Best Backpacking Backpacks

10 Best Backpacking Backpacks in 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

(Last Updated On: January 7, 2021)

Backpacking is a perfect means of dropping crowds, going off the grid, and seeing nature at its wildest. Plus, it gives you the ability to fine-tune your survival skills just in case. We’re not here to criticize, Regardless, we’re just to help you find a backpacking kit that will help you enjoy your destination and trek. The best backpacking backpack will have plenty of space for your load, fit like a glove, and preferably have all the features you need.

From fast overnighters to lengthy thru-hikes, how you carry your weight above all else when backpacking matters. You live practically out of your pocket, which means you have to bring everything you need to survive with you, but you don’t want to make your bag so bulky that it’s difficult to take with you. It takes time to categorize your stuff, along with lots of deep reflection to decide what you need and what you would otherwise go without.

In a Hurry? The test winners after 14 hrs of research

Osprey Packs Volt 75 Men's Backpacking Backpack

Osprey Packs Volt 75 Men’s Backpacking Backpack – Best For Men

Why is it better?

  • The hip belt is comfortable
  • The integrated raincover stows conveniently and deploys easily from its dedicated compartment
  • The zippered hip belt pockets are useful to allow access to things that you might otherwise keep in your front pants pockets accessible
  • If you choose to go with external water bottles, the external pockets for them are extra deep and large

Osprey Packs Aura AG 65 Women's Backpacking Backpack

Osprey Packs Aura AG 65 Women’s Backpacking Backpack – Best for Women

Why is it better?

  • Completely adjustable to properly fit your torso size and hips
  • Ventilated mesh by your back for airflow
  • Carries the weight very well
  • Very comfortable to wear even on long hikes

Best Backpacking Backpacks – Overview

One of the most simple and yet essential pieces of backpacking equipment besides packing cubes for backpacking and a backpacking sleeping bag is a backpack. The longer the trip, the more necessary it is to have a decent backpack on your feet, and when you reach the road for more than a few days, you are going to carry a heavy load. Since good backpacks are fairly costly, a certain amount of caution is required when purchasing one. We listed some of the best backpacking backpacks for long journeys and a buying guide in order to better assist you in your purchase. For women, however, would benefit more from a women’s specific backpacking pack.

Backpacking Backpacks Reviews

1. Osprey Atmos AG 65 Men’s Backpacking Backpack

Osprey Atmos AG 65 Men's Backpacking Backpack

The Osprey Atmos AG 65 Men’s Backpacking Backpack is the best-fitting and comfortable pack for traditional backpacking trips up to a week or more. The innovative AntiGravity suspension makes it feel like you’re carrying less weight and seamlessly wraps around your body. With easy to use stretch side pockets, Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment, and FlapJacket for lidless use.

You can use the adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt to dial in the perfect fit and the Dual upper and lower side compression straps stabilize loads and maintain a streamlined profile. It also features a lower zippered sleeping bag compartment with removable divider.

Key Features:

  • Dual zippered top lid pockets
  • Dual ice tool loops with bungee tie-offs
  • Large front stretch mesh pocket
  • Removable sleeping pad straps
  • Sternum strap with safety whistle
  • Two zippered front pockets for additional storage

Specifications:

  • Brand: Osprey
  • Capacity: 65L
  • Dimensions: 34″ H x 16″ W x 15″ D
  • Weight: 4.56 lbs
Pros
  • The web on the back keeps you cool while hiking
  • The straps provide ample support around the waist and chest
  • This bag has an adjustable frame for taller people
  • The lumbar strap has pockets which can fit a good amount of things
Cons
  • Those who are experienced trekkers may find this bag uncomfortable at first but by adjusting the bag you will find the perfect setting for yourself dependent on the load

2. Osprey Packs Aura AG 65 Women’s Backpacking Backpack – Best for Women

Osprey Packs Aura AG 65 Women's Backpacking Backpack

The Osprey Packs Aura AG 65 Women’s Backpacking Backpack is the best-fitting and most comfortable women’s-specific pack ever made for traditional backpacking trips. The innovative Anti-Gravity suspension makes it feel like you’re carrying less weight and seamlessly wraps around your body. With easy to use stretch side pockets, Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment, and FlapJacket for lidless use.

The zippered hipbelt pockets keep snacks and smaller items close at hand. The Internal hydration reservoir sleeve accommodates up to a 3L reservoir and if you have a water bottle, there’s dual access stretch mesh side pockets as well. Be sure to also check out our list of Osprey backpacks for more great items like this.

Key Features:

  • Dual zippered top lid pockets
  • Dual ice tool loops with bungee tie-offs
  • Large front stretch mesh pocket
  • Removable sleeping pad straps
  • Sternum strap with safety whistle
  • Two zippered front pockets for additional storage

Specifications:

  • Brand: Osprey
  • Capacity: 65L
  • Dimensions: 33″ H x 16″ W x 15″ D
  • Weight: 4.42 lbs
Pros
  • Completely adjustable to properly fit your torso size and hips
  • Ventilated mesh by your back for airflow
  • Carries the weight very well
  • Very comfortable to wear even on long hikes
Cons
  • Might need to add some padding such as sheepskin to the hip belt

3. Granite Gear Blaze Backpacking Backpack

Granite Gear Blaze Backpacking Backpack

The Granite Gear Blaze Backpacking Backpack is built to go the distance, comfortably and tailored to you. The A.C. frame lets you lock in your fit precisely to your torso size. The frame, in combination with the patent-pending fully adjustable Re-Fit hip belt and the molded foam back panel, lets the pack comfortably carry up to 50 lbs.

The custom fabric is an innovative technology that makes this Granite Gear’s most durable pack to date. In the high-impact and high-abrasion areas, they’re using a Granite Gear exclusive 210D Robic nylon UHMWPE triple ripstop. The lid, which is fully removable to cut grams, can be converted to an optional chest pack to carry on your front to keep even more contents at the ready. A tall vertical hidden zipper now allows you to access the main compartment quickly, especially to get to those contents at bottom of the pack.

Key Features:

  • All new A.C. (Air Current) Frame with 50lb (22.7kg) load rating
  • Dual-density shoulder harness with load-lifter straps,
  • Removable sternum strap and whistle buckle for safety
  • Cinch-and-roll closure with crossing webbing straps
  • Removable lid compartment with DWR treated zipper
  • Hydration port & internal hydration sleeve

Specifications:

  • Brand: Granite Gear
  • Capacity: 60L
  • Dimensions: 25″ H x 14″ W x 6″ D
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs
Pros
  • The belt works well and is easily adjustable
  • The hip pockets are generous but not overly large
  • The backing of the pack keeps items from jabbing one in the back
  • The main bag itself is spacious, large, and has some sort of waterproofing
Cons
  • There isn’t much room for airflow, resulting in a sweaty back soup

4. Gregory Optic 48 Large Backpacking Backpack

Gregory Optic 48 Large Backpacking Backpack

Achieving fluid motion takes more than counting ounces. The ultralight Gregory Optic 48 Large Backpacking Backpack combines weight-saving design with exceptional fit and load management to give you a low base pack weight along with mileage-crushing efficiency. Comfortable carry and thoughtful trail features keep your head in the game so you stay ahead of your thru-hiking itinerary.

This backpacking pack features a removable top zippered pocket to shed ounces and swap-in included ultra-light weather flap to stay protected (stows in top pocket), oversized, durable front stretch mesh pocket for quick access organization and quick access on-the-go water bottle stow access on both the right and left sides.

Key Features:

  • AeroSpan suspension with EVAP moisture-wicking shallow-depth ventilated back panel
  • Ventilated, dual-density FocusForm shoulder harness and extra supportive hip belts with targeted comfort zones
  • Leaf-Spring Lumbar pad for comfortable, energy-saving load transfer
  • Ultra-light 7001 aluminum perimeter frame with Anti-barreling support
  • Included custom-fitted rain cover

Specifications:

  • Brand: Gregory
  • Capacity: 48L
  • Dimensions: 30″ H x 12.5″ W x 12″ D
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs
Pros
  • Not too many pockets or bells and whistles
  • This is a really comfortable backpack
  • It has two water bottle pockets
  • Zippered hip belt pockets
Cons
  • The compression straps are a bit thin

5. Osprey Packs Volt 75 Men’s Backpacking Backpack – Best For Men

Osprey Packs Volt 75 Men's Backpacking Backpack

The Osprey Packs Volt 75 Men’s Backpacking Backpack is ideal for hauling moderate to heavy loads in the backcountry. With 5 inches of torso fine-tuning and expandable Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt wings. The breathable AirScape backpanel offers a snug fit and the LightWire frame transfers heavy loads to the hipbelt. Quickly store your trekking poles with the Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment.

A zippered sleeping bag compartment provides easy access, with removable sleeping pad straps. Hope for bluebird weather but know you’re covered with the integrated and removable rain cover that stows in its own pocket when the sun returns.

Key Features:

  • Adjustable Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt allows for the perfect fit
  • One size fits all adjustable torso
  • Floating top lid with web attachment points and dual zippered pockets
  • Front panel hybrid shove-it pocket
  • Dual front-panel daisy chains
  • Dual ice tool attachments

Specifications:

  • Brand: Osprey
  • Capacity: 75L
  • Dimensions: 33″ H x 15″ W x 14″ D
  • Weight: 4.8 lbs
Pros
  • The hip belt is comfortable
  • The integrated raincover stows conveniently and deploys easily from its dedicated compartment
  • The zippered hip belt pockets are useful to allow access to things that you might otherwise keep in your front pants pockets accessible
  • If you choose to go with external water bottles, the external pockets for them are extra deep and large
Cons
  • This is not a small pack for overnight or even long weekend trips, this is a sizable pack that should be able to hold all your gear for a week long trip

6. Gregory Zulu 55 SM/MD Backpacking Backpack

Gregory Zulu 55 SM/MD Backpacking Backpack

The Gregory Zulu 55 SM/MD Backpacking Backpack features a body-hugging, customizable suspension that actively flexes with your body’s natural movement on the trail. The FreeFloat suspension is the ultimate combination of dynamic fit, lightweight features and streamlined silhouettes that deliver an incredibly balanced and agile carry.

On-the-go water bottle access, full-body U-zip panel access, and Open-Air moisture-wicking ventilation provide convenience and comfort no matter where your next adventure takes you. It also has a quick stow system on shoulder harness for a secure, scratch-free way to store your sunglasses and an adjustable attachment loop and hook-attach shock lock for trekking poles or ice axes.

Key Features:

  • FreeFloat ventilated suspension
  • 3D comfort cradle hipbelt 
  • Die-cut shoulder harness with sternum strap
  • Front U-zip opening for easy access to the main compartment
  • Zippered bottom sleeping bag compartment with removable divider

Specifications:

  • Brand: Gregory
  • Capacity: 55L
  • Dimensions: 28″ H x 13.2″ W x 12″ D
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs
Pros
  • The adjustable fit should adjust to the range of body sizes
  • The hydration pocket easily accepts a 3-liter Camelbak
  • The U zip front opening provide easy access for items
  • Free float system provides stability and comfort during walking
Cons
  • Though the design was not fit for hand carry, you may take the risk of oversizing to carry it on

7. Osprey Packs Eja 58 Women’s Backpacking Backpack

Osprey Packs Eja 58 Women's Backpacking Backpack

The Osprey Packs Eja 58 Women’s Backpacking Backpack provides backpackers with an unbeatable combination of comfort, ventilation, and function in a lightweight package. It works great for weekend trips and depending on your packing style can go way further. The incredibly comfortable Exoform harness and AirSpeed ventilated suspension combine with trail-friendly features like Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole carry.

This pack also features dual access stretch mesh side pockets for storing water bottles and other gear with InsideOut side compression straps, and the integrated FlapJacket protects packed gear when top lid is removed. Ultralight doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable, and the Eja proves this.

Key Features:

  • Removable floating lid with top-and under-lid zippered pockets for storing smaller items
  • Integrated FlapJacket protects packed gear when top lid is removed
  • Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment
  • Dual access stretch mesh side pockets
  • Front stretch mesh pocket

Specifications:

  • Brand: Osprey
  • Capacity: 58L
  • Dimensions: 27″ H x 16″ W x 5″ D
  • Weight: 2.53 lbs
Pros
  • The top/hood of the pack is removable
  • The side pockets have a side entrance
  • It also has a really sleek lid (more of a flap) that is not removable
  • The central outer mesh pocket is deep and useful
Cons
  • There are a lot of straps on the outside

8. Gregory Deva 60 Technical Backpacking Backpack

Gregory Deva 60 Technical Backpacking Backpack

You’ll be surprised by how capable the Gregory Deva 60 Technical Backpacking Backpack can be in so many situations. For short and long weekends, it’s more than perfect, offering superior balance and carrying comfort for heavier extras like a climbing rack or a gourmet camp meal complete with a bottle of bubbly. The Deva is already a feature-rich pack, but Response A3 makes the difference—because when you combine shorter trips with Gregory’s best suspension technology, you forget about what you’re carrying and escape into the journey.

Pre‑curved, ergonomically tapered shoulder harness straps are available in multiple sizes, featuring LifeSpan foam and a new easy-change design that allows fine-tuning within each harness size. A removable EVA shim offers the user two stages of contouring in the lumbar region for the perfect fit. And a TPU‑coated and sealed hipbelt compartment, sized for smartphones or other digital devices and features a highly weather‑resistant YKK AquaGuard zipper closure.

Key Features:

  • Women’s-specific Response A3 suspension
  • Swappable 3-D hipbelt and shoulder harness for a custom fit
  • LumbarTune to customize lower back support
  • Integrated, color-matched rain cover
  • SideKick doubles as daypack/hydration sleeve
  • WeatherShield hipbelt pocket to protect your valuables
  • Front U-zip gives access to main body contents

Specifications:

  • Brand: Gregory
  • Capacity: 60L
  • Dimensions: 25.6″ H x 13.8″ W x 13.8″ D
  • Weight: 4.14 lbs
Pros
  • Great weight distribution
  • Very comfortable
  • It has a lot of compartments
  • Amazing quality for the straps and materials
Cons
  • The hip belt has a plastic frame that runs through it which doesn’t allow you to put the hip belt straps around the front of the pack to make it a lower profile

9. Deuter Aircontact Lite Backpack

Deuter Aircontact Lite Backpack

The foundation of any great trekking pack is in a great carry system. For the Deuter Aircontact Lite Backpack, this is achieved through a body contact philosophy where stability and effective energy transfer are optimized by bringing the weight of the pack close to the body and therefore close to the center of gravity of the wearer. This results in full control and an efficient carry of heavier loads.

Designed to accommodate a wide range of wearers through simple adjustments. The Vari-Quick shoulder harness adjustment allows for each pack to fit a range of torso lengths from 15-21 inches while advanced ergonomics create a unique fit for each individual through the pivoting S-Shaped shoulder straps and the dual-density foam comfort-lock hip belt. Our handy guide to the best lightweight hiking backpacks features more great products like this.

Key Features:

  • Dual stretch mesh zippered pockets on the hip belt
  • Extendable 10L pack collar for optional volume expansion
  • Accessory loops for gear or helmet holder attachment
  • Ice tool and hiking pole attachment loops
  • Side compression straps for regulating pack volume
  • Stretch side water bottle pockets

Specifications:

  • Brand: Deuter
  • Capacity: 65 + 10L
  • Dimensions: 33.1″ H x 12.6″ W x 10.2″ D
  • Weight: 4.39 lbs
Pros
  • Easy to adjust and comfortable
  • Very roomy and great for 3+ days in the field
  • This pack is very comfortable for long distances with a heavy load
  • It isn’t super wide or bulky like some other brands
Cons
  • No accessory straps on the shoulder straps for hanging carabiners with a whistle

10. Versant 50L Women’s Backpacking Backpack

Versant 50L Women's Backpacking Backpack

The Versant 50L Women’s Backpacking Backpack is a lightweight pack with just the right amount of capacity, organization, and accessibility for overnight trips. It is easily customizable for a perfect fit with 12cm/4.75in of torso and 10cm/4in of hipbelt adjustability. The Removable, VersaClick waterproof rolltop pocket keeps your gear safe from elements.

The Storm guard system of partial rain cover with a waterproof bottom liner that allows easier access and keeps gear drier and is more durable than a traditional rain cover. other features include two attachment loops for hiking poles or ice axes, front shove-it pocket for quick access, and side pockets that are easily accessible even with the rain cover on.

Key Features:

  • Removable, VersaClick waterproof rolltop pocket
  • Customizable hipbelt
  • StormGuard system
  • Side pockets are easily accessible
  • Large U-zip panel allows for easy access

Specifications:

  • Brand: Thule
  • Capacity: 50L
  • Dimensions: 25.6″ H x 16.9″ W x 12.6″ D
  • Weight: 3.88 lbs
Pros
  • Comes with a waterproof shell
  • Comes with a medium-sized pouch that attaches the pack’s belt with plastic tabs
  • An angled water bottle pocket is located on the back right side of the pack
  • Detachable Sling Pack
Cons
  • Would be better if the straps are shorter

Buying Guide

Capacity

The biggest thing to remember when backpacking is which size pack is perfect for you. Few hikers tend to bear loads of varying weights than others. 30 to 50 liters is enough for an overnight or weekend excursion. For a multi-day journey, 50 to 80 liters is most ideal and for longer journeys, you’ll want to go for a pack of 70-plus liters, unless you want to go the ultralight backpacking route, with which you can cut your load considerably.

Rain Cover

Although conventional packs are not immune to the weather, it is something that needs to be taken into account particularly when venturing into usually rainy and wet areas. Although conventional pack interiors are mostly treated with waterproof coating, water can penetrate through seams and zippers — we strongly recommend purchasing a rain cover to prevent this.

Ventilation

Finding an internal framed pack that breathes well can be a struggle, mostly because it’s about embracing and conforming to your body, going along with you as you walk. A standard pack may have offsetting foam and mesh panels that aim to facilitate ventilation, but what actually happens is sweat on your back that shows where you are touched by the foam panels. Osprey’s Anti-Gravity scheme, with its full-length mesh that covers even the hipbelt, is an innovative concept that provides the best in class ventilation.

Internal Frame

Backpacks usually have internal frames that move the weight easily from the shoulders to the hips. This is critical because the hips are protected by greater muscles than the shoulders and thus it is less strenuous to bear a heavy load in a backpack with a frame.

Hydration System

Many high-quality backpacks are fitted with a water reservoir sleeve/pocket. Such a jacket usually matches a water reservoir with a capacity of up to 3 liters. Hydration systems are very helpful because they help you to hydrate when you’re moving. And they are a must when backpacking on either short or long trips.

Frequently Ask Questions

How big of a backpacking backpack do I need?

Most of the time, we think a bigger pack is better. We prefer packs in the 60L range assuming you don’t take the extra volume as permission to load it with needless items! First, a bigger size makes packing and unpacking faster. That is, trying to cram your stuff into too little of a room is time-consuming. And being able to unpack or locate items in a solid mass is just as challenging. Second, crushing your down bag and jacket isn’t healthy, because if they’ve been flattened to the size of a tennis ball it takes them a lot longer to loft up.

Are pockets important for backpacking packs?

It is better to have available pockets to store cameras, gear, food, and clothing where we can reach them easily during our trip. Hopefully, at lunch, we’re just heading into the main pack and returning to the camp for the night. We especially like pockets that we can enter without stopping or taking off our pack. In specific, wide hip-belt pockets and side pockets intended to reach back and carry stuff out (e.g. a water bottle or jacket) while backpacking.

Conclusion

We hope this guide was helpful for finding the best backpacking backpacks as well as our guide on features to look for in a backpacking backpack. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this guide, feel free to let us know in the comments section.