It’s tough to name a more essential piece of outdoor or travel gear than a backpack. Whether you’re setting out on a short day hike or embarking on a globe-spanning adventure, having the right pack can make all of the difference. But today’s backpacks are also highly technical, incorporating a host of features meant specifically for certain adventures.
With literally hundreds of options to choose from, it can be a real challenge to pick out the right bag for you. These are our favorite backpacks for just about any kind of outdoor activity.
Whether you’re just slipping into the backcountry for the weekend or planning to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, (or ) is the perfect choice. It comes in two sizes (65- and 50-liter), offers plenty of organizational pockets, and is hydration ready with support for reservoirs up to 3-liters in capacity.
It also features well-padded shoulder straps and hip belt, and is equipped with Osprey’s fantastic Anti-Gravity suspension system, making it easier to carry a heavy load even over rough terrain.
A daypack needs to be lightweight and comfortable, yet still offer plenty of capacity to carry all of our gear. It doesn’t hurt if it is also tough, water-resistant, and versatile, too. That nicely sums up the. This 28-liter bag is surprisingly durable, offers two organizational pockets in addition to its main compartment, and has a comfortable backpanel designed to prevent the build-up of excess moisture and heat.
Additionally, the shoulder straps and hip belt can comfortably accommodate a large load, making this a daypack that can be used in a variety of settings and situations, no matter the season.
If you’re the kind of backpacker who counts ever ounce, then the the is the pack for you. This bag tips the scales at a mere 2 pounds and yet it comes equipped with a fully-functional compression system, a hydration sleeve, ice axe, loops, and an adjustable sternum strap to help dial in the perfect fit. And since the pack is made from super-tough Dyneema fabrics, durability shouldn't be a concern either.
Made in collaboration with National Geographic, the is the perfect option for adventure travelers. Not only does it have plenty of capacity (65 liters), it’s also outfitted with a nice array of pockets, lashing points, and compartments to carry everything you need for an extended trip to remote corners of the globe.
The entire bag is made from extra-tough, weather-resistant, and easy to clean fabrics designed to survive in the harshest of environments. The Guide Pack also comes armed with an easy to adjust backpanel suspension system that makes it one of the most comfortable travel packs around, even when it filled to the brim with gear and equipment.
Finding the right backpack for carrying all of your camera equipment into the backcountry is no small feat, but the brings a lot to the table for outdoor photographers and filmmakers.
For starters, the bag is an excellent daypack in its own right, offering comfort, durability, and 36 liters of carrying capacity. It is also hydration ready, includes a laptop sleeve, a built-in rain fly, and enough compression straps to carry everything from a tripod to backcountry skis.
But when paired with NYA-EVO’s removable camera inserts (RCIs) the Fjord 36 becomes the perfect mobile base camp for any photographer, keeping all of his or her gear neatly organized and well protected. The customizable RCIs can be added or removed from the Fjord as needed, and even offer up enough space to carry a small drone.
There are a lot of backpacks on the market that make adequate trail running packs, but if you’re a serious runner you’ll want to check out the. Lightweight, form fitting, and built for moving fast, the Agile 12 is waterproof, can carry up to 5 liters of water, and is equipped with multiple compartments for keeping your extra gear well organized.
Despite its size and weight, this pack doesn’t skimp on the features and comes equipped with trekking pole holders, a helmet loop, key clip, and an elastic gear carrier. In a pinch, it can also serve as a technical daypack for hiking and peak bagging, too.
Mountain bikers will find a lot to love in the. Not only does it come with a 3-liter hydration reservoir, it also features designated storage for both a helmet and downhill armor. A well-ventilated hip belt and backpanel help keep riders cooler out on the trail, while a removable tool pouch makes it easy to organize essential gear for quick access.
Best of all, the pack has been ergonomically designed to be comfortable to wear without getting in the way while making fast descents or grueling climbs. Easy to adjust compression straps allow riders to modify the fit as needed—even while on the fly—ensuring they maintain stability and balance at all times.
In addition to having to carry all of their gear with them into the backcountry, skiers also have to think about staying safe while traversing through remote areas. The can help them do just that thanks to its built-in avalanche airbag, a feature that just might save your life.
Despite having an onboard avalanche safety system, the pack remains relatively lightweight, offers 15-liters of carrying capacity, is hydration compatible, and even comes with a removable cushion to sit on in the snow. Ice axe loops and ski carriers are a given of course and the airbag can be taken out to save weight and increase space. Be sure to buy the airbag system separately if it's not included.
If you’re setting out on a kayaking or rafting adventure, having a backpack that can keep your gear safe from excess moisture is an absolute must. Thanks to its waterproof and abrasion-resistant fabrics, hydrolock zippers, and over-engineered construction, the takes the worry out of accidental dousings. In fact, the pack can be completely submerged in water an its interior will stay completely dry.
The Panga offers 28 liters of storage, an interior storage sleeve and mesh pocket, as well as removable chest strap and belt. If you spend a lot of time on or around water, this is the pack for you.