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
Last update on 2019-11-12 / 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.
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.