Best Trekking Backpacks of 2018 for Hiking and Camping

When planning for a long, multi-day trek, the most important thing to do is to pick the right backpack. Well, maybe packing food and water is the most important but your backpack has the ability to make your experience amazing or torturous. Putting everything you’ll need to eat, sleep, and live for several days in a pack and then carrying it around with you for many miles each day is daunting.

You’ll want to select a backpack that is lightweight, comfortable, adjustable, and big enough to hold all of your essentials. Read on for tips for selecting the best backpack for your upcoming adventure as well as a few of our favorites!

Backpack Fit Basics

A few things to consider when purchasing a pack:

  • Is the harness adjustable? You want your pack to fit the length of your back so this is really important if you are really short or really tall.
  • How wide and padded are the straps? If they don’t have adequate padding they will dig into your shoulders and hips and be incredibly painful.
  • Does it have a hipbelt and is it adjustable? You’ll want to take most of the pressure off of your shoulders and put it on your hips. So the ability to cinch the hipbelt up tight is important. Comfortable padding will make a difference as well.
  • Does it come with a rain cover? Hopefully you won’t need it but if you do and don’t have it, your gear will get drenched.
  • Does the backpanel have mesh to create a breathable barrier? If you don’t have space between your back and your pack, you will be unbelievably hot and drenched in sweat.
  • Are there lots of outside pockets? You’ll want them for any last-minute additions to your pack so you don’t have to rearrange everything. Plus stuff in the outside pockets will be easier to access.
  • Does it have loops/hooks to hang carabiners? This isn’t totally necessary but it’s nice to be able to hang your trash on the outside of your pack. We also use loops for hanging our coffee mugs because they take up a lot of room in our packs.

How Many Liters will you Need?

If you are camping for 1-3 nights you should carry a pack that can hold 30-50 liters. You’ll need to pack light and may need to clip some things onto your pack.

If you are camping for 3-5 nights you should carry a pack that can hold 50-80 liters. Keep in mind that you’ll be carrying it all day, every day so if you invest in a large pack, fill it up and carry it around your house before setting off. If you struggle to carry it at home, you’ll really struggle on the trail.

If you are camping for 5+ nights, well you’re just plain crazy. Buy an 80 liter bag and cut weight however you can.

Our Favorite Brand

We have a preference for Osprey Brand backpacks because they are high quality, durable, adjustable, and are really padded which helps keep you comfortable. Plus you can’t beat their guarantee:

“Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it. We proudly stand behind this guarantee, so much so that it bears the signature of company founder and head designer, Mike Pfotenhauer.”

We’re not affiliated with Osprey in any way, we just genuinely dig their backpacks.

Like this post?! Read...
Complete 2018 Packing List for Havasu Falls

The Best Backpacks for Women

Best Trekking Backpacks for Women

Marmot Women’s Graviton 36 Bag

The Marmot Women’s Graviton 36 Bag is on the smaller side so should be used for shorter camping trips. Marmot is a brand that is trusted to be both comfortable and durable. Constructed of nylon ripstop material, this pack can stand up to a beating. Offering airflow suspension to keep your back ventilated, a padded waist belt, a hydration port, and padded straps, it’s everything you need in a backpack.

  • Volume: 36 liters
  • Size/Weight: 5 x 14 x 26 in; 2lbs 4.5oz
  • Price: $$

 

Osprey Packs Women’s Kyte 46 Backpack

Osprey is our favorite brand of trekking packs because they are super durable, comfortable, and not outrageously expensive. The Kyte 46 Backpack offers the usual functionality including a large mesh pocket and an adjustable and comfortable fit. On top of that, this pack has a zippered sleeping bag compartment and an external reservoir sleeve to easily load and unload your hydration reservoir. You can also cinch down the compression straps and use it as a day pack for shorter hikes.

There is also an Airscape mesh back panel to keep you from drenching your pack in sweat when hiking in the blazing sun.

  • Volume: 46 liters
  • Size/Weight: 14 x 15 x 14 in ; 3.63 lbs
  • Price: $$$

Osprey Aura 50 AG Women’s Backpack

Another great pack from Osprey, the Aura AG 50 made specifically for women has an adjustable harness, Anti-Gravity suspension to take some of the pressure off, padded straps, trekking pole attachments, pockets to keep you organized, and plenty of options for clipping on any last minute additions. It also allows you to customize the size and fit for your body and tighten up that hip belt to take the weight off of your shoulders.

  • Volume: 50 liters
  • Size/Weight: 6 x 18 x 27 in; 4.1 lbs
  • Price: $$$

Osprey Women’s Aura 65 AG Backpack

The Osprey Women’s Aura 65 AG Backpack is similar in style and functionality to the one listed above but is a larger volume. This pack is large, you’ll only really need it if you plan on packing a lot of gear or if you’ll be camping for more than 3 nights.

  • Volume: 65 liters
  • Size/Weight: 11 x 17 x 22 in; 4.08 lbs
  • Price: $$$

 

Like this post?! Read...
A Girl's Guide to Hiking and Camping at Havasu Falls

The Best Gender Neutral Backpacks

Marmot Graviton 38 Hiking Backpack

The Marmot Graviton 38 Hiking Backpack is a good option if you have a short camping trip planned. The nylon ripstop material means you can stuff it full without fear of ripping a hole (although you may still have to worry about squirrels chewing through it). An aluminum frame gives it structure while a ventilated airflow suspension will keep your back dry. Also offers padded waist belt and shoulder straps.

  • Volume: 38 liters
  • Size/Weight: 4 x 17 x 24 in; 2.5 lbs
  • Price: $$

Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack

The Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack is another good choice if you’re packing on the lighter side. The PerfectFIT suspension allows you to perfectly adjust your pack while you have it on. The U-zipper design allows you to access your camping gear through the top or through the panel. It also incorporates a hydration sleeve and a Dynamic AirFlow back panel to keep you dry.

  • Volume: 50 liters
  • Size/Weight: 12 x 16 x 26 in, 3 lbs 11 oz
  • Price: $$

Deuter ACT Lite 50+10 Hiking Backpack

The Deuter ACT Lite Hiking Backpack is a 50 liter pack but can add an additional 10 through the combination of an adjustable lid and drawcord closure. The Vari Quick system allows you to easily adjust to any back length. It is compatible with multiple hydration systems. There are plenty of pockets and loops for packing and hanging gear and there’s even a front zip in case you need to get to something at the bottom of your pack. Plus it’s made of polyester and Ripstop 210 nylon so it’s super durable and it’s coated to make it water resistant.

  • Volume: 50 liters + additional 10 liters
  • Size/Weight: 12 x 9.1 x 29 in; 3.13 lbs
  • Price: $$

Mountaintop 60L Internal Frame Backpack

The Mountaintop 60L Internal Frame Backpack is a good option if you don’t expect to be doing many future treks and don’t want to spend a lot on a pack. It’s not as ideal as some of the other packs mentioned because it is heavy on it’s own, before you even add any gear. Plus it’s an inexpensive brand that isn’t known for making top-of-the-line packs.

It offers a zipper in front so you can quickly access your gear, as well as a bottom sleeping bag compartment. It is compatible with hydration bladders and a rain cover is included.

  • Volume: 60 liters
  • Size/Weight: 9.1 x 12.6 x 31.9 in; 4.3 lbs
  • Price: $

Like this post?! Read...
Complete Road Trip Packing List

The Best Backpacks for Men

Best Trekking Backpacks for Men

Osprey Men’s Atmos 50 AG Backpack

Osprey bags are great for both men and women as they offer mesh back panels for quick drying ventilation as well as padded, contoured hipbelts. The Osprey Atmos 50 AG is a great choice if you are planning to carry 40 pounds or less. It it comfortable, totally adjustable, and allows for easy access to your gear through either the top or a zippered front panel. This pack is very high quality and will last you for many years and many treks to come.

  • Volume: 50 liters
  • Size/Weight: 8 x 17 x 29 in; 4.31 lbs
  • Price: $$$

Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack

The Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack is quite similar to the one listed above but is larger so is a better choice if you have a lot to pack. The backpanel is made of lightweight mesh to keep you cool and the hipbelt contours to your body. It’s Fit-on-the-Fly so the hipbelt and torso length are easy to adjust. You can access your gear through the top or through the zippered front panel.

  • Volume: 65 liters
  • Size/Weight: 10 x 16 x 23 in; 3.9 lbs
  • Price: $$$

Do you have a backpack that you love that we haven’t listed here? Let us know so we can give it a try! 

Want some multi-day hiking inspiration? Check out our favorite travel guides!



SHARE THIS ON PINTEREST

Check out these related posts!

Got questions or comments? Let us know below...