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 »

Category

Daypacks
Overnight
Weekend
Expedition
External Frame
Winter Packs
Hydration Packs
Front Packs
Lumbar/Hip Packs
Child Carriers
Dry Packs
Portage Packs
Rope Bags
Accessories

Brand

ULA Equipment
CamelBak
The North Face
Osprey
Deuter
Granite Gear
Patagonia
Equinox
Sea to Summit
Hyperlite Mountain Gear

User

Unisex
Men's
Women's
Kids'
Girls'

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

Recent Backpack Reviews

Dana Design Yellowstone

rated 5 of 5 stars An excellent pack, simply designed and rugged in construction. It had one lifetime before reaching me and, despite my best efforts, is only now starting to show wear 30+ years after manufacture. Much like an old car—every part can be repaired, replaced, or modified as necessary. I obtained my Dana Design Yellowstone pack as a gift from a blind man who used it for close to two decades in his visually-gifted youth. It has served me well on over a dozen weekend to week-long trips across one decade. Full review

Gregory Endo 15

rated 5 of 5 stars Gregory's new Endo 15 offers a feature-rich hydration pack with their latest technology and famed reliability. The Endo 15 is not limited to one activity, but useful for all you can dream up! Gregory Endo 15 Mountain Bike Hydration Pack PROS Superb hydration bladder Multiple storage compartments Padded zippered pocket Dual zippered hip-belt pouches Magnetic sternum strap clip Separate, removable tool kit bag Flasher attachment CONS Hydration hose tad short for sternum magnet Hip belt pockets need… Full review

Deuter Camera Case III

rated 5 of 5 stars Camera pouch which can be mounted on your belt or the shoulder strap of your rucksack. A brilliantly practical device which allows one-handed access to your camera. The Camera Case III is the largest in a series of camera pouches produced by Deuter. It is a wonderfully practical means of keeping your camera handy while walking. You can wear it on your belt or on the shoulder strap of your backpack. I keep mine on my left shoulder strap as shown below. The zipper is on the right, so I can open the… Full review

Gregory Sucia 28

rated 5 of 5 stars We got the Gregory Grandeur Series Sucia 28 with the hopes that it would do double duty as both a camping/weekend pack as well as a school bag my 11-year-old son can take to class and soccer practice. We especially needed a padded area for laptop/iPad as well as enough room for books, notebooks, pencils etc., but also wanted it to hold up for more than a few months. So far it's been the perfect combination of a school/work bag as well as one that holds up for weekend camping. After putting the pack… Full review

Ortlieb Dry Bag PS10

rated 3 of 5 stars Lightweight dry bag for storing the clothes inside the backpack. The fabric is neither too lightweight nor excessively strong. We’ve been using three of these bags for almost six years until we spotted massive delamination of PU coating inside and failures of welded seam. In 2012 we received three of these bags (in 12L size) as a gift from our friend. Prior to that we hadn't used the dry bags in our trips, protecting our gear by external raincovers and regular consumer plastic bags as liners. Full review

Revamp Gear Front Pack

rated 4.5 of 5 stars I found this pack very user friendly and it provided a great fit for a universal design product. Works great both when worn by itself or when I pair it with my backpacks or hydration packs. I decided to check out this pack after I met someone who was wearing one. We were both chatting as we were packing up, and he proceeded to remove his front pack and backpack with one click. I continued to loosen straps and release buckles until all my gear was off. I asked him about his pack and he gave me a… Full review

The North Face Men's Terra 40

rated 5 of 5 stars Unbelievable find at a thrift store, $8.99. Brand new. Great pack and now is my favorite pack. Looking at doing segments on the Colorado Trail. If you're looking for a great pack, look no more. Love it for light to ultralight backpacking. Highly recommend this pack. Has everything I've been looking for in a pack. Full review

Aquapac Small Stormproof Camera Pouch

rated 4 of 5 stars Protects your camera in wet conditions. Highly waterproof thanks to the roll-top, but not as practical as a normal camera pouch. I wouldn't be me if I didn't constantly stop to take pictures while walking in the outdoors, so I like to have my camera close at hand. I keep it in an excellent little Deuter pouch attached to the shoulder strap of my rucksack. I can unzip the pouch, take out my camera, and put it back in with quick and easy movements using just one hand. The Deuter pouch has only one… Full review

3F Gear 40L + 16 Backpack

rated 5 of 5 stars Two-pound backpack for $56 shipped! Great ultraLight backpack. I am 62 and have a real bad heart and wanted to backpack again after a 45-year hiatus. I bought this Chinese/Aliexpress Backpack and couldn't be happier. Would I love a ZPacks Arc? Heck yes, but this does as well for not much more weight. I have taken it on two trips so far since my decision to backpack six weeks ago and I really could not be happier. Capacity: 40+16 Liters Dimensions: 80cm*30cn*22cm Back length:about 52cm Net weight:… Full review

Top-Rated Backpacks

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

user rating: 5 of 5 (10)
ULA Equipment Catalyst Expedition Pack
$250
user rating: 5 of 5 (7)
CamelBak Cloud Walker Hydration Pack
$64 - $85
user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
The North Face Terra 40 Overnight Pack
$149
user rating: 5 of 5 (6)
ULA Equipment Ohm 2.0 Weekend Pack
$200
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Osprey Talon 11 Daypack
$100
user rating: 5 of 5 (5)
Deuter Futura 32 Daypack
$112
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Granite Gear Round Rock Solid Compression Sack
$25 - $34
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Patagonia Atom Daypack
$59 - $79
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Equinox Katahdin Weekend Pack
$117
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Pack Cover Pack Cover
$25 - $41
user rating: 5 of 5 (4)
Deuter Kid Comfort II Child Carrier
$249 - $250
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Overnight Pack
$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
$200
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Gregory Miwok 18 Daypack
$99
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Deuter ACT Trail 24 Daypack
$119 - $120
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Osprey Sirrus 24 Daypack
$130
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Mountainsmith Lariat 65 Weekend Pack
$184 - $229
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
REI Trail 40 Overnight Pack
$109 - $119
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Porter Weekend Pack
$345
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest Hydration Pack
$93 - $126
user rating: 5 of 5 (3)
Osprey Aura AG 50 Weekend Pack
$138 - $240
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (50)
Osprey Aether 70 Weekend Pack
$199
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (23)
Osprey Exos 58 Weekend Pack
$220
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (19)
Osprey Talon 44 Overnight Pack
$160
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (18)
CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack
$108 - $110
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (17)
Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Weekend Pack
$209
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (16)
Osprey Kestrel 48 Overnight Pack
$180
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (16)
Deuter Aircontact 75+10 Expedition Pack
$299 - $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
$110
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
ULA Equipment Circuit Weekend Pack
$225
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
The North Face Big Shot Overnight Pack
$119
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (13)
REI Flash 18 Daypack
$40 - $44
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Mountainsmith Day Lumbar/Hip Pack
$72 - $89
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (12)
Gregory Baltoro 65 Weekend Pack
$186 - $299
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Osprey Volt 60 Weekend Pack
$180
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack Dry Bag / Compression Sack
$23 - $69
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (11)
Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar/Hip Pack
$80
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10)
Osprey Kestrel 38 Overnight Pack
$160
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (8)
The North Face Terra 65 Weekend Pack
$179
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Pack Duffel
$119 - $169
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 Pack
$192 - $349
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Kelty Redwing 32 Daypack
$100
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Windrider Weekend Pack
$345
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Deuter Futura Pro 34 SL Overnight Pack
$159 - $170
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Osprey Xena 85 Expedition Pack
$270 - $380
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Fjallraven Kajka 75 Weekend Pack
$400
user rating: 5 of 5 (2)
Mystery Ranch Glacier Weekend Pack
$195 - $350
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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.