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
Osprey
Equinox
Sea to Summit
Patagonia

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

Lowe Alpine Eclipse 35
Lowe Alpine
Eclipse 35
Daypack
$130
Ultimate Direction Katoa
Ultimate Direction
Katoa
Lumbar/Hip Pack
$38
Salomon Hydro 45
Salomon
Hydro 45
Lumbar/Hip Pack
$25 - $35
Granite Gear Dreamsack
Granite Gear
Dreamsack
Stuff Sack
$20
Gregory Athena
Gregory
Athena
Daypack
$99
Patagonia Arbor Pack 26L
Patagonia
Arbor Pack 26L
Daypack
$99
Burton Resolution Pack
Burton
Resolution Pack
Daypack
$108
Granite Gear Escape A.C. 60
Granite Gear
Escape A.C. 60
Weekend Pack
$250
High Sierra Quickshot 70
High Sierra
Quickshot 70
Hydration Pack
$44
Black Diamond Anthem AvaLung Pack
Black Diamond
Anthem AvaLung Pack
Avalanche Airbag Pack
$189 - $269
Marmot Apollo 25
Marmot
Apollo 25
Daypack
$99
Mountain Hardwear Lightweight Hipbelt
Mountain Hardwear
Lightweight Hipbelt
Backpack Accessory
$42
Lowe Alpine Matrix 24
Lowe Alpine
Matrix 24
Daypack
$30
Black Diamond Super Chute
Black Diamond
Super Chute
Rope Bag
$31 - $44
 
Gregory
Jade 33
Daypack
$159
Under Armour UA VX2-Undeniable
Under Armour
UA VX2-Undeniable
Daypack
$70
Osprey Poco Carrying Case
Osprey
Poco Carrying Case
Child Carrier Accessory
$30
Gregory Maya 5
Gregory
Maya 5
Daypack
$69
EMS Arete
EMS
Arete
Overnight Pack
$76
Deuter Wizard
Deuter
Wizard
Daypack
$32
Outdoor Research Water Bottle Parka #3
Outdoor Research
Water Bottle Parka #3
Pack Pocket
$13
Mountainsmith Tour TLS
Mountainsmith
Tour TLS
Lumbar/Hip Pack
$52 - $74
Backcountry Access Stash 20
Backcountry Access
Stash 20
Winter Pack
$110
The North Face Vault
The North Face
Vault
Daypack
$40 - $55
Boreas Gear Muir Woods 30
Boreas Gear
Muir Woods 30
Daypack
$140
Deuter ACT 70+10 SL
Deuter
ACT 70+10 SL
Weekend Pack
$229
Gregory Sketch 15
Gregory
Sketch 15
Daypack
$59
JanSport Wasabi
JanSport
Wasabi
Daypack
$30 - $39
Ortovox Haute Route 35
Ortovox
Haute Route 35
Winter Pack
$179
 
Mountainsmith
Zoom Small
Pack Pocket
$32
Exped Lightning 45
Exped
Lightning 45
Overnight Pack
$249
Marmot Odin 35
Marmot
Odin 35
Overnight Pack
$90 - $139
 
Orange Mud
HydraQuiver Double Barrel
Hydration Pack
$110
Deuter Traveller 70+10
Deuter
Traveller 70+10
Weekend Pack
$289
Platypus Siouxon
Platypus
Siouxon
Hydration Pack
$120
Osprey Tempest 6
Osprey
Tempest 6
Lumbar/Hip Pack
$70
Salomon Agile 7
Salomon
Agile 7
Hydration Pack
$77 - $109
Osprey Karve 6
Osprey
Karve 6
Winter Pack
$47 - $79
The North Face Tallac Backpack
The North Face
Tallac Backpack
Daypack
$69
Equinox Anaconda Compression Stuff Bags
Equinox
Anaconda Compression Stuff Bags
Compression Sack
$30 - $34
Black Diamond Agent AvaLung
Black Diamond
Agent AvaLung
Winter Pack
$150 - $209
CamelBak Vantage FT
CamelBak
Vantage FT
Hydration Pack
$135 - $195
Under Armour UA VX2-Y
Under Armour
UA VX2-Y
Daypack
$125
CamelBak Scorpion
CamelBak
Scorpion
Hydration Pack
$75
Granite Gear Traditional #3.5
Granite Gear
Traditional #3.5
Weekend Pack
$110 - $146
JanSport Right Pack
JanSport
Right Pack
Daypack
$42 - $79
Osprey Rev Solo
Osprey
Rev Solo
Hydration Pack
$40 - $69
Kelty Redtail
Kelty
Redtail
Daypack
$64 - $79
Deuter Guide Tour 45+
Deuter
Guide Tour 45+
Winter Pack
$189
Nathan Triangle
Nathan
Triangle
Lumbar/Hip Pack
$23 - $30
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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.