Gear Guide Spring 2017: Backpacks
We hiked thousands of miles to find backpacks that blend comfort, organization and durability. Now read these reviews for day-, weekend-, and multiday packs to find the right features and fit for you.
Nights out: 214
Miles hiked: 3,010
Longest hike: 165 miles (Tahoe Rim Trail, CA)
Longest day: 18 hrs. (Yosemite)
Heaviest pack: 69 lbs. (Sierra Nevada, CA)
Hottest temp: 107°F (Sri Lanka)
Coldest temp: -14°F (Hyalite Canyon, MT)
Lowest trip: -1,410 ft. (Dead Sea)
Highest trip: 13,775 ft. (Grand Teton, WY)
How to Buy a Backpack
Bring your gear: Unsure how your current gear will fit in your new pack? Easy. Take it with you (or borrow similar stuff from the shelves). Load it up in the store and make sure there’s a place for everything.
Look for features: Whether you’re a load hauler or a minimalist, identify what extras you need—bottle holsters, shove-it pockets, an extendable lid—and only consider packs that include your must-haves.
Does it fit? Load the pack with at least 20 pounds and cinch all straps. Does the lumbar pad sit snugly in the small of your back? Are there pressure points on your hips? Do the shoulder straps wrap smoothly?
Size it right: Want a do-it-all pack? Get one that comfortably holds gear for your longest trip. It’s easier to compress a pack to fit a too-small load than strap extra gear onto a too-small pack.