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 »


Internal Frame
External Frame
Winter Packs
Hydration Packs
Front Packs
Lumbar/Hip Packs
Child Carriers
Dry Packs
Portage Packs
Rope Bags


180 Tack
Advanced Base Camp
Adventure Driven




less than $25
$25 - $49.99
$50 - $99.99
$100 - $199.99
$200 - $299.99
$300 - $399.99
$400 - $499.99
$500 and above

Recent Backpack Reviews

Deuter ACT Lite 40+10

rated 3.5 of 5 stars Perfect rucksack for hiking and traveling especially for short days trip (2-3 days). The Vari-Quick System is the perfect technology applied to adapt with every user's back length, especially its easy to adjust. This hip belts is perfect and is comfortable compared to the weight that can be loaded from 40 till we used the 10L extra capacity. Would be better to advance the product with the front access to make it easier to access.  Full review

Osprey Comet

rated 5 of 5 stars A great daypack, as well made and designed as any I have ever owned. I love this pack. Was trying to replace a 2011 Mountain Hardwear Enterprise, and I originally ordered the 2014 Enterprise. I immediately returned it. A piece of crap; gone were the padded shoulder straps and back panell, the organization pockets, and quilted laptop pocket. The fabric was cheap. I ended up getting the Comet on sale from EMS and it was a great decision. Padded straps and back panel, padded laptop pocket, organization… Full review

Osprey Atmos 65

rated 4.5 of 5 stars The Osprey Atmos 65 is great for long distance backpacking. It can hold all you need and still be light. I highly recommend the pack. My pack fits really well. I've used it for several trips of varied days and it has been even better than expected.  I have had no problems adjusting it out no matter how much weight I carry. I felt no discomfort at all even when I carried 45 lbs (including 4 liters of H2O). It felt like I was carrying under 30lbs (compared to other packs I've used). The capacity… Full review

Everest Hiking Pack

rated 3 of 5 stars Overall, this is a budget option and can carry about 30 lbs for several miles, but don't push the boundaries of the straps or bungees. The Everest Hiking Pack is a budget size hiking backpack I bought on an extremely low budget build-out for a hammock camping adventure. It's just over 2900 cu in capacity, but it doesn't have any frame to speak of except for a decent amount of padding for your back. I've done 4+ mile hikes with it where I've had 30 lbs of gear in the pack itself (pretty much maxed… Full review

Osprey Viper 13

rated 4.5 of 5 stars This is a hydration backpack that offers a little space for extra stuff and does its job extremely well. With its included proprietary 3 liter water carrier, the pack is a very comfortable and highly usable way to bring water on your daily excursions. I particularly like the way bladder integrates with the pack. The array of pockets and openings is a little daunting initially. Introduction: The Osprey Viper 13 was my choice for a small hydration backpack for day hiking and occasional longer cycling… Full review

CamelBak Pursuit 24 LR 100 Oz

rated 5 of 5 stars A great day pack in the 20 to 25 liter size. This is a great pack. I tried (7) packs on at my local REI store (all weighted down — approx 15 lbs. each), and this pack was the clear winner.  Fit: It was the most comfortable pack I tried. Comfort: After walking around the store with this pack on, I almost forgot that I was wearing it. Capacity: For a daypack, this size fit my particular needs. At 24 liters (3 liters being the bladder), it is perfect for my needs If you are looking for a daypack… Full review

Gregory Forester

rated 5 of 5 stars Used it for ten years and easily the most comfortable pack I have ever known in over 50 years of packing. I have never put a load in it which it could not carry comfortably. I have a very short torso, but fit is perfect. No problems carrying for ten hours even though I have lower back problems. I like the simplicity and the fact that it limits carrying unnecessary stuff. Only one wish is detachable pockets for those times you need them—but not often. Full review

Teton Sports Scout 3400

rated 4 of 5 stars I purchased this pack for my first 3-day, 2-night, 22-mile hike. Great pack for the money! I believe, for the money, you can't beat this pack. I have done several one-day 8 milers and one 2-night, 3-day 22 miler. I have a 5-day, 4-nighter planned and feel sure it will handle the load. My only concern is the material seems a little cheap and it may not be a long-lasting pack, but I gave $60 for it. I believe I've already got my money out of it. I would definitely recommend this pack to a beginner. Full review

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel

rated 5 of 5 stars Patagonia's Black Hole Duffel line has 4 sizes, 45L, 60L, 90L and 120L. All are made from a durable water resistant fabric which can take a beating. I have the 60L size which is perfect for hauling around a ton of gear while still being carry-on size. Likes Size/Shape: The 60L duffel is just within carry-on size limits. With a little coaxing, I've gotten it to fit into even the smaller overhead compartments. For carrying gear on a plane, a duffel bag has advantages over a backpack in that it doesn't… Full review

Top-Rated Backpacks

Sort by: name | rating | price | availability | recently reviewed

user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Aqua-Quest Nautica 30L Dry Bag
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Eberlestock FAC Track Internal Frame Backpack
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Eberlestock G4 Operator Expedition Pack
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Eberlestock H2 Gunrunner Daypack
user rating: 3 of 5 (1)
Everest Hiking Pack Overnight Pack
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Nimrod Pack System External Frame Backpack
OneCoolBackpack EcoPack-1 External Frame Backpack
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
RE Factor Tactical Advanced Special Operations (ASO) Bag
$200 MSRP
user rating: 2.5 of 5 (3)
Travelon Clear View Waterproof Pouch Dry Case/Pouch
$13 MSRP
180 Tack HydraQuiver Hydration Pack Hydration Pack
2XU Transition Bag Daypack
Aarn Compact Balance Pockets Front Pack
$52 MSRP
user rating: 1 of 5 (1)
Aarn Effortless Rhythm Weekend Pack
$275 MSRP
Aarn Expedition Balance Pockets Front Pack
$68 MSRP
Aarn Featherlite Freedom Weekend Pack
$260 MSRP
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Aarn Guiding Light 60L Weekend Pack
Aarn Liquid Agility 31L Daypack
Aarn Load Limo 75+18L Expedition Pack
Aarn Marathon Magic 11L Daypack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Aarn Marathon Magic 20L Daypack
Aarn Marathon Magic 22L Daypack
Aarn Marathon Magic 33L Overnight Pack
Aarn Mountain Magic 50L Overnight Pack
Aarn Natural Balance 65+18L Weekend Pack
Aarn Natural Exhilaration 33L Overnight Pack
Aarn Peak Aspiration Overnight Pack
$175 MSRP
Aarn Photo Balance Pockets Front Pack
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Aarn Sport Balance Pockets Front Pack
$60 MSRP
ABS Helmet Holder Backpack Accessory
ABS Powder 15 Backpack Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Powder 5 Backpack Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Powder Base Unit Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Powder Zip-On 5 Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Vario 15 Backpack Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Vario 25 Backpack Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Vario 30 Backpack Avalanche Airbag Pack
$44 - $519
ABS Vario 40 Backpack Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Vario Base Unit Avalanche Airbag Pack
$372 - $807
ABS Vario Silver Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Vario Ultralight 18 Avalanche Airbag Pack
$38 - $512
ABS Vario Ultralight 8 Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Zip-On SB 15 Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Zip-On SB 5 Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Zip-On Vario 15 Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Zip-On Vario 24 Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Zip-On Vario 55 Avalanche Airbag Pack
ABS Zip-On Vario 8 Ultralight Avalanche Airbag Pack
$54 - $63
Advanced Base Camp Black Box Rope Bag Rope Bag
user rating: 5 of 5 (1)
Adventure Driven WolfPack 75L Expedition Pack
Aire Frodo Bag Dry Bag
Page 1 of 99:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  Next » 

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.


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.