Backpacks

The best backpacks, reviewed and curated by the Trailspace community. The latest review was added on December 18, 2018. Stores' prices and availability are updated daily.

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 »

Recent Backpack Reviews

U.S. Military ILBE Pack

rated 4 of 5 stars Comparison of USMC ILBE vs Eberlestock v90 Battleship backpacks with the focus on winter camping usage For Winter Camping and Expeditions you need a really HUGE backpack. I own both the Eberlestock v90 battleship and a USMC ILBE pack. I shall compare and contrast these with emphasis on winter camping. Both packs have WEB reviews on military use, hunting, and expeditions. Both packs have good reviews on TRAILSPACE. Battleship frontBattleship side Battleship Camo The Eberlestock v90 battleship pack… Full review

Mountainsmith Circuit 5400

rated 4 of 5 stars I’ve been using the Circuit 5400 for two years now in all four seasons. It is reliable, comfortable, and has a couple of unique features that I have grown to love. Fit: The pack fits as I would expect a pack to fit. The straps allow the user to adjust hip, shoulders, and torso like most standard packs. The weight can be distributed quite evenly. I’m not sure if the circuit is unisex or not. It is not labeled as such, but my daughter has used it on several overnight hikes and did not have any… Full review

Gregory Salvo 24

rated 5 of 5 stars Great little pack for a day hike! This pack is perfect for a day hike. Right amount of organizational pockets that let you place your gear for quick and easy access. Nice vented back panel that breathes and wicks away moistUre. Hip belt with small pockets to store quick access items. Not too small and not too big. Just perfect! Full review

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Pods

rated 5 of 5 stars Want to have the best organized pack, ability to unpack fast, pack fast in any weather condition, then these pods are for you. Organization is so good that I only have four items in my bag. Crazy eh? Ease of Use: After time, you will figure out what works in each pod.  For my large pod, I have my pillow, liner, bag, pad, sleeping clothes and spare clothes. The smaller pod holds all my other loose gear, but I also have my spare socks and fleece in this pod. Features: Waterproof material with tapered… Full review

LuxuryLite StackPack

rated 4.5 of 5 stars I have used the pack for a total of 20 days—two trips into the Gila Wilderness and two into the Pecos Wilderness. My pack has an external frame and four 25-litre, waterproof bags. The bags only weigh 4 oz. each, and the total empty weight for a 75-litre backpack is 32 oz. It is very comfortable to wear, however unconventional its design is. No signs of wear yet. The most weight I have carried so far is 28 pounds (my first trip), as I am solo hiking (and kind of a newbie). The pack is infinitely… Full review

Mystery Ranch Urban Assault

rated 4.5 of 5 stars A relatively small, highly durable daypack that moves easily from commuting to the trail. While this is no lightweight for a backpack this small, it is comfortable to carry and supremely easy to access the contents. With inner sleeves that swallow a laptop, tablet, and cables, it would be a super solution for commuters who prefer a backpack to a briefcase. It's basically a smaller, stripped-down version of one of my favorite larger daypacks, the 38 liter Mystery Ranch Snapdragon. The lack of any… Full review

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel

rated 5 of 5 stars This bag surpassed my expectations. It is now my go-to travel bag that can be used for many different occasions. This duffel backpack bag quickly became my favorite multi-purpose travel bag. I can use it for the gym, I use for week-long trips, and I've used it on multi-day kayaking trips. I recorded a video because I wanted to show people that you can actually fit 7+ days worth of clothes in it (I have the 60L duffel), with some room to spare, which still amazes me a bit. Here's the link if you're… Full review

RōM Outdoors RōM Pack

rated 3 of 5 stars The RoM Pack delivers in durability and diversity. If you're looking for a twist on a daypack, the RoM Pack is hard to beat. I had the opportunity to review the RoM Pack. The RoM pack offers a durable daypack that transforms into a fleece lined blanket and water resistant poncho. This pack also includes a drawstring stuff sack as an added bonus.  The pack weighs in around 4.6 pounds, slightly heavier than most daypacks I've worn hiking, but could be worn on a shorter hikes without much extra effort. Full review

Hi-Tec Tioga 65

rated 4.5 of 5 stars A large pack that carries three days or more of equipment. I used this $50 internal frame pack that I bought at Big 5 to train for a one-week outing. For a three-day dry run I carried 38 lbs and the pack was comfortable. However when I took it loaded on a trip to Hawaii the baggage handler broke a buckle. Still I was able to tie the strap and continue my outing with no problem. Best money I've ever spent! Full review

user rating: 5 of 5 (10)
ULA Equipment Catalyst Expedition
$250
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
CamelBak Cloud Walker Hydration Pack
$79 - $85
user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
The North Face Terra 40 Overnight
$112 - $149
user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
ULA Equipment Ohm 2.0 Weekend
$200
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Osprey Talon 11 Daypack
$65 - $100
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Granite Gear Round Rock Solid Compression Sack
$20 - $34
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Patagonia Atom Daypack
$39 - $59
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Equinox Katahdin Weekend
$117
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Cover Pack Cover
$23 - $41
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Deuter Kid Comfort II Child Carrier
$250
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Pack Duffel
$119 - $169
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Overnight
$310
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Deuter Trans Alpine 30 Daypack
$130
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
SealLine Pro Portage Pack Dry Pack
$134 - $199
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Gregory Miwok 18 Daypack
$60 - $99
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Deuter ACT Trail 24 Daypack
$90 - $120
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Osprey Sirrus 24 Daypack
$130
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Mountainsmith Lariat 65 Weekend
$172 - $183
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
REI Trail 40 Overnight
$119
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Porter Weekend
$345
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest Hydration Pack
$68 - $126
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Osprey Aura AG 50 Weekend
$172 - $240
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (51)
Osprey Aether 70 Weekend
$199
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (23)
Osprey Exos 58 Weekend
$220
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (19)
Osprey Talon 44 Overnight
$160
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (18)
CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack
$70 - $110
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17)
Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Weekend
$209
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (16)
Osprey Kestrel 48 Overnight
$117 - $180
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (16)
Deuter Aircontact 75+10 Expedition
$225 - $300
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (15)
CamelBak Rim Runner Hydration Pack
$99 - $104
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (14)
Osprey Talon 22 Daypack
$82 - $110
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
ULA Equipment Circuit Weekend
$225
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
Gregory Baltoro 65 Weekend
$199 - $299
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
REI Flash 18 Daypack
$40
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Mountainsmith Day Lumbar/Hip Pack
$90
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Osprey Volt 60 Weekend
$117 - $180
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack Dry Bag / Compression Sack
$23 - $49
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar/Hip Pack
$64 - $79
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10)
Osprey Kestrel 38 Overnight
$104 - $160
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (8)
The North Face Terra 65 Weekend
$125 - $179
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey UL Raincover Pack Cover
$30 - $40
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 70 Weekend
$175 - $206
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Kelty Redwing 32 Daypack
$70 - $99
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Windrider Weekend
$345
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Deuter Futura Pro 34 SL Overnight
$159 - $170
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey Xena 85 Expedition
$380
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Matador Daylite16 Daypack
$50
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Fjallraven Kajka 75 Weekend
$400
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Mystery Ranch Glacier Weekend
$259 - $350
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Marmot Kompressor Daypack
$35 - $50
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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.