Best Waterproof Hiking Backpacks

One of the great pleasures for a hiker is walking through a verdant landscape, enjoying the beauties of nature. However, the price we pay for such stunning scenery is that we often end up walking in the rain. Hikers, therefore, need the best waterproof backpack that will keep their equipment dry no matter how wet the weather.

Not only do you want a backpack that protects your gear from the elements, but you also need to carry everything you need on your trip comfortably. It would also be helpful if you could organize your kit and easily access whatever items you require.

While this may seem like a lot to expect of a backpack there are several companies making backpacks that fulfil this criteria. We have picked the backpacks that we think are the best for every scenario. We have highlighted the vital features and compared the essential data to make it easier for you to pick the backpack that is perfect for you.

Product
Osprey Atmos AG 65
Osprey Kestrel 48
Osprey Aether Plus 70
Gregory Paragon 58
Gregory Baltoro 65
Big Agnes Parkview 63
Osprey Aether 65
Granite Gear Blaze 60 Women
The North Face Women's Terra 55
Dueter Air Contact Core 60+10
Osprey Atmos Ag 65 Backpack, Rigby Red, Small
Kestrel 48L Men's Backpacking Backpack
Osprey Aether Pro 70L Men's Backpacking Backpack, Kepler Grey, Large
Gregory Mountain Products Paragon 58 Backpacking Backpack
Gregory Mountain Products Men's Baltoro 65, Onyx Black, Small
Big Agnes Parkview 63L Backpack for Multiday Hiking, Fog, Large
Osprey Aether 65L Men's Backpacking Backpack, Garlic Mustard Green, L/XL
Granite Gear Blaze 60L Backpack - Black/Black Gingham Long
THE NORTH FACE Women's Terra Backpacking Backpack, Agave Green/Pale Lime Yellow, XS-S 55 L
Deuter Aircontact Core 60+10 SL Shale/Ivy One Size
Buying Options
Our Award
Best for Men
Best Lighter Backpack for Men
Best Large Capacity Backpack for Men
Best for Women
Best Lighter Backpack for Women
Best Large Capacity Backpack for Women
Size
S/M - L/XL
S/M - L/XL
S/M - L/XL
S/M - M/L
S - M - L
M - L
S/M - L/XL
WS - UL
XS/S - M/L
W - Regular
Weight
2 - 2.2 kg
1.9 - 2.1 kg
2.5 - 2.8 kg
1.5 - 1.6 kg
2.1 - 2.4 kg
1.6 - 1.8 kg
2.2 - 2.3 kg
1.3 - 1.4 kg
1.6 - 1.7 kg
2.1 - 2.3 kg
Capacity
65 - 68 liters
46 - 48 litres
68 - 70 liters
58 litres
65 litres
63 + 10 liters
65 - 68 liters
60 liters
55 litres
60 + 10 liters
Load
13.6 – 18 kg
9.1 – 15.9 kg
14 – 27 kg
22.7 kg
22.7 kg
22.7 kg
14 - 27 kg
22.7 kg
N/A
15 - 20 kg
Pockets
9
10
8
6
10
8
5
6
5
8
Torso Lengths
43 - 58.9
40.5 - 58.5 cm
43 - 58.5 cm
38 - 60 cm
40.6 - 55.9 cm
46 - 56 cm
43 - 58.5 cm
38.1 - 60.9 cm
35.5 - 47.7 cm
35 - 62 cm
Rain Cover
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
Yes

Editor’s note: This article is part of our buyers guide to waterproof hiking backpacks. See other articles in this series: 

Looking for other waterproof gear? Check out our buyers guides on:

These are the seven backpacks we recommend for men: 

Osprey Atmos AG 65 - Best for Men

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Very comfortable to carry
  • Lots of storage options

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Not suitable to carry more than 18kg / 40 lbs
  • Water pockets are not easy to use

See the Osprey AG 65 in more detail: 

The Osprey AG 65 boasts a comprehensive set of features catering to the needs of any hiker. With nine pockets, gear organization becomes effortless, and additional straps and loops offer ample storage options. The pockets, most of which are zippered, provide easy access, though the dual-access water bottle pockets can be awkward to use.

What sets this backpack apart is its high comfort levels and adjustable fit, accommodating a wide range of body sizes. The Anti-Gravity system ensures comfortable load-carrying, complemented by generous padding. Customizing the fit to your frame is easy, making it simple to carry your load correctly.

This backpack is made from 210 and 500 denier nylon with a DWR coating, making it durable and water-resistant. A custom-fit rain cover is included in case of unexpected rain during your hike.

While it’s slightly heavier compared to similar models, hikers don’t complain, appreciating the additional storage and padding. The backpack can handle a maximum load of 18kg/40 lbs, but exceeding this limit may affect its performance. Overall, the Osprey AG 65 is a well-designed backpack that’s difficult to fault.

Sizes
Capacity
Weight
Load
Measurements
Torso Length
Small/ Medium
65 liters 3,967 cubic inches
2 kg 4.6 lbs
13.6 – 18kg 30 - 40 lbs
83 x 39 x 36 cm 32.7 x 15.3 x 14.2 inches
43 - 52 cm 17 - 20.5 inches
Large/ Extra Large
68 liters 4,150 cubic inches
2.2 kg 4.8 lbs
13.6 – 18kg 30 - 40 lbs
89 x 39 x 36 cm 34.6 x 15.3 x 14.2 inches
49 - 58.9 cm 19.5 - 23 inches
Osprey Atmos AG 65

Osprey Kestrel 48 - Best Lighter Backpack for Men

Kestrel 48L Men's Backpacking Backpack

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight but fully featured
  • Budget price

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Difficult to access water bottle when fully loaded
  • Less capacity than heavier backpacks

See the Osprey Kestrel 48 in more detail: 

Modern camping equipment has evolved to be remarkably lightweight, reducing the need for backpacks built to handle heavy loads. If you have the latest light camping equipment, this backpack is an excellent choice for you. It maintains the same intelligent design and high-quality standards as larger Osprey models but offers a much lighter alternative.

Despite its lightweight nature, Osprey has spared no effort in its construction. The well-padded back panel, hip belt, and shoulder straps work well with the frame to distribute the load evenly. It is simple to adjust the torso length to fit correctly. Environmentally friendly and durable materials are used in its construction.

There are many storage options, including compression straps, lash points, daisy chain webbing, trekking pole and ice axe holders, and ten external pockets. Accessibility is easy, with options to reach the main pocket through a side zip, the top lid, or the zip on the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom. Extras include a rain cover, hydration system compartment, and built-in whistle. This is a good choice if you are looking for a lighter backpack to carry all your camping equipment comfortably.

Sizes
Capacity
Weight
Load
Measurements
Torso Length
Small/ Medium
46 liters 2807 cubic inches
1.9 kg 4.4 lbs
9.1 – 15.9 kg 20 – 35 lbs
74 x 40 x 30 cm 29.1 x 15.7 x 11.8 inches
40.5 – 53 cm 16 - 21 inches
Large/ Extra Large
48 liters 2929 cubic inches
2.1 kg 4.6 lbs
9.1 – 15.9 kg 20 – 35 lbs
79 x 40 x 30 cm 31.1 x 15.7 x 11.8 inches
40.5 – 53 cm 16 - 21 inches
Osprey Kestrel 48 backpack

Osprey Aether Plus 70 - Best Large Capacity Backpack for Men

Osprey Aether Pro 70L Men's Backpacking Backpack, Kepler Grey, Large

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Lots of storage
  • Comfortable to carry

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavy
  • Water pockets are not easy to use

See the Osprey Aether Plus 70 in more detail: 

The Osprey Aether Plus 70 is the perfect backpack for carrying heavy loads over several days, offering outstanding comfort. Its adjustable, well-padded shoulder straps, along with a padded lumbar pad and a die-cut foam back panel, ensure a comfortable fit. The hip belt is easy to adjust and comes with generous padding, and the frame efficiently distributes the load between the shoulders and hips.

Accessing your gear is straightforward, with a full-length curved zip on the main pocket, as well as the usual top access and another zip on the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom. This backpack also has eight additional pockets of various sizes, plus several straps for attaching extra equipment.

Constructed from durable, hardwearing nylon, it’s built to last. The included rain cover adds an extra layer of protection against wet weather. This backpack is designed to carry your gear comfortably, perfect for extended backcountry hikes or leisurely walks where you might want a few extra comforts.

Sizes
Capacity
Weight
Load
Measurements
Torso Length
Small/ Medium
68 liters 4150 cubic inches
2.5 kg 5.6 lbs
14 – 27 kg 30 - 60 lbs
79 x 38 x 36 cm 31.1 x 14.9 x 14.2 inches
43 – 53 cm 17 – 21 inches
Large/ Extra Large
70 liters 4272 cubic inches
2.8 kg 6.2 lbs
14 – 27 kg 30 - 60 lbs
84 x 38 x 36 cm 33.1 x 14.9 x 14.2 inches
48 - 58.5 cm 19 - 23 inches
Osprey Aether Plus 70

Gregory Paragon 58

Gregory Mountain Products Paragon 58 Backpacking Backpack

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Rain cover included

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Can be uncomfortable when carrying a full load

See the Gregory Paragon 58 in more detail: 

The Gregory Paragon 58 is one of the lightest backpacks available that is practical for backpacking. It is comfortable to carry with a wishbone alloy frame and a fiberglass cross-stay for stability.

Its back panel is designed to be both flexible and breathable. The pack offers adjustability in the torso length, hip belt, and shoulder straps through a user-friendly Velcro system.

This backpack has an easily accessible main compartment and numerous external pockets, straps, lash points, and compression straps. This backpack has features like a rain cover and a sunglasses holder, which are rare in lightweight backpacks. Although it might get uncomfortable when fully packed, the Gregory Paragon 58 is an excellent choice for hiking adventures.

Sizes
Capacity
Weight
Load
Measurements
Torso Length
Small/ Medium
58 liters 3,539 cubic inches
1.6 kg 3.5lbs
22.7 kg 50 lbs
74 x 37 x 26 cm 29 x 14.6 x 10.2 inches
38.1 – 48.3 cm 15 – 19 inches
Medium/Large
58 liters 3,539 cubic inches
1.2 kg 2.6 lbs
26 kg 57 lbs
79 x 37 x 26 cm 31 x 14.6 x 10.2 inches
45.7 – 55.9 cm 18 – 22 inches
Gregory Paragon 58 waterproof backpack

Gregory Baltoro 65

Gregory Mountain Products Men's Baltoro 65, Onyx Black, Small

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable to carry heavy loads
  • Excellent breathability

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • It’s heavier than some comparable models
  • Water bottles can easily fall out of the holder

See the Gregory Baltoro 65 in more detail: 

The Gregory Baltoro 65 backpack stands out as one of the top choices for carrying heavy gear, thanks to its design that prioritizes comfort. Its shoulder straps and hip belt are engineered to move with you, while the alloy wishbone frame and fiberglass cross-stay ensure stability and balanced weight distribution.

The backpack offers multiple adjustment points for the torso length, hip belt, and shoulder straps, enabling a custom fit that enhances comfort during extended hikes. Gregory has made this backpack using both durable and sustainable materials. It provides generous storage capacity, including a large main compartment, a dedicated sleeping bag compartment, and ten additional pockets for organized storage.

This backpack has all the necessary features, including a rain cover and sunglasses holder. It has excellent breathability, and the fabric has been treated with Polygiene Stays Fresh Technology. Overall, the Gregory Baltoro 65 is a practical, feature-rich backpack, perfect for lengthy hiking excursions.

Sizes
Capacity
Weight
Load
Measurements
Torso Length
Small
65 liters 3966.5 cubic inches
2.14 kg 4.7 lbs
22.7 kg 50 lbs
34 x 79 x 34 cm 13.4 x 31 x 13.4 inches
40.6 – 48.3 cm 16 – 19 inches
Medium
65 liters 3966.5 cubic inches
2.23 kg 4.9 lbs
22.7 kg 50 lbs
34 x 81 x 34 cm 13.4 x 31.9 x 13.4 inches
43.2 – 53.3 cm 17 – 21 inches
Large
65 liters 3966.5 cubic inches
2.38 kg 5.2 lbs
22.7 kg 50 lbs
34 x 84 x 34 cm 13.4 x 33 x 13.4 inches
45.7 – 55.9 cm 18 – 22 inches
Gregory Baltoro 65 waterproof backpack

Big Agnes Parkview 63

Big Agnes Parkview 63L Backpack for Multiday Hiking, Fog, Large

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Lots of storage
  • Lightweight for a big backpack

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • No zip to access the main compartment
  • No rain cover

See the Big Agnes Parkview 63 in more detail: 

The Big Agnes Parkview 63 is an excellent choice for hikers embarking on multiday backcountry trips with a preference for carrying ample equipment. It features numerous large pockets, two rows of daisy-chain webbing, bungee cord loops, and zig-zag compression straps for extensive gear organization.

While the lid and hip belts are detachable for weight reduction, the backpack remains surprisingly light for its size. The backpack is constructed from durable materials, with high-quality zippers and strategic padding.

Although you don’t get a rain cover with this backpack, we have included it because it has a very effective water-resistant coating. However, we recommend investing in a rain cover if you expect more than light showers.

The internal frame is designed to evenly distribute weight across your hips and shoulders, improving carrying comfort. Available in two large sizes, the Big Agnes Parkview 63 offers easy adjustability to accommodate various body shapes and sizes.

Sizes
Capacity
Weight
Load
Measurements
Torso Length
Medium
63 + 10 liters 3844.5 + 610 cubic inches
1.64 kg 3.10 lbs
22.7 kg 50 lbs
74 x 15 x 28 x 24 cm 29 x 6 x 11 x 9.5 inches
46 – 51 cm 18 – 20 inches
Large
63 + 10 liters
1.84 kg 4.1 lbs
22.7 kg 50 lbs
79 x15 x 28 x 24 cm 31 x 6 x 11 x 9.5 inches
51 – 56 cm 20 – 22 inches
Big Agnes Parkview 63 waterproof backpack

Osprey Aether 65

Osprey Aether 65L Men's Backpacking Backpack, Garlic Mustard Green, L/XL

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable to carry
  • Plenty of storage options

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavy
  • Water pockets are not easy to use

Like all Osprey backpacks, the Aether 65 is well-made and practical. If the Atmos 65 AG is more than you want to pay and the Aether Plus 70 is bigger than you need, then you should consider this backpack. It has the typical Osprey frame that distributes the weight evenly. It is easy to adjust, and there is plenty of padding in all the necessary places.

The main compartment is a generous size with a full-length curved zipper so you can get to all your gear quickly. You get another five pockets and plenty of loops and straps for organizing your equipment.

The water pockets are dual-access and easy to reach, but getting the bottle back into the pocket can be difficult. The materials used in this backpack’s construction are all high quality and durable, with a rain cover included for extra protection from wet weather.

Sizes
Capacity
Weight
Load
Measurements
Torso Length
Small/Medium
65 liters 3967 cubic inches
2.23 kg 4.9 lbs
14 - 27 kg 30 - 60 lbs
80 x 40 x 28 cm 31.5 x 15.7 x 11 inches
43 - 53 cm 17 – 21 inches
Large/Extra Large
68 liters 4,150 cubic inches
2.3 kg 4.95 lbs
14 - 27 kg 30 - 60 lbs
85 x 40 x 28 cm 33.5 x 15.7 x 11 inches
48 - 58.5 cm 19 - 23 inches

The 3 Best Waterproof Backpacks for Women

While most backpacks are unisex, some manufacturers tailor backpacks specifically for women. Typical adaptations are shoulder straps that are an S-shape and hip belts that curve more. Torso lengths can be shorter, and the main pack doesn’t come up as high. These are our recommendations for the best waterproof backpacks for women.

Granite Gear Women Blaze 60 - Best for Women

Granite Gear Blaze 60L Backpack - Black/Black Gingham Long

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Light frame
  • Wide range of sizes and adjustability

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Poor breathability
  • No rain cover included

The Granite Gear Blaze 60 is a very popular backpack for good reason. Granite Gear’s innovative materials and design have resulted in a lightweight pack that comfortably supports a full load without sacrificing quality.

The custom nylon fabric used is both durable and tear-resistant,  with reinforced materials in areas prone to wear. The backpack has a large storage capacity with an easily accessible main compartment, thanks to a full-length zip and a removable, adaptable lid.

The six external pockets are larger than usual, and the nine compression straps – three on the front and three on each side – stabilize the load and facilitate attaching extra gear. Adjusting the torso and hip belt can be fiddly but leads to a snug, custom fit. It comes in a range of sizes, with two specifically designed for women. The women’s models are smaller and include shoulder straps and a hip belt shaped for the female body. It has no rain cover, but the fabric has a highly water-resistant DWR coating.

It would still be advisable to buy a rain cover, though. The Granite Gear Blaze 60 is an excellent backpack for any hiker, especially for women.

Sizes
Capacity
Weight
Load
Measurements
Torso Length
Women Short
60 liters 3660 cubic inches
1.31 kg 2.9 lbs
22.7 kg 50 lbs
59.7 x 33 x 20.3 cm 23.5 x 13 x 8 inches
38.1 – 45.7 cm 15 – 18 inches
Women Regular
60 liters 3660 cubic inches
1.36 kg 3 lbs
22.7 kg 50 lbs
59.7 x 33 x 20.3 cm 23.5 x 13 x 8 inches
45.7 – 53.3 cm 18 – 21 inches
Unisex Short
60 liters 3660 cubic inches
1.31 kg 2.9 lbs
22.7 kg 50 lbs
59.7 x 33 x 20.3 cm 23.5 x 13 x 8 inches
38.1 – 45.7 cm 15 – 18 inches
Unisex Regular
60 liters 3660 cubic inches
1.36 kg 3 lbs
22.7 kg 50 lbs
59.7 x 33 x 20.3 cm 23.5 x 13 x 8 inches
45.7 – 53.3 cm 18 – 21 inches
Unisex Long
60 liters 3660 cubic inches
1.41 kg 3.1 lbs
22.7 kg 50 lbs
59.7 x 33 x 20.3 cm 23.5 x 13 x 8 inches
53.3 – 60.9 cm 21 – 24 inches

The North Face Women's Terra 55 - Best Lighter Backpack for Women

THE NORTH FACE Women's Terra Backpacking Backpack, Agave Green/Pale Lime Yellow, XS-S 55 L

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Plenty of storage with 7 pockets
  • Comfortable to carry

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Torso length isn’t adjustable.
  • Rain cover not included.

The North Face Women’s Terra 55 has the OPTIFIT suspension system that gives shock-absorbing support. The addition of the Dyno Lift System allows for fine-tuning the load lifters. This is complemented by aluminum stays and a foam back panel, which work together to evenly distribute weight across the hips and shoulders.

Both the hip belt and shoulder straps are designed with ample padding and are easy to adjust, contributing to the backpack’s overall comfort. There are lots of storage options, with seven easily accessible, generously sized pockets, along with numerous straps and loops for gear attachment. Although the torso length is not adjustable, the two available sizes span a 12 cm (5 inches) range.

With a 55-liter capacity, this backpack is large enough for multiday hikes, offering as much organized storage as larger models. Its design effectively balances the load, ensuring comfort.

The molded hip belt and specially cut shoulder straps are tailored specifically to the female form. Although you would have to buy a rain cover separately, they are not very expensive. However, this is an excellent option if you are looking for a lighter backpack to take on a hiking trip.

Sizes
Capacity
Weight
Measurements
Torso Length
Extra Small / Small
55 liters 3356 cubic inches
1.6 kg 3.9 lbs
53 x 34 x 25 cm 20.9 x 13.4 x 9.8 inches
35.5 – 43 cm 14 – 17 inches
Medium / Large
55 liters 3356 cubic inches
1.7 kg 3.12 lbs
57 x 34 x 26 cm 22.4 x 13.4 x 10.2 inches
40.5 – 47.7 cm 16 – 19 inches

Deuter Air Contact Core 60+10 - Best Large Capacity Backpack for Women

Deuter Aircontact Core 60+10 SL Shale/Ivy One Size

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable with lots of padding
  • Lots of adaptable storage

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavy
  • Only two sizes

See the Dueter Aircontact Core 60+10 in more detail: 

The design of the Deuter Aircontact Core 60+10 backpack clearly reflects a focus on practicality and carrying comfort. Adjustable straps allow for optimal load height, while the frame ensures weight is evenly distributed between shoulders and hips.

The women’s version, slimline in design, features hip fins contoured for the female body. Ample padding on the back, shoulder straps, and hip fins make it exceptionally comfortable.

There are eight external pockets and a full-length zip for easy main compartment access. The two hip belt pockets and three exterior mesh pockets offer ample gear storage, and the expandable collar increases capacity by an extra ten liters.

The materials are both water-resistant and breathable, and a rain cover is included. While the generous padding does add weight compared to similar models, the enhanced comfort it provides justifies the additional load.

Sizes
Capacity
Weight
Load
Measurements
Torso Length
Women (Slim Line)
60 + 10 liters 4,272 cubic inches
2.15 kg 4.7 lbs
15 - 20 kg 33 – 44 lbs
82 x 31 x 26 cm 32.3 x 12.2 x 10.2 inches
35 - 56 cm 13.8 – 22.1 inches
Unisex (Regular)
60 + 10 liters 4,272 cubic inches
2.31 kg 5.1 lbs
15 - 20 kg 33 – 44 lbs
82 x 32 x 26 cm 32.3 x 12.6 x 10.2 inches
42 - 62 cm 16.5 – 24.4 inches
Dueter Aircontact 60 backpack

Waterproof Rain Backpack Buying Guide

There are many options when it comes to choosing a backpack, and it can be a significant investment, so it is necessary to consider how you will be using your backpack and what features you consider essential.

Choosing the right size and fit is important, but other aspects of backpacking need consideration. Whatever your requirements, these are the key features to consider before buying a rain backpack.

Material

Backpacks are usually made of nylon or polyester. Polyester is cheaper and more water resistant, but it is less durable. Nylon is the most commonly used textile and you will usually see the denier specified.

The higher the denier, the thicker and more durable the material. However, the higher denier fabrics are also heavier. A good compromise many manufacturers make is to have heavier denier nylon on the areas of the backpack that are subject to the most wear and tear and use lower denier nylon on the rest of the pack.

Big Agnes Parkview Material

Breathability

Backpacks are in close contact with your back, shoulders, and hips. Padding is necessary to make carrying comfortable. This can lead to sweat building up in these areas.

As well as being unpleasantly clammy when you are wearing the backpack, the damp sweatiness will be cold and unpleasant when you take a break. Back panels with air channels or perforations help to increase breathability. Covering padded areas in mesh that wicks away the moisture also helps.

Waterproofing

Most hikers expect to be walking through the rain at some point. Having some degree of water resistance in a backpack is desirable. Most backpack materials will have a DWR (durable water repellent) coating.

Some DWRs are more effective than others, but none will keep water out entirely if you are hiking in heavy weather. You have two options to ensure your backpack’s contents stay dry: a pack liner or a rain cover. You can buy a pack liner or use a bin bag.

However, this isn’t a great solution as it makes it difficult to access your gear without taking everything out. A rain cover is a much more practical solution. Some backpacks come with a rain cover and may even have a pocket specifically for one.

If not, they are cheap and readily available to buy. Double-check the measurements of your backpack, but most rain covers can accommodate a range of sizes.

Osprey Aether Plus 70 waterproof backpack

Dimensions

The dimensions of a backpack are important. Some backpacks are shorter but wider, while others are narrower but longer. The wider packs will not be comfortable if you have a narrow back.

On the other hand, if you have a wider back, the slimline backpacks will not feel good. Some walkers don’t mind a backpack that comes up behind their head, while others find this unpleasant.

Knowing the dimension measurement is also helpful if you need to fit something specific in your rucksack, for example, a bear canister. If you plan on taking a backpack on a plane, you also need to know if it is small enough to be classed as a carry-on bag.

Fit

Everyone’s body shape is different, so most backpacks are adjustable. The length of the torso is one of the crucial measurements to check. You must measure from the C7 vertebrae in your neck down to your iliac crest.

You can locate the C7 vertebrae by bending your head forward and finding the vertebrae that sticks out at the bottom of your neck. Placing a belt across the top of your hipbones will give you the line of your iliac crest.

Manufacturers use various different systems to adjust the torso length, some simpler than others. When you are changing the fit of your backpack, you need to have a load in it, as an empty pack will sit differently from a full one.

Hip belt and shoulder straps can also be adjustable on some models. Once the fit is adjusted to your measurements, the hip belt and shoulder straps can be tightened or slackened once the backpack is fastened. There are usually load lifters on the top of the backpack to get it set to the correct angle and sometimes stabiliser straps on the hip belt that also adjust the set of the pack.

Dueter Aircontact backpack

Storage

Being able to access the items you want when you want them is important. While having an opening at the top of the backpack is traditional, most manufacturers now include a long zip on the body of the pack so you can access all of the main compartment. You will often have the bottom of the main compartment separated with a removable divider to create a space for a sleeping bag with another zippered opening.

Hip belts typically have pockets on them. These can be small or big enough to hold a camera, smartphone, or water bottle. They are often made of mesh, which is great for holding lots of things but provides no rain protection. Fabric pockets with a zip are not so easy to access, especially with cold fingers or if you are wearing gloves.

Most backpacks have water bottle holders. Some have dual access, while others are difficult to reach when wearing the backpack. Ideally, your backpack will have a pocket for valuables, maybe with a keychain.

An outside mesh pocket where you can put anything wet and leave it to dry is handy. How many pockets you need is up to each person and how you like to pack and access your gear. However, it is useful to have plenty of options.

Osprey Aether Plus storage compartments

Comfort

If you are planning a multiday hike, then comfort is paramount. Most backpacks have padding on the hip belt, back panel, and shoulder straps. Having more padding makes the backpack heavier, but as it makes the load easier to carry, it is worth the extra weight. Some hip belts and shoulder straps are designed to move or pivot with your body’s movements.

The frame used to construct the backpack is also important. You need a backpack that transfers the weight efficiently between your shoulders and hips. Frames can be internal or external and work with the suspension system.

Manufacturers all have their own versions, but they tend to work on similar principles. To find which suits you it would be advisable to try a backpack on with some weight in it.

Osprey Atmos AG 65 comfort

Features

Having extra features is always welcome. You will often find backpacks designed to work with hydration systems, but they usually need to be brought separately.

Compression straps are another common feature. Not only do these stabilize your load, but they can also be used to attach equipment to the outside of your pack.

There are often loops, straps, and daisy chain webbing strips that are also used to fix items to your pack. Some backpacks have attachment points specifically designed for trekking poles, ice axes, or even sunglasses.

The lid of a backpack can sometimes be removed. This can be a weight-reduction measure, but sometimes they can be converted into a small pack. Floating lids allow you to pack more into the main compartment. They often have a spindrift collar that extends if you need the extra space. Ideally, it will still be possible to completely secure the top opening of your pack even if the lid is removed.

Gregory Paragon 58 features

Durability

If you are investing in a backpack, you want it to be durable. As well as looking at the materials used in the backpack’s construction and checking online reviews, you should also see if the manufacturer has a repair service available. A good warranty that covers the backpack for its lifetime is also reassuring.

Sustainability

Hikers appreciate the beauty of nature and usually are concerned by the damage being done to our environment. Manufacturers of backpacks are aware of these concerns, and most are taking steps to increase the sustainability of their products. Many use recycled fabrics, and having Bluesign approval is a good indication that they are taking steps to improve their manufacturing processes.

How Big Does My Backpack Need to Be?

No one wants to find themselves with a backpack that is too big to be practical, but neither do you want one that is too small. Backpacks usually have two measurements to indicate how much they can carry – capacity and load.

The capacity is how much space there is in the rucksack. The load is how much weight the rucksack can accommodate. The capacity of a backpack includes the various external pockets as well as the main compartment. If you have a floating lid and a spindrift collar, the capacity can be increased, usually by ten liters.

Because backpacks have loops and straps that can be used to attach equipment to the outside of the pack, the weight of the load the backpack is designed for is also important. Technological advances mean that camping equipment can now be extremely light, so you can take more gear without overloading yourself. Bear in mind that if you are hiking in colder conditions, you will need more clothing and equipment.

Osprey Atmos AG 65

Weekend Trip (1-3 nights)

If you are planning a weekend hike, then you will need a pack with a capacity of between thirty and fifty liters. This will give you enough room for the essentials you need to enjoy your trip without having a heavy pack to carry.

Multiday Trip (3-7 nights)

A fifty to seventy-five liter backpack would be suitable for a more extended trip. This gives you the capacity for the food and water you will need for your trip. This size backpack should have plenty of padding and a well-designed suspension system to make sure you are comfortable while walking.

It is usually best to err on the side of caution and to go with a bigger pack. The larger backpacks have compression straps to stabilize smaller loads, and they usually have more padding. The smaller backpacks save weight by having less padding, as it is not needed for lighter loads. Having a larger pack also means you take a few luxuries along on your trip!

Conclusion

Hiking is a rewarding experience, and having the right backpack can make all the difference in how much you enjoy your journey. The best backpacks blend comfort, durability, and practical design. From adjustable fittings and ample storage to specialized features for women and innovative material use, these backpacks will help you enjoy your backpacking adventures.

With so many choices, deciding which backpack to invest in is not easy. This article aims to help you find the backpack that best suits your needs. Ultimately, the ideal backpack is one that offers comfort on the trail and lets you enjoy your hike.

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