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

Top-Rated Backpacks

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

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Deuter Aircontact 55+10 Weekend Pack
$259 - $260
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Gregory Stout 35 Overnight Pack
$140
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Patagonia Black Hole Pack 25 Daypack
$112 - $129
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
High Sierra Titan 55 Weekend Pack
$150
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Hammock Bliss Ultralight Travel Daypack Daypack
$37
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
Gregory Baltoro 75 GZ Expedition Pack
$269 - $381
user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1)
REI Duck's Back Rain Cover Pack Cover
$23 - $34
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Gregory Paragon 58 Weekend Pack
$230
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
REI Flash 45 Overnight Pack
$149
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Granite Gear Virga 2 Weekend Pack
$105 - $111
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Osprey Xenith 105 Expedition Pack
$390 - $400
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Osprey Farpoint 70 Weekend Pack
$200
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Gregory Zulu 40 Overnight Pack
$134 - $179
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Osprey Sirrus 36 Overnight Pack
$170
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Black Diamond Speed 40 Overnight Pack
$135 - $179
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Granite Gear Air Compressor Compression Sack
$21 - $35
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
CamelBak Octane XCT Hydration Pack
$84 - $85
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Osprey Exos 38 Overnight Pack
$180
user rating: 4 of 5 (2)
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack Compression Sack / Dry Bag
$27 - $42
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
DaKine Duel Daypack
$56
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Black Diamond Speed 22 Daypack
$75 - $99
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Kelty Redwing 44 Overnight Pack
$125
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Sea to Summit TPU Guide Waterproof Case for Smartphones Dry Case/Pouch
$30
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
JanSport Katahdin 70L Weekend Pack
$130
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Dyneema 2400 Ice Pack Overnight Pack
$500
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Black Diamond Element 45 Overnight Pack
$150 - $200
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Deuter ACT Zero 50+15 Weekend Pack
$189 - $190
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Mammut Trea Guide 40+7 Winter Pack
$200
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Osprey Skarab 32 Daypack
$120
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Seattle Sports Explorer Dry Bags Dry Bag
$16
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Thule Capstone 50L Weekend Pack
$200
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Nite Ize S-Biner MicroLock Backpack Accessory
$4
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
SealLine Baja Dry Bag Dry Bag
$13 - $39
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Mountainsmith Scream 55 Weekend Pack
$160
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Kelty Redwing 50 Reserve Weekend Pack
$160
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Sea to Summit Big River Dry Sack Dry Bag
$19 - $59
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack
$42 - $50
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Deuter Pulse Four EXP Lumbar/Hip Pack
$38
user rating: 4 of 5 (1)
Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Cube Set Stuff Sack
$40
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (4)
Kelty Red Cloud 90 Expedition Pack
$220
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (3)
Osprey Variant 52 Weekend Pack
$110 - $200
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (2)
Kelty Compression Stuff Sacks Compression Sack
$15 - $20
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (2)
Deuter Futura 24 SL Daypack
$140
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (2)
Exped Lightning 60 Weekend Pack
$229
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (2)
JanSport Odyssey Overnight Pack
$85 - $99
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (2)
CamelBak Classic Hydration Pack
$59 - $60
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (2)
JanSport Klamath 55 Weekend Pack
$155
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1)
Granite Gear Lutsen 55 Weekend Pack
$176 - $219
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1)
Gregory Citro 25 Daypack
$130
user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1)
Metolius Speedster Rope Bag
$35 - $46
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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.