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

Granite Gear Blaze AC 60 Ki
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Granite Gear
Blaze AC 60 Ki
Weekend Pack
$216 - $239
Kelty Redwing 2500
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Kelty
Redwing 2500
Overnight Pack
$250
Mountainsmith Apex 75
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith
Apex 75
Expedition Pack
$168
Deuter Aircontact Lite 60+10 SL
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Deuter
Aircontact Lite 60+10 SL
Weekend Pack
$199
Gregory Z 40 Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Gregory
Z 40 Pack
Overnight Pack
$179
Fjallraven Abisko 65
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Fjallraven
Abisko 65
Weekend Pack
$270
Osprey Viva 50
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Viva 50
Weekend Pack
$179 - $180
JanSport Klamath 75
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
JanSport
Klamath 75
Expedition Pack
$85 - $175
Salomon XA Skin Pro 10+3 Set
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Salomon
XA Skin Pro 10+3 Set
Hydration Pack
$105 - $150
Black Diamond Infinity 50
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Black Diamond
Infinity 50
Weekend Pack
$135 - $156
Gregory Sketch 22
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Gregory
Sketch 22
Daypack
$79 - $99
Marmot Ultra Kompressor
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Marmot
Ultra Kompressor
Daypack
$63 - $179
Mountainsmith Juniper 50
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith
Juniper 50
Weekend Pack
$153
Gregory Contour 50 Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Gregory
Contour 50 Pack
Weekend Pack
$194 - $259
Osprey Mira 34
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Mira 34
Daypack
$159 - $160
CamelBak Charge LR 70 Oz Hydration Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
CamelBak
Charge LR 70 Oz Hydration Pack
Hydration Pack
$60 - $110
Lowe Alpine Airzone 35
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Lowe Alpine
Airzone 35
Overnight Pack
$94 - $113
 
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
ULA Equipment
Ohm 2.0
Weekend Pack
$200
Lowe Alpine AirZone Pro 45:55
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Lowe Alpine
AirZone Pro 45:55
Overnight Pack
$200
Osprey Waypoint 80
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Waypoint 80
Expedition Pack
$280
Osprey Verve 13
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Verve 13
Hydration Pack
$100 - $110
Deuter Freerider Pro 30
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Deuter
Freerider Pro 30
Winter Pack
$159
Granite Gear Nimbus Trace 62
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Granite Gear
Nimbus Trace 62
Weekend Pack
$180 - $299
CamelBak Lobo
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
CamelBak
Lobo
Hydration Pack
$76 - $88
Gregory Fury 32 Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Gregory
Fury 32 Pack
Daypack
$67 - $95
Osprey Porter 46
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Osprey
Porter 46
Overnight Pack
$130
Vargo Ti-Arc Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Vargo
Ti-Arc Pack
External Frame Backpack
$299
Kelty Orbit 15
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Kelty
Orbit 15
Daypack
$50 - $83
Boreas Gear Lost Coast 45
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Boreas Gear
Lost Coast 45
Overnight Pack
$100 - $190
High Sierra Titan 55
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
High Sierra
Titan 55
Weekend Pack
$130
Mountainsmith Descent
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith
Descent
$80
REI Stoke 19 Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
REI
Stoke 19 Pack
Daypack
$55
Mammut Heron Light 65+15
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Mammut
Heron Light 65+15
Weekend Pack
$195 - $198
REI Duck's Back Rain Cover
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
REI
Duck's Back Rain Cover
Pack Cover
$20 - $29
ULA Equipment AirX
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
ULA Equipment
AirX
$295
Deuter Futura 30 SL
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Deuter
Futura 30 SL
Daypack
$104 - $145
Gregory Savant 58 Pack
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Gregory
Savant 58 Pack
Weekend Pack
$149 - $198
Black Diamond Bullet
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Black Diamond
Bullet
Daypack
$45 - $49
Marmot Bridger
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Marmot
Bridger
Weekend Pack
$529
Black Diamond Octane
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Black Diamond
Octane
Daypack
$73 - $103
Osprey Sirrus 36
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Osprey
Sirrus 36
Overnight Pack
$150
Black Diamond Speed 40
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Black Diamond
Speed 40
Overnight Pack
$110 - $159
Outdoor Research DryComp Summit Sack
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Outdoor Research
DryComp Summit Sack
Overnight Pack
$79
Kelty Trekker 3900
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Kelty
Trekker 3900
External Frame Backpack
$180
High Sierra Col 35
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
High Sierra
Col 35
Overnight Pack
$47
CamelBak Octane XCT
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
CamelBak
Octane XCT
Hydration Pack
$84 - $85
Gregory Contour 60 Pack
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Gregory
Contour 60 Pack
Weekend Pack
$209 - $279
Montane Dragon 20
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Montane
Dragon 20
Daypack
$154
The North Face Recon
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
The North Face
Recon
Daypack
$65 - $99
DaKine Duel
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
DaKine
Duel
Daypack
$40 - $69
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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.