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 Pack Pocket
Granite Gear
Pack Pocket
Pack Pocket
$10 - $22
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
$195 - $279
Mountain Hardwear Napali 50
Mountain Hardwear
Napali 50
Weekend Pack
$190
Pacsafe VentureSafe 10L GII
Pacsafe
VentureSafe 10L GII
Daypack
$120
Aarn Peak Aspiration
Aarn
Peak Aspiration
Overnight Pack
$222
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
Fjallraven Abisko 55
Fjallraven
Abisko 55
Weekend Pack
$260
Mammut Lithium 25
Mammut
Lithium 25
Daypack
$105 - $139
EMS Wapack 60
EMS
Wapack 60
Weekend Pack
$129
Mountainsmith Mayhem 35
Mountainsmith
Mayhem 35
Winter Pack
$104 - $129
Roxy Huntress Backpack
Roxy
Huntress Backpack
Daypack
$44
Arc'teryx Kea 45
Arc'teryx
Kea 45
Overnight Pack
$259
Deuter ACT Lite 45+10 SL
Deuter
ACT Lite 45+10 SL
Overnight Pack
$179
Osprey Quantum
Osprey
Quantum
Overnight Pack
$90 - $98
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
$101 - $121
Granite Gear Traditional #4
Granite Gear
Traditional #4
Expedition Pack
$157
Mountainsmith Modular Hauler 4 System
Mountainsmith
Modular Hauler 4 System
Pack Duffel
$90 - $99
Osprey Cyber
Osprey
Cyber
Daypack
$91 - $129
 
Pacsafe
VentureSafe 45L GII
Overnight Pack
$225
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
$30 - $49
Osprey Tempest 16
Osprey
Tempest 16
Daypack
$90
Gregory Jade 23
Gregory
Jade 23
Daypack
$99
Osprey Rev 1.5
Osprey
Rev 1.5
Hydration Pack
$70
The North Face Jester II
The North Face
Jester II
Daypack
$70
Kelty Bueller
Kelty
Bueller
Daypack
$30 - $35
Arc'teryx Nozone 55
Arc'teryx
Nozone 55
Weekend Pack
$275 - $279
Grivel Freney 40
Grivel
Freney 40
Winter Pack
$117 - $179
Osprey Spin 22
Osprey
Spin 22
Daypack
$140
Gregory Navarino
Gregory
Navarino
Daypack
$80
Arc'teryx Aerios 10
Arc'teryx
Aerios 10
Daypack
$109
Black Diamond Outlaw
Black Diamond
Outlaw
Winter Pack
$153 - $169
Marmot Urban Hauler
Marmot
Urban Hauler
Daypack
$39
DaKine Baker Pack
DaKine
Baker Pack
Winter Pack
$48
Osprey Cyber Port
Osprey
Cyber Port
Daypack
$70 - $105
Lowe Alpine Space Case
Lowe Alpine
Space Case
Lumbar/Hip Pack
$50
The North Face Conness 82 Pack
The North Face
Conness 82 Pack
Expedition Pack
$329
Lowe Alpine Cholatse II ND 50:60
Lowe Alpine
Cholatse II ND 50:60
Overnight Pack
$185
Patagonia Ascensionist 25L
Patagonia
Ascensionist 25L
Daypack
$79 - $99
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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.