The 7 Best Backpacking Backpacks of 2024 (2024)

Best Overall Backpacking Backpack

Granite Gear Blaze 60



  • Comfort9.0

  • Ease of Use9.0

  • Weight8.0

  • Adjustability8.0

Weight: 3.0 lbs | Volume: 60 liters


Super light

Packed with features



Small buckles are hard to operate with gloves

Thanks to its impressive design, the Granite Gear Blaze 60 is once again the best overall backpacking backpack in our review. This pack can comfortably support up to 50 pounds while only weighing 3.0 pounds. We enjoyed this pack's great features for its practicality and usability. There is a stretchy mesh front pocket, roomy hip belt pockets, a removable top lid, a breathable back panel, a long front access zipper, and nine compression straps to handle variable loads. This bag has just about every feature you could ask for and nothing you don't need. It's an impressive pack in both weight and weight capacity. A light pack allows you to keep your base weight low, but since the Blaze has such a robust suspension, you can comfortably carry a few luxury items, winter/climbing gear, or extra food for a more extended trail section.

While this pack does many things right, there is no perfect pack for everyone. Some buckles on this pack are small and hard to operate when wearing gloves. Though this isn't a high-tech, revolutionary pack, part of its appeal is its simplistic yet functional design. Granite Gear keeps things simple, and by using some of the lightest and most durable fabrics available, they manage to keep the pack light and strong. If gear accessibility and zipper functionality are important, an alternative worth looking at is the Gregory Baltoro 65. Dual zipper lid pockets and a large U zipper highlight the easy-to-access features of this bag.

Read more: Granite Gear Blaze 60 review

Best Bang for the Buck

REI Co-op Flash 55



  • Comfort8.0

  • Ease of Use8.0

  • Weight9.0

  • Adjustability7.0

Weight: 2.8 lbs | Volume: 55 liters


Good value


Modular design


Lower durability

Max load of 30 lb

The REI Flash 55 is an inexpensive, lightweight, and well-designed backpacking backpack. It weighs a mere 2.8 pounds. And it can comfortably carry loads of up to 30 pounds. The Packmod system enables you to customize the pack for your needs by moving or eliminating virtually all external pockets and straps. We particularly loved this feature. Two "extra" side pockets exist between the water bottle and the front stretch pockets. These extra pockets are super handy and essentially double the external storage capacity. The side bottle pockets are also the most easily accessible in the group. Since water bottles go into these pockets vertically, there is no inference with arm swing, and since they sit low on the pack, it's easy to grab and replace your bottles one-handed.

When you design a product to be lightweight, it's common for performance to suffer in another way. Lightweight packs are often more expensive, less durable, and less supportive. The Flash 55 does a great job keeping the price low, but we have some durability concerns about the thin fabric and would try to avoid rubbing against rocks with this pack. However, we've also seen these packs last thousands of miles. We would have liked to have carried a little more than 30 pounds from time to time, which generally requires a more robust suspension and a heavier overall pack. Overall, this modular pack has a lot to offer for a modest price. If you're in the market for a lightweight pack to carry heavier loads, take a look at the Ultralight Adventure Equipment Catalyst. At 2.8 pounds and 75 liters, the ULA packs an impressive weight-to-size ratio ideal for extended hauls.

Read more: REI Co-op Flash 55 review

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Best for Superior Comfort

Osprey Atmos 65 AG

Weight: 4.6 lbs | Volume: 65 liters




Awesome ventilation

Lighter than average


Not as supportive for super heavy (45+ lb) loads

Snow can get inside the back panel

We love the comfort and design of the Osprey Atmos 65 AG and consider it one of the best all-around backpacking backpacks. It's loaded with features and provides incredible back ventilation while weighing in at 4.5 pounds. It's not surprising that this pack has earned a cult-like following. What sets the Atmos 65 AG apart the most, though, is Osprey's innovative anti-gravity (AG) suspension, which helps spread the load more evenly across your hips and shoulders while also venting excess heat that tends to build behind your back and under the hip belt. The plush, tapered, breathable foam shoulder straps are dreamy. For average trips with loads at or under 40 pounds, this is one of the more comfortable packs in our review. Every pocket is a good size and thoughtfully placed. Moreover, the Atmos offers an excellent fit with efficient adjustability focused on ergonomics.

Still, at a weight of 4.6 pounds, this pack approaches a mass that starts to feel slightly over-engineered. If you plan to haul loads of 45 pounds or more consistently, you should consider a different model — this pack doesn't handle heavy loads as well as a pack that's close to 5 pounds probably should. Finally, while most users have a good experience with the Atmos 65 AG, some testers found the waistbelt confining and too "hug-like", especially when adjusting clothing. At the end of the day, the adjustability and excellent suspension system of the Atmos make it one of the most comfortable backpacks we've tested. If you prefer to stay within the Osprey brand but need a more robust pack for heavier loads, check out the Osprey Aether Pro 70. This pack utilizes a burly suspension system ideal for tackling larger trips.

Read more: Osprey Atmos 65 AG review

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Best Lightweight Support for Long Distances

Ultralight Adventure Equipment Catalyst

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  • Comfort8.5

  • Ease of Use8.0

  • Weight10.0

  • Adjustability5.0

Weight: 2.8 lbs | Volume: 60 liters






No lid

Back panel doesn't breathe well

Tipping the scales at just 2.8 pounds, the ULA Catalyst borders on being an ultralight pack and is an excellent option for lightweight enthusiasts. Although this pack is incredibly light for its massive 75-liter capacity, it comfortably carries a hefty load for long stretches between resupplies. ULA packs are well known in the trail community and are loved for having the features thru-hikers want, like massive zippered hip belt pockets, a large stretchy mesh front pocket, and huge side water bottle pockets that can each hold two tall one-liter bottles. Heck, for an upcharge, they'll even embroider your trail name on the pack. If you're so inclined, there are many customized options, including some fun color combinations. This is all great stuff, but when all is said and done, this pack scores so well in our review simply for being lightweight, capable, comfortable, and feature-filled.

We downright love this pack, but we'll acknowledge that it may not be a perfect fit for everyone. If you appreciate the breathability and ventilation of a trampoline-style suspension, you will want to look elsewhere (we love the breathable suspension of the Osprey Atmos 65 AG). The Catalyst also lacks a brain on top, but we still found ample storage for on-the-go items. If you want serious volume without serious weight, the Catalyst is a superb option and one of our favorite packs for long-distance hikes. For those who need a burlier bag when carrying heavy loads, the Osprey Aether 65 is our top choice. Although it weighs nearly double the weight of the Catalyst, the Aether excels at carrying heavy loads with comfort.

Read more: Ultralight Adventure Equipment Catalyst review

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Best for Carrying Heavy Loads

Osprey Aether 65



  • Comfort9.0

  • Ease of Use8.0

  • Weight5.0

  • Adjustability9.0

Weight: 5.0 lbs | Volume: 65 liters




Quick and easy to adjust to an individual

Rain cover included

Zipper to access the interior



Hip belt lets the pack sway

Osprey has always done a good job of marrying durability, adjustability, and large load comfort, and the Osprey Aether 65 is the perfect example. With its Fit on the Fly velcro adjustment system and quick sliding shoulder straps, it's easy to dial in your ideal fit while out on the trail. This backpacking backpack makes it easy to access your gear with a sleeping bag compartment, reinforced stretch "shove-it" front pocket, a large zipper to access the pack's interior, and a double-pocketed lid that keeps all the necessities just a zip away. The back panel and shoulder straps are firm and supportive, remaining comfortable with loads up to a whopping 50 pounds. There are multiple compression straps to keep the weight close to your body. These straps are also useful for strapping wet gear outside your pack. When the weather does turn stormy, you can pull out the included pack cover to shelter your gear, but if the forecast is clear, you can leave it at home to save some ounces.

The biggest downside of this pack is its substantial heft. This pack weighs 5 pounds. Though it can comfortably handle loads many lighter packs couldn't dream of carrying, there is no denying this pack is heavy. The high-quality and reinforced materials, as well as additional features, add extra weight. Still, the heavier materials are more durable, and the features may be just what you're looking for. The hip belt of the Aether doesn't absorb the movement of your hips while you walk, which causes the pack to sway from side to side when carrying heavy and tall loads. Yet when we need to carry seriously heavy gear, there's no pack we've tested that's more comfortable to take on hefty loads than this one. For those who prefer to move light and fast, another option we like is the Gregory Focal 58. This pack is substantially lighter than the Osprey Aether; however, it still held up considerably well when carrying larger loads.

Read more: Osprey Aether 65 review

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Best Organizational Features

Deuter Aircontact Core 65+10



  • Comfort8.0

  • Ease of Use8.0

  • Weight5.0

  • Adjustability9.0

Weight: 5.2 lbs | Volume: 65 liters


Good value

Lots of features

Very adjustable



The Deuter Aircontact Core 65+10 is a great pack for those who want options for staying organized on the trail. If you want a specific pocket or space for everything while backpacking, this pack is for you. It has great organizational features, including three separate ways to access the main compartment. An interesting suite of features allows you to customize its setup. It has a sleeping bag compartment with a separate opening, but it can be opened and included in the main compartment with an internal zipper. It also has two side compression straps per side, both of which are removable or reconfigurable. It has dual ice axe loops with attachment bungees on the front of the pack, but if you don't need those, you can remove them as well. The brain has two zippered pockets and two more zipper pockets on the hip belt. The torso length can be adjusted up to four inches, and the generously cushioned shoulder straps, lumbar pad, and hip belt make this a comfortable ride overall.

On the downside, the Aircontact Core is only offered in one size, so if your torso length is outside the 18 to 21-inch range, then this pack won't fit you. It also has a forward-angled side water bottle pocket on the right side of the pack, but not the left. So, you'll only have access to one water bottle at a time with this pack. But these are minor issues on an overall great backpacking backpack for keeping organized. If you fall outside the 4-inch torso range of the Deuter, we like the REI Co-op Traverse 60, which offers of four different size options.

Read more: Deuter Aircontact Core 65+10 review

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Best Overall Ultralight Backpack

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60

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Weight: 1.9 lbs | Volume: 60 liters


Comfortable carrying heavy or light loads


Great set of features

Quality construction


Heavier than some ultralight packs

The Gossamer Gear Mariposa has remained at the top of our list of favorite ultralight backpacks for years. It emphasizes lightweight design without sacrificing comfort in a way that most packs can't. It has a great set of useful features and gives lots of options to carry extra gear on the outside of the pack, all without adding too much weight. This pack has our favorite external stretch mesh back pocket of any ultralight model. This pocket is big enough to store snacks, extra layers, and other gear you need to access quickly. The main compartment fits a full-sized bear canister horizontally, a rare feat for an ultralight backpack. And you can compress this bag to a smaller size when carrying a smaller load. Made of durable and light materials, it will stand up to just about anything you get into: bushwacks, talus fields, or anywhere else the trail takes you.

While advertised as a 60-liter pack, the Mariposa can carry up to 64 liters when fully stuffed. This may feel like too much room for an ultralight pack to some. After all, the more room you have, the more you may be tempted to carry. This pack also isn't the lightest in our ultralight backpacking pack review, but paired with a high volume, it still offers a good weight-to-volume ratio. While some ultralight bags skimp on space and comfort, the Mariposa has plenty of both. If you'd prefer to use a smaller-liter bag with more weight savings, the Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 is another excellent option.

Read more: Gossamer Gear Mariposa review

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Why You Should Trust Us

For this review, we identified the key metrics essential to grading a backpacking backpack. Then we designed thorough and wide-ranging tests to perform in the field and the lab to fully explore each metric. We — and our friends — hiked all over with these backpacks, loaded with camping gear and food, noting what made them comfortable (or not). We combined field use (i.e., evaluating convenience on different types of trips with different aims, different gear, and in different climates) and lab testing (e.g., volume testing using thousands of ping pong balls and a volume measuring device calibrated with a 1-liter measuring cup and lots of water). We loaded them up with various gear and took to the trail on a series of adventures ranging from volcano mountaineering trips to alpine rock approaches and long thru-hikes. From the Appalachians to the Rocky Mountains to the Sierra Nevadas, we wore these backpacking backpacks on long and short trail days, testing and assessing their strengths and weaknesses along the way.

We tested models in this review with a focus on the following:

  • Comfort (40% of overall weighting)
  • Ease of Use (25% weighting)
  • Weight (20% weighting)
  • Adjustability (15% weighting)

Our wide and varied backpack review team is led by Sam Schild, a backpacker, trail runner, and mountain biker based in Colorado. He has backpacked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Grand Enchantment Trail, and Colorado Trail three times, along with countless shorter backpacking trips. Sam is joined by Ian Nicholson, a professional internationally licensed IFMGA/UIAGM mountain guide with over 3,000 days guiding in the Pacific Northwest, European Alps, and beyond. Ian has guided over 1,000 clients and helped them select and fit packs for their adventures. When Ian is not guiding or climbing, he works in an outdoor gear shop, which lets him stay up-to-date on innovative pack technology. Also on our testing team is Adam Paashaus, another long-time guide and outdoor instructor. When Adam isn't thru-hiking with his family, you can find him trail running, rock climbing, planning his next trip, or scouting the next place to call home. Ben Applebaum-Bauch is also an outdoor guide who also trains other guides. He has thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, the Vermont Long Trail, the Colorado Trail, the Oregon Coast Trail, and the John Muir Trail. And finally, Bennett Fisher wraps up our expert backpack testing panel. Bennett is a former gear shop employee, a graduate in outdoor product development, and a thru-hiker. He has logged over 6,000 miles of backpacking, including the entire Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail.

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We tested packs across mountain ranges, forests, deserts, grasslands, and coastal landscapes.

Analysis and Test Results

We put our lineup of contenders through thorough side-by-side comparison testing that assesses comfort, ease of use, weight, and adjustability. After researching the best backpacking backpacks on quality, innovation, and popularity, we purchased every pack we tested. When preparing for testing, we also considered what makes a great backpacking backpack. Here, we break down our findings by metric and dive into the nitty gritty of what makes each pack worthy of consideration.


Backpacks, like other outdoor gear, can be quite expensive. However, the right gear is often well worth the investment. If you have ever trekked up into the mountains with a poorly-fitting pack, there is no doubt you understand the benefits that a quality pack can provide. Top dollar doesn't always equal top comfort, though. Some of the priciest packs here weren't the highest performers. However, many of the more expensive packs did score quite well overall. We consider price in our value recommendations but never let price color our testing or analysis of pack performance.

The REI Flash 55 offers the best value for a backpacking backpack. It's lightweight and full of features that can be added, moved, or removed as needed, all for a reasonable price. Our favorite pack, the Granite Gear Blaze 60, offers outstanding performance at an average price, making it a great value. The Gregory Focal 58 also stood out for its value: it's more comfortable than most backpacks we tested and costs less than most. Also worth noting, the Deuter Aircontact Core 65+10 had some of the most organization-friendly features and excellent adjustability for an impressively low price.

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When testing suspension, we assessed each model's shoulder straps, waist belts, back panels, and frame design. We considered how supportive each backpack is, how well it conforms to different body shapes, and how comfortable it is. The waist belt and shoulder straps are crucial when picking a backpack. They have the most significant impact on a pack's comfort (or lack thereof). The majority of issues that bother new backpackers relate to these two areas. We took the selected models on multiple extended trips loaded with 25 to 55 pounds of food, water, and gear to test their comfort.

Padded hip belts and shoulder straps are worth very little without a good suspension to go along with them. A pack's suspension is its frame system. Frame systems include internal and external frame components (or "stays"), compression straps, shoulder straps, and a hip belt. Suspension dictates how effectively the weight of your load disperses throughout the pack onto the shoulder straps and waist belt. The frame ensures the load from the pack body rests on your hips, supported by the waist belt. We also note how well each pack transfers the weight to the front of the shoulder straps rather than the top, so your shoulders don't get crushed.

Each person's body is different, so our tests included a wide range of users, including GearLab editors, friends, and our climbing and backpacking partners, to gather a wide variety of data. When a pack seems to fit a specific body type best, we mention that in the review.

After extensive testing with typical 25 to 45-pound loads, the ULA Catalyst, Osprey Atmos 65 AG, and Gregory Focal 58 proved the most comfortable. All of our testers agreed that the Granite Gear Blaze 60 has a robust suspension, while the pack is super light (3.0 pounds), considering the amount of weight it can carry.

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The Osprey Atmos 65 AG provides a snug ride with its trampoline-style suspension that spreads the load evenly across the body. We rarely got hot spots on our backs or hips, even after extended travel in warmer conditions. One reason for the lack of hot spots is the heavily tapered padding in the straps and waist belt, which provide the thickest cushioning where you want it the most, like on top of your shoulders. At the same time, thinner padding in less important areas reduces chafing. At loads above 40 pounds, however, the Atmos becomes less comfortable.

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The best-performing contenders for heavier loads are the Osprey Aether 65, the Gregory Baltoro 65, and the Granite Gear Blaze 60. These packs use high-quality foam that perfectly balances support and comfort. All of the shoulder straps offer top-notch ergonomics and slightly stiffer padding. While this rigid padding is marginally less comfy, you need it when you're lugging a heavy load because it won't compress. Each of these models offers subtle advantages that will help transfer the load to your hips and keep you moving toward camp in relative comfort. These advantages include a supportive suspension, foam stiffness, and well-designed shoulder straps and waist belts. The combination lands all of them in the load-hauler category.

The hip belt is one of the main contributors to a comfortable pack, especially a well-loaded one. Some are light and relatively soft, while others swivel and are well-padded yet rigid to carry heavy loads. Some packs, like the Granite Gear Blaze 60, Gregory Baltoro 65, and Osprey Aether 65, allow the foam padding of the waistbelt to extend out to fit larger waist sizes.

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Trampoline or Suspended Suspension System

Trampoline-style or suspended suspension systems feature a tensioned mesh back panel (like a trampoline) instead of a more traditional, single-stay, double-stay, or "Y" shaped frame. These allow airflow between your back and the pack's load, reducing back sweat. More importantly, weight is distributed more evenly, producing fewer hot spots. The Osprey Atmos AG 65, Gregory Focal 58, and Mountain Hardwear PCT 70 all have trampoline-style suspension.

We like trampoline-style suspension systems for breathability and weight distribution. However, not many trampoline-style harnesses can handle large loads of 45+ pounds. Trampoline suspensions also position the load further away from your back, increasing leverage, reducing balance, and making for a less comfortable overall carrying experience as the weight increases.

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Ease of Use

This metric evaluates how easy it is to pack and retrieve items from these backpacks, paying particular attention to the design of the main compartment, pockets, lid, straps, and other unique attributes. We compared the number and location of pockets and how useful our testers found them. We measured the internal volume of the main pocket and compared it to the manufacturer's claims. We also determined how well the pack's brain provides access to small items and whether those items stayed organized.

We looked at each pocket and asked ourselves: Does this pocket make my life easier and keep me more organized? Or is it just adding weight to the pack? We also looked at access points and evaluated whether they seem useful for retrieving items or if they're impractical to zip shut when the pack is full and are thus just for show.

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To assess exactly how much space every pack had to store backpacking gear, we tested the internal volume of each pack using thousands of ping pong balls and a measuring cylinder calibrated with a 1-liter measuring cup and lots of water. We filled every pocket of every pack with ping pong balls, then measured the total liters of the balls. We then recorded our findings and compared them to the manufacturers' claimed volume for each pack.

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We measured volume using ping pong balls and a calibrated measuring container.

Most pack manufacturers are pretty accurate with their volume claims. However, there is some discrepancy in tabulating total volume: some companies count every pocket's volume in their advertised volume, while others only count the main compartment.

We considered other additional features' usefulness and evaluated them in the field during real-world testing. We generally favor packs with a handful of straps for crampons, ice axes, sleeping pads, flip-flops, or other items because it adds to the pack's overall versatility. We awarded extra points for features that can be removed or customized for a more personalized user experience.

Overall Organizational Ability

For those who like an assortment of compartments and pockets for organization, the Deuter Aircontact Core 65+10, Granite Gear Blaze 60, and ULA Catalyst have particularly convenient pocket designs. These models offer a similar setup and exhibit our favorite organizational and pocket layouts. They provide excellent hip belt pockets, big water bottle side pockets, and a stretchy mesh "stuff-it" pocket that is excellent for wet clothes or carrying oddly shaped items like fuel bottles, a trowel, camp shoes, or a frisbee.

For folks who love to stay super organized, the Deuter Aircontact Core and Gregory Baltoro offer excellent gear access and the ability to get to your items quickly without removing anything. If you want a ton of space to store your bulky items, the ALPS Mountaineering Cascade 90 and Mountain Hardwear PCT 70 had some of the largest main compartments along with tons of external storage.

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Top Lid Pocket (aka The Brain)

Every pack, other than the ULA Catalyst, has a top lid with a zippered pocket, and many of them can be removed and left at home to reduce weight. The top lid is one of the best places to store small items that require quick and easy access, such as sunglasses, sunblock, or bug spray. Many models also have a separate small pocket on the underside of the lid, offering a secondary place to keep small items that don't need to be accessed as frequently, like car keys.

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Most packs have zippers on the front or back of the lid, which means that it's not as easy to get inside them without removing the bag. Additionally, not all side-zippered lid pockets are the same. The sizable zippered lid pockets of the Osprey Atmos 65 AG are next level. The Gregory Baltoro 65 also has a very wide opening zipper on its lid.

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Pack Access

How you access the primary compartment on the backpacking pack is part of our Ease of Use metric and measures how easily you can grab a few items without unpacking the entire bag. The value placed on this metric depends on the user and the pack's volume. As pack volume increases, access takes on greater importance.

While ease of access is important, too many features will add weight to the backpack. Don't select a pack solely for an elongated zippered access panel, especially if you will rarely use it. That massive zipper will add a lot of weight to the backpack. Also, many side access panels are a pain to close when the pack is fully loaded.

Weight Penalty — All additional pack features have a weight penalty. Consider your priorities before saying "I want lots of access". We hear that often only to witness folks go on several trips without using their side access panel but still carrying the extra weight from that burly zipper.

All the backpacking backpacks in our review are top-loading; many have a separate sleeping bag compartment with a bottom access zipper, including the Osprey Atmos AG and Aether, the Deuter Aircontact Core, the REI Co-op Traverse 60, the Gregory Baltoro, the Mountain Hardwear PCT, and the ALPS Cascade. These openings enable access to a part of the pack that is hard to get at from the top without unloading it all on the ground first. Additionally, some packs have access to the main compartment through the front or sides. The ones in our lineup with this access are the Granite Gear Blaze, Osprey Atmos and Aether, Deuter Aircontact Core, Gregory Baltoro, and Arc'teryx Bora.

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Hip Belt Pockets

A pack with a good hip belt is critical; pockets can make or break a hip belt. We especially love the hip belt pockets on the Granite Gear Blaze 60, Gregory Baltoro 65, Gregory Focal 58, and the ULA Catalyst for their unrivaled size and ease of access. The Deuter Aircontact Core features waist belt pockets made of stretchy mesh, allowing them to fit even more than their appearance suggests.

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Almost all of the packs in this review have a location to store a hydration bladder where it should stay upright. You can expect the models with this feature to work with just about any brand's 2 to 3-liter hydration bladder.

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Rain Covers

Rain covers are a practical addition to any backpacking pack. If the rain is falling for days at a time, unless you've lined your pack with a trash bag or packed your gear in dry bags, your stuff will get wet. A pack cover can only do so much to lessen this reality, but it helps prevent excess water from soaking into the pack fabric, which will weigh down your pack. Although the backpacks in this review are not waterproof, it's worth noting that many of them include a rain cover, such as the Osprey Aether 65, the Osprey Rook 65, the REI Traverse, and the ALPS Mountaineering Cascade 90.

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Over the last decade, many hikers have made a concerted effort to carry less weight than their predecessors. Camping gear has gotten much lighter, and this helps more backpackers go lighter, too. Many pack makers have noticed this trend and offer a wide range of packs from "ultralight" to "load haulers."

The lightest packs in our review, by a significant margin, are the REI Flash 55, ULA Catalyst, Gregory Focal 58, and Granite Gear Blaze 60. These packs weigh in at 3.0 pounds or less and ride the line between backpacking backpacks and ultralight minimalist packs. The big difference is that these models are more comfortable for people with a base pack weight below 20-25 pounds.

Interested in Ultralight Hiking?
This review focuses on non-ultralight packs built for most backpacking trips, carrying heavier loads, and prioritizing comfort and functional features. If you're interested in going ultralight, check out our reviews of the best ultralight gear.

These lighter packs are excellent options for folks who want to go super light but still need a comfortable and supportive pack with a frame and more robust padding for trips when you need to carry more weight. A lower initial pack weight also helps with longer food carries or that first day of a week-long backpacking trip when those seven days' worth of food is heavy no matter what the rest of your gear weighs. Because of their lightweight and great weight-carrying capacity, these packs are popular among long-distance trail and section hikers.

It's worth noting that sometimes lightweight packs sacrifice load-carrying abilities and organizational features. If your backpacking setup is dialed, you may benefit from a lightweight pack, but not necessarily. Packs that weigh more will have more pockets and often have a more robust frame, making a heavier load feel more comfortable. On the contrary, if you overload a lightweight pack that isn't designed for a heavy load, it won't be comfortable.

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To judge each backpack's adjustability and fit, we considered its overall ergonomics and how adjustable each model was. We also looked at the range of torso lengths available. More sizes mean it could work for a broader range of users.

Mix and Match Sizing
There aren't many pack manufacturers that let you swap out waist belts and shoulder strap sizes to tailor your fit. But depending on your build, you may want a large frame and a medium waist belt. If this would be helpful for your body type, it is worth seeking out a pack from a manufacturer like Gregory, Osprey, REI, or ULA.

Many packs we tested feature a way to move the shoulder straps up and down to adjust the torso length. These include the Granite Gear Blaze 60, REI Flash 55, Osprey Atmos 65 AG, Osprey Aether 65, Deuter Aircontact Core 65+10, Arc'teryx Bora 65, and ALPS Mountaineering Cascade 90, which all allow you to adjust the torso length vertically on the pack to dial in your perfect fit.

The Arc'teryx Bora 65 takes torso length adjustment a step further by allowing you to move the shoulder straps side to side as well as up and down. This pack also has a hip belt that you can adjust up and down to adjust the fit that much more.

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The adjustment options of the Osprey Aether 65 are also quite notable. While it may only have four inches of verticle adjustment, it also has adjustable shoulder straps and waist belt padding that help dial in your perfect fit while on the trail.

The Gregory Baltoro 65 and Osprey Atmos 65 AG also have a respectable amount of adjustment. They also feature roughly four inches of vertical adjustment and are available in a variety of sizes. The REI Traverse 60 and Flash 55 are available in a unique extra size: a large torso with a small waistbelt, which is useful for those tall, skinny folks out there.

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Traveling from point A to point B on a backcountry trip seems simple enough, but choosing the right backpacking backpack to get you and all your gear to the end in the best shape possible is a bit trickier. You can choose from many options, each geared toward a certain type of packer and hiker. We hope that our testing and analysis have helped you narrow down the choices so you can select the best option for your needs and your budget.

Sam Schild, Ian Nicholson, Adam Paashaus, Ben Applebaum-Bauch, and Bennett Fisher

The 7 Best Backpacking Backpacks of 2024 (2024)
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Name: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Birthday: 1999-09-15

Address: 8416 Beatty Center, Derekfort, VA 72092-0500

Phone: +6838967160603

Job: Mining Executive

Hobby: Woodworking, Knitting, Fishing, Coffee roasting, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Kite flying

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Refugio Daniel, I am a fine, precious, encouraging, calm, glamorous, vivacious, friendly person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.