The Adventurer’s Guide to the Best Large Backpacks for Hiking and Travel

If you need to go an extended camping trip or are looking to backpack across Europe, you are going to need a pretty big backpack to accompany you. While there are a lot of large backpacks available, there is a lot to consider before getting such a big pack. This is because even the smallest details begin to matter at this size.

How to Choose the Best Large Backpack

So, you are probably quite confused about just how to go about getting that backpack that can accommodate all of your clothes and supplies. Well, the good news for you is that we have taken this burden off of your shoulders. Here we discuss everything that you need to know about choosing large backpacks.

Looking for a Large Backpack? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you have ever even considered a large backpack, you know just how awkward these packs can be. This is why you have to be careful about precisely which one you choose. Making the wrong decision could result in you having a backpack that is just not suited to your needs. If you want to prevent this from happening, just look at all of the information available to you here:

What Constitutes a Large Backpack?

The first subject that we need to tackle is what do you mean by a large backpack? This term doesn’t actually refer to the size of the pack. Instead, it is just how much a particular pack can carry – in other words, a large backpack is all about the capacity.

Backpack capacity is referred to as volume which is why the internal and external capacities are measured in either liters or cubic centimeters. Different manufacturers will use varying units to define their pack volumes and this is where it can get a little tricky. Now, volumes mentioned in cubic centimeters tend to have the greatest accuracy but they can be a little difficult to visualize for the average person. This is why many brands prefer to use liters instead as they are a unit that most people are familiar with. However, these liter measurements are often rounded up to the nearest number. As a result, it can be difficult to know precisely how much these packs can contain. This is why there is such an issue which trying to convert cubic inches to liters or vice versa to compare bags. Since the conversions aren’t exact, you can’t always accurately compare two or more packs.

Still, there shouldn’t be too much lost in translation. So, having a rough idea of how much your large bag should be able to carry is more than enough. On that note, a large backpack would be one that would have a volume of 50 liters or more.

Types of Large Backpacks

There are two main types of large backpacks that you can choose from. They are as follows:

  • Multi-day backpacks (50 – 80 liters): multi-day packs are those that are suitable for camping trips or excursions that last longer than a weekend. With this capacity, you can carry clothes, food, supplies, and even smaller tools or equipment as well. These are typically the packs that are used for shorter backpacking trips as well.
  • Expedition backpacks (80 – 110 liters): expedition backpacks aren’t just used for long trips. Due to the size and the design of these type of backpacks, they used in colder weather. They are capable of carrying the additional clothing and equipment required.

Choosing Your Backpack Size

When trying to decide which backpack size is right for you, you will always need to take a few things into consideration. First things first, you should never choose a backpack larger than you need. If you are only going to be camping or backpacking for a few days, choose a multi-day backpack over an expedition one, whenever possible.

There are a couple of reasons for choosing the smallest possible bag. For one, the weight is an issue. The larger that the backpack is, the heavier it will be. So, if you get a really big bag for a camping trip that will only last a day or two, you are going to be quite uncomfortable.

Fortunately, there are a few exceptions to this rule. There are lightweight options for multi-day packs. These backpacks are made from incredibly light yet strong materials, which makes them weigh less. Of course, the downside is that you will have to pay more for such packs.

The other reason that a too large bag is unnecessary is due to the way that the things will be packed inside. All of your belongings should be closely packed together to prevent them from moving about while you are walking or climbing. Otherwise, there will not be an even distribution of weight.

Internal and External Frame Design

If you want a large backpack, you are going to need to determine whether you want one with an internal frame or an external frame.

Lately, there has been a shift towards the internal frame designs. As the name suggests, this is where the rigid frame is incorporated within the backpack. One of the reasons that this type of backpack is so popular is due to the stability that it offers. This means even when your weight and balance are shifting, it will be easier to walk. These backpacks are particularly useful on rough terrain. The other advantage is the increased capacity available with such designs.

While the external frame backpack is not as popular, it certainly does have its benefits. With this type of backpack, the frame is on the outside and is visible. What’s truly great about these backpacks is that they are able to carry immense weight without assigning that weight to you. Also, because of the external structures, you can carry a greater number of supplies as well. Why they aren’t used as much as they used is because of the weight and the stability. These types of bags are quite heavy, even when they are empty. Also, they don’t offer the same stability as the internal frame design.

In the end, it is up to you to decide which type of frame is best suited to your excursion or adventure.

The Suspension System

With larger bags, you will presumably be carrying heavier loads. Therefore, the suspension system becomes incredibly important with these bags. The suspension system refers to the various elements that allow you to carry the bag on your back.

The most important of them all is the shoulder straps. Since they will need to withstand a considerable amount of weight, it is best if the straps are wider and a little padded. This way, when placed on your shoulders, the weight will be evenly displaced, preventing the straps from sinking into your skin.

With these larger backpacks, it is also quite common to find sternum straps. This is the strap that buckles at your chest. This strap really helps to keep the backpack bound to your back, particularly when the pack is quite long. You will need to check that the strap sits a few inches below your collarbone for optimal placement.

Then, there is the hip belt which is arguably one of the most important straps. This is because we naturally carry the majority of our weight on our hips. A hip belt can help to enhance this when you are wearing a backpack and prevent undue pressure on your back. The hip belt should be adequately padded and rest just above your hip bones.

The Fit

The other thing that you must ensure is that the backpack fits you properly. This means that once the straps have been adjusted, the backpack can rest between your neck and your waist, without being any longer than your hips. When shopping for backpacks, it is a good idea to measure your torso – the length between the base of your neck and the top of your waist. This way, you can compare your torso height with the length of the pack.

Now, with expedition backpacks, it is going to be quite difficult to ensure this. Particularly if you are equipped with an external frame, there is a good chance that the pack will be higher than your head. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be more than a few inches taller than your torso.

If you are a smaller woman, it may be helpful for you to look at women’s specific backpacks. These are built for petite individuals. The dimensions of the backpack are also made to accommodate the curves of women’s bodies.

External Features

Most large backpacks rely on top loading access. While this can be useful, it also means that it can be difficult to retrieve your belongings, supplies, or equipment on a whim. This is why the external features on a large backpack are so important.

The first, of course, would be hydration features. You should look for a pack that will let you store a hydration bladder in an external pocket or that has mesh pockets for water bottles. The easier that they are to access, the better.

If you are camping, it is also a good idea to have a place where you can attach your sleeping bag to the outside of your pack. This way, you can save on space on the inside. In the same vein, you should look for loops and chains that will let you attach ice axes, trekking poles, and other equipment that you may need. These are features that you should pay special attention to if you are planning on hiking or camping in the winter.

For those walking or traveling in heavy traffic areas, reflective strips or panels can come in handy as well. These will warn motorists of your presence, particularly when it is dark out.

If you are looking for a large backpack, these are all of the factors that you need to be informed about. You will then be able to choose one that is just right for you.

Top 10 Best Large Backpacks


1 – Osprey Xena 70


Osprey Xena 70 Womens Hiking Backpack Small Canopy Green
  • Main Fabric: 420d High Tenacity Nylon
  • Maximum Dimensions (cm): 86 (l) X 38 (w) X 40 (d)
  • Please Note: In Europe, This Pack Is Supplied With A Standard Lid, Rather Than A Daylid.
  • Weight: 2.26 Kg (wm)

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Osprey Xena 70:

Reviewers like these things about the Osprey Xena 70

  • A lot of users thought that the Osprey Xena backpack has ample storage for necessary equipment and personal belongings.
  • Other users noted that its hip belt and shoulder straps are moldable and are anatomically contoured.
  • Many of those who have tried the backpack thought that it is comfortable and firm.
  • Several users observed that its shoulder straps also provide support to the users.
  • They also mentioned that the bag is durable due to its 210D High Tenacity Nylon material.
  • Reviewers have found that it has sufficient pockets making it easy to store and secure things in place.
  • Users found it easy to store their ice ax tools due to specific loops dedicated for such gears.
  • Testers found it easy to access its top-loading main compartment through its curved side zippers.
  • Many testers noted that its external hydration sleeve feature simplifies refilling.
  • They also thought that its hydration sleeve protects the pack from spills.
  • Other reviewers said that it is designed for women’s use.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user remarked that it is not for petite women.
  • Another user thought that it does not come with a cover to protect the pack.

2 – Gregory Deva 60


Gregory Mountain Products Women's Deva 60 Liter Backpack, Plum Red, Medium
  • 3D AIR HIPBELT AND SHOULDER HARNESS: Gregory's PreCurve technology and multi-density foam construction combine to eliminate hotspots and relieve pressure in sensitive areas. The 3D AIR mesh wicks away moisture, increasing overall comfort.
  • WISHBONE INTERNAL FRAME: A high-strength aluminum frame defines the perimeter of the back panel, preventing the pack from losing its shape and keeping the load close to your center of gravity.
  • FREE DAYPACK: Removable hydration sleeve converts into fast and light SideKick Daypack with shoulder harnesses and accessory pocket.
  • CUSTOM FITTED RAINCOVER: Included rain cover stows in a quick access zippered pocket on underside of the top lid.
  • IDEAL USES: Backpacking, Through Hiking, Hiking, Camping, Travel. WEIGHT: 4.83 lbs. DIMENSIONS: 30.0" x 12.0" x 12.5".

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Gregory Deva 60:

Reviewers like these things about the Gregory Deva 60

  • A lot of testers complimented that the backpack is much comfortable with has great back support especially for women travellers.
  • Many travellers said that it has good space capabilities with good balanced weight for commuting comfortably.
  • People have voted for its durability and comfortable padding for longer trips.
  • Numerous reviewers said that the pack is nicely fitted and is much lighter to carry.
  • A few of the travellers are very happy with the extra pockets of the pack that helped them to organize things very well and were easily accessible.
  • Some commuters found the hip belt much more comfortable with the extra padding.
  • Some reviewers said that they have also used the backpack as a fanny/day pack as the lid comes off completely.
  • Testers have confirmed that overall it’s a great load hauler with comfy.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some testers complained that too much stuff strapped outside makes the pack pull backwards on the shoulders causing more pain while travelling.
  • Some reviewers also complained about the small waterproof pocket to fit in valuable tech gears.
  • A few travellers are unhappy with the shape as the pack is much larger at the top compared to the bottom. This made their travelling very uncomfortable with stuffed baggage and created pressure on the hips.
  • Many reviewers have also complained about the pricing.

3 – Osprey Xenith 88


Osprey Xenith 88 Tektite Grey Black L
  • Custom-moldable, anatomically contoured BioForm4 CM hipbelt and shoulder s balance firmness and cushioning for optimal support and comfort
  • Dual-compartment top pocket converts to lumbar pack with built-in belt
  • Back panel is lined with reversed spacer mesh for a smooth and breathable contact surface
  • Peripheral frame effectively transfers weight to the hipbelt; single 6061-T6 aluminum center stay helps maintain back panel shape
  • Top-loading main compartment can also be accessed through curved side zippers on each side of the pack body; wide-mouth sleeping bag compartment is easy to load and unload

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.

4 – Osprey Atmos AG 65


Osprey Packs Osprey Pack Atmos Ag 65 Backpack, Abyss Grey, Large
  • Anti-Gravity suspension - feels like you are carrying less weight than is in your pack
  • Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment allows you to stow your poles in steep terrain or whenever you need your hands free
  • Adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt to dial in perfect fit
  • Internal hydration reservoir sleeve accommodates up to a 3L reservoir
  • Removable floating top lid with dual zippered pockets and web attachment points

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Osprey Atmos AG 65:

Reviewers like these things about the Osprey Atmos AG 65

  • Almost all of the reviewers said that it is a comfortable pack for daily commuting and also for weekend trips.
  • They also said that the adjustable torso length and hip belts help to keep the pack close to body for easy movements.
  • Many of them said that pack is built with good ventilation system that helped them to carry the pack for longer hours.
  • Some of them said that the hip belt pockets are large enough to help keep more stuffs for easy access.
  • The travellers are also happy to have a removable sleeping bag compartment zippered at the bottom of the pack.
  • Some reviewers said that the pack comes with great organizational pockets to keep things organized while travelling.
  • A user also mentioned that the dual entry water bottle pocket is amazing to carry.
  • Another user said that the pack comes with removable floating top which helps to reduce the overall weight of the pack also.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Many users complained that the pack doesn’t have an integrated rain cover.
  • A user said that the external mesh pockets are more prone to ripping.
  • Some buyers have also said that the backpack is overall a heavy pack.

5 – Osprey Aura AG 65


Osprey Packs Pack Aura Ag 65 Backpack, Vestal Grey, Small
  • Anti-Gravity suspension - feels like you are carrying less weight than is in your pack
  • Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment allows you to stow your poles in steep terrain or whenever you need your hands free
  • Adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt to dial in perfect fit
  • Internal hydration reservoir sleeve accommodates up to a 3L reservoir
  • Removable floating top lid with dual zippered pockets and web attachment points

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Osprey Aura AG 65:

Reviewers like these things about the Osprey Aura AG 65

  • Most reviewers complimented that the pack is super durable and comfortable for travelling.
  • They also said that the pack is lighweight and fits comfortable on the back for easy carrying.
  • Many buyers said that the pack is spacious with good number of organizable pockets for carrying all sorts of stuffs for camping.
  • A user said that the separate sleeping bag compartment helped him to pull out the tent and without removing the other stuffs in the main compartment.
  • Some mountaineers are also happy to have loops all over the bag for carrying extra gears for climbing.
  • Almost all of the reviewers said that the extra padded shoulder and waist straps are super comfortable to carry.
  • Another user said that the good ventilation system of the pack helped him keep dry during travelling.
  • A buyer mentioned that the built in hyderation component was very helpful for travelling long distances.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some buyers complained that the hip strap is fixed which made them difficult to adjust it with loads.
  • A user said that the internal hydration pack was difficult to access as she had to unpack her bag before adjusting the bladder.

6 – Gregory Denali 100


Sale
Gregory Mountain Products Denali 100 Liter Expedition Backpack | Mountaineering, Expeditions, Guiding | Removable Components, 80 lb Capacity, Durable Construction | Reliable Gear for Your Expedition
  • TOP LOADING DESIGN & REMOVABLE COMPONENTS: Top-loading design with full-length side slash zip access. Strippable aluminum frame stays, top lid, bivy pad, and hipbelt padding. Removable lid pocket with occipital cutout and security pocket on underside.
  • AMPLE STORAGE TO ORGANIZE YOUR EXPEDITION: Ultra-durable expanding side pockets. Dual-access front panel pocket with zip-away internal divider. Quick-access side zip map / headlamp pocket.
  • EASY ACCESS TO CRITICAL GEAR: Expedition hipbelt with tubular gear loops, ice clipper slots, and sled pull loops. Single zip hipbelt accessory pocket. Dual front-panel daisy chains. Stowable, adjustable traditional and hammer less ice axe attachments.
  • DURABLE CONSTRUCTION & HYDRATION COMPATIBLE: Puncture-resistant dual-layer internally laminated front panel. Internal hydration reservoir sleeve with tube port.
  • IDEAL USES: Mountaineering, Alpine Climbing, Ice Climbing, Ski MountaineeringTouring - WEIGHT: 6.7 lbs. - DIMENSIONS: 36.5" x 13.25" x 11.75"

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.

7 – Gregory Baltoro 65


Gregory Mountain Products Men's Baltoro 65 Liter Backpack, Ferrous Orange, Large
  • 3D AIR HIPBELT AND SHOULDER HARNESS: Gregory's PreCurve technology and multi-density foam construction combine to eliminate hotspots and relieve pressure in sensitive areas. The 3D AIR mesh wicks away moisture, increasing overall comfort.
  • WISHBONE INTERNAL FRAME: A high-strength aluminum frame defines the perimeter of the back panel, preventing the pack from losing its shape and keeping the load close to your center of gravity.
  • FREE DAYPACK: Removable hydration sleeve converts into fast and light SideKick Daypack with shoulder harnesses and accessory pocket.
  • CUSTOM FITTED RAINCOVER: Included rain cover stows in a quick access zippered pocket on underside of the top lid.
  • IDEAL USES: Backpacking, Through Hiking, Hiking, Camping, Travel. WEIGHT: 4.84 lbs. DIMENSIONS: 30.0" x 13.0" x 13.0".

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.

8 – Kelty Redcloud 90


Sale
Kelty Red Cloud 90 Backpack, Twilight Blue
  • Capacity, suspension, custom fit, simplified organization, the only pack you'll need for your adventures features our Perfect Fit suspension system
  • Perfect Fit Suspension supplies you w/ customized comfort without the hassle
  • Features: Top Loading, Top Lid converts to Sling Pack, Zippered side pockets, front pocket w/ organization, Stretch front pouch, Hydration Compatible
  • Suspension: PerfectFIT suspension, HDPE frame sheet & waist belt, mesh back panel, waist belt, Sternum strap, Dual light beam aluminum stays
  • Dimensions: Size (L x W x D) 34 x 19 x 15 in, Weight 5lbs 6 oz, Volume 90 L, Optimal Carry Weight: 20-60 lbs

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.

Selected reviews


Backpack Gear Test reviewed the High Sierra Long Trail 90

Despite my issues with the waist belt and annoyance with the zippers, I actually think that High Sierra has built a very good pack in the Long Trail 90. It is without doubt a big pack, and throughout my testing I have never felt that I was capable of filling it to capacity.

Posted 1 March 2009 by Jamie Lawrence – Read full review



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Last update on 2018-11-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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