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Best Backpacking Backpacks of 2023

Nowadays the most popular hiking backpacks are so called anatomical models with an internal frame. The more traditional model is backpack with an external frame, which has lost its popularity dramatically and is harder to find.

Backpacks with an internal frame are a safe choice for everyone. If you really need a backpack with an external frame you probably already know what you are doing.

The word backpack was coined in the United States in the 1910s. Knapsack and packsack were used before.

Choosing a Backpack

For a little shorter trip a backpack with a capacity of around 3 000 cubic inches (50 liters) may be enough. For a one week or longer trips the capacity should be at least 4 250 cubic inches (70 liters). Naturally the need for capacity varies between people depending on personal needs and how much gear and food you’re going to take with you.

The weight of the trekking backpacks mentioned earlier starts from about 4.5 lbs. (2 kilograms). There are available some lightweight models which can carry that 4 250 cubic inches but the weight is still managed to kept well under 2 kg. If you’re a backpacker aiming at lightweight gears, backpack is one of the first things to save some valuable weight.

When you’re buying a backpack, try it in the store with some weight so you get some real feel of the pack. Test the hip belt carefully; it should feel quite comfortable right away. Some models have even a custom-moldable hip belt which naturally makes the carrying of the pack even more pleasing experience.

Check the overall build of the pack, it should be very well build and the fabrics should be highly durable and water repellent. The most important thing to remember when buying a backpacking backpack is to you try it before you buy it.

Nowadays many of the packs have integrated rain cover. If this is not the case you should buy one. In addition some models have a place for integrated hydration system. Remember that the hydration system (bladder) itself is not included with the pack.

Packing a Pack

The heavier gear should be packed in the large middle section of the pack and closest to your back. This way the weight is distributed evenly and the backpack won’t stress your back too much. Sleeping bag is usually packed in the lower section. Cell-foam sleeping pads are bulky items so they are naturally packed outside the pack, either to the top or to the bottom. If you have a inflatable or self-inflating sleeping pad, you can pack it virtually anywhere in the backpack.

The gear which you will need during the day, like food and cooking gear should naturally be packed to be easily and quickly available. When a good quality backpack is packed carefully and adjusted properly it’s a pleasure to carry even an a longest trips.

Lightweight Backpacking

Lightweight backpacking has become more and more popular during the recent years. Backpack is one of the heaviest gear for hiking. It means that when you want to lighten your gear list, one of the easiest ways to accomplish that is to get a lighter backpack.

Lightweight backpack surely is something you want to consider. Just keep in mind that the lighter the backpack gets, the lesser functions it will have. Also the carrying system might not be as comfortable as in heavier packs.

Backpack Manufacturers

There are literally hundreds of backpack manufacturers. Some of the well known companies that produce high quality backpacks are Osprey, Fjallraven, Gregory, GoLite and The North Face.

However, you should not choose the backpack by it’s brand. The most important thing to remember when choosing the right backpack for you is that you feel comfortable with the pack on your back. After that you can start to consider other aspects and features of the backpack.

Name Price Weight Volume Frame Material Includes Raincover Hydration Compatible Hipbelt Pockets Adjustable Torso
Mountain Hardwear AMG 105 Mountain Hardwear AMG 105 5 lbs 2.1 oz 6408 in³ Aluminum
Osprey Aether Plus 100 Osprey Aether Plus 100 6 lbs 6 oz 5980 in³ 4.0 mm LightWire aluminum
Osprey Aether Plus 85 Osprey Aether Plus 85 6 lbs 3.7 oz 5187 in³ 4.0 mm LightWire peripheral frame
Mountain Hardwear AMG 75 Mountain Hardwear AMG 75 4 lbs 13.1 oz 4577 in³ Aluminum
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 70 Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 70 2 lbs 7.2 oz 4400 in³ Aluminum
Mountain Hardwear AMG 55 Mountain Hardwear AMG 55 4 lbs 9.9 oz 3356 in³ Aluminum
Fjallraven Kajka 75 Fjallraven Kajka 75
The North Face Banchee 65 The North Face Banchee 65
Last update: December 10, 2020

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