It would be quite challenging to go backpacking or camping without reliable and sturdy packs to carry and protect your supplies.
After all, it doesn’t help to be prepared for anything and everything if a sudden storm soaks your gear, or your straps break in the middle of a trail.
One of the most important features of the pack is reliability. And – if you can’t rely on the pack to protect and haul your favorite tent, water filters, and cooking supplies and food then you likely won’t enjoy your experience.
Below, you’ll find the five best camping and backpacking packs on the market, which excel in terms of weight, performance, and overall durability.
Best Overall Backpacking Backpack
Granite Gear Blaze 60
A design marvel, the Granite Gear Blaze 60 scores high on durability, weight, and comfort.
What’s more, it’s highly functional: there isn’t much the Granite Gear Blaze 60 can’t do. Despite weighing just slightly over three pounds, this pack can haul over fifty pounds of gear without sacrificing the wearer’s comfort.
Additionally, the Granite Gear can withstand more than several trips’ worth of snags and drops.
When it comes to flaws, the pack’s small buckles might be annoying during cold excursions, when gloves are involved.
Other than that, though, the Granite Gear Blaze 60 is a phenomenal option almost any hiker or backpacker should have in their arsenal.
Best Value Backpack
REI Co-op Flash 55
At the end of the day, no matter how great a pack is, it needs to be affordable. While budget-friendly options abound, far too many cut costs at the expense of function.
The REI Co-op Flash 55, however, sacrifices neither. With a price tag under $200, it’s the ideal blend of value and performance.
Several external pockets and straps support a variety of gear, including two side pockets sized for water bottles.
The Flash 55 maintains a footprint of less than three pounds, and offers decent durability. Quite likely, it won’t hold up to extreme terrain or weather conditions, but it can handle more standard outings with ease.
Simply put, if you look after the Flash 55, it will continue to look after you.
Most Comfortable Backpack
Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50
Comfort is a huge factor when comparing packs for camping and backpacking. For many outdoor enthusiasts, in fact, it’s the most important determinant.
Ultimately, how long you can stand to wear your pack might dictate the length of a hike, and how much ground you cover per day.
In terms of comfort, no pack performs better than the Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50.
At a capacity of 50 ounces, the Gear Gorilla is able to carry upwards of 30 pounds of gear while maintaining its promise of superior comfortability on the wearer.
With a combination of custom Robic ripstop nylon, air mesh fabric, power mesh fabric, and several pockets, the Gear Gorilla is well-designed for cushioning and breathability.
What’s more, the Gear Gorilla is offered in several colors, so every member of your party can travel in comfort and style.
Best Backpack for Long Distance
Ultralight Adventure Equipment Catalyst
Are you on the trail every weekend for miles and miles at a time? If so, then you need a pack specifically geared towards an enthusiast with your activity level.
The Ultralight Adventure Equipment Catalyst is designed to live on the trail. It’s super light, comfortable, and ready for just about anything Mother Nature can dish out.
Ultralight Adventure (ULA) is not as well-known or mainstream as brands like The North Face, Patagonia, or even Osprey. Among hiking enthusiasts, however, ULA camping packs are revered for their performance, and the Catalyst is a prime example of why.
Best Ultralight Backpack
HMG 2400 Southwest
Hyperlite Mountain Gear created the 2400 Southwest to offer an ultralight backpack that can be used on even the narrowest of trails.
Composed of three external Dyneema pockets, a Dyneema high density hip belt, and a foam back panel pad, the 2400’s total weight is under two pounds.
It’s also equipped with an ice axe loop, a hydro port, and optional accessory straps.
The obvious flaw to the 2400 Southwest? Its price tag. At over three hundred dollars, it’s one of the most expensive camping packs on the market.
However, if you can afford the pack and are looking for an ultralight product, your money can’t be better spent.
A Hiker’s Best Friend
As any outdoor enthusiast knows, a poorly performing pack can ruin an otherwise perfect excursion. Likewise, quality packs can make even the roughest camping or hiking trip incredible.
A reliable backpack soon becomes more than a piece of equipment: it becomes a best friend. Choose wisely, and don’t let price dictate your decision alone.
Instead, choose a pack that suits your activity level, weather conditions, capacity requirements, and comfort needs.