The Best Backpacks for Backpacking

The best backpacking backpacks enable us to adventure deep into the wilderness far away from the stresses of our day to day lives, far away from the din of civilization, the routine of the workweek, and the endless screen-gazing that has become a central part of modern human life. Backpacking backpacks carry all of the gear we need to survive in the great outdoors. They’re made to haul all sorts of equipment while keeping hikers comfortable with luxuries like padded shoulder straps and adjustable hip belts.

After reviewing dozens and dozens of backpacking backpacks we have identified the best for your outdoor excursions. While looking over these backpacks we considered factors such as carrying capacity, storage features, and carry comfort in choosing our top picks, and then we put together a detailed list of many other excellent options to give you a wide spectrum of backpacks to compare.

Best Backpacks for Backpacking Overall
Kelty Coyote 65
The Kelty Coyote 65 is a durable and dependable backpack with a plethora of storage options to help you keep things organized.

We carefully considered many different backpacks and have chosen the Kelty Coyote 65 as our overall top pick. A commitment to fit and comfort and an abundance of storage options are the hallmarks of this outstanding backpacking backpack.

The 5 Top-Rated Backpacks for Backpacking

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Backpacking Backpack OverallKelty Coyote 654.8
Best Ultralight Backpacking BackpackGranite Gear Crown 24.6
Best Budget Backpacking BackpackTETON Sports Scout 34004.6
Best Kids Backpacking BackpackOsprey Ace 385.0
Best Child Carrier Backpacking BackpackKelty Journey Elite Child Carrier4.5

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Best Backpacks for Backpacking Overall: Kelty Coyote 65

Versatile and adaptable, the Kelty Coyote 65 is the most well-rounded backpack we reviewed. Fitted with the FIT-Pro suspension system, this pack’s torso length can be adjusted for men and women of varying heights, and the equally adjustable hipbelt can be loosened or tightened as needed to fit nearly any adult. It’s fairly lightweight at 4.8 pounds and can hold more than enough gear and food rations within its 65-liter storage capacity for several nights out on the trail.

The amount of storage space is great, and the compartmentalization is fantastic. This backpack is loaded with zippered pockets that make thoughtful organization easy to achieve. The large main storage chute is complemented by a security pocket in the top lid, water bottle pockets, hipbelt pockets, a large exterior storage pocket, front zippered pocket, signature wing pockets, and a dedicated sleeping bag pocket. Several gear loops and a hydration bladder sleeve add to the storage options.

Little comforts, like how all of the zippers have corded ties or reinforced pulls, add a touch of refinement that accents the high-quality construction of this backpack. The top lid can be converted into a sling pack, and the hexagonal mesh design of the back panel has been extended onto the shoulder straps and hip belt to keep you cool and ventilated everywhere that your body comes into contact with the backpack. It’s details like this that are sure to impress. What’s also impressive is that this backpack comes backed by a lifetime warranty.

Kelty Coyote 65 Key Features:

  • Unisex design with adjustable torso and hip sizing
  • Weighs 4.8 pounds with a 65-liter capacity
  • Pass-through zippered side pockets
  • Lifetime warranty

Best Ultralight Backpacks for Backpacking: Granite Gear Crown 2

Best Ultralight Backpacks for Backpacking
Granite Gear Crown 2
The Granite Gear Crown 2 is a lightweight backpack with removable components and a collection of multi-use compression straps.

Although it is already ultralight out of the box, the Granite Gear Crown 2 can be made even lighter thanks to its innovative design. If you want to go as lightweight as possible you can remove the top lid storage area, the internal frame sheet, and the Re-FIT adjustable hipbelt. Small, lightweight loads can be tightly tied down thanks to the rolltop enclosure and numerous compression straps. Large loads also benefit from the expandable nature of the rolltop enclosure. The pack can hold up to 35-pounds within its 60-liter capacity.

Supported by a compression molded frame sheet, this backpack remains sturdy under heavy loads. When the frame sheet is removed, the backpack is still capable of hefting lighter loads, but its shape will start to buckle when filled with more than 20 pounds of gear. It’s best to keep the frame sheet in place unless you are going all-out ultralight. A molded foam back panel provides a slight amount of additional stability, but mostly functions as comfortable padding with air channels for increased ventilation.

The adjustable hipbelt features zippered hip pockets, and the padded shoulder straps are equipped with a removable sternum strap and load lifters. The front of the pack has an extra-large mesh pocket for holding loose gear. Side and front compression straps can be tightened as needed to secure your load and pull it in as tight to your body as possible, and the lower straps cross over the water bottle pockets for added security. All in all, this is a full-fledged backpacking backpack that’s shed weight wherever possible without sacrificing its capability.

Granite Gear Crown 2 Key Features:

  • Men’s backpack with sizing options
  • Weighs 2 pounds with a 60-liter capacity
  • Frame sheet, hipbelt, and top lid can be removed to save weight
  • Hydration port and internal bladder sleeve

Best Budget Backpacks for Backpacking: TETON Sports Scout 3400

Best Budget Backpacks for Backpacking
TETON Sports Scout 3400
Loaded with features and made from durable materials, the TETON Sports Scout 3400 is a great backpack at an excellent price.

Modern backpacking backpacks are thoughtfully designed, highly engineered pieces of outdoor equipment that have been refined over decades of outdoor exploration. As a result, they can have high price tags, some bordering on outlandish, but the TETON Sports Scout 3400 is affordably priced even though it closely resembles many of the premium backpacks on the market in terms of quality and functionality.

This is a unisex backpack with an adjustable torso length and hip width, making it a solid value choice for nearly any adult. The 55-liter capacity is sure to be plenty for most folks spending a night or two on the trail, and 4.5-pound carry weight is in line with many of the best backpacks on the market. Users will appreciate this backpack’s durability. It is comprised of 60D nylon ripstop fabric across most of its surface area with extra-thick 600D oxford fabric covering the areas that see the most use and abuse.

The exterior of the pack features bungee storage above an open mesh pocket. Two zippered wing pockets bulge out from either side above the water bottle pockets, and an integrated rainfly has been sewn into its own pocket at the bottom of the pack. Additionally, there is a top lid with a secure pocket and a dedicated sleeping bag storage pocket. For the money, you can’t find a better backpack.

TETON Sports Scout 3400 Key Features:

  • Unisex design with multiple color options
  • Weighs 4.5 pounds with a 55-liter capacity
  • Durable 60D Ripstop and 600D Oxford fabrics
  • Integrated rainfly

Best Kids Backpacks for Backpacking: Osprey Ace 38

Best Kids Backpacks for Backpacking
Osprey Ace 38
Full-featured and lightweight, the Osprey Ace 38 is a top choice for kids who are ready to carry their own gear.

We chose the Osprey Ace 38 as our top pick for kids because it is a full-featured backpack that can fit a wide range of children’s body sizes. This backpack has 4 inches of adjustable torso length so that the pack can grow with the child, and the hipbelt has even more adjustability. A tensioned back panel provides excellent ventilation and comfortable support while the LightWire internal frame transfers the backpack’s weight to the hips to remove shoulder pressure and provide a stable load carry.

The pack has many storage options including water bottle pockets, a flexible front pocket, a zipper sleeping bag pocket, an integrated rainfly pocket, stretch mesh hipbelt pockets, sleeping pad straps, and numerous gear loops spread across the entire pack. The 38-liter capacity is enough for a child to carry all of their own gear if needed, and the additional gear loops provide endless ways to strap extra gear to the outside of the pack.

A hydration sleeve and port have been worked into this pack so that your child can easily access drinking water whenever they need it. Osprey has provided compression straps at the bottom pocket and top lid so that your child can secure their load and easily access it by utilizing the quick-release buckles on each. The integrated rain cover will keep all of your belongings safe from the weather, and the backpack’s material itself is water-resistant to boot.

Osprey Ace 38 Key Features:

  • Designed to fit kids approximately 6 to 12 years old
  • Weighs 2 pounds with a 38-liter capacity
  • Adjustable torso length and hipbelt
  • Internal reservoir sleeve and integrated rain cover

Best Child Carrier Backpacks for Backpacking: Kelty Journey Elite Child Carrier

Best Child Carrier Backpacks for Backpacking
Kelty Journey Elite Child Carrier
One part backpack and one part child seat, the Kelty Journey Elite Child Carrier is the best way to carry your young one into the wilderness.

Safe, comfortable, and capable, the Kelty Journey Elite Child Carrier gives your child a grand view of the natural world in the lap, or rather, shoulder of luxury, while still providing you with enough storage room to carry a fair amount of outdoor supplies. This child carrier is made to hold children weighing 16 to 40 pounds who are able to lift their own head. The child is strapped in via a 5-point safety harness and they are protected by a padded aluminum roll cage.

Kelty has thought of everything a parent could want or need from their backpack, within reason, of course. While this backpack can’t carry itself for you, it can carry 26-liters worth of gear in addition to your child. It also features a reservoir sleeve and hydration port so that you and your kid can stay hydrated during your hike. The large exterior pockets are layered inside with multiple mesh storage pockets to help you keep organized.

Your baby will be quite comfortable in their padded seat. In addition to the ergonomic design of the seat itself, there are removable foot stirrups so that your child’s feet aren’t left dangling, and a retractable sunshade can be used to keep the sun and light rain from your baby’s face. There’s also a zippered “dirty” pocket for the messes that will inevitably come your way, and it has been designed to easily be wiped clean. A sturdy kickstand allows you to prop up the backpack when you remove it from your back during a rest break, and handy hipbelt pockets let you keep snacks close at hand.

Kelty Journey Elite Child Carrier Key Features:

  • Adjustable unisex design made to fit both parents
  • Weighs 7.2 pounds with a 26-liter capacity
  • Holds children weighing 16 to 40 pounds
  • Multiple grab handles to lift and shift the child carrier

Who Should Buy A Backpack for Backpacking

Anyone heading out into the wilderness for a night or more should purchase a backpacking backpack. Smaller hiking backpacks cannot carry all of the necessary food and gear you will need for an extended trip along backcountry trails. Backpacking backpacks have the storage space you need for all of your equipment, including important items such as your backpacking tent and stove, and they have the supportive structure required to haul heavy loads while keeping you comfortable.

There’s nothing stopping families from hiking out to a remote campsite either, especially when there are so many excellent kid’s backpacking backpacks and child carrier backpacks that can help carry the load. Just be sure that everyone has a lightweight sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, and that you have a large-enough tent so that the entire family can sleep warm and cozy while out on the trail.

Best Backpacking Backpack Overall
Kelty Coyote 65
The Kelty Coyote 65 is a durable and dependable backpack with a plethora of storage options to help you keep things organized.

Important Features to Consider

There are a few important considerations to think through before purchasing a backpacking backpack.

  • Fit. The fit of a backpacking backpack is arguably the most important consideration. Whether you are shopping for a man, woman, or child, be sure to find an appropriate backpack that has the correct hip and torso dimensions for the person who will be wearing it. Many backpacks feature adjustable hipbelts and torso lengths, but their range is often quite limited. If the fit is wrong, the backpack will be uncomfortable to wear, and that discomfort will only worsen with each mile hiked and each pound of gear put inside of the backpack.
  • Comfort. While the backpack’s fit is most important for comfort, there are other factors to consider as well. The bag will mostly be in contact with your shoulders and hips. These areas should be well-padded for the most comfort, and that padding should ideally be sweat-wicking and breathable. Your back may also come into contact with the bag, and ventilation here is key for maximum comfort.
  • Storage space. The storage capacity of a backpack is measured in liters. A 30-liter backpack may do well for a long day hike, but it is likely too small for a backpacking trip. Most people will want a backpacking backpack to have at least 50 liters of storage capacity. The sky is the limit, but the more storage capacity you have, the heavier your bag will weigh on your hips and shoulders.
  • Pockets and other storage options. Hipbelt pockets, water bottle pockets, trekking pole loops, ice ax loops, hydration bladder compartments— these must all be taken into consideration when purchasing a backpacking backpack. What, exactly, will you need to bring with you on your adventure? Some people prefer to keep their gear organized by using a backpack with a dozen different pockets, while others prefer to keep their pack as light as possible by purchasing a backpack with only one or two extraneous pockets.
  • Weight. Most people do not need to worry about backpack weight in this modern era. Standard backpacking backpacks weigh around 5 pounds, give or take a pound or two. There is a growing number of backpackers venturing into ultralightweight backpacking, however, and to them, each and every ounce counts. Ultralight backpacks sacrifice convenience and durability for the sake of shedding weight, but novice backpackers should thoroughly weigh the pluses and minuses of an ultralight pack before they purchase their first one.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a backpacking backpack?

Backpacking backpacks are large backpacks designed for overnight hiking excursions. They can be used for single-night or multi-night backpacking trips. The best backpacking backpacks are made of durable materials, have plenty of integrated storage options, and have adjustable straps that enable you to find the right fit for your body as well as to tighten down your carry load so that it is neatly organized and secured.

How big of a backpack do I need?

This depends on how long you will be backpacking for and how much gear, including food and water, you intend to carry. We’ve predominately featured 65-liter backpacks in this article because most backpackers who are venturing out on multi-day trips will require this amount of storage space in order to accommodate all of their clothing, sleeping gear, navigation equipment, food, and all other supplies. If you are going on a shorter trip, or if you are able to shed excess gear from your pack, you can opt for smaller, lightweight backpacks.

How heavy should my backpack be?

This, again, depends on what you will be carrying. Heavier backpacks are typically made of more durable, thicker materials, and they tend to have more storage options as additional pockets and zippers contribute to the overall weight. Ultralight backpacks (around 2.5 pounds and under) tend to have little more than a single large compartment to store your gear in, and they often have low recommended carry weight maximums somewhere around 30 pounds. If you need to carry more gear, food, or water, you should choose a heavier, more durable backpack that is capable of holding up to 45 pounds, if not more.

How do you wash and dry a backpack?

Backpacks collect dirt, sweat, and all sorts of grime. They need to be washed regularly so that they do not stink and grow mildew or mold. Most backpacks can be washed in a washing machine, though they should be placed inside of a laundry bag so that the straps and zippers do not get caught or tangled during the washing cycle. If you prefer to handwash your bag, you can do so outside with a hose, or you can place it in your bathtub and wash it there.

You should never dry your backpack in a drying machine. It’s best to let your backpack air dry. Though resistant to abrasions, most backpacking materials will be damaged by high heat and can be damaged during the spinning drying cycle if its straps were to get caught on or tangled with anything.

Other Backpacking Backpacks We Reviewed

Best Backpacking Backpack Overall
Kelty Coyote 65
The Kelty Coyote 65 is a durable and dependable backpack with a plethora of storage options to help you keep things organized.

We looked at 20 other backpacking backpacks. Even though they didn’t make our five best backpacking backpack list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for a multi-day trek into the wilderness. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Backpacking Backpacks

Arc’teryx Bora 63

Arcteryx Bora 63

A high-end backpack ready for serious backpacking in year-round conditions, the Arc’teryx Bora 63 is a premium choice for those who want the very best. This backpack is constructed with durable ripstop nylon mapped with hybrid materials for weatherproof protection on areas often hit by rain and snow.

Key Features:

  • Unisex design
  • Weighs 5 pounds with a 63-liter capacity
  • Removable and extendable top lid

Cost: $550

Gregory Mountain Products Baltoro 65

Gregory Mountain Products Baltoro 65

The Gregory Mountain Products Baltoro 65 has been built with back comfort in mind. This backpack features pre-curved foam components and a back panel designed to support your natural stance, plus it has a removable Lumbartune insert that enables the user to customize the support to their ideal contour fit.

Key Features:

  • Unisex design
  • Weighs 5.5 pounds with a 65-liter capacity
  • Removeable Lumbartune insert

Cost: $200

Kelty Trekker 65

Kelty Trekker 65

For those who like it old school, you can keep the exterior frame design alive by purchasing the Kelty Trekker 65. This pack is as light and strong as modern interior frame designs. This style holds most of your pack’s weight higher up on your back and leaves room below the bag for attaching large items like tents.

Key Features:

  • Unisex exterior frame design
  • Weighs 5.5 pounds with a 65-liter capacity
  • Adjustable suspension

Cost: $185

Osprey Atmos 65

Osprey Atmos 65

Osprey backpacks are commonly seen on trails across America because they have found the balance between cost and capability that many people prefer. This Osprey Atmos 65 is a fantastic multi-day trekking backpack fitted with a large mesh front pocket, a removable and adjustable top lid, and an adjustable suspension system.

Key Features:

  • Designed for men
  • Weighs 4.5 pounds with a 65-liter capacity
  • Adjustable harness and hipbelt

Cost: $270

Osprey Aura 65

Osprey Aura 65

Built with the same design philosophy as the Atmos, but tailored specifically for women, the Osprey Aura 65 is a supremely capable backpack. It can haul up to 50 pounds within its 65-liter capacity and has a hydration bladder sleeve to make water storage convenient and easy to access.

Key Features:

  • Designed for women
  • Weighs 4.2 pounds with a 65-liter capacity
  • Adjustable harness and hipbelt

Cost: $270

The North Face Terra 65

The North Face Terra 65

The North Face Terra 65 has a large front flap that can be opened for complete access to the bag’s inside storage area. The top lid is adjustable and removable. A drawstring provides access to the bag’s interior from the top. The large front stash pocket is a great place to keep on-the-go items that you want quick access to.

Key Features:

  • Designed for women
  • Weighs 4 pounds with a 65-liter capacity
  • Floating top lid

Cost: $190

Ultralight Backpacking Backpacks

Granite Gear Virga 2

Granite Gear Virga 2

The Granite Gear Virga 2 save weight, in part, by ridding itself of a supportive frame altogether. If you’re going with an ultralight bag, it’s best to fill it with ultralight gear. This backpack has a 25-pound weight capacity. If you keep under that limit, it’ll work great, but if you go over you’ll start to notice the lack of a frame.

Key Features:

  • Unisex design
  • Weighs 1.3 pounds with a 52-liter capacity
  • Frameless suspension system

Cost: $140

KLYMIT Motion 60

KLYMIT Motion 60

The KLYMIT Motion 60 utilizes a unique Air Frame technology that has integrated air pumps. Users can manipulate the air pumps on the go to adjust for stability and load transfer. For having such a supportive frame with lumbar padding, this is an exceptionally lightweight backpack.

Key Features:

  • Unisex design
  • Weighs 2.5 pounds with a 60-liter capacity
  • Air Frame technology

Cost: $130

Osprey Lumia 60

Osprey Lumia 60

The Osprey Lumia 60 is an ultralight option from Osprey specifically for women. It has a Lightwire internal frame that’s paired with a mesh back panel to provide comfort and load stability. The fabric is comprised of ripstop nylon and Cordura nylon that combined are lightweight and abrasion-resistant.

Key Features:

  • Designed for women
  • Weighs 1.8 pounds with a 60-liter capacity
  • Lightwire internal frame

Cost: $270

Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor

Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor

With a unique multi-strap design that enables this pack to by synched down tight or expanded for large loads, the Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor is perfectly capable of being used as a multi-day trekking backpack or a slim day pack. This also has a sturdy Y-flex suspension system and a removable and interchangeable hipbelt.

Key Features:

  • Unisex design
  • Weighs 2.6 pounds with a 60-75 liter capacity
  • Expandable and adjustable volume straps

Cost: $170

Backpacking Backpacks for Kids

Deuter Fox 40

Deuter Fox 40

Scaled-down to kid-size without removing any of the capabilities, the Deuter Fox 40 may look like an adult’s backpack at first glance, but it is sized for kids. The adjustable suspension system has incremental size heights that can be changed as your child grows.

Key Features:

  • Adjustable height unisex design
  • Weighs 2.9 pounds with a 40-liter capacity
  • Made in the USA using sustainable textiles

Cost: $120

Deuter Kikki

Deuter Kikki

The Deuter Kikki is a cute backpack meant for little ones who are venturing out on their first backpacking adventures. There are several colors to choose from. The pack has two side water bottle and snack pockets in addition to the main flap-covered backpack storage area.

Key Features:

  • Designed for small children aged 2 to 8
  • Reflective paneling for extra visibility
  • Two water bottle and snack pockets

Cost: $45

Gregory Mountain Products Icarus 30

Gregory Mountain Products Icarus 30

The Gregory Mountain Products Icarus 30 is capable enough to let your little one carry their share of the load, and it’s comfortable enough for a long day of hiking. Adjustable height and torso settings enable this pack to fit for years to come as your child grows.

Key Features:

  • Designed for children ages 6 to 12
  • Weighs 2.2 pounds with a 30-liter capacity
  • Sternum strap has an integrated safety whistle

Cost: $110

Kelty Redcloud Junior

Kelty Redcloud Junior

The Kelty Redcloud Junior is a full-on multi-day trekking backpack with 65-liters of capacity and complete capability, but it has been designed for tweens and teenagers who haven’t yet fully grown to their adult size. There are lots of pockets, loops, and storage options to keep all gear and personal effects organized.

Key Features:

  • Fits torso lengths of 14″ to 18″, about 12 to 16 years old
  • Weighs 4.6 pounds with a 65-liter capacity
  • Hydration bladder compatible

Cost: $180

Child Carrier Backpacking Backpacks

Deuter Kid Comfort Pro

Deuter Kid Comfort Pro

A safe and comfortable unisex child carrier that’s designed for maximum parent and child comfort, the Deuter Kid Comfort Pro is an excellent full-size child carrier. This backpack is hydration bladder compatible and features a removable daypack.

Key Features:

  • Carries children weighing 16 to 40 pounds
  • 22 liters of storage capacity including a removable daypack
  • Weighs 8.2 pounds with a flexible spring steel frame

Cost: $330

Osprey Poco Child Carrier

Osprey Poco Child Carrier

The Osprey Poco Child Carrier features highly-adjustable hipbelt and shoulder strap tensioners, creating a one-size-fits-all design that can accommodate most parents. It also features open mesh hipbelt pockets for convenient snack storage and a mesh shade cover to protect your kid from the sun.

Key Features:

  • Carrier children weighing 16 to 48 pounds
  • 20 liters of storage capacity including hydration bladder
  • Weighs 7.7 pounds with aluminum frame

Cost: $290

Thule Sapling Elite

Thule Sapling Elite

The Thule Sapling Elite is a well-rounded backpack and child carrier. It features removable child foot stirrups and a removable daypack so that you can adjust the pack as the child ages and as your journey demands. This product comes backed by a lifetime warranty.

Key Features:

  • Carrier children weighing 16 to 48 pounds
  • Dual access allows the child to be loaded from top or side
  • Removable child stirrups and daypack

Cost: $350

Budget Backpacking Backpacks

AmazonBasics Backpack 65L

AmazonBasics Backpack 65L

Durable, functional, and adjustable, the AmazonBasics Backpack 65L is well-equipped to handle most any adventure. It has adjustable hit and torso straps which enable it to fit almost any adult. There are pockets galore and it comes packaged with a rainfly.

Key Features:

  • Unisex design
  • Weighs 5.5 pounds with a 65-liter capacity
  • Smaller and larger sizes available

Cost: $70

Mountaintop 65L Backpack

Mountaintop 65L Backpack

The Mountaintop 65L Backpack is a sleekly-designed backpack that is fairly lightweight and is home to plenty of storage options. The main compartment can be accessed from the top or bottom. There are trekking pole loops, ice ax loops, mesh bottle pockets, and more storage options to be found.

Key Features:

  • Unisex design with over a dozen color to choose from
  • Weighs 3.3 pounds with a 65-liter capacity
  • Has top collar and bottom access to the main storage

Cost: $65

WoneNice 50L

WoneNice 50L

An ultralight backpack without a frame, the WoneNice 50L is great for lightweight backpacking trips. The back and shoulder straps are lightly padded for comfort and ventilation. The nylon and polyester material is durable and water-resistant, and a waterproof rain cover is included for protection from the elements.

Key Features:

  • Unisex design with multiple color options
  • Weighs 2.3 pounds with a 50-liter storage capacity
  • No internal frame, rain cover included

Cost: $40

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