Up and Out: 12 Best Hiking Backpacks

After spending the majority of the workweek indoors, one of the best ways to catch a little reprieve is to take the time either after work or on the weekends to get outdoors. Obviously this isn’t news to you but of course, a little reminder never hurt. And what better way to spend some extended time outdoors than with a hike. And for those who really want to get out and exploring, a multi-day hike/camping trip is a fantastic way to unplug and drop out of the rat race for a moment – refueling and recharging in the process. Obviously, a hiking-friendly backpack is in order so naturally, we got you covered.

Whether it be storing you camping supplies on the go, keeping you day rations safe and secure, or your gear snug while in transit, a reliable hiking backpack is a must for any outdoor enthusiast. And if you’re new to the hiking game or looking to up your gear, there are some great and not-so-great options out there to choose from. Obviously, we’re positioned to discuss the former of those two options. Because without a great hiking backpack, the elements, wear and tear, and your back will all affect an otherwise relaxing and mind clearing experience.

Matador Beast28 Packable Backpack

Matador Beast28 Packable Backpack

Often when we think of technical or hiking backpacks, size and weight come into consideration. However, that’s not the case with the Beast Technical Backpack. This stow-friendly option is a packable 28-liter bag, meaning it compresses down into the side of a nerf football when not in use. Also, it’s made with puncture-resistant PU coated ripstop nylon, is hydration pack compatible, boats breathable straps, and multiple pockets on the exterior for easy access to your gear.

Purchase: $90

Bramble Outdoor Daypack

Bramble Outdoor Daypack

Not only does the Bramble backpack offer full-on outdoor functionality, but the sleek and unassuming design of the bag allows it to function in day-to-day urban life as well. With an 18-liter capacity, the Bramble definitely favors more day hikes than weeklong excursions through the woods, but also comes with a 1.5-liter water bottle pocket, removable waist belt, and hydration sleeve. Also, 5 percent of all sales of the USA-made backpack go towards protecting the pristine wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.

Purchase: $129

Fjallraven Kaipack

Fjallraven Kaipack

Built out from 100 percent polyester, this top loaded backpack is an ideal pack for those shorter hikes and day trips. The Kaipack boasts a top lid alongside two pockets for easy storage, a zippered pocket on the front for instant access to key items and attachments for trekking poles should the hike go a little longer. A detachable hipbelt helps increase the comfort of your carry and a rain cover along with a chest strap and whistle help you keep safe and dry while out and about in the wilderness.

Purchase: $150

Patagonia Ascensionist Pack

Patagonia Ascensionist Pack

What’s a hiking backpack list without Patagonia? One of everyone’s favorite outdoor brands certainly knows how to make a backpack to stand the test of both the elements and time. This one of their more lightweight options, allowing you to tackle those climbs while boasting a PU coating to keep the moisture out and a foam back panel that’s removable for quick and easy packing. Also, a top-loading design provides backpackers with easy access to their essential gear, daisy chains that help add additional lash points for your gear on the outside o the pack, and ski and ice ax compatibility.

Purchase: $179

Mystery Ranch Scree Daypack

Mystery Ranch Scree Daypack

Outfitted as the ultimate daypack, this 38-liter option from Mystery Ranch is a multi-use dream of a bag. Ideal for hiking, traveling or even climbing, it’s compatible with a hydration reservoir and comes equipped with a 3-ZIP opening that helps your gain access to any and all items quickly and easily. Also, with ergonomic water bottle pockets, a separate lid pocket for your most used items and a double layered bottom compartment, the Scree Daypack could very well be your next best friend on the trail.

Purchase: $179

Granite Gear Crown2

Granite Gear Crown2

Positioned to be your weather and trail-ready pack for the hike, the Crown2 boasts up to 60-liters of storage space alongside dual-density shoulder harnesses complete with load-lifter straps. Also, the bags adjustable hipbelt with pockets keep you comfortable and your most essential great at the ready while a hydration sleeve keeps you hydrated and durable water repellant treated zippers keep your belongings dry should the sky decide to open up.

Purchase: $200

The North Face Banchee

The North Face Banchee

From one of the most recognizable outdoor hiking and climbing brands around comes their Banchee backpack. Built out for both the day hike and the long haul, this 65-liter-capacity backpack is perfect for multi-day excursions through the backcountry. The OptiFit suspension also features a customized fit to your body, the beavertail works to separate wet gear, and a sleeping bag divider with bottom zip access along with zippered tool keeper and hip belt pockets keep everything neat and organized for the trip.

Purchase: $239

REI Co-op Traverse 70 Pack

REI Co-op Traverse 70 Pack

With the long haul in mind, this comfortable and stable offering from REI boasts a customizable fit and helps with load balance thanks to their UpLift Compression technology. Also, with an interchangeable 3D contoured hipbelt, hybrid trampoline back panel, and padded mesh shoulder straps, comfort won’t be a problem with the Traverse. You’ll also find 2 long zippered pockets along with a stuff-it pouch for easy access to key gear, twin tool loops, and hipbelt pockets for valuable items you wish to keep by your side. Also, an integrated rain cover keeps the pack and its contents dry in wet weather.

Purchase: $239

Osprey Atmos

Osprey Atmos

What makes this pack so special is what Osprey has dubbed as their Anti-Gravity suspension system that delivers not only exceptional carrying comfort but sufficient ventilation as well. It’s an award-winning pack with a reputation among hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail that also features a Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt with an adjustable torso length. A zippered front panel also helps you access your gear with ease and its floating top lid is, of course, removable to help save weight. Their FlipJacket feature also helps protect your gear from the unforgiving elements.

Purchase: $260+

Gregory Baltoro

Gregory Baltoro

Thanks to their responsive AFS suspension and aluminum stay, the Gregory Baltoro backpack is ready to hit the trails for the weekend and then some. Boasting trekking pole loops and compression straps, a lumbar pack lid that is indeed removable, thermo-molded back panel, and Auto-Fit hipbelt, the Baltoro is one serious contender in the world of hiking. Throw a hydration-compatible sleeve in there for good measure and you have a reliable pack for extended stays in the outdoors.

Purchase: $300

Hyperlite 2400 Southwest

Hyperlite 2400 Southwest

Made with pride in Maine, the 2400 Southwest is your go-to pack for any level of rustic backcountry adventures through the desert. It’s weight and load capacity make it an ideal option for weekend hikes or extended stays on the trail. Also, each pack is built with 100% waterproof Dyneema Composite Fabrics and feature three external pockets, a foam back panel, ice ax loop, hydration sleeves, and a compression roll-top closure system to keep everything secure and help save space in the process.

Purchase: $300

Arc’teryx Altra

Arc’teryx Altra

Boasting their reliable C2 composite construction suspension system, the Altra pack is sure to remain a dependable pack for years to come. In addition to its unique build, an extendable top lid and extension collar allow for larger loads, a hydration sleeve with an external access point help you remain hydrated in a convenient manner, and the double chamber top lid works to keep things organized and accessible at a moment’s notice. Not your typical hiking pack, but certainly an ideal grab for extended outdoor journeys.

Purchase: $357

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