From day hikes to extended treks and high-mountain adventures, a backpack is relied on to keep your gear safe and organized while offering high levels of comfort. Below are our in-depth pack reviews, including high-capacity designs for backpacking, lightweight bags for hiking and travel, and streamlined models for climbing and the alpine. To provide the best information possible, our team has done extensive research, tested the products in areas ranging from Patagonia and New Zealand to the Pacific Northwest, and included key comparisons to relevant competitors.

Best Backpacking Backpacks of 2021

Gone are the days when backpacking consisted of strapping on a huge external frame and lumbering through the forest with an aching body. Trends in backpacks these days err towards minimalism...

Osprey Aether 65 Backpack Review

Osprey has a reputation for building comfortable packs, and the Aether line is one of their best. The brand retooled the collection towards the end of last year, splitting their core offerings in two: a standard...

Gregory Paragon 58 Backpack Review

Best known for their heavy-hauling Baltoro, the Paragon backpack from Gregory cuts weight to appeal to the core overnight and weekend crowd. We really liked the original, and they recently updated the design with a mesh-heavy suspension system and side...

Osprey Atmos AG 65 Backpack Review

One of the few downsides of the industry-wide transition to internal-frame packs is ventilation. Enter the Atmos line from Osprey, and more recently, the Atmos AG pack. This bag was designed from the ground up to keep your back dry without sacrificing...

REI Co-op Flash 55 Backpack Review

REI Co-op entered the world of ultralight backpacking in a big way with the release of their Flash 55 pack a couple years ago. For a reasonable $199, the Flash pulls out all the stops: ample storage, removable features including a top lid and...

Granite Gear Blaze 60 Backpack Review

Effectively balancing weight, carrying comfort, and features is a tall order, but Granite Gear’s Blaze 60 pack manages to do so with very few compromises. We took the women’s Blaze on a 35-mile backpacking trip along the Grand Canyon’s challenging...

Arc’teryx Bora AR 63 Backpack Review

As backpacks trend toward lighter and less durable designs, Arc’teryx’s Bora AR 63 stands out as a burly and capable heavy hauler. Notable features include a moveable hipbelt that tuned to slide while...

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Review

Dyneema is a hot ticket in ultralight gear, and for good reason: it’s one of the strongest materials in the world relative to its weight, resists moisture well, and is incredibly light. Maine-based Hyperlite Mountain Gear leads the charge in utilizing...

Osprey Exos 58 Backpack Review

For a time, Osprey’s Exos 58 was the ultimate ultralight pack and a favorite among thru-hikers. The competition has grown significantly in recent years, but the latest model still is a compelling and well-made option among ounce-counters. However, it...

Gregory Baltoro 75 Backpack Review

Gregory’s flagship men’s Baltoro and women’s Deva packs are long-time favorites for those carrying serious weight. We took the 75-liter version on the demanding Huemul Circuit in Patagonia and were pleased with its stable feel and premium construction...

Osprey Aura AG 65 Backpack Review

Osprey’s proven lineup of backpacking packs runs the gamut from simple entry-level haulers and ultralight builds to premium, feature-rich models. The Aura AG—and its men’s counterpart, the Atmos AG—falls right in the middle, deftly balancing weight...

Osprey Eja 48 Backpack Review

The minimalist Exos has been a mainstay among ultralight packs for years, and the newer women’s-specific Eja is similarly competitive. Going beyond the “shrink and pink” strategy, the Eja is a well-fitting, adjustable pack that comes in 38, 48, and 58...

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Backpack Review

I typically purchase gear with an eye toward fastpacking and previously thought of high-capacity packs as being useful only for slower thru-hikes or long trips into the backcountry. The Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 backpack has changed my mind. Though...

Osprey Rook 65 Backpack Review

At $165 for the 65-liter version, Osprey’s Rook is their most affordable multi-day offering to date, coming in around $100 cheaper than much of the competition. Eager to put it to the test, we took this budget-friendly pack on a challenging four-day...

REI Co-op Traverse 70 Review

REI Co-op continues to improve its in-house line. The versatile Traverse is the company’s leading backpacking pack and features high levels of comfort, thoughtful organization, and a quality build that can compete with any brand on the market. We...

Osprey Levity 60 Backpack Review

In an ever-growing field of lightweight gear, the sub-2-pound Osprey Levity is a formidable contender in the UL backpacking pack market. Coming in 11 ounces lighter than their popular Exos, the design targets thru-hikers and minimalists. We took the...

Granite Gear Crown2 60 Backpack Review

Granite Gear is a market leader in ultralight packs, with a strong following among thru-hikers and other minimalist backpackers. Arguably, their best design is the Crown2, which balances impressive cushioning, thoughtful features, and a weight of just...

Best Daypacks for Hiking of 2021

A key piece of any gear closet is a go-to daypack. It’s what you grab for nearly any type of outdoor adventure, whether it’s a hike, bike ride, or day on the slopes. Generally, what most people look for…

REI Co-op Flash 18 Daypack Review

REI Co-op’s popular Flash 18 was my very first daypack, as I’m sure it is for many. This versatile hauler has served me well, from its role as travel bag during a study-abroad semester in Europe to...

Osprey Talon 22 Daypack Review

Osprey’s Talon is the daypack we see on the trails more than any other. And there’s good reason for its popularity: it’s light, has a nice fit, is made in a wide range of sizes and bright colorways, and hits a desirable price point. In testing the...

Osprey Stratos 24 Daypack Review

Osprey is a leader in the pack market, and their Stratos line is an all-around favorite for day hiking. We’ve owned multiple variations over the years, and all have delivered nearly flawless performance through extended, rough use. We’ve been testing...

REI Co-op Flash 22 Daypack Review

When it comes to outdoor gear, we often find ourselves forced to make decisions between weight savings and functionality. Ultralight gear is great for moving quickly, but it usually comes with significant tradeoffs in terms of comfort, function, and...

Thule Stir 20 Review

Thule, the Swedish company known mostly for their car rack systems, recently ventured into the world of backpacking with the successful introduction of their first technical packs. In 2016, they have expanded their line of packs...

Best Climbing Backpacks of 2021

Gone are the days when climbing consisted of swami belts, hobnailed boots, and weeks spent nailing pitons into swaths of granite. Current trends in climbing gear have moved toward functionality, performance...

Osprey Mutant 52 Climbing Backpack Review

Osprey might be best known for their impressive lineup of backpacking packs, but they took that expertise and tailored it to the alpine with the climbing-focused Mutant. We took the 52-liter version on an expedition in the Alaska Range, using it both...