Have you got a big backpacking adventure ahead and you’re looking for the perfect bag for the occasion? In this guide, we look at 15 of the top backpacking backpacks to help make your decision a little easier. No matter your budget, there is a backpack out there for you. When choosing a backpack you’ll need to consider the things that you pack into it such as a sleeping bag, water bottles, and other gear such as hiking equipment. There’s a lot to think about ahead of using the backpack itself.
We’ve rounded up the top backpacking backpacks so that you won’t have to spend hours doing the research yourself. All of the backpacks that we have included in this guide are renowned for their quality and comfort making them popular product choices. We’ll look in detail at the different features that each backpacking pack has to offer including the weight of the backpack, the capacity limit, and the price point.
By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to confidently choose the right backpack product for your own needs. Whether you are hiking Machu Piccu or backpacking around New Zealand, we have you covered with the fantastic backpack options below. Read on to find your perfect backpack!
Types of Backpacking Packs
As you can probably imagine, there are many different backpacking backpacks available. From lightweight hiking backpacks to compartmentalised bags with a roll top closure feature. If you’re wondering which type of backpack is the right model for your needs we have you covered with an overview of each type below.
You’ll come to see there are many different options and knowing what you require is always a good place to start. Before we reveal our top product choices, here’s an overview of the different types of backpacks to help you identify which one is the right fit for your needs.
For the backpacker that wants to pack lightly, an ultralight backpack is your best option. Backpacks that are designed to be light are still spacious enough to fit in all your hiking essentials and they are made to be comfortable too. If you’ve never used an ultralight backpack before and are wondering if they are worth it, they absolutely are. By carrying the things you only need without overloading yourself. This means you can save yourself from back pain and general aches while walking comfortably and carrying everything you need with ease.
For those that are planning a hike over challenging terrain (such as up hills), you should definitely choose a lightweight backpack. You will thank yourself in the long-run when you can hike without heavy loads on your back and still carry everything you need for your trip.
Adjustable Sizing Backpacks
An adjustable sizing backpack as you may have already guessed allows you to adjust the size of the bag to suit your needs. You can easily adjust the torso length of the backpack along with the shoulder strap length too, ensuring a comfortable fit. The point of adjustable backpacks is to create a better distribution of the weight that you’re carrying so that it isn’t solely felt in the back area. Many hikers choose to use these types of backpacks as they are far comfier than a regular backpack and they’re ideal if you’re travelling with a heavy load.
You can find a range of adjustable sizing backpacks which have different weight capacities. You should consider a backpack with an adjustable hip belt where possible if there’s a lot to pack which in many cases there is!
Large Capacity Backpacks
A large capacity backpack is designed with long-term travellers in mind or those that require a backpack that they can carry heavy items in. These types of bags are made using stronger and more durable materials and are ideal for load haulers and backpackers alike. You’ll find that you can fit a lot into the main compartment of a large capacity backpack, though they also come with additional compartments too. The maximum weight load of such backpacks does differ from model to model, so be sure to check which is most suitable for your own needs.
If you are planning to back-pack for a long period of time, you should consider this type of backpack as you’ll be able to carry more. Many backpackers opt for these types of bags as they can carry all the clothing and other items they need with ease from place to place.
Top 15 Best Backpacking Backpacks
Below, you’ll find our round-up of the top 15 backpacking backpacks and all the accompanying information you could need too. There are many different types of bags as you’ll come to see, each of which has its own features and USPs. If you’re looking for a hand with selecting the right backpack, you’re in the right place!
1. Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack
Capacity: 50 liters | ItemWeight: 3 lbs. 11 oz | Adjustable Torso: One Size
First up on our list of top backpacks, is the Kelty Redwing 50 bag which is popular among hikers and travellers. A highly trusted brand, the Kelty store only offers high-quality products for those who are outdoorsy and you can trust that this bag is top quality too. With a multi-purpose design, this is one of the most versatile backpacks on the market and it allows you to fully customize the way it fits too. There are 3 ways that you can adjust the bag to ensure it fits you comfortably and it comes with extra compartments too.
Featuring zipped side pockets for smaller items, a front pocket, a hex mesh back panel, load lifter strap, and sternum strap, there is plenty to appreciate about this pack. The hybrid U zipper design works as a top loader and panel loader at the same time, allowing you easy access to your belongings at any time. An addition of a stash pocket brings about quick access when needed for example if you’re too hot and want to put your jacket in the bag. You’ll be both comfortable and stable with this backpacking bag. If you’re an avid traveller or hiker, this adaptive bag could be the perfect bit of gear for you.
2. Osprey Atmos AG 65 Backpacking Backpack
Capacity: 30-50 lbs. | ItemWeight: 4.48 lbs | Adjustable Torso: Yes
Next in our list of the best packs for a backpacker, we have the Osprey Atmos AG 65 pack which features remarkable anti-gravity suspension. Designed for those that are seeking a lighter pack weight, this bag makes it seem like you are carrying far less of a load than you actually are. Though it has one torso length, it is ideal for hikers who want to carry a good amount of stuff with less of the overall weight. With an adjustable harness and hip belt, the user can find the right fit for this backpack to ensure carrying their gear is no effort at all.
This pack comes with a removable top lid for extra convenience allowing you to stash items inside with absolute ease. It’s an ideal pack choice for anyone that goes on excursions once a week or more thanks to its array of compartments and the Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment for hiking. This bag wraps comfortably around the body and has an ultra plush back panel and shoulder straps for ultimate comfort. Whether you need to pack a heavy jacket or smaller items such as a water bottle, you’ll find a suitable compartment for everything with the Osprey Atmos 65.
3. Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10
Capacity: 50+10 Liters | ItemWeight: 6.58 lbs. | Adjustable Torso: 15-21 inches
If you’re looking for a hyper-functional and versatile backpack for all of your backpacking needs look no further than the Aircontact Lite 50+10 by Deuter. Delivering sophisticated style coupled with practicality, this is one of the best backpacking packs available on the market. Available at a super reasonable price point, hikers and backpackers will love all that this pack has to offer. The innovative Aircontact Lite back system helps to make heavy loads easier to carry and the mesh pockets allow good levels of ventilation when in use. From the carry system which focuses on stability and energy transfer to the dual density foam comfort-lock hip belt, every aspect of this pack has been designed ergonomically.
This bag is highly comfortable thanks to the addition of Aircontact cushions of open chamber foam which pump out the hot air away from the body during movement. You’ll be able to hike for hours and move about with confidence when wearing this Aircontact Lite 50+10 pack. The bag also comes with an Extendable 10L pack collar for optional volume expansion meaning you can carry a bigger load when required and it features a number of accessory loops too.
4. Gregory Mountain Optic Ultralight Hiking Backpack
Capacity: 48 Liters | ItemWeight: 2.47 lbs. | Adjustable Torso: S: 16-18 inches, M: 18-20 inches
L: 20-22 inches
Another great option for those that are looking to pack loads of stuff but carry it comfortably, the Gregory Mountain Optic pack has a lot to offer. The bag has been designed with fluid motion in mind to bring about a weight-saving piece of gear with a spacious main compartment. This pack is guaranteed to fit you exceptionally and can be adjusted using the different sizes options. In terms of moving around when wearing the backpack with heavier loads, you’ll benefit from a low base which distributes the weight well. No matter what type of stuff you want to carry, this is a top back pack choice for any hiker, you’ll be able to fit in your sleeping bag, water bottle, and so much more.
In addition to this pack’s ergonomic design to fit the body, it also comes with a rain cover, compression straps, and a removable top lid for easy access. For those hiking in sunnier conditions, there is a sunglasses QuickStow system located at the top of the pack allowing you to quickly take out your sunglasses when needed. It also comes boasts dual zipped hip belt pockets which provide the wearer with secure storage hideaways.
5. Osprey Exos 48 Backpacking Backpack
Capacity: 58 Liters | ItemWeight: 2.33 lbs. | Adjustable Torso:
Next on our list is another great backpack from Osprey, the 48 backpacking backpack. Great for any sort of trip, this lightweight pack offers total comfort and is ideal for any load haulers. If you’re a backpacker, you will love just how breathable this pack is when you wear it thanks to the perfect combination of ventilation and function that make the ergonomic design. The bag comes with a top lid that can be removed allowing you easy access to the main compartment and it comes with additional mesh pockets too. This Osprey bag also features an innovative suspension system so that the weight of your gear is distributed as evenly as possible when in use.
Like many of the other Osprey bags, this model comes with a handy trekking pole attachment that allows you to stow your poles when you need your hands free. This is an ideal option for hikers and it comes at an affordable price point too. If you’re looking for gear advice and have had no luck, consider this pack at the top of its game.
6. Gregory Paragon 58 Pack
Capacity: 48 Liters | ItemWeight: 3.53 lbs. | Adjustable Torso: Yes
Next on our list, we have another excellent hikers bag and backpacking staple, the Paragon 58 pack by Gregory. With an adjustable free float design, this backpacker bag is extremely easy to carry and surprisingly lightweight making it ideal for long excursions. The pack moves the body and provides great back ventilation thanks to the breathable nylon back panel and soft shoulder strap pieces. You’ll be able to fit all the essentials into this pack inclusive of walking gear, and smaller items such as your water bottle. With extra-deep mesh pockets, larger items can easily be accommodated for and a full-length zipper on the side allows you access whenever needed.
In addition to its practical design and comfort levels, this bag has a fantastic eye-catching graphite blue color. However, if the blue isn’t for you, there is also a more rustic olive green version of this product. Overall, this product is excellent for backpacking, hiking, and camping alike.
7. Granite Gear Crown 2 60 Backpack
Capacity: 60 Liters | ItemWeight: 2.2 lbs. | Adjustable Torso: No
The Granite Gear Crown 2 60 backpack is an ideal choice for any outdoor enthusiast. Allowing you to comfortably carry all of your gear thanks to comfortable shoulder straps and a cushioned back panel, there is plenty to admire about this ergonomic design. The ultralight pack is ideal for those that are looking to feel less of the load when moving around making it highly suitable for hikers. It comes with a patented hip belt that is fully adjustable to different sizes and you can remove the frame sheet for further convenience.
This pack also comes with a removable rain cover and lid compartment that features a DWR high-duty zipper. You’ll be able to quickly access your items as and when you need to without taking the bag completely off your back. For those that are searching for a specifically water resistant backpack, this could be the best pack for you. Without a doubt, this is a solid backpack for just about any need and you’ll appreciate the pack’s lightweight design too. You can still fit loads of gear inside while the weight is distributed perfectly for less impact on the body.
8. Osprey Aether AG 70 Backpacking Backpack
Capacity: 35-60 lbs. | ItemWeight: 2.5 lbs. | Adjustable Torso: No
Another top choice for any type of backpacker, the Osprey Aether AG 70 backpack comes with a custom harness and hip belt for a perfect fit. Hikers and travellers alike will appreciate the fact that they can fit loads into this pack without weighing themselves down thanks to a lightweight design. Featuring anti-gravity technology with a customizable fit alongside other innovative features, this is the best option for carrying heavy gear. The main compartment will allow you to pack everything you need including your sleeping bag, boots, and whatever else you may need to carry.
This bag is designed to be as versatile as they get with a special frame and ice axe holders. No matter the adventure you have ahead of you, this pack is sure to be an excellent companion. The internal compression straps help to keep everything contained while your load will be far less bulky than when compared to other packs. If you’re wondering whether this backpacking pack is for you, it’s the one for just about any traveller. Highly versatile and built to last, this is an outstanding pack design.
9. Osprey Archeon Backpack
Capacity: 25 liters | ItemWeight: 4.9 lbs. | Adjustable Torso: Yes
For more of a classic Osprey design, the Archeon backpack is the ideal pack to choose. This bag is designed to be both versatile and dependable and it comes with a range of fantastic features that make the design appealing to just about any type of traveller. Combining quality, craftsmanship, and quality, the Archeon backpack uses recycled fabrics to give a combat feel and it comes with a generously sized main compartment. As one of the best hiking backpacks available from the brand, you won’t have to worry about load spreading.
The bag’s HDPE frame and aluminium alloy enhancements work with your body to distribute the weight of your load evenly. It comes with a range of low profile hipbelt stash pockets which are ideal for carrying smaller items including water bottles too. This backpack also comes with an integrated raincover to ensure that none of your gear gets wet if you’re hiking or travelling in wet conditions.
10. Mammut Ducan Spine Hiking Backpack
Capacity: 50-60 liters | ItemWeight: 4 lbs. | Adjustable Torso:
The final backpack in our best picks for backpackers is the Mammut Ducan Spine pack which is designed to be extremely lightweight and comfortable. It allows the wearer to distribute the load and weight evenly across their body and is a top choice among hiking backpacks for this reason. You won’t feel any strain on your back and it comes with a range of additional features too. It comes with a pocket that can be attached to the shoulder straps or the hip belt part of the backpack depending on your preferences.
With easily accessible hip belt pockets and side pockets, this is one of the best packs if you’re on the move. You can fit in all the essential gear including your sleeping bag, water bottle, and much more.
Considerations When Choosing a Backpacking Pack
Finding a backpack that ticks all of your backpacking needs can be quite a task. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to have an idea of what your requirements are before settling on a pack. If you’re not sure of what exactly you should be looking for when choosing a backpack, we’ve put together a list of handy considerations for you below:
The capacity capabilities of your new backpack is probably the most important thing to consider. Depending on your needs you may need a bag that can carry a heavy load with a large main compartment or if you’re just looking for a bag for hikes here and there, a smaller capacity may suffice. Be sure to check out the capacity of the bags that you are considering and compare the different load capabilities before settling on the one that you wish to buy.
There are ultra-light backpacks available for hikers and backpackers alike that can hold around 40-50 litres in total. These bags are great for day trips and multi-day backpacking trips, you certainly won’t get a bad back when carrying this type of load.
A conventional backpack usually allows a capacity of around 60-70 litres and these are the most common amongst backpackers. You’ll be able to fit conventional gear inside a bag that offers this capacity and additional items such as clothing too. This is a good capacity limit for anybody who is embarking on their first backpacking venture and you certainly shouldn’t struggle with space. Just be sure to not pick up a souvenir from every destination that you visit!
For those that are looking for a larger backpack, there are packs that offer a 70-80 litre capacity. However, these bags can definitely restrict movement and are reserved for situations such as setting up camp at a high altitude. Consider these bags the hardcore versions of a regular pack and they will require a strong spine especially if filled up with gear.
Think carefully about why you need the pack and what you’ll be carrying in it. This can help you choose a suitable pack for your needs and get to grips with the capacity you should be choosing too. There are many different sizes of backpack as you’ve probably learnt and some are more suitable for thru hikers while others are suited better to the conventional backpacker.
It is best to make a clear action plan for what you’ll be doing on your trip before considering a pack. You’ll have an idea of what is needed in terms of compartments and even specific design features such as hip belt pockets. There’s no point in buying a super fancy backpack if you only plan to use it for a few days, likely money will be wasted and you may find it just doesn’t suit your needs. Be sure to do your research beforehand!
How your new pack will fit is of vital importance. SO many travellers complain of discomfort and back pain when carrying all their gear on their back. Load haulers that move around regularly depend on a comfortable fit, so you should consider this when refining your bag options. Many of the packs that we’ve included in the list above use anti-gravity designs and are reinforced for an extra sturdy and comfy fit.
Look for packs with adjustable shoulder straps as this will help significantly with load distribution. You should also look at other factors such as back ventilation to ensure you’re not overheating and the structure of the bag’s frame.
The price of your new pack is something worth considering as most likely you’ll have a budget in mind. Packs vary in price depending on their features with some being super fancy and others celebrating more of a basic design. If you are considering a pack for a long trip such as backpacking, it is certainly worth investing a bit of extra cash. For more money you’ll benefit from a better design most likely and more importantly – comfort!
For those that are seeking a pack for camping trips here and there or hikes, you can probably spend a bit less on a bag. While it is tempting to go for a budget-priced pack always be mindful of the fact that you will be wearing the bag. Bags that are cheaper generally end up worn quicker and don’t come with additions such as hip belt pockets which can be REALLY helpful when out and about.
The weight of the actual pack is our next point as some are designed to be specifically lightweight. You may underestimate how heavy a pack can be before it’s even got any items in – after all, most are designed to be extremely rugged. Some packs even have heavy frames which aid with stability but add to the bag’s weight rather significantly. If you are looking to reduce the weight of the load on your bag, we advise choosing a super lightweight or lightweight option.
There are many lightweight bag designs available in the product review list above. Where it isn’t completely necessary for you to have a heavier, high-duty bag, go for a lightweight option and you’ll thank yourself later (at the top of the mountain).
The frame of a backpack is extremely important when it comes to design features, as it is responsible for the way that the bag fits and how sturdy it is. External frames on packs sit away from the torso to help increase ventilation for the back and reduce sweating. The weight of the load is also positioned higher in the bag so that you don’t feel a strain on your body when moving and carrying your gear. Back ventilation is important when walking for hours as many people underestimate just how hot they can get with a pack against their backs. Be sure to look for a bag that has a good quality frame if you’re seeking gear advice.
Most backpacks need to be durable and this is especially true for backpack designs. Lightweight packs are generally made of Ripstop nylon or Dyneema Composite Fabric which are both water-resistant. Renowned for their robustness, these materials are ideal for packs as they can hold a lot of weight without tearing and won’t wear easily. Canvas can also be used to make a sturdy pack though it isn’t waterproof of course, so this should be considered if you have your eye on a pack made of this material.
Still looking for answers to questions you have about the best backpacks for backpacking needs? If so, we have answered the most frequently asked below. Read on to get your questions answered and find the perfect pack for your next adventure!
How Big of a Backpack do I Need for Backpacking?
The size of the pack that you should buy will depend on a number of factors with the biggest one being what you are using it for. As you’ve come to see, packs are available in different sizes and they offer various capacity ranges too. Whether you’re going on a month-long trip around Europe or need a pack that is lightweight for hiking, working out the size most suitable for you is a good start.
You should look for a pack that is going to be comfortable enough to carry while allowing you to pack all of your gear with ease. In the guide above, we have included a number of products in this category that are suitable for backpacking. However, it is important to always review pack size prior to buying as you may find it to be too big or too small for your requirements.
What are Good Quality Backpacks?
If you’re a backpacker or have a backpacking trip ahead of you, your number one priority will be quality. We’ve aimed to include some of the best packs for backpackers in the guide above while ensuring they are still affordable options. As backpacking requires you to carry around lots of gear at once from destination to destination, you will need a pack that is durable and made of a high-quality material.
The Osprey Aether AG 70 backpack is a solid contender as one of the best options for backpackers due to its custom harness and adjustable hip belt. If you’re backpacking you’ll be able to access all of your gear with ease while being reassured that your bag isn’t going to give up on you at any point.
Another excellent option is the Osprey Atmos AG 65 pack which features an innovative anti-gravity suspension for complete comfort when on the move. Like the other Osprey models it comes with an adjustable harness and hip belt too for added convenience.
What Design Features Should I Look for in a Backpack?
Though backpacks are designed ergonomically, there are specific features that you should be looking out for, particularly if you have a backpacking trip planned. As a rule of thumb, the design features that the best packs have include:
- an adjustable length option or an adjustable hip belt length
- Padded shoulder straps for added comfort
- Side pockets for smaller items such as water bottles
- Load lifting abilties
- A waterproof cover
- A rear stretch pocket for other gear