Top 10 Best Backpacking Backpacks in 2018

Going on a backpacking trip is quite an adventure and so is packing for the trip. Besides choosing what to bring, one of the biggest issues is how to choose the right backpack.

There are hundreds of different models to choose from, so how can you make sure you choose the right one for your needs?

Having checked many thousands of backpacking backpack reviews, we can say that the Arcteryx Bora 80 is the best choice for most people.

Arcteryx Bora 80

Arcteryx Bora 80

The best reviewed backpacking backpack
Rated 4.90 out of 5

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PS: We have checked 33,615 reviews to make this top 10 list!
1Arcteryx Bora 80Arcteryx Bora 804.90Check Price
2Arcteryx Bora 80Arcteryx Bora 804.90Check Price
3Gregory Denali 100Gregory Denali 1004.87Check Price
4Deuter Pace 30Deuter Pace 304.82Check Price
5Osprey Xenith 88Osprey Xenith 884.82Check Price
6Kelty Redcloud 90Kelty Redcloud 904.80Check Price
7Osprey Kyte 66Osprey Kyte 664.78Check Price
8Granite Gear Lutsen 45Granite Gear Lutsen 454.77Check Price
9Gregory Baltoro 65Gregory Baltoro 654.76Check Price
10Deuter Aircontact 65+10Deuter Aircontact 65+104.76Check Price

How we rate the bags

We have checked 33,615 backpacking backpack reviews, so we can show you the weighted average rating of all the bags.

Using the average ratings, you can check what all the reviewers think instead of just viewing the subjective opinion of one specific reviewer.

It’s much simplier to find the best bags that way.

Not sure what backpacking backpacks to choose? Read on as we are going to take a closer look at each bag!

1 – Arcteryx Bora 80

5 review stars Rating 4.90 based on 8 reviews

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Arcteryx Bora 80

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Arcteryx Bora 80:

Reviewers like these things about the Arcteryx Bora 80

  • Comfortable padding. It has got improved foam padding in both hip belt and shoulder straps.
  • Ergonomic design of shoulder strap gives added convenience to the backpacker.
  • Resists weather damage thanks to AC2 fabric which also sets Arcteryx Bora Back out of other models.
  • Great suspension gives high level of comfort for adventure activities.
  • Both hip belt and shoulder straps have improved foam padding.
  • When this latest model shares its title with traditional Bora line, this particular backpack comes with various major upgrades over last models.
  • Arcteryx Bora Back is a world-class all around backpack which is comfortable and comes with attractive features, robust suspension and best weather resistance.
  • It’s a perfect staple for backcountry adventures.
  • Added weather resistance and lighter weight than other models is the most notable feature.
  • It also keeps upgrading its much-needed comfort from Bora. The most recent model is the perfect alternative to older Altra range of backpacks, with various features and similar design, apart from few major upgrades.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Average weight makes it a backpack you need to think twice before buying.
  • Another major drawback is that it has expensive price tag of around $550.
  • Lacks in pockets and areas to strap/lash oddly shaped items externally like other models.

2 – Arcteryx Bora 80

5 review stars Rating 4.90 based on 8 reviews

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Arcteryx Bora 80

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Arcteryx Bora 80:

Reviewers like these things about the Arcteryx Bora 80

  • Users have noted that the Arcteryx Bora bag features a shoulder strap harness system that allows for a custom fit both vertically and horizontally.
  • Several users said that it has a ventilated back panel.
  • Many of the reviewers indicated that the bag carries two ice axes.
  • Other reviewers noted that the hip belt reduces chaffing by adjusting to changes in back length as they move.
  • Reviewers said that it has side pockets that carry 1-liter bottles.
  • Testers noted that its shoulder straps could be adjusted for both height and width.
  • Other testers said that the bag is made of waterproof fabric.
  • Testers recommended the use of the bag for traveling and hiking.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer found that it does not have enough pockets.
  • Another reviewer had issues with the zippers of the said backpack.

3 – Gregory Denali 100

5 review stars Rating 4.87 based on 39 reviews

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Gregory Denali 100

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Gregory Denali 100:

Reviewers like these things about the Gregory Denali 100

  • A lot of users have mentioned that the Gregory Denali can be used for hiking and travel.
  • Others thought that it the pack is durable due to its 210D Nylon and 420D High-Density Nylon material.
  • Several reviewers thought that the bag could be scaled down due to its removable frame stays and bivy pad.
  • Users found it comfortable to use even with heavy loads.
  • According to some users, its loops and daisy secure gears in place.
  • A user mentioned that it has excellent load stability.
  • Another reviewer thought that it has sufficient pockets which provide make it easy to organize things.
  • Testers found that the bag is large enough to carry a heavy load.
  • Other testers noted that it is lightweight.
  • Many wrote that it is comfortable to carry the bag due to its padded shoulder pads.
  • They also said that its suspension system helps carry more weight.
  • Several of those who have tried the bag thought that it works best when used in rough terrain.
  • A lot of testers felt that the bag is stable and did not move or sway around.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer thought that the bag might be cumbersome.
  • Another user found that it does not include an integrated rain cover.

4 – Deuter Pace 30

5 review stars Rating 4.82 based on 11 reviews

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Deuter Pace 30

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Deuter Pace 30:

Reviewers like these things about the Deuter Pace 30

  • A lot of users agree that the Deuter Pace backpack is lightweight yet compact.
  • Testers commended the presence of several roomy and stretchable pockets.
  • Some users noted that the components of the backpack, including its attachment loops, can be adjusted easily.
  • Many of those who tried the pack found it comfortable to use.
  • A lot of users praised its breathable back system for minimizing their perspiration.
  • Testers commended the backpack for having an SOS label which comes in handy in case of an emergency.
  • Several reviewers agree that the backpack is best suitable for use when alpine skiing, ski touring, and snowboarding.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer thought that the backpack might need to have a side access to the main compartment.
  • Another reviewer noted that it is quite difficult to use the hip belt when the whole backpack is loaded.

5 – Osprey Xenith 88

5 review stars Rating 4.82 based on 200 reviews

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Osprey Xenith 88

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Osprey Xenith 88:

Reviewers like these things about the Osprey Xenith 88

  • Reviewers agree that the Osprey Xenith backpack provides comfort to the user of the pack.
  • Reviewers noted that it has enough pockets to secure and store essential items and equipment.
  • Other reviewers thought that it has designated loops for ice ax tools.
  • Users noted that the harness could be adjusted to suit the body structure of the user.
  • Testers thought that it is compatible with hydration systems.
  • Reviewers found that the pack is equipped with a lot of adjustment straps to balance the load evenly.
  • Reviewers noted that its compartments are easy to access.
  • Other reviewers said that it is equipped with a padded panel to protect and support heavy loads.
  • Users thought that the bag is large enough to carry necessary equipment.
  • They have also mentioned that the bag may be used for climbing and hiking.
  • According to those who have used the backpack, the pack is equipped with a peripheral frame which efficiently transfers weight to the hip belt.
  • Reviewers pointed out that its anatomically contoured shoulder straps provide support and comfort to the user.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user thought that the backpack looks too bulky.
  • Another user noted that zippers might snag when used for opening compartments.
  • A reviewer said that the pack did not fit him at all.

6 – Kelty Redcloud 90

5 review stars Rating 4.80 based on 11 reviews

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Kelty Redcloud 90

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Kelty Redcloud 90:

Reviewers like these things about the Kelty Redcloud 90

  • Most reviewers have said that it is a great fit and the built makes the backpack more durable for long and comfortable travelling.
  • The travellers mentioned that the adjustable suspension for the pack made them to carry the pack the whole day without any issue.
  • The travellers are also happy with the numerous external compartments that help them to carry emergency gears with easy accessibility.
  • Some reviewers are quite satisfied with the both way loading compartments. It helped them to pack their bag in a more organized way.
  • A few trekkers also mentioned the bottom access of the pack for sleeping bag and other external pockets which made them carry camping gears without any trouble.
  • Many of the reviewers agree that the backpack is quiet affordable and they have appreciated the price.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some reviewers complained about the pack to be little heavy compared to other backpacks.
  • A few travellers also said that the waist belt of the pack is not enough to comfort fat and bulky travellers.
  • Many reviewers have complained that the pack doesn’t come with built-in rain cover to protect their clothes and gears from the rain.

7 – Osprey Kyte 66

5 review stars Rating 4.78 based on 303 reviews

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Osprey Kyte 66

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Osprey Kyte 66:

Reviewers like these things about the Osprey Kyte 66

  • Most reviewers mentioned that the Osprey Kyte backpack is built for female use.
  • Many of those who have tried the backpack have commented on the presence of several pockets where they can place several of their gears.
  • Others also found it easy to attach and carry trekking poles due to its pole attachment.
  • A lot of reviewers recommended the bag for those who are into traveling and hiking.
  • Users mentioned that its rain cover protects the backpack well when exposed to foul weather conditions.
  • Several of those who have used the pack said that it is easy to access their sleeping bag through the bottom compartment.
  • Many testers praised the backpack for its dual side compression straps which provide stability to the backpack.
  • Other testers highlighted on the comfort the pack provided.
  • Users have noted that they can stretch or tighten the bag based on their preference.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user disliked the inner frame of the backpack.
  • Another user noted that the sternum strap keeps detaching itself from the cord on the pack.

8 – Granite Gear Lutsen 45

5 review stars Rating 4.77 based on 66 reviews

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Granite Gear Lutsen 45

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Granite Gear Lutsen 45:

Reviewers like these things about the Granite Gear Lutsen 45

  • Several reviewers thought that the Granite Gear Lutsen backpack is designed for users who are into thru-hiking or traveling.
  • Other reviewers found that its loops make it suitable for attaching several things.
  • Several users discovered that its adjustable hip belt and frame allows it to fit their hip size and length of their torso, respectively.
  • Reviewers found that its pockets might carry several equipment and belongings including a compass and a wallet.
  • Testers lauded its convenient extra storage.
  • Many users felt that their backs were well-ventilated due to its foam with air channels.
  • Many of those who have tried using the backpack praised its compression straps which may also be used to secure snowshoes to the backpack.
  • Some testers noticed its water resistant barrier zippered tricot line hip belt pocket.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user found that the top lid pockets have a tendency to flop when the main pack compartment is not full.
  • Another user mentioned that the frame adds weight to the bag.
  • A reviewer thought that the lumbar padding was uncomfortable.

9 – Gregory Baltoro 65

5 review stars Rating 4.76 based on 902 reviews

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Gregory Baltoro 65

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Gregory Baltoro 65:

Reviewers like these things about the Gregory Baltoro 65

  • The light weight makes it a perfect backpack for weekend camping and long vacations.
  • The adjustable shoulder straps with additional lumber support makes to distribute the weight for easy commuting.
  • This pack has the burliest suspension system and it loads extremely well. The suspension system allows both the shoulder straps and waist belt automatically pivot into the ideal angle to maximize load distribution and comfort.
  • The hip belt is very comfortable and allows easy hip movements.
  • It has good access both from top and bottom with the optional divider between the main compartment and the sleeping bag compartment below.
  • There are plenty of side pockets to carry sufficient gears for your trip.
  • An additional mesh bottle pocket allows you to fit in the water bottle for travelling.
  • The rain cover is excellent with a water proof pocket on the hip belt.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some complained that the backpack is not as stiff and durable compared to other models.
  • The chest strap is adjustable but not very comfortable for large chests.
  • The buckles in the chest strap are not much secure and can move up to the neck.
  • The zippers on the side compartments are also reversed which can make things fall when leaning over.

10 – Deuter Aircontact 65+10

5 review stars Rating 4.76 based on 57 reviews

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Deuter Aircontact 65+10

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Deuter Aircontact 65+10:

Reviewers like these things about the Deuter Aircontact 65+10

  • Almost of the reviewers said that the pack is rugged, heavy duty and durable for travelling and trekking.
  • Many said that the bag is well designed and fits their body perfectly for comfortable carry.
  • They mentioned that the straps are highly adjustable to evenly distribute the weigth for easy carrying for longer hours.
  • Trekkers said that the pack has lots of room and helped them carry all extra gears for camping and trekking.
  • They also said that the front zipper are very useful for accessing the compartments easily.
  • A few buyers are happy with the ventilation system of the pack and they said that their travels were not sweaty on their back.
  • A buyer also said that the great number of organizational pockets helped them carry stuffs organized for their trips.
  • Another user was happy to mention the waist belt pocket for emergency items with easy access.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Many of the reviewers complained that the bag is heavy to carry when fully loaded.
  • A few buyers said that their is only one external side pocket for water bottles.
  • Another user said that the pack is not good for rainy weather as it is not fully water resistant.
  • A user also mentioned the pack to be little more expensive compared to others with the same features.

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Buyer’s guide to backpacking backpacks

There is a reason that a backpacking is known as such – you carry all of the belongings that you need in a backpack for an extended period of time. So, it really should come as no surprise that the most important part of such a trip is well, the backpack. Thus, you have to pay a great deal of attention to the kind of bag that you are buying.

Now, if you previously only have experience with buying school bags, you may be in for a bit of a shock. There are thousands of backpacks to choose from but only a handful are just right for you. Don’t worry, though, thanks to this guide, you will not feel as though you are looking for a needle in a haystack. Here is everything that you need to know about making a bag-based decision:

Finding the Backpacking Backpack You Will Love to Travel With

On a backpacking trip, you will end up losing a lot of your belongings and then finding new ones. Despite this, there is one thing that you will hang tightly on to – your backpack. This is because when you are crisscrossing across the country or the world, your backpacking backpack will become your lifeline. In fact, it will practically become an extension of yourself.

As you can see, choosing the perfect backpacking backpack for you is no small task and definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly. So, without further ado, here are the characteristics that you will need to consider during your selection process:

What Storage Capacity Do You Need?

One of the first things you will analyze about a backpacking backpack is just how much it can hold. Now, this does depend on a few things. As you can imagine, the length of your trip is a rather important factor here. However, so is the items that you are planning on carrying. For instance, if you are mostly planning on carrying clothes, a smaller bag will be able to hold enough for a longer trip. On the other hand, if supplies or digital equipment will also feature in your luggage, you are going to need more space.

If you are only planning on exploring a small space like a city and will not be away from your essentials for more than three days, you will find that backpacks between 45 and 55 liters will suit you well. In the event that your trip is going to be a week or so long, then one able to hold at least 70 to 90 liters will be better.

Shape and Size

A mistake that many first time backpackers make is buying getting an overly large backpack ‘just in case’. While this might sound like a good idea, there are a few downsides to this plan. First, very big backpacks can be cumbersome and can make it difficult for you to walk. Not to mention, if you don’t have enough of items to place in the bag, the belongings that are in there will shift around as you move. Furthermore, a bigger bag will weigh more, even when it is empty. This means that you will be carrying around additional weight for no good reason.

So, what should you get instead? Well, as mentioned, only get a backpack that will actually fit your capacity requirements. Also, you should stay away from bags that have a greater width than height. Long and thin bags are ideal as they are more stable and allow you a greater range of motion.

If you have no choice but to get a large bag for a long trip, there are some dimensions to pay attention to. First, the bag should never be longer or sit below your hips. This will impede movement. Now, due to the length of the backpack, there is a good chance that it will be taller than your head when it is strapped on your bag. Still, it should not be taller than a few inches to avoid your gait from been thrown off.

If you are a woman, you may wonder if women-specific backpacks are for you or if they are just a marketing scheme. Well, these backpacks are actually designed for women – specifically to fit shorter torsos, narrower shoulders, and wider waists. If you are on the shorter side, these backpacks can come in handy. However, if you are tall and have a more athletic build, regular backpacks should be just fine for you.

Now, you should keep in mind that these bags will also function as travel backpacks and will need to be transported by an airline. So, you should check that the dimensions of the bag fit the restrictions placed on checked luggage.

Fabrics to Look For

Backpacks are made from different types of fabric and each has their own set of properties. So, when considering the material that the backpack is made from, you will need to first determine what characteristics that you are looking for most.


Do you want your backpack to last as long as possible despite years of use and abuse? Or maybe you will be heading out camping during your journey and need something a more durable backpack. Regardless, there are three main types of fabric that you can consider for these situations. For toughness, either Cordura nylon or ballistic nylon will be incredibly resistant to abrasion.

Ripstop nylon is also quite abrasion resistant but where its real strength lies is with rips and tears. This material ensures that in the event of any rips, that the tears will not increase in size, preventing further damage to the backpacks.

Low Weight

There is no denying that your backpack can get quite heavy, particularly if you are headed out on a longer trip. Looking for backpacks made from lightweight materials can help to knock off some weight from your overall load. For this purpose, either ripstop nylon or Dyneema will work well. While Dyneema is lighter and stronger, it also has a much higher price tag attached than ripstop nylon.

Water Resistant

Irrespective of where you are backpacking, having a backpack that is able to keep moisture away from your belongings at least for a while is required. Now, many of the materials used to construct backpacks aren’t actually waterproof themselves. Instead, they are coated with either polyurethane or a similar water-resistant coating. While this will not make the backpack completely waterproof, it will help to keep your things dry until you find shelter.

Internal Frame vs. External Frame

When looking for larger backpacks for backpacking, you will inevitably have to face making a decision between a bag with an internal frame or an external frame. These days, you are most likely to find an internal frame backpack with the external frame option being quite rare.

As the name suggests, the frame of an internal frame is within the bag. This makes it lighter and easier to carry when headed out on trails. The only caveat is that these bags can be quite warm to carry and there is a limit to how much equipment that you can take.

External frame backpacks, on the other hand, are where the backpack is hung from a larger frame. Due to this, you are able to store more items outside the bag, including things like sleeping bags and tents. Of course, the downside is that these bags can be heavy, even when empty. Also, while they work great on flat ground, they can be difficult to move with on uneven terrain.

The Suspension System

Since there is a good chance that you will need to carry heavy loads, the suspension system of your backpack is very important. It will determine just how comfortable it is to carry your bag for long periods of time when it is at full capacity.

First and foremost, you will need to look at the shoulder straps on the bag as they are the main support system. These straps should be wide enough so that they can evenly displace the weight of the bag without sinking into your skin. For added comfort, additional padding can be helpful as well.

Just as important is the hip belt because your body tends to carry most of the weight thrust upon it on your hips. The hip belt should be at the top of your hip bones and needs to be well padded to stop chaffing. The belt must be adjustable so that it can be securely fastened around your waist.

Now, most large bags lack proper stability. In these instances, a sternum strap that goes across your chest can help. These need to sit just below your collarbone for greatest efficiency.

Top Loading vs. Panel Access

With larger backpacking backpacks, access can be an issue. Typically, you will find that packs either have access points at the very top of the bag or that the bag is divided into zippered panels. Top loaders are often easier to pack and can even hold a greater number of items. At the same time, organization can become nearly impossible which is why most people prefer the individual compartments of the panel design.

Additional Features

Here are some other traits that you should look for in your backpack:

  • Removable Daypack: once you have settled down at your lodgings, it is unlikely that you want to carry a huge backpack everywhere that you go. This is why you should look for backpacking backpacks that have detachable daypacks. These are smaller and great for short trips.
  • Sleeping Bag Compartment: whether you are sleeping outdoors or trying to make an unfamiliar bed more comfortable, a sleeping bag can be quite handy. To make it easier to organize your bag, get one with a separate sleeping bag compartment.
  • Compression Straps: having all of your belongings moving around while you are walking can make it difficult to get around easily. Compression straps can improve the situation by holding all of the things in place, even when the bag is not at full capacity. They also help to keep the bag stabilized against your back.
  • Hydration Features: backpacking is thirsty work so you are going to want water on hand at all types. Backpacks offer two separate hydration option. The first is external mesh pockets that can hold water bottles. The other is hydration pouches that can store reservoirs and often have tubes and sip mechanisms attached.

These are all of the tips and tricks that will help you to find the backpack that will be the only travel companion that you will need.

Selected reviews

Her Packing List reviewed the Kelty Redwing 44

It’s sturdy, reliable, versatile, and great for both hiking and travel. I ended up buying the Kelty Redwing 40W pack for my next trip because I had to give this one back, but I would definitely recommend it to travelers and hikers alike.

Posted 4 October 2017 by Ali Garland – Read full review

The Test Pit reviewed the Osprey Farpoint 40

Posted 31 March 2017 – Read full review

Her Packing List reviewed the Osprey Farpoint 40

For a carry-on size, sturdy, professional and user-friendly backpack, this is a top choice.

Posted 15 November 2013 by Caroline Eubanks – Read full review

Go Green Travel Green reviewed the Osprey Farpoint 40

The Osprey Farpoint 40 is a fantastic small travel backpack. It’s incredibly comfortable, lightweight, and attractive, and it has great pockets.

Posted 24 October 2012 – Read full review

Backpack Gear Test reviewed the Deuter Futura 32

I love my Futura 32 and its big brother, the Futura Vario 50+10 enough that my ALICE pack is now just a souvenir from my days in the Army that I can loan out to people who need a pack for a trip.

Posted 1 August 2007 by Chuck Kime – Read full review

Notes about this top 10 list

The list was last updated 19/09/2018.

The list shows the best reviewed backpacking backpacks from a much bigger list of selected products. The list should not be considered a complete list of all available, excellent backpacking backpacks

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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So far we have checked more than 2,1 million reviews!

Using our bag review summaries, we aim to help you find the perfect bag without having to spend a lot of time reading an endless list of reviews.

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