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Weekend Packs

Top Picks

How we choose: The best weekend packs highlighted here were selected based on 1,292 reviews of 483 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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If you've used a weekend pack that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

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Vargo ExoTi 50

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

The ExoTi 50 is Vargo’s second generation titanium frame pack. This 50-liter pack is certain to appeal to those who love the external frame backpack. Incredibly comfortable and significantly improved over its predecessor, the ExoTi 50 is a pack worthy of serious consideration.

Reasons to Buy

  • Extremely Comfortable
  • Light Weight
  • Quiet
  • Vastly improved over predecessor
  • Did I mention EXTREMELY comfortable?

Reasons to Avoid

  • Would prefer more external pockets
  • 50L is a bit small for many thru-hikers

I’m cheating on my backpack... In Spring 2014, I tested Vargo’s Ti-Arc. I instantly fell in love with that pack, and it has been my go-to backpack for more than three years. As much as I love the Ti-Arc, it does have its drawbacks, and my review listed a number of suggestions to take that unit from great to amazing. Now, Vargo has captured my affections with its ExoTi 50, and I’m not sure how to break the news to the Ti-Arc. Look, I’m not suggesting Vargo stole any of my ideas from that 2014 review. I’m stating categorically they stole all of my ideas and put them into the ExoTi 50. And I couldn’t be happier about it! The subsequent improvements with the ExoTi 50 are just what was needed.

Read more: Vargo ExoTi 50 review (1)

Osprey Aura 65

user rating: 5 of 5 (7 reviews)

Even on a small frame like mine, this large pack is an excellent choice for a longer hike!

Reasons to Buy

  • Pockets—not too many, not too few
  • Size—perfect without being overwhelming
  • Floating mesh back
  • Ease of sizing (even without a custom fit)

Reasons to Avoid

  • Fixed waist belt is hard to use, but when you figure it out, it's wonderful! Be patient :)

First, I have to admit that I haven't actually been on a hike with this yet. I am training for a larger hike in May on a treadmill, but seeing as how this is my first pack ever (aside from childhood backpacks for school), I am extremely pleased! Osprey has a killer pack here. Here are the details: The "floating" back. I mean, there is wonderful mesh that allows for airflow between your back and the pack, no matter what you have inside it. The "floating waist belt" is a little strange at first, but once you learn the best way for you to put it on (there is no "one" way to do it...find what works best for you), it's simple and a very wonderful invention.

Read more: Osprey Aura 65 reviews (7)

Mountainsmith Lariat 65

user rating: 5 of 5 (3 reviews)

A fantastic pack for overnight or the long weekend away, the Lariat has all the features you can use without all the add-ons you don't need. Easy to carry, it puts everything right where you need it with a simple zipper.

Reasons to Buy

  • Easy access through the top or side
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Removable daypack

Reasons to Avoid

  • Compression straps are situated in strange places
  • Top pocket is deeper than it is wide

I started looking for a new pack about three years ago to replace my tried and trusted Lowe Alpine Contour which had been my companion across the U.S. for years. I wanted a lighter pack with good suspension. I studied and compared, I tried on a lot of different styles and makes of backpacks. I even almost bought a couple because I thought they were "The One." I visited forums, I went to REI, I talked to buddies about their packs, I searched and tried and then ran across the Mountainsmith Lariat online.

Read more: Mountainsmith Lariat 65 reviews (3)

Kelty Redwing 50

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (6 reviews)

Extremely durable bag. The main compartment is large enough to hold all your gear for a multi-day hike. It weighs only 3.9lbs empty. Lots of pockets for extra gear. Straps are well padded and will work for broader shoulders. Hip belt is well padded and extends to larger sizes as well

Reasons to Buy

  • Well built
  • Lots of room
  • Fits bigger people

Reasons to Avoid

  • Sternum strap is built a bit high on the shoulders and can feel like it is choking you

Overall a very nice pack. I found the price point to be in-line with the market. I have trouble finding pack packs because I am tall and broad. (6'2" tall and 74" over shoulders, Yes, I am broad as I am tall). That being said I needed a pack with a more flexible load configuration. Kelty was the ideal fit. The shoulder pads are slightly tight under my arms, but the adjustable torso makes it easier to fix the problems I normally have.  The hip belt actually absorbs a lot of the weight and fits my 40" waist with room to spare.

Read more: Kelty Redwing 50 reviews (6)

Gregory Baltoro 65

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (16 reviews)

This is a load-hauler for a backpack of this size. It has proved to be not only comfortable but also very durable. Plethora of features is nice. Customer service from Gregory is outstanding.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable under a heavy load
  • Great durability
  • Multiple access points to the inside

Reasons to Avoid

  • Bottle pocket not often used.

I had done a preliminary review of this backpack shortly after purchase. Nearly 18 months later, I like the backpack more than I thought I would.  A few observations from use: The shoulder and hipbelt padding is fairly firm on this pack out when it is brand new.  it became more forgiving as I used it.  otherwise, the adjustments to fit the pack and get the suspension comfortable are excellent.  I really like the way it supports weight comfortably. A mouse ate through a hipbelt pocket not long after i got the backpack; i had left a clif bar in the pocket overnight.  i tried to buy a replacement hip belt pad from Gregory; they refused, and instead sent me a set of hip belt pads for the cost of shipping only.  extremely impressive.

Read more: Gregory Baltoro 65 reviews (16)

Deuter Aircontact 65+10

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5 reviews)

Given its size, this pack is a breeze to carry no matter the weather. And it's tough as nails. Mine has seen 2 years of hard SAR use both on and off track with barely a scratch on it.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lots of space
  • Durable
  • Easy to carry

Reasons to Avoid

  • Top pocket sometimes slides forward against your head
  • Drink bottle holders are a waste of space, too small for anything but rubbish

At 6'4" yet only 65kgs, I've found this pack a breeze to use over the last 2 and a half years. It sits nicely on my long back and adjusted right will hardly move, with no venting issues. Hip belt pocket is decent size yet even when full doesn't get in the way of the straps. One of the key features to me is the Camelbak cooler I've attached to its gear loops on the back, now just sliding the bladders in and out as I need them. Keeps my water separate from my pack in case of leaks or burst.

Read more: Deuter Aircontact 65+10 reviews (5)

Osprey Porter 65

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

Four continents and counting. It's (almost) a backpack!

Reasons to Buy

  • Large capacity
  • Hidden shoulder straps and hip belt
  • Fairly light weight
  • Many carry options

Reasons to Avoid

  • Material is a little on the thin side

This Osprey has been with me for over 10 years. It's been on 4 continents and served its designed purpose very well. Like many of Osprey's packs, the Porter is designed for travel and ease of carry through airports, on trains, and even short walks to lodging or nearby camping. But it is not a backpack. I would not want to carry it much more than a mile if it was packed full. It holds seemingly more than the 65 liter capacity would suggest.  It comes with a hidden harness. Shoulder straps and hip belt tuck away in a panel on the bottom.

Read more: Osprey Porter 65 reviews (3)

Gregory Alpinisto 50

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Mountaineers, alpine climbers, and one-backpack-to-do-it-all types should seriously consider the updated Gregory Alpinisto 50 pack. (2020 UPDATE AT BOTTOM)

Reasons to Buy

  • Strippable for light weight and speed
  • Extra durable material which also happens to be light-ish

Reasons to Avoid

  • Thin-ish shoulder straps may bother some
  • Snowboardwers may have a harder time attaching their plank
  • The back pad may not breathe well in the summer

Short Answer:  This pack will do so many things so well that it may cause some of the other packs in your gear cave to shed tears of loneliness. Its durability and versatility make it a fantastic choice for backpackers and alpinists alike. I'd easily take this pack up Mt. Rainier. Trips it is NOT suited for would be single-day, smash and grab alpine climbs and UL backpacking trips. Feel free to toss it off a cliff to make down-climbing easier. It can take it. It's Gregory; this isn’t their first backpack.  Finally out of the wind on the leeward side of the mountain Testing Conditions: I don’t always carry a hatchet, Microspikes, a gallon of water, and a four-pound Duraflame log, but when I do, it’s because I need a heavy load to give...

Read more: Gregory Alpinisto 50 reviews (2)

Osprey Exos 58

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (26 reviews)

Superb design, build, and features with enough volume for a week of "comfort light" backpacking. The easily adjusted, trampoline-style suspension system is about as comfortable as 16 kg/35 lbs + can get.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable and easily-adjusted suspension system
  • Light (but not UL)
  • Big enough for week-long trips, including a bear canister
  • Floating or removable lid
  • Lid and hip pockets and big external stretch mesh pockets for day-use essentials

Reasons to Avoid

  • Undersized shoulder straps
  • Ice axe attachment suboptimal

  Mudhopping in Sweden My 10 year-old Atmos 50 was looking a little worse for wear and tear -- ditto for my wife’s Aura. Both packs were veterans of 25 days on the John Muir Trail, a 10-day hike in the Wind Rivers, a pair of week-long hikes in Iceland, and numerous shorter outings in Arizona, Utah, and Norway. The abrasive rock on some of those trips had taken its toll on the fabric covering the hard bend in the frame at my hips (repaired once under Osprey’s warranty), and the zippers on the hip pockets and the vertical pockets on the back of the pack (2014 version) were starting to go.

Read more: Osprey Exos 58 reviews (26)

Mystery Ranch Glacier

user rating: 5 of 5 (3 reviews)

Designed For The Long Haul.

Reasons to Buy

  • Durability
  • Design
  • Comfort
  • Support
  • Material and stitching, zippers, and buckles

Reasons to Avoid

  • Lack of small organization pockets
  • No front panel access

Being a gear junkie you end up going through a lot of different backpacks. After owning and using many styles and brands, I found that the most durable and comfortable packs are typically in the hunting and tactical series. That being said, most of these companies do have an expedition line such as Eberlestock and Mystery Ranch. Kifaru, Kuiu, Exo, Badlands and others make some excellent packs, but in Canada, price and availability create a problem. Having owned six Eberlestock packs and now three Mystery Ranch, I'm leaning towards Mystery Ranch these days.

Read more: Mystery Ranch Glacier reviews (3)

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Other Types of Backpacks

Find more backpacks reviewed in these related categories:

Daypacks (under 35L)

Overnight Packs (35-49L)

Expedition Packs (70L+)

+9 more types

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