best backpacking packs reviews

Whether you are going for an afternoon trail run, an alpine climb or an extended thru-hike, you will need a pack to carry your essentials and outdoor gear. After testing hundreds of bags, we made the list of the best backpacks that we would personally recommend to our own family and friends. Our experts focused on crucial aspects such as how well the suspension system distributes the weight, the capacity of the bag, comfort, and support.

Let’s face it:

While you are on the trail, the high-quality backpack is essential so you can have an excellent outdoor experience. It holds your stuff, sleeping bag, or a tent, so it needs to be durable and light. The size of it depends on how much gear you are going to carry and on the duration of your trek.

If you want to know more about our favorite backpacks, all you have to do is read on.

1. TETON Sports Scout 3400

teton sports scout 3400 review

If you are looking for a backpack that is friendly to your budget and loaded with features than the Teton Sports Scout 3400 is the perfect choice for you. The bag has plenty of space for all the stuff you are going to need while on the trail which makes it a practical purchase. So, keep reading to find out what makes this pack so popular.

FEATURES:

  1. Eighty-four fluid ounces or 55-liter liquid capacity and a 3400 cubic inches interior volume for necessities and gear.
  2. The gear contains a pair of side zipper pockets, a top-loading main compartment and a sleeping bag compartment.
  3. The shell of it is made of a durable Polyester.
  4. An internal frame and a full torso adjustability (from 15 to 19,5 inches).
  5. This pack offers dual aluminum stays with lumbar, waist and shoulder pads.
  6. It is suitable for most hydration systems.
  7. This backpack has an attached rain fly.

This pack has plenty of room for all the stuff you want to bring, including a hydration system and a sleeping bag compartment. It has a capacity of 55-liter or 3400 cubic inches. The pack also includes a pair of side zipped pockets and a top-main compartment, so you can quickly reach some stuff.

You can purchase it in two colors: Mecca Orange and Hunter Green. Both children and adults can use this backpack because it is versatile enough, thanks to the full torso adjustability. The attached rain fly is a perfect feature for the wet weather conditions.

PROS AND CONS


PROS

  • Compatibility with the most hydration systems, attached rain fly and contoured pads.
  • Internal frame and a full torso adjustability, between 15 and 19,5 inches
  • Fully adjustable ice pole and trekking straps
  • Sleeping bag compartment

CONS

  • It is a little bit heavy
  • Complaints about chest strap quality

2. MOUNTAINTOP 70L

mountaintop 70l review

Mountaintop 70L backpack is a high-quality pack for hiking or camping, and it is designed to be functionally versatile and comfortable. Considering how much space it has, padding and pockets this bag is very lightweight. So, if you are looking for a gear that has a good design and comfort, this is the right choice for you.

FEATURES:

  1. This bag features an extension collar that has 2 drawstrings. That will help you to increase the central compartment capacity by five liters and expand the pack.
  2. The pack has a sleeping bag compartment.
  3. The backpack features zipped access so you can quickly reach your stuff.
  4. The Daisy Chains are included so you can attach the carabiner.
  5. Compression straps can be used If you want to hang your tent, hammock, sleeping bag or others hiking and camping gear.
  6. The main compartment includes a liquid bladder sleeve and a hydration access on the side of the bag.
  7. The gear features a bottom loops and trekking pole for mountaineering poles or ice axe.
  8. The pack also includes one rain cover compartment, one front pocket, two lid pockets and one hip belt pocket.

This backpack has a great design; it evenly spreads the weight so you can be comfortable while wearing it. The straps are well padded, breathable, and you can adjust them to your height. The great thing about this gear is that it has separate compartments.

It is created from the water-resistant material and has an additional cover that will keep your stuff dry. The pack also features many rings, clips, and straps so you can attach your essentials and quickly reach them.

PROS AND CONS


PROS

  • Extension collar with 2 drawstrings
  • Sleeping bag compartment
  • Daisy Chains to attach the carabiner
  • Water bladder sleeve and a hydration access
  • Eight compression straps

CONS

  • Chest and waist strap may loosen up
  • Complaints about hip belt quality

3. G4FREE LARGE 40L TRAVEL BACKPACK

g4free large 40l review

The G4Free Backpack will offer you the ideal balance between lightweight, durability, size and compact. When you are not using it, fold the bag into the ultra-compact pouch. It is definitely worth your consideration because it is rare to find such a fantastic pack at such an affordable price.

FEATURES:

  1. High capacity of 40 liters, and it is big enough to carry all the things you are going to need while hiking.
  2. This bag is very lightweight and handy; it is easy to fold it up and fit into an ultra-compact pouch.
  3. The backpack is created from high-quality tear and water-resistant nylon material.
  4. Breathable and padded strap and shoulder to adjust them to your size.
  5. It also contains padded strap and chest clip, two-sport bottle holders, one front spandex pouch, two top pouches and one main compartment.

In this bag you will find a material divider inside the main compartment. It includes a top pouch that is double-sided which secures primary section and offers additional storage for your stuff. With an adjustable strap, it attaches to the top of your pack so you can tighten or loosen slack.

The great thing about this gear is that it contains an open spandex pouch, so you can quickly reach your more significant things. Also, the bag has sports bottle pocket on each side that will secure your water bottle with its strap. So, we must say that this backpack is perfect for occasional travel, hiking, camping, suitcase alternative, college, or storing diapers or camera compartment.

PROS AND CONS


PROS

  • High capacity of 40 liters
  • Ultra-durable and ultra-light
  • High-quality tear and water-resistant nylon material
  • Breathable and padded strap and shoulder
  • Padded pack strap and chest clip
  • Two-sport bottle holders and one front spandex pouch

CONS

  • Some users complain about low-quality fabric
  • Complaints about small size

4. HIGH SIERRA WOMEN’S SUMMIT 40 INTERNAL FRAME PACK

high sierra women's summit 40 review

The High Sierra Summit 40 backpack comes in three different colors, and it’s designed for the female hikers. It has many features that are made to create a peace of mind for the user and a smooth trip. So, ladies, if you are looking for a comfortable bag with enough room to fit all your stuff, this is the right choice for you.

FEATURES:

  1. It includes a sleeping bag compartment with internal divider.
  2. Hip-belt with HEX-VENT mesh is adjustable, and it will transfer the weight to your waist.
  3. For keeping your back dry as you hike, the bag features the molded foam panel with AIRFLOW channels.
  4. Padded straps with load-lifters that can be adjusted are made with HEX-VENT mesh.
  5. The flexible sternum strap stabilizes pack.
  6. It has central zippers that will provide you quick access to your things.
  7. The pack includes dual exit ports for drinking tube and water reservoir sleeve.
  8. This backpack features tool loops and dual webbing daisy to store some extra gear.
  9. Rain cover will protect your gear in the wet weather conditions.
  10. Compression straps will reduce sway and minimize the packing diameter.

This light backpack with breathable HEX-VENT and straps will provide you secure and comfortable trip. Airflow back panel will allow a proper ventilation, and it will evenly spread the weight of the luggage. You will also have a plenty of room to store all your things that you are going to need on the trail.

It has a capacity of 40 liters. The bag also features an internal pocket to hold a hydration bladder and side pockets where you can store water bottles. With the top load compartment, you will be able to reach your essentials easily.

PROS AND CONS


PROS

  • Hip-belt with HEX-VENT mesh
  • Padded straps with load-lifters
  • Molded foam panel with AIRFLOW channels to keep your back dry
  • Flexible sternum strap
  • Rain cover

CONS

  • Complaints about fabric seams splitting

5. OSPREY PACKS EXOS 48 BACKPACK

Osprey Packs review

For the hikers who enjoy functional bag with the excellent design, the Osprey Exos 48 backpack represents a superb piece of gear. The manufacturers included enough features that will give you fantastic hiking experience. So, without further ado, let’s explore these great packs for more details.

FEATURES:

  1. This backpack is very light, perfectly balanced and rides smooth.
  2. It features aluminum struts that give strong support.
  3. The back of the pack has no-sweat material, to keep you dry.
  4. You can unzip and zip the pockets on the hip belt with just one hand.
  5. The bag includes seamless mesh straps with three points adjustments for a perfect fit.
  6. You can remove the key straps, the attachment points, and the lid.
  7. The shoulder straps include a gel that provides a better comfort and protects the muscles.

We highly recommend this pack for the short-medium trail hike. The best thing about this bag is that the shoulder straps have the EXOFORM gel padding that will prevent bruising. The waist belt includes forward pull closure that eliminates constant bump and enables a custom fit.

It can hold 40 to 50 liters of gear, so it is perfect for someone who doesn’t want to carry a heavy load or for a smaller person. Because it is very light, it will make carrying gear more comfortable. The backpack is made of ripstop nylon that is very durable, so if you are careful, it can last for a long time.

PROS AND CONS


PROS

  • Light, perfectly balanced and rides smooth
  • Aluminum struts for strong support
  • Seamless mesh straps with three points adjustments
  • No-sweat material on the back
  • The shoulder straps have the EXOFORM gel padding to prevent bruising
  • Removable top cap, hip belt pockets, built-in rain cover, side compression pockets, ice-axe loop
  • Sleek aesthetics

CONS

  • Not suitable for heavy loads
  • Top lid can’t be extended for additional capacity

BACKPACKING PACK BUYERS GUIDE

A high-quality backpack is the most important thing you will need to get started hiking. It holds your food, clothes, shelter and other comforts and necessities. Choosing the right one for you is crucial to an enjoyable experience in the outdoors.

Here’s the deal:

If you buy one that is too big, you will have to carry extra weight. On the other hand, if it is too small, you will not fit all your important stuff in it. Your essentials can get wet if you buy a bag with the wrong fabric.

Research suggests that wearing a backpack incorrectly, wearing one that is too heavy, the amount of time one carries a backpack, the distance walked, inadequate distribution of weight in the backpack, and poor placement of items in the backpack can be contributing risk factors for discomfort, fatigue, muscle soreness, musculoskeletal pain (especially in the lower back), respiratory problems, and other issues” – according to BU Today.

So, how to choose the right pack for you?

Well, there are some main things that you need to consider such as size, capacity, fit, and features. In this article, we explained how to pick the one that will suit you.

Keep reading to know more.

1. BACKPACK SIZE AND CAPACITY


The size pack you will need depends on how much bulk and weight you want to carry and on the length of the trip. So, first, you need to determine how big you want your backpack to be and how much stuff you are going to carry. Your bag should be proportional to your body.

If you choose the one that is too small or too big, you will cause back pain because the weight will not be adequately balanced. The perfect bag is the one that feels comfortable, has a bit of extra space and it can fit anything you will need on the trail. Always try it on before you buy it, so you can be sure that it suits you.

Choose the pack with an appropriate volume so you can put all the essentials you will need while hiking. It is critical to be prepared for every dangerous situation. Think about the length of your trip, the weather conditions and the things you are going to need so you can determine the capacity of the bag.

Some stores might let you bring your gear, place it in the pack you want to buy and just try it out to see does it feel comfortable. Ultralight or lightweight luggage is a great option to balance comfort and weight savings.

Guidelines used by recreational backpackers are that an individual in good health should be able to carry about 20% of their body weight, a 40 lb pack for a 200-pound person. More experienced backpackers should be able to carry 25% of their body weight, a 50 lb pack for a 200-pound person.  Very experienced and well-conditioned backpackers can carry 35% of their body weight – a 70 lb pack for a 200-pound person” – according to Preparedness Advice.

2. PROPER FIT


A proper fitting bag is a primary key to comfort. First, measure your torso length from the top of your hip bones to your shoulders. Ask your friend to help you with it and use a length of string or a soft measure tape.

The next thing to check is your waist size. You can adjust the hip belt to fit you, so when you try it on just make sure it is comfortable. There are backpacks on the market that have adjustable systems that will allow you to tune the torso fit.

Or you can use a bag with the fixed-suspension because it is lighter and less complex than the first one. The frame size of the woman pack is smaller so it can also be used by the by younger hikers of male and female gender. Unlike the men’s bag, torso dimensions on these packs are narrower and shorter.

The sternum strap is great for your balance. It allows you to attach your shoulder straps. That will be especially useful when you are hiking on the uneven terrain where you can be thrown off-balance.

3. BACKPACK FEATURES


backpack features

External-Frame: This is an excellent choice if you are carrying some heavy load or a fishing kayak. It will offer you lots of options for the gear organization and proper ventilation.

Internal-Frame: With it, you pack can move around more comfortable because it is slim and light. The frame is made of a sturdy plastic or a carbon fiber. It is durable, and it makes the gear easier on your back.

Padded Shoulder Straps: It will help you to take the pressure off your lower back and also put less stress on your shoulders. You will carry your luggage more comfortable. It is important that it is designed from a single piece of fabric and that it’s very thick.

Padded Hip Belt: This belt will more evenly distribute the weight. Always tighten it for that extra support, so make sure it is adjustable.

Sleeping Bag Compartment: It is located at the bottom of your gear. If you don’t want to use the stuff sack, this feature is handy. Also, you can always put some other things in that place so you can reach them quickly.

Top Lid/Removable Daypack: It is an excellent option for supply runs while hiking, summit hikes or day trips. On other bags, you have top lids that you can remove from its place and use it for a day trips as a hip belt pack.

Hydration Reservoir: That is the most important thing that almost every pack offers. Staying hydrated is critical in these situations so every bag has a compartment where you can put your water reservoir.

Rain cover: This is a perfect addition for those who hike in the wet areas.

Before you buy a backpack for hiking, consider these easy tips that quality bag should have. We hope that our article helped you to choose the one that is right for you.

CONCLUSION


We hope that our guide was helpful for finding the perfect backpack that will fit your needs perfectly. Whether you are planning a long hike, a quick weekend jaunt in the woods or a 4-day trek in the mountains, these packs are an excellent choice for you. We put them to test so we can help you narrow down your options.

You must know that the high-quality backpacks aren’t cheap, but it is an investment that will last for years. Packs come in different flavors and sizes. We use them for heavy loads, ultralight or lightweight backpacking or for moderate loads. Some of us prefer range of access and features, others a minimalist design.

But, everyone wants the best comfort and fit because it is important to stay safe on the trail. Sometimes you can find yourself in a life-threatening situation, so it’s important to have all your essentials with you.