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

Backcountry Access Float 32
Backcountry Access Float 32 Avalanche Airbag Pack
$468 - $550
DaKine Miley 16L
DaKine Miley 16L Daypack
$21
Eagle Creek Rincon Vita 65L
Eagle Creek Rincon Vita 65L Weekend Pack
$234
Deuter Futura Vario Pro 45+10 SL
Deuter Futura Vario Pro 45+10 SL Overnight Pack
$175 - $219
Sierra Designs Ministry 40
Sierra Designs Ministry 40 Overnight Pack
$63 - $139
Granite Gear Pack Pocket
Granite Gear Pack Pocket Pack Pocket
$16 - $20
Mammut Xera Flip
Mammut Xera Flip Daypack
$72
JanSport Klamath 68
JanSport Klamath 68 Weekend Pack
$120
Kelty Ascender Trunk Backpack
Kelty Ascender Trunk Backpack Expedition Pack
$200
DaKine ABS Signal 25L
DaKine ABS Signal 25L Avalanche Airbag Pack
$1,250
Black Diamond Revelation Avalung
Black Diamond Revelation Avalung Winter Pack
$200 - $279
Pacsafe VentureSafe 10L GII
Pacsafe VentureSafe 10L GII Daypack
$90
REI Flash Sport 15 Pack
REI Flash Sport 15 Pack Daypack
$70
Burton Paradise Pack 15L
Burton Paradise Pack 15L Winter Pack
$40 - $79
Arc'teryx Kea 37
Arc'teryx Kea 37 Overnight Pack
$199
High Sierra Symmetry
High Sierra Symmetry Winter Pack
$65
Fjallraven Abisko 55
Fjallraven Abisko 55 Weekend Pack
$208
Ultimate Direction Fury
Ultimate Direction Fury Lumbar/Hip Pack
$17
Mammut Lithium 25
Mammut Lithium 25 Daypack
$112 - $139
EMS Wapack 60
EMS Wapack 60 Weekend Pack
$109
Mountainsmith Mayhem 35
Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 Winter Pack
$104 - $116
Roxy Huntress Backpack
Roxy Huntress Backpack Daypack
$44
Arc'teryx Kea 45
Arc'teryx Kea 45 Overnight Pack
$229
Deuter ACT Lite 45+10 SL
Deuter ACT Lite 45+10 SL Overnight Pack
$143 - $179
VauDe Ultra Hiker 15
VauDe Ultra Hiker 15 Daypack
$75
Millet Peuterey 35 Limited
Millet Peuterey 35 Limited Overnight Pack
$120
Black Diamond Element 60
Black Diamond Element 60 Weekend Pack
$220
Arc'teryx Mantis 26
Arc'teryx Mantis 26 Daypack
$125
Geigerrig Guardian Rig
Geigerrig Guardian Rig Hydration Pack
$130
Burton AK Pack 17L
Burton AK Pack 17L Winter Pack
$130
Granite Gear Traditional #4
Granite Gear Traditional #4 Expedition Pack
$157
Mountainsmith Modular Hauler 4 System
Mountainsmith Modular Hauler 4 System Pack Duffel
$80 - $89
Osprey Cyber
Osprey Cyber Daypack
$91 - $129
 
Pacsafe VentureSafe 45L GII Overnight Pack
$168
OutThere MS-1 Multisport Pack
OutThere MS-1 Multisport Pack Daypack
$125
Burton Kilo Backpack
Burton Kilo Backpack Daypack
$60
DaKine Option
DaKine Option Daypack
$25 - $49
Osprey Tempest 16
Osprey Tempest 16 Daypack
$63 - $90
Gregory Jade 23
Gregory Jade 23 Daypack
$99
Osprey Rev 1.5
Osprey Rev 1.5 Hydration Pack
$49 - $70
The North Face Jester II
The North Face Jester II Daypack
$70
Kelty Bueller
Kelty Bueller Daypack
$36 - $44
Arc'teryx Nozone 55
Arc'teryx Nozone 55 Weekend Pack
$275 - $279
Grivel Freney 40
Grivel Freney 40 Winter Pack
$90
Osprey Spin 22
Osprey Spin 22 Daypack
$98 - $139
Gregory Navarino
Gregory Navarino Daypack
$80
Arc'teryx Aerios 10
Arc'teryx Aerios 10 Daypack
$109
Black Diamond Outlaw
Black Diamond Outlaw Winter Pack
$160 - $169
DaKine Zola 13L
DaKine Zola 13L Daypack
$35
Marmot Urban Hauler
Marmot Urban Hauler Daypack
$39
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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.