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

Nite Ize S-Biner
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
Nite Ize
S-Biner
Backpack Accessory
$2 - $7
The North Face Base Camp Duffel
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3)
The North Face
Base Camp Duffel
Pack Duffel
$84 - $200
Kelty Lakota 65
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Kelty
Lakota 65
Weekend Pack
$138 - $179
Boreas Gear Lost Coast 60
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Boreas Gear
Lost Coast 60
Weekend Pack
$168 - $210
Mountainsmith Cross Country 3.0
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Mountainsmith
Cross Country 3.0
Weekend Pack
$56
REI Trail 25 Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
REI
Trail 25 Pack
Daypack
$48 - $69
Mountainsmith Strapettes
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Mountainsmith
Strapettes
Sling/Strap
$19 - $25
Osprey Manta 20
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Osprey
Manta 20
Hydration Pack
$139 - $140
Black Diamond Bbee
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Black Diamond
Bbee
Daypack
$37 - $129
Gregory Z45
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Gregory
Z45
Overnight Pack
$153 - $163
Gregory Jade 50
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Gregory
Jade 50
Weekend Pack
$167 - $239
Black Diamond Nitro
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2)
Black Diamond
Nitro
Daypack
$89 - $119
Arc'teryx Quintic 28
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Arc'teryx
Quintic 28
Winter Pack
$139 - $199
CamelBak Magic
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
CamelBak
Magic
Hydration Pack
$66 - $88
Kelty Redwing 32
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Kelty
Redwing 32
Daypack
$100
Platypus Origin 9
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Platypus
Origin 9
Hydration Pack
$69
DaKine Cosmo
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
DaKine
Cosmo
Daypack
$20 - $22
Granite Gear Pack Stuffer
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Granite Gear
Pack Stuffer
Stuff Sack
$27
EMS Packable Pack
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
EMS
Packable Pack
Daypack
$40
Gregory Alpaca Duffle
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Gregory
Alpaca Duffle
Pack Duffel
$129 - $148
Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Patagonia
Lightweight Travel Pack
Daypack
$63 - $79
Osprey Xena 85
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Xena 85
Internal Frame Backpack
$270 - $360
Deuter KangaKid
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Deuter
KangaKid
Child Carrier
$127 - $159
Gregory Sage 55 Pack
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Gregory
Sage 55 Pack
Weekend Pack
$148 - $199
K2 Pilchuck
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
K2
Pilchuck
Winter Pack
$100 - $199
Black Diamond Covert
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Black Diamond
Covert
Winter Pack
$144 - $159
CamelBak PowderBak
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
CamelBak
PowderBak
Hydration Pack
$40 - $79
Outdoor Research Mesh Ditty Sacks
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Outdoor Research
Mesh Ditty Sacks
Stuff Sack
$21 - $25
Deuter External Pockets
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Deuter
External Pockets
Pack Pocket
$16 - $20
High Sierra Carry-On Wheeled Backpack with Removable Daypack
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
High Sierra
Carry-On Wheeled Backpack with Removable Daypack
Weekend Pack
$140
Osprey Raven 10
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Raven 10
Hydration Pack
$120
Patagonia Chacabuco 32L
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Patagonia
Chacabuco 32L
Daypack
$79 - $99
Deuter ACT Lite 70 + 10 SL
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Deuter
ACT Lite 70 + 10 SL
Expedition Pack
$229
Osprey FlapJill
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
FlapJill
Daypack
$42 - $99
Deuter ACT Trail 32
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Deuter
ACT Trail 32
Daypack
$103 - $129
Osprey Axis
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Axis
Daypack
$49 - $69
Sierra Designs Rohn 15
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Sierra Designs
Rohn 15
Daypack
$59 - $76
Deuter ACT Trail 20 SL
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Deuter
ACT Trail 20 SL
Daypack
$87 - $119
Deuter Helmet Holder
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Deuter
Helmet Holder
Backpack Accessory
$12 - $15
JanSport Boost
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
JanSport
Boost
Overnight Pack
$67
Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60 Ki
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Granite Gear
Crown V.C. 60 Ki
$160
Platypus Tokul X.C. 8.0
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Platypus
Tokul X.C. 8.0
Hydration Pack
$72 - $89
Osprey Poco Plus
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Poco Plus
Child Carrier
$208 - $259
DaKine Jewel
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
DaKine
Jewel
Daypack
$42 - $69
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider 3400
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear
Windrider 3400
Weekend Pack
$310
Gregory Jade 38
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Gregory
Jade 38
Overnight Pack
$179
Arc'teryx Aerios 7
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Arc'teryx
Aerios 7
Daypack
$99
Outdoor Research Water Bottle Tote
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Outdoor Research
Water Bottle Tote
Pack Pocket
$14
Bergans Powerframe
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Bergans
Powerframe
External Frame Backpack
$549
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Stuff Sacks
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Sea to Summit
Ultra-Sil Stuff Sacks
Stuff Sack
$9 - $18
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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.