Backpacking can mean many different things to different people. Some like the idea of escaping on a day hike where they are only stretching their legs for a few hours. Others love the idea of an overnighter in the deep of wilderness, and then there are those who will take to the wild weeks at a time. Whatever your love of backpacking includes, your backpack is your single most important piece of gear. It not only holds survival essentials, but it should also be built to support that weight on your back comfortably without incident.
There are good backpacks, and then there are some very poor backpacks. The worse scenario is to find out you have bought a bad backpack when you are traversing a mountainside and begin to suffer the consequences of your purchase. If you are new to this outdoor activity, then it is not your fault for lapse of judgment. Experienced backpackers know exactly which brands are going to make their hikes glorious. For the newbie just chomping at the bit to get started on this exciting venture, we have cut to the chase with the 10 most comfortable backpacks for those long hikes.
Condor remains the leading supplier of the best backpacks ever brought onto the market. The company has been serving consumers for decades and is consistent in providing new and innovative ways to pack your gear. The Condor 3 Day Assault Pack is the most popular backpack and with good reason. This heavy-duty cargo pack can fit up to two 3L hydration bladders, has seven compartments including the main compartment with gear straps and a second main compartment to hold maps, radios and documents. On the outside are two large pockets and two side pockets. This backpack is durable and versatile for multi-use. But forget all that, just remember who it is made by—Condor.
Osprey was founded in Colorado, home to some rugged mountains. It was only a matter of time a company would emerge to tackle how a backpack should be made. They are known to rip into new technologies out of sheer necessity for a comfortable, functional backpack. The Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack is quite impressive looking as the pack has suspension built in. With this uniquely designed pack, you have the option to deploy the harness and hip belt suspension for an even more comfortable trek. They also use custom-fit technology and Straightjacket suspension to secure your things and keep them organized.
Baltoro is another top pick in backpacks due to the super comfortable design and the durable material featured. The Baltoro 65 Backpack is the best in reviews because of all the details and options. The wishbone frame brings the heavy load to the center of the lumbar area for better support. The pack even sports a removable Eva Foam Shim customization to provide more contours in the lower back region. This backpack will haul the heaviest of loads with the best of ease. Items are easily found with a U-shaped opening at the top. This is an award-winning backpack.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear is all about multi-use backpacks for all seasons. The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 Southwest Pack is proof of a tough but lightweight solid backpack. The 4400 Southwest Pack uses a tough cuben fiber which is a heavier grade of fabric than what many other backpack manufacturers use. The company emphasis’s durability with enhanced waterproofing, double taped seams and bomber tough against any kind of abrasions. The roll top closure with the side straps increases likeability due flexible compression. There is also easy access to side water bottles while wearing the pack. The downside on this pack is it is only available in white, and there is no back ventilation.
5. Granite Gear
The Granite Gear Crown VC 60 backpack is a top loader with a nice secure roll-top closure. It features Vapor Current Suspension technology, which is basically ventilation channels molded into the back pad. This allows for evaporative cooling and circulation without having to shift the backpack away from your back. The VC frame is a HDPE die-cut sheet which is removable so the pack can become an ultralight backpack. It also features a 360 degree compression system which advances more than other backpacks in regards to technology.
While Gossemer had to pull their popular Gorilla 40 Ultralight due to their own dissatisfaction with the manufacturing, they still reign in some good lightweight backpacks. The Mariposa 60 Liter Lightweight Pack is a transitional backpack. It has the capacity to hold an extensive amount of gear. This nice backpack carries seven built-in pockets with a storage solution for just about anything. Gossemer even thought about the large mesh pocket for wet clothing (which many backpack brands have overlooked), and there is a dedicated spot for any trekking pole hardware. It is a unisex brand made to handle winter conditions for backpackers with extra gear to carry.
Mountaintop makes a wide variety of different types of backpacks, all sporting different features, making them as individual as the person carrying it. This year they introduced Mountaintop 65L Internal Frame Backpack which is quite impressive with all the thought out features. This pack has 8 compartment straps for repurposing for hanging sleeping bags, tents, hammocks or other gear. It also includes a complete hydration system that is compatible with other systems. The best part about this backpack is the torso-length adjustment which will work through 8 stages of height to help the backpacker find the perfect fit on the back. Take a closer look and you will see the added ‘D’ hooks necessary for linking, plus a trekking pole attachment, bottom loops for any ice axe or hiking poles. There is even a sternum strap with an emergency whistle buckle. This backpack is proof designers are listening to what backpackers truly need during excursions.
OutdoorMaster needs honorable mention amongst the most comfortable backpacks for those long hikes. The reason is OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L is perfect for those new to backpacking and the pack is offered at a reasonable price for a beginner. It is an easy hold bag capable of storing all hiking essentials, plus it has thicker padded straps with 3D breathable grid fabric for better comfort while carrying. It is pocket rich with convenience in every area, making access a breeze while still trekking. And for those who just cannot leave home without their laptop, a soft padded compartment is provided and will fit up to a 15.6’’ laptop. The waterproof feature repels light rain, but a heavier rain cover can be found in a dedicated pocket. For those wishing to try hiking, or immerse into a long hike, this is a good beginner backpack.
Vanquest is on the ‘Sling pack’ trend with Vanquest JAVELIN 2.0 VSlinger Right-Shoulder Sling pack. Backpacks have been redefined in functionality, comfort ability, and durability. This is a super light pack but stronger and able to hold a large laptop. The intriguing fabric is a patented Cordura coated in DuPont Teflon for fierce protection. The asymmetrical design offers easy access to the items stored inside. There are padded dividers for any techno-gadgets you wish to include in your travels. Vanquest even went as far to include a rear compartment for CCW-ready (concealed carry) right along with the water bladder hydration system. You also have the double-lock option for added security located on the ends of the shoulder straps. This model includes over 20 well designed pockets for personal items. Slingback packs are the new wave of the future.
10. ALPS OutdoorZ
This is an intense backpack meant for the warriors of the woods. The ALPS OutdoorZ 9994710 Extreme Commander X Hunting Frame plus Pack meant for a hike of a different kind. This extreme backpack conforms to the hunter’s needs, environment, season and style. ALPS designers will tell you that you won’t be able to find a single part of the pack which wasn’t addressed during the extensive development. So what is so great about this backpack? It has a side fleece lined spotting scope sleeve, a drop down pocket to support a gun or bow, a hydration port, and an internal horizontal divider. The big bonus for hunters on the Commander X is the internal frame meat hauling pack with a detachable 4000 cu in the pack bag. Anyone who has ever hunted can appreciate the ease of hauling out meat when the task is completed. The pack can be reattached with the included series of compression straps. And still, this backpack makes for a comfortable carry.