Top 10 Backpacking Backpacks 2021

If you are going to invest in a single outdoors piece of equipment, and we mean really invest, it has got to be a quality backpack. Your backpacking backpack will be with you for hundreds if not thousands of miles, and the wrong choice can turn every single step into misery. Whether you are just starting out or have a few treks under your belt, we have found some backpacks to help your next trip go smoothly.

Choosing the Right Backpacking Backpack

Picking a backpack can be tricky, but the best way to handle it is to look for what you need the most. For some, that means space. For others, adjustable straps are key. It all depends on what your goals and plans are for taking that backpack out into the wild.

When choosing the right backpacking backpack, try considering:

  • Size-to-Weight Ratio: Even a few extra ounces can make a significant different after a hundred miles or so. Make sure the backpack’s weight is light enough to carry but large enough to fit what you need.
  • Quality of Materials: Imagine a backpack strap breaking when you are three days out from civilization. Don’t want that to happen? Then always check for a backpack made from materials that will last.
  • Adjustability: A backpack that fits well can make even long treks more bearable. A backpack that does not fit will turn every step into a hellish trudge. While most backpacks are pretty adjustable, if you are much shorter/smaller or taller/larger than average, take this into consideration.
  • Features: Does your backpack have a water bladder compartment? What about its side pouches or rain fly? Always check that your backpack has everything you could want from it before making your decision. A missing feature could become a bothersome nuisance in the middle of an otherwise exciting trip.

#1 TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack

TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack

Pros:

  • Amazing quality at an affordable price
  • Extremely comfortable belt pad and shoulder strap
  • Works for a range of sizes and body types

Cons:

  • Limited space for sleeping bag compartment
  • A little bit weightier than ideal

The Full Picture

The TETON Sports Scout is without a doubt our top choice. It hits so many important notes from durability to affordability, but namely it is comfortable, which even makes its weight less noticeable. The color options were pleasant as well. While backpacking isn’t about looking great, having a backpack that vibes with your color preference can make a trip even more enjoyable. Whether you are only starting out with backpacking or have several trips under your belt, this is a go-to backpack.

#2 Osprey Rook 65 Backpacking Backpack

Osprey Rook 65 Backpacking Backpack

Pros:

  • Sleek and efficient shape/design
  • Lightweight yet durable material
  • Drastically adjustable for comfort no matter who wears it

Cons:

  • Higher price point
  • Smaller opening demands careful packing to maintain accessibility on the trail

The Full Picture

Really, this backpacking backpack is tied for first. The only reason it is second on the list is because the higher price might be a turn-off. But we can gladly say it is worth every cent, and you truly get what you pay for. It is durable, comfortable, light, and incredibly adjustable. With three available colors (we loved the Mallard Green) you can choose one that suits the rest of your gear.

#3 TETON Mountain Adventurer 4000

TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack

 

Pros:

  • Multiple styles and sizes in the same series
  • Extra-padded for additional comfort and support
  • Unique design with space and fun features

Cons:

  • Has a lower weight limit before straps become uncomfortable
  • Undoing straps could be easier (can be a pain after a long day)

The Full Picture

This entire series is worth a recommendation, but the 4000 was our favorite. It had plenty of space and we managed to adjust it to a comfortable fit. The stormproof zippers were a great added feature and lived up to their name. While it is on the heavier side for its size, the extra padding kept it comfortable at weights around 30-40 pounds.

#4 MOUNTAINTOP 80L/55L Internal Frame Backpack

MOUNTAINTOP 80L-55L Hiking Internal Frame Backpack

Pros:

  • Covers all the basics
  • Variety of options and colors
  • Comfortable shoulder straps for the price

Cons:

  • Not as comfortable for taller/larger adventurers
  • No included water bladder or water bladder compartment

The Full Picture

This backpack is a great way to familiarize yourself with the features of backpacking backpacks. But it suits best backpackers who are under six-feet tall. The variety of colors is a fun aspect that can add some flair to your trips. Our main complaint was that there is no separate compartment for a water bladder. Instead, you need to put the bladder (sold separately) in the main compartment, which can get things wet if you aren’t careful.

#5 Gregory Baltero 65

Gregory Mountain Products Men's Baltoro 65 Backpacking Pack

Pros:

  • Professional quality with ease-of-use for all levels
  • Incredibly light and comfortable for the sizes
  • Plenty of storage options
  • Three available sizes to match you

Cons:

  • Higher price point (but worth it for unparalleled quality)
  • The right-side pop-out water bottle pocket is a bit outdated

The Full Picture

If you have the cash and are ready to go all in, you couldn’t do better than the Gregory Baltero 65. Its straightforward design and functionality make it ideal for beginners, but the quality is absolutely up there with advanced-level outdoor excursions. It can handle all sorts of weather conditions and will last you for thousands of miles. When adjusted properly, you will be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable backpack.

#6 Ubon 60L Internal Frame Backpack w/ Rain Cover

Ubon Internal Frame Hiking Backpack 60L Camping Backpack

Pros:

  • Extensive storage options with practical access
  • 8-Stage adjuster for added comfort
  • Rain-fly works like a dream

Cons:

  • No side pockets
  • Mesh back padding can wear down under higher weights

The Full Picture

Ubon’s backpack is a sturdy, practical affair with some added flair in its color options. The zippers seemed to be good quality, but were a bit snug at first. Though this seemed to get better over time. For the size, it is quite lightweight, though we recommend keeping the pack lighter as the mesh back padding seemed to wear down quickly at higher weights.

#7 Mardingtop 65L/65+10L Backpack

Mardingtop 65L-65-10L Molle Hiking Internal Frame Backpacks

Pros:

  • Variety of options for larger capacities
  • Military-level quality
  • Plenty of straps and attachment points

Cons:

  • Material quality could be better for the price range
  • Not military spec molle (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment), but good enough

The Full Picture

Mardington has a solid mid-range backpack here. Every inch of it was designed with practicality in mind, though it can take some time to figure it all out. The size is perfect for stuffing some extra gear in, but we advise against trying for too high a weight, especially on longer trips.

#8 REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack

REI Co-op Flash 55 Pack - Men's

Pros:

  • Highly customizable and adaptable
  • Incredibly lightweight without sacrificing durability
  • Can’t beat the quality for the price

Cons:

  • Smaller size limits duration of trips
  • Does not have torso-length adjustments in shoulder straps

The Full Picture

Really, the only reason this is down here on the list is its price point. While the price is fair for the value, the Flash is still an investment. However, with how customizable and lightweight this pack is, it makes a great pack for those starting out. Not only will your trips be comfortable, but you can change up how you use it as you gain more experience.

#9 NACATIN Internal Frame 70L Backpack

NACATIN Internal Frame 70L Backpack Water-Resistant Hiking Daypack Backpacks

Pros:

  • Durable quality for the price point
  • Good balance between firmness and breathability
  • Spacious and light for the size

Cons:

  • Could use more adjustability for better comfort
  • Buckles could be better quality

The Full Picture

If you want to try out backpacking but don’t want to commit to a high price point, this backpack is a great gateway. While the materials won’t last forever, for the price we found them to balance out. If the adjustability and buckles were better, this could even be higher on the list!

#10 Loowoko 50L Backpack

Loowoko Hiking Backpack 50L Travel Camping Backpack with Rain Cover

Pros:

Great for mild trips and lower weight packing
Waterproof
Cons:
No internal metal frame
The size is more accurately a 40-45L because it requires using a 5L pouch that takes up interior space

The Full Picture

Frankly, the Loowoko 50L is more of a daypack in the guise of a backpack. That being said, we decided to include it down here for anyone wanting to dip their toes into backpacking. It is affordable and lightweight, so it is perfect for someone looking to take a few hours hike and set up camp for a night or two. If you want to bring along more camping gear, tents or go for longer treks, we recommend something else.

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