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

DaKine Jewel
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
DaKine
Jewel
Daypack
$38 - $51
Gregory Jade 38
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Gregory
Jade 38
Overnight Pack
$118 - $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
 
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
Mammut Trion Guide 45+7
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mammut
Trion Guide 45+7
Overnight Pack
$150 - $199
Osprey Mira 26
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Mira 26
Hydration Pack
$149 - $150
The North Face Casimir 36
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
The North Face
Casimir 36
Overnight Pack
$100 - $169
DaKine Heli Pack
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
DaKine
Heli Pack
Winter Pack
$35 - $70
Black Diamond Demon Duffel
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Black Diamond
Demon Duffel
Pack Duffel
$64 - $79
The North Face Jester
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
The North Face
Jester
Daypack
$50 - $65
Klymit Motion 35
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Klymit
Motion 35
Overnight Pack
$105
Osprey Farpoint 40
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Farpoint 40
Overnight Pack
$150
Black Diamond Magnum
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Black Diamond
Magnum
Daypack
$52 - $69
Outdoor Research Backcountry Organizers
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Outdoor Research
Backcountry Organizers
Pack Pocket
$29
Mountain Hardwear Hueco 34
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountain Hardwear
Hueco 34
Overnight Pack
$90 - $130
Nathan Trail Mix
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Nathan
Trail Mix
Lumbar/Hip Pack
$33 - $45
Mountainsmith Dart TLS
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith
Dart TLS
Lumbar/Hip Pack
$28 - $34
Mile High Mountaineering Flatiron 38
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mile High Mountaineering
Flatiron 38
Overnight Pack
$137 - $249
Mountainsmith Lariat 65
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith
Lariat 65
Weekend Pack
$200
Osprey Porter 65
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Porter 65
Weekend Pack
$91 - $150
EMS Impulse Hydration Pack
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
EMS
Impulse Hydration Pack
Hydration Pack
$79
Mammut Trion Light 28
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mammut
Trion Light 28
Daypack
$135 - $189
Deuter AC Aera 22 SL
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Deuter
AC Aera 22 SL
Daypack
$109
Osprey Ariel 55
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Ariel 55
Weekend Pack
$139 - $260
High Sierra Access
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
High Sierra
Access
Overnight Pack
$35 - $49
Osprey Raptor 10
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Raptor 10
Hydration Pack
$120
Marmot Long Hauler
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Marmot
Long Hauler
Pack Duffel
$59 - $148
Deuter ACT Lite 75+10
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Deuter
ACT Lite 75+10
Expedition Pack
$229
Outdoor Research Ultralight Ditty Sacks
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Outdoor Research
Ultralight Ditty Sacks
Stuff Sack
$25 - $28
Mountainsmith Lookout 50
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith
Lookout 50
Weekend Pack
$144 - $179
Kelty Pawnee 40
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Kelty
Pawnee 40
Overnight Pack
$140
Osprey Stratos 34
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Stratos 34
Overnight Pack
$112 - $140
Kavu Rope Bag
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Kavu
Rope Bag
Rope Bag
$50
Sierra Designs Discovery 30
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Sierra Designs
Discovery 30
Daypack
$114 - $131
Black Diamond Innova 50
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Black Diamond
Innova 50
Weekend Pack
$157
EMS Long Trail 70
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
EMS
Long Trail 70
Weekend Pack
$229
CamelBak L.U.X.E.
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
CamelBak
L.U.X.E.
Hydration Pack
$99 - $133
Ortovox Thunder 35
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Ortovox
Thunder 35
Overnight Pack
$133
Osprey Exos 48
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Exos 48
Overnight Pack
$190
The North Face Verto 26
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
The North Face
Verto 26
Daypack
$79
Mountain Hardwear Fluid Race Vest
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Mountain Hardwear
Fluid Race Vest
Daypack
$70
L.L.Bean White Mountain Pack
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
L.L.Bean
White Mountain Pack
Weekend Pack
$150 - $189
Osprey Ariel 75
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Ariel 75
Expedition Pack
$310
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Sea to Summit
Ultra-Sil Compression Sack
Compression Sack
$23 - $39
Osprey Atmos 50
user rating: 4 of 5 (24)
Osprey
Atmos 50
Weekend Pack
$210
Osprey Stratos 24
user rating: 4 of 5 (14)
Osprey
Stratos 24
Daypack
$96 - $120
Gregory Deva 60
user rating: 4 of 5 (14)
Gregory
Deva 60
Weekend Pack
$247 - $329
Osprey Exos 58
user rating: 4 of 5 (12)
Osprey
Exos 58
Weekend Pack
$219 - $220
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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.