No matter what the outdoor occasion is, backpacks are always essential to your comfort and safety during an outdoor excursion. I personally always carry a backpack wherever I go. It’s an essential packing element, and can set the tone of my entire outdoor trip. However, finding the best hiking backpacks can often depend on many various externalities such as the level of your hike, terrain, and weather, which can make it a headache to purchase a new backpack.
Additionally, due to the combination of the vast number of backpacks on the market today and the marketing of the various outdoor companies, it’s difficult for outdoors enthusiasts to find the highest quality backpack for the lowest price. If you’re having a hard time pulling the trigger on a backpack for your hikes, look no further, since I’ll be diving deep into 5 of the best backpacks on the market today! Many of these backpacks you can find right here on Rerouted. I’ve personally gone through numerous backpacks throughout my long hiking-career, and each one of my picks today has been worn and tested by me personally, or by a hiking buddy of mine, so you know it’s reliable. Without further ado, let’s jump straight into the first backpack!
1.Granite Gear Vernon Backpack 30L
These Granite Gear Vernon hiking backpacks are a hidden gem that my friend (who’s the ultimate hiking junkie) just recommended to me a couple years back. I immediately bought one, tried it out, and instantly fell in love with it. Nowadays, the Granite Gear Vernon backpack is pretty much the only backpack I take on my day trips. The best part of it all, however, is the affordable price. All my life, I’ve been spending 60, 80, and sometimes even upwards of 100 dollars on day-packs, but who knew that my all-time favorite backpack is only $20!
It’s perfectly lightweight to make the burden on you as light as possible, which we know is all too important for day hikers. The ultra-quality mesh material is also both waterproof and breathable, so the contents of the bag remain dry, but also doesn’t get musty. Lastly, my personal favorite part is the comfort of the bag on my shoulders. It’s so light that sometimes I even forget that I’m carrying a backpack! However, for longer hikes that span beyond just a day, you’d need a more heavy duty bag that can carry all the content necessary for an extended trip.
2. Osprey Atmos AG 65L Pack
These Atmos AG 65 backpacks are no joke. Although they are a bit on the heavier side, the way that the numerous straps are designed evenly distributes the weight throughout your body extremely well, and turns an exercise that damages your lower back into a full body work-out: win-win am I right? However, don’t even think of taking this bag on a day-trip, since it’s simply unnecessary to bring such a large bag for a small trip. The crazy part is that this bag’s capacity is 65 liters, more than enough to bring all the essentials for a backpacking trip, and maybe some fun accessories too! In fact, I’ve managed to convince all my friends to get one of these monsters, and bring them out to our backpacking trips, and from our experience, they can last a very long time, and are made of the best materials. However, one huge downside is the cost of them: around $270 a piece. In my opinion, unless you’re a serious backpacker that consistently goes on hikes year in and year out, I wouldn’t recommend making the investment, especially since you can buy a much cheaper backpack that isn’t significantly lower quality.
3. Mountain Hardwear Daypack
Now these Mountain Hardwear backpacks are probably one of my favorite medium sized bags. In my opinion, it’s the perfect hybrid between comfort, practicality, and lightness. These bags lie somewhere in between my last two recommendations in terms of the weight and purpose of use. I personally use the Mountain Hardwear Daypacks on tougher/longer hikes, where I know that my lightweight bags just can’t handle the length. Additionally, if I ever need to bring accessories, like a head lamp for after the sunsets, or bear spray when I’m in bear territory, the lighter bags simply can’t cut it. However, don’t get fooled into thinking that these bags are going to wear down on your shoulders; in fact, the opposite is true! With widened straps, chest support, and waist support, the burden of the back is transitioned from your shoulders to your core, giving you a nice workout, much like the Granite Vernon pack. These are definitely a must have for versatile hikers that take on many different kinds of hikes.
4. Ultimate Direction Fast Pack 25
The reason these Ultimate Direction Fast packs are called “fast packs” are pretty self-explanatory; they’re wicked light! Equipped with the latest weight-cutting material technology, you can’t find a lighter backpack than these. If you’re a serious trailrunner, and looking for that extra little boost to give you an edge when pushing to break your personal records, I’d highly recommend taking a look at these Ultimate Direction Fast packs. I’d say that the only downfall is their price, which isn’t super worth the extra value added if you’re just a casual trail runner. However, for the serious competitors, even the slightest of differences in weight can make a huge difference when trail running, which is even more significant the longer the trail is. I’m personally not a huge trail runner, but my trail running friends all avidly recommend these bags.
5. Harrow Blitz 4000 Day Pack
These bags are quite different from the other ones on my list so far. It’s built slightly more horizontal to allow for more space, which is helpful for fitting lots of items, but also creates more pressure on your shoulders since the bag is further away from your center of gravity. It’s an interesting day pack that I’ve only tested out a few times on the trails. So far they seem excellent for shorter hikes, but the stress seems to compound for longer hikes.