13 Best Overnight Hiking Backpacks For Men and Women 2019

    The key to finding your best hiking backpack is to work with your body’s core center of gravity to make your load as light as possible.
    If you plan on going out for an extended trip, a heavier backpack will be necessary to hold all the extra stuff you’re going to bring
    Hiking backpacks can weigh anywhere from 1.5 to 6+ pounds.
    Most hiking backpacks come with enough suspension straps to keep your legs handling the bulk of the weight of the pack.

In this guide, we’ll present each backpack selection with our pros and cons along with some things to keep in mind while shopping for your ideal hiking backpack.

Best Overnight Hiking Backpacks for Men and Women

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Hiking Backpacks

Finding your perfect hiking backpack is no easy decision.

This is simply due to all the factors you have to keep in mind when selecting. You have to worry about weight, size and load capacity, not to mention separation anxiety from your old pack. You know, the one that worked as your bread and butter hiking backpack for so many years.

Gregory Mountain Products Zulu 30 Liter Men's Day Hiking...
The Gregory Mountain Products Zulu 30 Liter Men’s Day Hiking Backpack includes Crossflo suspension for better weight distribution

And even though you spent countless special moments together, the old gal needs to be replaced by a younger, better-looking backpack.

So how does one decide which hiking backpack will work best with so many options available to choose from?

The good news is that in the time you’ve spent trekking around with your old crusty pack.

Companies have been working diligently to perfect the modern day hiking backpack and have made them lighter and more durable than ever before.

While also providing enough space to fit all your stuff.

We’ve tested a number of the top performing hiking backpacks on the market today and have boiled everything down to our top 13 favorite packs on the market today.

Not to mention separation anxiety from your old pack that worked as your bread and butter hiking backpack for so many years.  Even though you spent countless special moments together, the old gal needs to be replaced by a younger, better-looking backpack.

So how does one decide which hiking backpack will work best when there are so many options available to choose from? The good news is that in the time you’ve spent trekking around with your old crusty pack, companies have been working diligently to perfect the modern day hiking backpack.

In fact, they’ve made them lighter and more durable than ever before. While also providing enough space to fit all your stuff.

We’ve tested a number of the top performing hiking backpacks on the market today and have boiled everything down to our top 13 favorite packs on the market today.

In this guide, we’ll present each backpack selection with our pros and cons along with some things to keep in mind while shopping for your ideal hiking backpack.

Find The Right Fitting Hiking Backpack:

When searching for the right hiking backpack you have to keep in mind that you’re going to be walking a lot with an entire bedroom on your back.

Even if you only need a daypack, it’s important to keep load capacity and weight in mind. The key is to work with your body’s core center of gravity to make your load as light as possible.

Teton Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack;...
The TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack includes lots of storage pockets for good organization

Essentially you want the pack to rest gently on your back while your legs do most of the work. This will make it possible for you to walk miles with as little strain as possible.

The first thing you want to do is get your torso measured as accurately as possible.

A lot of backpackers make the mistake of assuming their height will correspond to the size of the bag when actually, the only concern should be how the pack rests on your back.

To get the right measurement by following these steps:

Locate your C7 vertebrate by leaning your head forward to try and touch your chin to your chest. Feel the bump that pops out on your spine just above your shoulders, closest to the bottom of your neck. This bump is your C7 vertebrate.

Hold your hips with both hands on the top of the hips like you’re mom used to do when she caught you sneaking in after curfew. With your thumbs pointing towards each other along the top of the hip, make an imaginary line that connects the 2 sides.

Have another person measure the distance between your C7 vertebrate and your imaginary hip line. This distance is the length of your torso.

Having an accurate measurement of your hips is also not a bad idea since they’ll be doing most of the heavy lifting.

High Sierra Appalachian 75 Internal Frame Backpack,...
The High Sierra Appalachian 75 Backpacking Pack includes an ergo shoulder fit harness for custom shoulder fitting

Hiking Backpack Weight

Knowing how much stuff, and how much that stuff weighs is paramount to deciding on which backpack to get.

Your backpack alone is going to be one of the heaviest things you’ll have on your trip.

Add in your backpacking sleeping bag and ultralight backpacking tent, the weight starts to add up.

At the same time, if you plan on going for an extended trip, a heavier backpack will be necessary to hold all the extra stuff you’re going to bring.

Despite the camping industry and users favoring lighter materials, some higher quality hiking backpacks are made with heavier materials.

This will actually help to ensure their performance and reliability.

Hiking backpacks can weigh anywhere from 1.5 to 6+ pounds.

Just remember to stay as light as possible for a short trip.

But also don’t fear the heavier bags for a longer trip.

The bag’s durability will be the payoff.

Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack
The Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack has a tough 6065 aluminum alloy peripheral frame.

How Much Backpack Volume Do I Need?

Here’s a rough guide for the average backpacker.

The idea is that the longer you’re out the more stuff you’re going to carry and the more space you need.

Remember the key is to stay as light as possible.

But of course everyone has their own needs and stuff to lug around.

15L-30L Dayhike
30 – 60 L 1-2 nights
40 – 60 L 2-3 nights
65L + 3+ Nights

If you’re a new backpacker, its always a good idea to err on the side of a bigger bag.

The added extra pound or 2 pales in comparison to the stress of not having enough space to fit all your essentials.

Find The Perfect Weight Distribution

Once you’re packed and ready to go, you want to make sure the backpack is in position to feel as light on your back as possible.

Most hiking backpacks come with enough suspension straps to keep your legs handling the bulk of the weight of the pack.

These suspension straps will save your back from unnecessary strain.

Osprey Men's Atmos 65 AG Backpacks
The Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack includes an Anti-Gravity suspension system.

However, they can get a bit messy so make sure your backpack has a convenient way to store them.

Also keep your eye on the quality of padding, especially in the hips and shoulders. These are your backpack’s biggest touch points. Lacking durable padding in these areas can really cause discomfort as you walk for long periods of time.

Thick padding with good breathability and ventilation are your friend. Mesh design is a huge plus!

Tips to find your perfect fit

Adjust the hip belt so it’s at the top of your hips and in control of the weight of the pack.

Tighten the shoulder straps of the bag so they fit snugly against your shoulders. Leave a little space so your shoulders don’t pick up any extra work.

Make sure the load lifter straps fit at a 45-degree angle at the top of the shoulder harness connecting to the top of the back panel of the pack. Don’t tighten too hard to avoid pinching at the shoulder blades.

Tighten the sternum strap enough to feel the extra security and equal weight distribution it provides, but leave a little room to avoid discomfort.

Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Hiking Backpack - Discontinued
The Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Hiking Backpack includes the Aircontact lite back suspension system to evenly distributes weight

Stay Organized

When packing an internal frame hiking backpack keeping your stuff organized is key.

You can spend lots of time looking for the pocket knife that you swore you packed with your first aid kit, only to find it snuggled somewhere in between a shirt and underwear. You want to find a hiking backpack that provides plenty of pockets separate from your main compartment.

Here are some key pockets and storage compartments that we love:

  • Hip Belt Pocket: Use the pocket on your hip belt to store all of your most easily accessible goodies. Camera, phone, snacks, GPS.
  • Front pocket: Use this for emergency supplies and other small items.
  • Top lid pocket: Use this for sunscreen, toilet paper, and headlamps
  • Water Bottle Holster: This is non-negotiable as far as we’re concerned. Always carry water with you, and the easier the access to your water the better.
  • Sleeping Bag Compartment: This seems to be a new gimmick coming on a lot of new backpacks. It’s a nice addition but not necessary.
  • Hydration Pack: Another nice addition to backpacks but not necessary. I’m pretty old school and have no problem using a water bottle. Maybe for a light daypack, but in my opinion, this is something that if it pops a hole can wreak havoc on the rest of your bag.

Most internal frame packs are top loaders.

If you can, try and find a pack that also gives access to the main compartment via a front-loading zipper.

This will make your life one thousand times easier when looking for very specific things versus blindly feeling around.

Mountaintop 60L Internal Frame Backpack Hiking Backpacking...
The Mountaintop 60L Hiking Backpack with Rain Cover includes well placed convenient compression straps

How To Pack The Main Compartment

Everyone with at least a little experience will have their own way of organizing their main compartments. The idea is to keep the weight evenly distributed throughout the entire hiking backpack.

You don’t want to pack like your frantically stuffing your sack while running from a bear.

Try to keep your sleeping bag along with the things you need at night at the bottom.

Place your heavy items like cooking gear and food in the middle closer to your back.

Keep your lighter items like clothing and tent fly towards the top.

Backpacking Backpack Hiking Backpack Internal Frame Backpack...
The TERRA PEAK Adjustable Hiking Backpack includes 85L of storage space but still rides like a 65L bag

Stay Waterproof

It would be nice to imagine a scenario where you plan a multi-day hiking trip where the weather just magically stays clear.

Unfortunately, this is rarely how things play out.

At some point in your travels, you’re going to encounter water falling from the sky. Unless of course, you’re in the middle of the desert.

Even when you’re so hot and thirsty you’re wishing the water was falling from the sky!

It’s always a good idea to plan out as much water protection as possible. Very few bags will actually fully protect your stuff against even just light rain.

Gregory Mountain Products Baltoro 75 Liter Men's Multi Day...
The Gregory Mountain Products Baltoro 75 Liter Men’s Multi Day Hiking Backpack is an Award Winning backpack with easy access to the inside

Despite a lot of bags on the market claiming to be waterproof or water resistant. In case of heavy rain, your bag alone doesn’t stand a chance.

Ensure your stuff with a hiking backpack cover or a pack liner. A lot of backpackers simply use a heavy trash bag as a liner to protect the inside. You should think about double ensuring your most important water sensitive things by packing them in ziplock baggies.

This includes your phone, GPS, flashlight, or any other important electronics.

Be sure to check out our hiking backpack recommendations and whatever you do don’t rush this decision. A good hiking backpack can last you years when chosen correctly.

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Nick P

Nick spent his mostly unsupervised youth raising hell in the woods and ponds of 16 Acres in Springfield, MA (AKA Hell's Acres). He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and loves hitting the northeast trails when his schedule allows and camping on his roof deck when it doesn't.