Home The Best Backpacking Backpacks of 2024

The Best Backpacking Backpacks of 2024

by Chase Whartnaby

For the intrepid wanderers who seek liberation in the wilderness, the selection of a backpacking backpack is a vital step towards unbridled exploration. Our comprehensive review meticulously examines the finest backpacks tailored for the diverse demands of the trail.

Highlighting models like the Osprey Aether 55L and the WoneNice 50L, we scrutinize each product for its balance between comfort, capacity, and durability. We understand the intricacies of a backpack that must serve as a home on the move, a secure haven for your essentials, and a durable ally against the elements.

Whether you’re navigating through verdant forests or scaling craggy peaks, our guide is poised to equip you with a backpack that complements your quest for freedom and adventure.

The Best Backpacking Backpacks

Selecting the right backpack is crucial for any backpacking adventure, as it becomes your home away from home, carrying your essentials and influencing your comfort.

The Osprey Aether 55L stands out for its robust design and customizable fit, while the WoneNice 50L offers a cost-effective option without compromising essential features.

For those who prioritize durability and ergonomics, Gregory Mountain’s 55L packs and THE NORTH FACE Terra 55 provide exceptional support and load distribution.

The G4Free 50L is notable for its lightweight yet spacious design, catering to the needs of the ultralight backpacker.

Best Overall Backpacking Backpack: Osprey Aether 55L

high capacity backpack for hiking

The Osprey Aether 55L Men’s Backpacking Backpack, revered for its 58-liter capacity and innovative design, stands out as a top choice for serious backpackers. Crafted with bluesign®-approved high-tenacity nylon, it provides durability while maintaining environmental consciousness through its PFC-free DWR coating.

The versatility of the removable top lid, which doubles as a DayLid daypack, offers backpackers the freedom to adapt to varying day-trip needs without the bulk of additional gear.

Notably, the Aether 55L excels in customizable comfort with its Fit-On-The-Fly Hipbelt and Shoulder Strap, enabling a tailored fit that can accommodate a wide range of body types and load distributions. This focus on ergonomic design is evident in the dual front panel zippered pockets, ensuring easy access to essentials while on the move. The included raincover further enhances the backpack’s all-weather readiness, cementing its status as a reliable companion for adventurous spirits seeking unbounded exploration.

  • Product Specs:
  • Dimensions: 32.68 x 14.96 x 9.84 inches
  • Weight: 4.87 pounds
  • Capacity: 58 Liters
  • Materials: bluesign®-approved nylon, PFC-free DWR
  • Model Number: 10002955
  • Pros:
  • High-capacity and versatile design
  • Environmentally conscious materials
  • Customizable fit for maximum comfort
  • Accessible storage options
  • All-weather protection with raincover
  • Cons:
  • Limited additional pockets
  • Potential wear on belt pockets over time


Best Budget Backpacking Backpack: WoneNice 50L 

large capacity travel duffel

Within the competitive field of outdoor gear, the WoneNice 50L backpack stands out for its ability to seamlessly combine spaciousness with user comfort. This backpack, tailored for the adventurous spirit, is a testament to functionality and durability, featuring robust polyester and nylon fabric. With a high capacity of 50 liters, it allows for methodical organization through its multiple compartments and pockets, ensuring that all essentials are within easy reach.

Ergonomically designed, the WoneNice 50L includes padded shoulder straps and back support, which cater to sustained comfort during extended treks. The adjustable chest and waist belts distribute weight evenly, minimizing strain and enhancing stability. Moreover, the inclusion of a waterproof rain cover safeguards belongings against unpredictable weather, making it a reliable companion for the outdoor enthusiast.

  • Product Specs:
  • Capacity: 50L (45+5)
  • Material: Polyester, Nylon
  • Weight: 2.5 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 13.8 x 7.9 x 23.6 inches
  • Waterproof rain cover included
  • Pros:
  • Spacious with strategic compartmentalization
  • Comfortable ergonomic design
  • Durable construction with waterproof cover
  • Cons:
  • Some users reported quality issues
  • Limited color options
  • May not suit very heavy loads for long distances


Best Breathable Backpanel: Gregory Mountain 55 

hiker rescued on gregory mountain

Boasting a Freefloat Suspension system, the Gregory Mountain Products Zulu 55 Backpack ensures seamless movement during extended treks, offering unparalleled comfort since its inception. Designed for the adventurer who values liberty and the ability to roam without restraint, the Zulu 55 exemplifies Gregory’s commitment to quality and ergonomic design. The Aircushion Backpanel not only promotes airflow, reducing sweat and heat buildup, but also cushions load pressure, making heavy loads more manageable across diverse landscapes.

The full U-Zip Access simplifies packing and accessing gear, allowing for a more organized and stress-free experience in the wilderness. With a generous 55-liter capacity, this backpack accommodates ample supplies for multi-day journeys without compromising agility or ventilation, making it an ideal choice for both summer excursions and cooler-weather camping.

  • Product Specs:
  • Capacity: 55 Liters
  • Weight: 4.06 pounds
  • Dimensions: 24.41 x 13.39 x 7.48 inches
  • Freefloat Suspension
  • Full U-Zip Access
  • Aircushion Backpanel
  • Pros:
  • Superior comfort and ventilation
  • Easy access to gear
  • High durability and quality construction
  • Cons:
  • Higher price point compared to some competitors
  • May be too large for minimalist trekkers
  • Weight may not suit ultra-light preferences


Best Women’s Backpacking Backpack: THE NORTH FACE Terra 55 

north face hiking backpack

Optimal comfort meets technical proficiency in the North Face Terra 55 Backpacking Backpack, a model celebrated for its innovative OPTIFIT suspension system that ensures a tailor-made fit for various body types. The Terra 55 stands out in the realm of outdoor exploration, providing adventurers with a reliable companion for their multi-day excursions.

The Dyno Lift System, absent of excess bulk, significantly lightens the load, while the J-zip opening offers convenient access to gear. With separated compartments and hydration compatibility, this backpack addresses the organizational and hydration needs crucial for enduring the wilderness.

The North Face has designed the Terra 55 with an emphasis on comfort and load management. The cushioned back panel coupled with breathable mesh facilitates ventilation, reducing the discomfort of perspiration during prolonged treks. Furthermore, the supportive molded hipbelt distributes weight effectively, easing the strain on the shoulders and back, allowing for greater freedom of movement and endurance on the trail.

Product Specs:

  • Dimensions: S/M: 23.6 x 13.4 x 9.8 inches
  • Volume: 55 Liters
  • Average Weight: S/M: 3lbs 10oz, L/XL: 3lbs 13oz
  • OPTIFIT suspension system
  • Dyno Lift System
  • Full J-zip opening
  • Separated compartments
  • Hydration compatible


  • Customizable fit with the OPTIFIT system
  • Lightweight and easy to carry with the Dyno Lift System
  • Organized packing with multiple compartments


  • Some users reported a lower satisfaction rate (3.8 out of 5 stars)
  • Ranked #89 in Internal Frame Hiking Backpacks, suggesting room for improvement
  • May not suit every backpacker’s needs due to specific design choices


Best Ultralight Backpacking Backpack: G4Free 50L 

durable and spacious backpack

The G4Free 50L Hiking Backpack offers an impressive capacity for extended outdoor adventures, featuring a versatile array of storage options and a durable waterproof nylon construction. Designed for the avid explorer, this backpack accommodates a multitude of gear for 3-4 day trips, with specialized compartments including a shoe space and hydration bladder section. The thoughtful design extends to comfort, with a breathable mesh back panel and thick shoulder straps, reducing fatigue during long treks.

Customer experiences reflect satisfaction with the pack’s quality and features such as the USB external battery cord and phone charger, enhancing connectivity in the wild. The included rain cover and orange alert whistle fortify preparedness. However, users should note the distinction between water resistance and full waterproofing, as well as the subjective nature of color aesthetics.

  • Product specs:
  • Material: Waterproof Nylon
  • Size: 14.2 x 9.4 x 23.6 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Capacity: 50L
  • Pros:
  • High storage capacity
  • Comfortable fit with adjustable straps
  • Multiple specialized compartments
  • Cons:
  • Water-resistant, not fully waterproof
  • Color may vary from expectations
  • Hydration bladder sold separately


Best Comfort Ultralight Backpacking Backpack:

High Sierra Pathway stunning hiking trails in sierra nevada

Equipped with a U-shaped main compartment, the High Sierra Pathway backpack comfortably holds two pairs of skis up to 185 cm, making it an exceptional choice for winter sport enthusiasts. The design of this backpack takes into account the need for secure and organized gear transport. A padded divider panel and interior hold-down straps ensure that all items, from skis to smaller essentials, are meticulously stowed to prevent shifting during transit. The center of the bag is specifically padded to give additional protection to ski bindings.

To accommodate varied loads, the High Sierra Pathway features quick-release adjustable compression straps on each end, which help maintain the backpack’s shape and balance. Furthermore, the long webbing handles are thoughtfully designed to serve as a shoulder strap, providing versatility and ease of carry, whether you’re navigating through airports or trekking up the slopes. This backpack is robustly constructed, yet remarkably lightweight at only 2.5 pounds, offering outdoor adventurers the freedom to roam without being weighed down.

  • Product Specs:
  • Dimensions: 27.56 x 11.42 x 9.06 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Capacity: 60 Liters
  • Ski Compatibility: Up to 185 cm
  • Material: Durable fabric
  • Model Number: 79548-5744
  • Pros:
  • Spacious main compartment
  • Organizational features for gear
  • Padded protection for bindings
  • Adjustable compression straps
  • Multi-functional webbing handles
  • Cons:
  • Limited to one main compartment
  • May not suit non-winter sports needs
  • Not the lightest option available


Best Heavy-Hauler Backpacking Backpack: Gregory Mountain 75 

hiking gregory mountain elevation 75

With its durable 630D HD Nylon construction, the Gregory Mountain 75 backpack offers unmatched resilience for extended backpacking excursions. The robust material ensures that your gear remains secure and protected, no matter the terrain or weather conditions.

Equipped with an advanced custom fit suspension system, the backpack boasts independently rotating hipbelt and harnesses that adapt to your body, providing a tailored fit that promotes freedom of movement and comfort during lengthy hikes.

The Gregory Mountain 75 also features a versatile sidewinder bottle holster for efficient one-handed water access, ensuring hydration is always within reach. The included daypack doubles as an internal hydration sleeve, offering added convenience for shorter exploratory trips from basecamp.

Despite some adjustments in the 2022 model, such as the omission of a raincover and smaller hip pockets, the Gregory Mountain 75 remains a top choice for serious backpackers seeking a reliable and comfortable pack for multi-day adventures.

  • Product Specs:
  • Material: 630D HD Nylon, EVA Foam
  • Custom Fit Suspension
  • Independently rotating hipbelt and harnesses
  • Included daypack/hydration sleeve
  • Sidewinder Bottle Holster
  • Pros:
  • Exceptional durability and build quality
  • Comfortable harness system
  • Efficient weight distribution
  • Good pocket organization and accessibility
  • Cons:
  • Lack of rigidity in the back system
  • No rain fly included in the latest model
  • Smaller hip pockets and issues with water bottle pocket


Osprey Exos 58

lightweight backpack for hiking

Osprey’s Exos 58 backpack’s design epitomizes the brand’s commitment to lightweight efficiency and customizable comfort for backpackers. With a total capacity of 58 liters, it offers ample storage for all seasons, catering to the diverse needs of trekkers and adventurers. Constructed from durable polyester, the Exos 58 ensures resilience on the trail without compromising on weight. Its user-centric features include a custom-fit harness and hip belt, providing an adjustable and snug fit that promotes stability and ease during long hikes. Osprey’s storied craftsmanship is evident in the backpack’s thoughtful design details, which enhance the user’s experience in the wilderness.

The Exos 58 has received acclaim for its material quality and ergonomic comfort. While some users have reported minor issues with the adjustable back system and side straps, the overall feedback underscores a positive experience with the backpack’s performance. Osprey’s dedication to customer satisfaction is reflected in their responsive service, remedying any concerns with professionalism and care.

  • Product Specs:
  • Brand: Osprey
  • Model: Exos 58
  • Color: Blue Ribbon
  • Material: Polyester
  • Size: Small/Medium
  • Capacity: 58 Liters
  • Weight: 1.27 Kilograms
  • Dimensions: 30.31 x 14.57 x 12.99 inches
  • Pros:
  • Lightweight and efficient design
  • Customizable fit for individual comfort
  • Renowned Osprey craftsmanship and durability
  • Cons:
  • Some issues with back system adjustability
  • Criticisms of side compression straps
  • Frame durability concerns in certain cases


Why Trust Us

Our selection of top-tier backpacking backpacks is the result of comprehensive testing and evaluation by experienced outdoor enthusiasts and gear specialists. We meticulously scrutinize each product to ensure you’re equipped with only the best rated backpacking backpacks for your adventures.

  • Expertise and Passion
  • *Experience*: Years of trail time and gear testing.
  • *Commitment*: Continuous search for innovation and quality.
  • Value and Performance
  • *Best Backpacking Backpacks for the Money*: Maximizing quality without compromising cost.
  • *Best Ultralight Backpacking Backpacks*: Emphasizing freedom through lightweight design.

Our assessments offer detailed, authoritative guidance so you can confidently embark on your journeys with the best travel backpacking backpacks. Trust in our expertise to guide you to the best lightweight backpacking backpacks, and experience the liberty of the wild with unparalleled gear.

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing a Backpacking Backpack

Selecting the ideal backpacking backpack necessitates a balance of capacity, comfort, and durability.

Prospective buyers should evaluate their capacity needs based on the length and nature of their trips, ensuring enough space for essential gear without succumbing to the pitfalls of overpacking.

Additionally, a critical assessment of the trade-off between a backpack’s weight and the comfort it provides, along with the materials and construction affecting its longevity, will guide users to an informed choice suited to their individual hiking demands.

Capacity Needs

When choosing a backpacking backpack, it is essential to consider the capacity that best aligns with the duration and nature of your trips. Backpacking backpacks come in various sizes to cater to different needs, whether you seek the freedom of a weekend getaway or the challenge of a multi-day expedition.

  • For Weekend Warriors:
  • *35-50 liters:* Ideal for short, sweet escapes. Feel the spontaneity of the wild without the burden of excess gear.
  • For Extended Excursions:
  • *50-70 liters:* Your trusty companion for longer adventures. Carry the essentials to thrive in solitude amidst nature’s grandeur.

Selecting the best backpacking backpacks—be it a hiking backpack, camping backpack, or the best backpacking backpacks on a budget—means finding the balance between capacity, comfort, and your indomitable spirit of adventure.

Comfort Vs. Weight

In the quest for the perfect backpacking backpack, a critical trade-off to consider is the balance between comfort and overall weight. Discerning adventurers seek the best backpacking backpacks that offer a harmonious blend of ergonomic design and lightweight materials. Opting for the best backpacking backpacks under a certain weight threshold doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort. Advanced suspension systems and strategically padded straps can be found in lightweight models, ensuring that your freedom to explore is not hindered by a cumbersome load.

When perusing the best backpacking backpacks for cheap, it’s crucial to assess the backpack’s construction. Backpacking best backpacks budget options may offer the allure of a lower price point, but verify they don’t compromise on quality and comfort, which could lead to a less enjoyable experience on the trail.

Durability Considerations

How do the materials and construction of a backpacking backpack affect its long-term durability? The resilience of a backpack is paramount for adventurers who view the wilderness as a gateway to freedom. High-denier fabrics and reinforced stress points ensure that the bag can withstand the rigors of nature, preserving the spirit of exploration.

  • Materials:
  • *Nylon and Polyester:* Recognized for their robustness and abrasion resistance.
  • *Ripstop Fabrics:* Prevent minor tears from expanding, embodying the relentless pursuit of adventure.
  • Construction:
  • *Seam Taping and Double Stitching:* Techniques that fortify the backpack and inspire confidence.
  • *Heavy-duty Zippers and Buckles:* Crafted to endure, these components symbolize the unyielding determination of the wanderer.

Selecting a backpack with these qualities ensures a reliable companion on the path to freedom.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Properly Load and Distribute Weight in a Backpacking Backpack?

To properly load a backpacking backpack, place heavy items near your back, centering the weight. Distribute lighter items and essentials for accessibility. This balanced arrangement enhances stability and comfort during hikes.

Can These Backpacking Backpacks Accommodate Hydration Systems, and if So, Which Models Are Best Suited for This?

Most modern backpacking backpacks are designed to accommodate hydration systems. Models such as the Osprey Aether/Ariel and Gregory Katmai/Kalmia series offer integrated hydration sleeves suitable for various bladders, enhancing convenience and fluid accessibility.

What Is the Expected Lifespan of a High-Quality Backpacking Backpack With Regular Use, and How Can I Extend It?

A high-quality backpacking backpack typically has a lifespan of several years with regular use. To extend its longevity, regularly clean the pack, make repairs as needed, and store it in a dry environment.

Are There Any Specific Maintenance or Cleaning Practices Recommended for These Backpacking Backpacks to Ensure Their Longevity?

To maintain longevity, regularly clean backpacks with mild soap, avoid harsh chemicals, and air dry. Store in a cool, dry place and repair any minor damage promptly to preserve functionality and appearance.

How Do Backpacking Backpacks Cater to Individuals With Back Problems or Previous Injuries, and What Features Should They Look For?

Backpacking backpacks designed for those with back issues often feature adjustable suspension systems, lumbar support, and ergonomic straps. Users should prioritize models with tailored fit options and load-distribution capabilities for enhanced comfort.

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