory Jade 60
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Gregory
Jade 60
Weekend Pack
$168 - $259
Gregory Z40
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Gregory
Z40
Overnight Pack
$169 - $179
RIBZ Front Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
RIBZ
Front Pack
Front Pack
$58
Osprey FlapJack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Osprey
FlapJack
Daypack
$90 - $100
CamelBak Day Star
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
CamelBak
Day Star
Hydration Pack
$72 - $80
Arc'teryx Cierzo 18
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Arc'teryx
Cierzo 18
Daypack
$59
CamelBak BlowFish
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
CamelBak
BlowFish
Hydration Pack
$79 - $90
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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.