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

Burton Traverse Pack
Burton
Traverse Pack
Overnight Pack
$120
Deuter Transport Cover
Deuter
Transport Cover
Pack Cover
$45 - $59
NRS PFD Hydration Pack
NRS
PFD Hydration Pack
Hydration Pack
$55
Mammut Trion Element 30
Mammut
Trion Element 30
Daypack
$110 - $169
Boreas Gear Erawan 50
Boreas Gear
Erawan 50
Weekend Pack
$150
Lowe Alpine Kamet ND 55:65 Backpack
Lowe Alpine
Kamet ND 55:65 Backpack
Overnight Pack
$260
Outdoor Research Levitator Pack
Outdoor Research
Levitator Pack
Daypack
$45 - $65
Marmot Apollo 60
Marmot
Apollo 60
Weekend Pack
$199
 
Black Diamond
Ascent Crampon Bikini
Pack Pocket
$10
Mountain Hardwear Cronus Backpack
Mountain Hardwear
Cronus Backpack
Daypack
$149
Mammut Nirvana Ride 22
Mammut
Nirvana Ride 22
Winter Pack
$96 - $139
Salomon Agile 12 Set
Salomon
Agile 12 Set
Hydration Pack
$108 - $120
DaKine Boot Pack 41L
DaKine
Boot Pack 41L
$65
Geigerrig Rig 700
Geigerrig
Rig 700
Hydration Pack
$113 - $153
Deuter KC Deluxe Rain Cover
Deuter
KC Deluxe Rain Cover
Child Carrier Accessory
$34
Gregory Border 25 Pack
Gregory
Border 25 Pack
Daypack
$129 - $149
JanSport City Scout
JanSport
City Scout
Daypack
$34
Eagle Creek Ultimate Explorer LT
Eagle Creek
Ultimate Explorer LT
Expedition Pack
$70
REI Roadtripper Duffel
REI
Roadtripper Duffel
Pack Duffel
$30 - $55
Arc'teryx Altra 72 & 62 Hipbelt Replacement
Arc'teryx
Altra 72 & 62 Hipbelt Replacement
Backpack Accessory
$65
Lowe Alpine Eclipse 35
Lowe Alpine
Eclipse 35
Daypack
$130
Ultimate Direction Katoa
Ultimate Direction
Katoa
Lumbar/Hip Pack
$49
Marmot Sidetrack 14
Marmot
Sidetrack 14
Winter Pack
$99
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
$79 - $99
Burton Resolution Pack
Burton
Resolution Pack
Daypack
$94
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
$40
Gregory Denali 75
Gregory
Denali 75
Expedition Pack
$359
Black Diamond Anthem AvaLung Pack
Black Diamond
Anthem AvaLung Pack
Avalanche Airbag Pack
$216 - $269
Marmot Apollo 25
Marmot
Apollo 25
Daypack
$84 - $98
Mountain Hardwear Lightweight Hipbelt
Mountain Hardwear
Lightweight Hipbelt
Backpack Accessory
$42
Black Diamond Super Chute
Black Diamond
Super Chute
Rope Bag
$31 - $44
Gregory Jade 33
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
Burton Provision Backpack
Burton
Provision Backpack
Daypack
$80
Gregory Maya 5
Gregory
Maya 5
Daypack
$48 - $69
Deuter Wizard
Deuter
Wizard
Daypack
$32 - $36
Outdoor Research Water Bottle Parka #3
Outdoor Research
Water Bottle Parka #3
Pack Pocket
$13
REI Sprint Flap Daypack
REI
Sprint Flap Daypack
Daypack
$70
Mountainsmith Tour TLS
Mountainsmith
Tour TLS
Lumbar/Hip Pack
$55 - $74
Backcountry Access Stash 20
Backcountry Access
Stash 20
Winter Pack
$71 - $109
Black Diamond Halo 28 JetForce Avalanche Airbag Pack
Black Diamond
Halo 28 JetForce Avalanche Airbag Pack
Avalanche Airbag Pack
$1,000
The North Face Vault
The North Face
Vault
Daypack
$50 - $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
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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.