Top Backpacks Reviewed

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

Top Backpacks Rankings

  1. Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack

  2. Editors Rating:
    (5 / 5)

    Best Overall Option

    Weight5.1 lbs
    Capacity48L
    Cubic Inches4576"
    Torso Length31.5"
    Current Pricefrom $166.65

    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.

    Read our full review of the Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack


  3. Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack

  4. Editors Rating:
    (4.8 / 5)

    Weight4.6 lbs
    Capacity65L
    Cubic Inches3967"
    Torso Length23"
    Current Pricefrom $260.00

    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.

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


  5. Osprey Packs Women’s Tempest 20 Backpack

  6. Editors Rating:
    (4.8 / 5)

    Weight1.4 lbs
    Capacity20L
    Cubic Inches1220"
    Torso Length16"
    Current Pricefrom $203.97

    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.

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


  7. ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag

  8. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)

    Weight7.5 lbs
    Capacity86L
    Cubic Inches5250"
    Torso Length15.4"
    Current Price$103.99

    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.

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


  9. Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Hiking Backpack

  10. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)

    Weight4.6 lbs
    Capacity65L
    Cubic Inches3967"
    Torso Length33"
    Current Pricefrom $166.95

    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.

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


  11. Osprey Men’s Aether 60 Backpack

  12. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)

    Weight4.45 lbs
    Capacity60L
    Cubic Inches3661"
    Torso Length29"
    Current Pricefrom $452.70

    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.

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


  13. TERRA PEAK Adjustable Hiking Backpack

  14. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)

    Weight4 lbs
    Capacity65L
    Cubic Inches5186"
    Torso Length17"
    Current Price$129.99

    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.

    Read our full review of the TERRA PEAK Adjustable Hiking Backpack


  15. TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack

  16. Editors Rating:
    (4.4 / 5)

    Weight4.5 lbs
    Capacity55 L
    Cubic Inches3400
    Torso Length19.5 in
    Hydration PackNo
    Current Price$64.99

    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.

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


  17. TETON Sports Oasis 1200 3 Liter Hydration Backpack

  18. Editors Rating:
    (4.3 / 5)

    Weight2.45 lbs
    Capacity22L
    Cubic Inches1342"
    Torso Length19.5"
    Hydration PackYes
    Current Price$49.99

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

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


  19. Gregory Mountain Products Baltoro Men’s Hiking Backpack

  20. Editors Rating:
    (4.1 / 5)

    Weight5.1 lbs
    Capacity75L
    Cubic Inches4580"
    Torso Length31.5"
    Current Pricefrom $219.97

    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.

    Read our full review of the Gregory Mountain Products Baltoro Men’s Hiking Backpack


Last update on 2019-03-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Backpacks Buying Guide 2019

How to Pick

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.

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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.

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