The Best Backpacking Backpacks: Earth Gear’s Top 3
If you’re like us, you probably spend an incredible amount of time obsessing over the gear you need when you are planning your next adventure. At least as important as the gear you choose is the pack you get to carry it all. After all, when you’re out on your adventure, your pack is one piece of gear you depend on most to get you and your gear where you want to go.
A lot of questions get asked when it’s time to pick the best pack. How long is your trip? What’s your body type? How much can you afford? Is snow involved? What’s your style, how much gear will you be carrying, and is there a chance for bad weather? Knowing the answer to these questions (or not knowing the answers sometimes) will help you narrow down the selection from the hundreds of options available.
Earth Gear is here to help, with our list of best backpacking backpacks for your adventure. Whether you are planning a day of peak bagging or backcountry skiing, or a long week of high alpine mountaineering, these packs have something special for you. Just remember, the pack is important, but making sure it fits is critical. Load it up and try it on. It’s the only way you’ll know for sure.
Osprey designed their Stratos 34 to be lightweight, versatile, and especially cool – not socially, but temperature wise – for those times when you are only out for 24 hours or so but still need all your key gear. At less than 3 lbs, this pack is so light and comfortable, it actually feels like a part of you after a while.
The mesh and waffle back panels on this pack keep air flowing freely as you heat up, keeping your back nice and cool. And, even though it’s small, the minimalist-but-still-there alloy suspension ensures that you can carry enough of the load balanced on your hips, where it should be, rather than your shoulders.
When the trail you’re on is a bit longer than the norm and might bring some stormy weather with it, you need a pack that can hold everything you need and be able to keep it dry for when you need it. For treks lasting a week or more, the Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 OutDry Pack is the right size and has everything necessary to make your adventure a success.
This pack is amazingly versatile, with multiple lash points, a removable suspension for dropping weight, and a bonded waterproof membrane that surrounds the main compartment, making it seriously waterproof – not just resistant. And, with an empty weight of only about 4 lbs and a cost of around $300, this is one of the lightest expedition-style pack out there while still being reasonably priced, making it easier to buy and carry more of the gear you need on longer backcountry journeys.
If you are a skier or snowboarder, and definitely if you take these skills into the backcountry, you need a versatile pack with lots of gear loops, ties, and pockets that can organize your load of gear so it is easy to find and even easier to manage.
With a 26L capacity, multiple snowboard and ski carry options, and an insulated space for a 3-liter hydration reservoir, this is the perfect pack to help you explore deep backcountry areas and spend longer days plowing through untouched powder. And, with an efficient system of compression and load straps, it makes sure you are never off balance when you’re flying down the hills.
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