About Backpacks

When it comes to planning a backpacking trip, a hiking backpack is one of the most important items you’re going to buy.

If only the decision on which backpack to choose was so easy.

The fact is that with so many different styles of backpacks to choose from, figuring out the best one for your adventure could be an overwhelming task.

You have to pinpoint your needs.  Do you need a larger capacity, special storage compartments, more or less compression straps, and sleeping bag holding straps?

Or do you need something smaller like a daypack?

Comfort is one of the biggest deciding factors.  The best part about shopping for your perfect backpacking backpack nowadays is that you really can find a bag that fits your specific body type.

Between back length and shoulder straps there are quite a few options for finding your perfect fitting camping backpack.

See our picks for the best hiking and camping backpacks below.

For details on finding the best camping backpack check out “13 Best Overnight Hiking Backpacks For Men and Women

For those on shorter trips and who just need a simple daypack check out “Best Ultralight Packable Daypack For Hiking and Living

Best Backpacks 2020

    Weight 5.1 lbs
    Capacity 48L
    Cubic Inches 4576"
    Torso Length 31.5"
    Current Price Price not available

    Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack is a great pack for those making the transition to ultralight backpacking. Although this pack is a bit on the heavier side for a lightweight pack, it makes up for this weight with the 6065 aluminum alloy peripheral frame that helps the weight sit evenly on your back and helps to eliminate any muscle tightness or back soreness.

    Pros
    • Lightweight/durable materials
    • Tough 6065 aluminum alloy peripheral frame
    • Breathes very easily
    Cons
    • Top loader allows essential items to get easily buried
    • Shoulder strap material chafes arms and elbows

    Read our full review of the Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack


  1. Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack
  2. Editors Rating:
    (4.8 / 5)
    Weight 4.6 lbs
    Capacity 65L
    Cubic Inches 3967"
    Torso Length 23"
    Current Price Price not available

    Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack is a good backpack for the thru-hiker who needs a sturdy pack that is made with high-quality materials inside and out that won’t tear in the first 1000 miles.

    Pros
    • Just under 4 pounds
    • Anti-Gravity suspension system
    • Lots of pockets
    • Removable floating lid
    Cons
    • If not sized properly the water bottle side holder can be uncomfortable
    • The load lifters seem oddly placed

    Read our full review of the Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack


  3. Osprey Women’s Tempest 20 Backpack
  4. Editors Rating:
    (4.8 / 5)
    Weight 1.4 lbs
    Capacity 20L
    Cubic Inches 1220"
    Torso Length 16"
    Current Price Price not available

    The Osprey Packs Women’s Tempest 20 Backpack is a women’s specific bag that will work perfectly for day hikes or even for just getting around town. The Osprey Tempest has a ton of space in the main compartment including an external hydration sleeve, which also unzips all the way to easily locate everything inside.

    Pros
    • Lightweight bag that can handle a number of different scenarios for either day hiking or overnight adventures
    • Plenty of storage room inside
    • Airspace mesh stitching for ventilation
    Cons
    • Material can chafe a little
    • Color is kind of loud

    Read our full review of the Osprey Women’s Tempest 20 Backpack


  5. ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag
  6. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)
    Weight 7.5 lbs
    Capacity 86L
    Cubic Inches 5250"
    Torso Length 15.4"
    Current Price Price not available

    The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag is a monster of a bag, built for hunters. The OutdoorZ Commander works best for longer outings, especially where you need to tote a lot of gear over the course of days or weeks.

    Pros
    • Great value bag for hunters
    • Rifle specific side pocket
    • Enough pockets to carry all of your essentials
    • Lashing straps give more external space for larger cargo
    Cons
    • Not waterproof
    • Shoulder straps were kind of uncomfortable

    Read our full review of the ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag


  7. Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Hiking Backpack
  8. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)
    Weight 4.6 lbs
    Capacity 65L
    Cubic Inches 3967"
    Torso Length 33"
    Current Price Price not available

    The Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Hiking Backpack is an extremely comfortable backpack. The Aircontact lite back suspension system of the pack really helps to evenly distribute weight so it doesn’t feel like your walking with 30 pounds of gear on your back.

    Pros
    • 65L with extra 10L bottom storage
    • Aircontact lite back suspension system evenly distributes weight
    • Plenty of Straps for sleeping pad or poles
    Cons
    • Not waterproof
    • Straps a bit too long

    Read our full review of the Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Hiking Backpack


  9. Osprey Men’s Aether 60 Backpack
  10. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)
    Weight 4.45 lbs
    Capacity 60L
    Cubic Inches 3661"
    Torso Length 29"
    Current Price Price not available

    The Osprey Men’s Aether 60 Backpack is a super durable 60L backpack made for the ultralight backpacker hitting the trail for a longer amount of time or for anyone who needs just needs a bigger bag that can take a beating.

    Pros
    • Excellent back and hip support through the LightWire™ peripheral frame weight distribution
    • Plenty of strong compression straps
    • Llots of space inside
    Cons
    • Shoulder straps feel a bit stiff to some

    Read our full review of the Osprey Men’s Aether 60 Backpack


  11. TERRA PEAK Hiking Backpack
  12. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)
    Weight 4 lbs
    Capacity 65L
    Cubic Inches 5186"
    Torso Length 17"
    Current Price $135.99

    The TERRA PEAK Adjustable Hiking Backpack is a great bargain backpack with a ton of storage space no matter which size you get. There are a number of well-placed pockets for easy to and go including side pockets which help get things in and out faster and more orderly.

    Pros
    • 85L of storage space still rides like a 65L bag
    • Easily adjustable weight distribution
    • Good For Longer Trips
    • Bag weight under 5 pounds
    • Integrated built in rain cover,
    Cons
    • Shoulder strap can chafe if adjusted too tight

    Read our full review of the TERRA PEAK Hiking Backpack


    Weight 4.5 lbs
    Capacity 55 L
    Cubic Inches 3400
    Torso Length 19.5 in
    Hydration Pack No
    Current Price $66.03

    The Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack is a high performance, robust backpacking backpack built for the backpacker looking for a large backpack that can hold lots of cargo without weighing them down.  This is a 55L (3400 cubic inch) capacity backpack that weighs 4.5 pounds empty.  The Teton Sports Scout 3400 also can be purchased in multiple colors to give you more selection.  The shell of the bag is made from 600D diamond ripstop and 600D Oxford canvas that will help this bag withstand all the rigors of the trail.

    Pros
    • Lots of zippers and organized storage
    • Fully adjustable torso and straps
    • 55L for plenty of storage space
    • Made from 600D diamond ripstop and 600D Oxford canvas
    Cons
    • 4.5 pounds, kind of heavy
    • Top loader so a little harder to pack

    Read our full review of the TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack


  13. TETON Oasis 1200 3L Hydration Backpack
  14. Editors Rating:
    (4.3 / 5)
    Weight 2.45 lbs
    Capacity 22L
    Cubic Inches 1342"
    Torso Length 19.5"
    Hydration Pack Yes
    Current Price $47.99

    The TETON Sports Oasis 1200 3 Liter Hydration Backpack is perfect for several outdoor needs. Whether you hike, run, bike, ski, fish, etc. you’re going to find this bag is ideal for you. It’s super lightweight at just over 2 pounds for a 20L backpack.

    Pros
    • Lightweight bag
    • Enough room for a hydration pack and lightweight supplies or gear
    • Plenty of padding and added cushioning for comfort
    Cons
    • Included hydration pack can leak
    • With the hydration bladder in there's not a lot of space room

    Read our full review of the TETON Oasis 1200 3L Hydration Backpack


  15. Gregory Baltoro Hiking Backpack
  16. Editors Rating:
    (4.1 / 5)
    Weight 5.1 lbs
    Capacity 75L
    Cubic Inches 4580"
    Torso Length 31.5"
    Current Price Price not available

    The Gregory Mountain Products Baltoro 75 Liter Men’s Multi-Day Hiking Backpack is a very durable lightweight pack capable of handling very heavy loads for long periods of time. Gregory backpacks are some of the best on the market and the Baltoro is no exception having been named Winner of Backpacker Magazine’s 2015 Editor’s Choice Gold Award and the winner of Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year Award.

    Pros
    • 75L and lots of space
    • Easy access to the inside
    • Award Winning backpack
    • Lightweight at only 5 pounds
    Cons
    • The load lifter and shoulder straps come undone easily on some bags
    • Chest buckle can break easily

    Read our full review of the Gregory Baltoro Hiking Backpack


    Weight 5.8 lbs
    Capacity 75L
    Cubic Inches 4580"
    Torso Length 34"
    Current Price Price not available

    The High Sierra Appalachian 75 Backpacking Pack is a good inexpensive 75L bag for those thrifty backpackers who want something comparable to a top line bag under $100. As far as design and comfort there isn’t much drop off from a top of the line bag.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive 75L bag
    • Included rain cover
    • Ergo shoulder fit harness for custom shoulder fitting
    • Top and Front loading abilities
    Cons
    • Not water proof
    • Materials' durability were a little suspect and can tear easily

    Read our full review of the High Sierra Appalachian 75 Backpacking Pack


    Weight 4.35 lbs
    Capacity 66L
    Cubic Inches 4000"
    Torso Length 20"
    Current Price $139.99

    The TETON Sports Mountain Adventurer 4000 Backpack is a 65L backpack that gives you space and durability for those multi-day hikes, or a one day hike where you’re bringing a moderate amount of gear.

    Pros
    • Plenty of room inside
    • Separate sleeping bag compartment
    • Included Poncho
    Cons
    • Sleeping bag compartment zipper hard to get to
    • Could use some more ventilation
    • Materials chafe a bit

    Read our full review of the TETON Sports Mountain Adventurer 4000 Backpack


  17. TETON Explorer 4000 Backpack
  18. Editors Rating:
    (3.6 / 5)
    Weight 5 lbs
    Capacity 65L
    Cubic Inches 4000"
    Torso Length 32"
    Current Price $72.24

    The TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack is very similar to the Mountain Adventurer 4000 Backpack but with a slightly bigger frame and less weight. For a bag well under $100 you get a ton of useful features like well-placed pockets, a sleeping bag compartment, and with 4000 cubic inches, you’d be hardpressed to not be able to fit all that you need for a few nights in the outdoors.

    Pros
    • Big bag at only 5 pounds with plenty of space
    • Free rain cover
    • Breathable mesh against your back
    • Lots of storage pockets for good organization
    Cons
    • Cheap shoulder stitching
    • Zippers break easily

    Read our full review of the TETON Explorer 4000 Backpack


  19. Mountaintop 60L Hiking Backpack
  20. Editors Rating:
    (2.9 / 5)
    Weight 4.3 lbs
    Capacity 60L
    Cubic Inches 3661"
    Torso Length 31.9"
    Current Price $55.60

    The Mountaintop 60L Hiking Backpack is a good bag for entry-level backpackers. It’s big enough at 60L to reliably carry 35lbs. I wouldn’t go any higher or you might be pushing it. The bag seems kind of cheap, but as long as you aren’t running through a field of cacti or frantically ripping it open you should be ok.

    Pros
    • Lots of space inside
    • Well placed convenient compression straps
    • Integrated rain cover, Inexpensive
    Cons
    • Cheaper material, Inefficient shoulder straps

    Read our full review of the Mountaintop 60L Hiking Backpack


Backpacks Buying Guide

Everything you need to know before purchasing Backpacks

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.

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.