Best Hiking Backpacks for 2017


Osprey Talon 44

Osprey Talon 44

A backpack is an essential piece of hiking equipment as it allows you to easily carry water, food and additional gear.  Here we selected and reviewed the best hiking backpacks with a volume from 40 to 55 liters which are most suitable for up to 3-day long hiking trips. However, keep in mind that the required space also greatly depends on the equipment that you want/need to carry with you. If you are, for example, doing technically challenging trails which require special equipment such as a climbing harness, via ferrata set and a helmet you will need a bigger backpack than someone who prefers to hike on easy/flat trails. Nevertheless, we do not recommend purchasing an overly spacious backpack as a backpack needs to be sufficiently filled to be stable on your back.

If you are looking for a backpack with a smaller volume, check out our selection of the best hiking daypacks. If you want a bigger backpack check out our selection of the best large hiking backpacks which includes backpacks with a volume of more than 55 liters. As it is very important that you pack your backpack properly, you might want to check out the tips in our article How to pack a backpack.

This selection was updated on the 5th of June 2017.

1. Buying a Hiking Backpack – What is important?

Weight:

A high-quality hiking backpack with a volume of around 40 liters should not weigh more than 2 kilograms. For hiking, lightweight equipment is recommended as it decreases the aerobic demand (heart rate, calorie consumption etc.), and thus allows you to hike faster and easier than with heavier gear.

Frame:

Backpacks with frames (internal/external) efficiently transfer the weight from your shoulders to the hips (via the hip belt). Carrying a heavy load in such a backpack (instead of a frameless) will thus be easier since the hips are supported by larger muscle groups than the shoulders. All backpacks listed in this review use internal frames. For more information about the different types of backpacks check out our Hiking Backpacks Guide.

Backpanel:

The backpanel should provide sufficient ventilation so that the sweat from your back can evaporate, rather than seeping through your clothes and backpack. For good ventilation hiking backpacks often feature backpanels that are covered with a suspended mesh fabric so that they create some distance between your back and the backpack. Some backpacks use molded foam backpanels with airflow channels which also provide fairly good ventilation.

Pockets and attachment points:

When hiking it is important that you store you gear in a well-organized manner and thus a hiking backpack should have enough pockets as well as attachment points for trekking poles, ice axes, helmet etc.

 Hydration system compatibility:

Backpacks which are compatible with hydration systems have a pocket or a sleeve where you insert the water reservoir as well as an opening for the tube. Typically the sleeve/pocket can accommodate a water reservoir with a volume of up to three liters. Hydration systems provide easy access to water – there is no need to stop and mess around with water bottles when using a hydration system. To learn more about hydration bladders read our article Hydration Systems VS. Water Bottles. However, keep in mind that hydration bladders typically have to be purchased separately. If you also need a hydration bladder check out our selection of the Best Hydration Bladders.

2. The Best Hiking Backpacks Review

Best Hiking Backpacks

Best Hiking Backpacks

  1. Osprey Talon 44
  2. Montane Fast Alpine 40
  3. Lowe Alpine Ascent 40:50
  4. Deuter Futura Pro 42
  5. Gregory Mountain Products Alpinisto 50

Comparison

Feature/Product Osprey Talon 44Montane Fast Alpine 40Lowe AirZone Pro 45:55Deuter Futura Pro 42 Gregory Mountain Products Alpinisto 50
Weight2 lbs. 5 oz.2 lbs. 12 oz.2 lbs. 3 oz. 3 lbs. 13 oz. 3 lbs. 12 oz.
Weight (Metric)1040 g1245 g1000 g1740 g1700 g (Size L)
FrameYes (internal - aluminum)Yes (internal – removable framesheet)Yes (internal – removable framesheet)Yes (internal – spring steel)Yes (internal - aluminum)
MaterialNylonRaptor RS, Raptor UTL NylonDeuter-Super-Polytex
Macro Lite 210
Nylon
Volume44 liters (Size M/L)40 liters 40 + 10 liters 42 liters51 liters (Size L)
BackpanelVentilated - AirScapeVentilated – Comfort Climb Back Pad Ventilated Ventilated - 3D AirMeshVentilated
Sternum StrapYesYesYesYesYes
Hip BeltYesYes (removable)YesYesYes (removable)
Hydration System CompatibleYes (external sleeve)Yes (internal sleeve)Yes (internal sleeve)Yes (internal sleeve)Yes (internal sleeve)

Osprey Talon 44

1. Osprey Talon 44

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Walking
  • Via Ferrata

The Osprey Talon 44 backpack is designed for those who prefer lightweight hiking. The backpack weighs merely 1040 grams. Nevertheless, the functionality of this backpack is not compromised by its low weight. It is equipped with the AirScape backpanel which provides great comfort as it is made of ridged molded foam, covered with a suspended mesh fabric. Therefore it provides superb breathability and great body-to-backpanel contact. The backpanel is also fairly rigid and thus provides good stability when you are carrying heavy loads. The torso length of the backpack can be easily adjusted for a good fit. The Osprey Talon 44 has an external water reservoir sleeve which fits water reservoirs with a volume of 3 liters. It is located between the backpanel and the main compartment and thus it allows you to easily insert the water reservoir even when the backpack is fully loaded. The backpack has two stretch mesh pockets on the sides, a front stash pocket, an internal and external lid pocket and two zippered hip belt pockets. The front stash pocket is perfect for wet equipment (such as a rain jacket) which you don’t want to put in the main compartment. The hip belt pockets are big enough for a cell phone, camera and other accessories which you want within easy reach. Additionally the backpack is equipped with an emergency whistle on the sternum strap, twin ice axe loops and Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment system. The trekking pole attachment system is interesting because it allows you to attach the poles without taking the backpack off first. The Osprey Talon 44 backpack is lightweight, comfortable and affordable. What more could a hiker want?

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment
  • Ventilated backpanel
  • Comfortable
  • Perfectly placed pockets

Cons:

  • Fabric could be more durable

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Best Buy!

Also available at:

REI | Backcountry

Video

Montane Fast Alpine 40

Montane Fast Alpine 40

2. Montane Fast Alpine 40

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Walking
  • Via Ferrata
  • Climbing

The Montane Fast Alpine 40 backpack is a little heavier (it weighs 1245 grams) than the Osprey Talon 44 backpack above but on the other hand it is also made of a stronger and more durable fabric – it uses the abrasion-resistant Raptor RS fabric (420-denier ripstop nylon). For increased durability, the even tougher Raptor UTL fabric (500-denier Kodra nylon) is utilized in areas prone to abrasion. Both fabrics are treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellant) and thus the backpack offers decent water-resistance. The molded foam backpanel has air channels in order to provide good ventilation. The backpack features the VertErgo climb system (a firm plate is inserted in the sleeve behind the backpanel) for good load stabilization. The VertErgo system can be also removed to reduce the weight of the backpack. In addition to the main compartment, the backpack has an internal security pocket and attachment points for ice axes. It is also equipped with an internal water reservoir sleeve and features an opening for the tube on the top right side. The let-down of this backpack is the absence of pockets. There are no pockets on the hip belt or on the sides – which is otherwise a convenient place to stash water bottles. On the other hand, the Montane Fast Alpine 40 backpack has a great attachment system for ice axes. The hip belt is removable and the backpack compresses down tightly (with compression straps) which comes in handy for speed hiking. The backpack also uses an innovative top lid buckle which allows you to easily open/close the backpack even while wearing gloves.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Fabric (durability)
  • Removable frame
  • Top lid buckle (easy to use while wearing gloves)

Cons:

  • No side or hip belt pockets

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Lowe Alpine Ascent 40-50

Lowe Alpine Ascent 40-50

3. Lowe Alpine Ascent 40:50

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Walking
  • Via Ferrata
  • Climbing

The Lowe Alpine Ascent 40:50 backpack is with the weight of only 1000 grams the lightest backpack in this review.  Nevertheless, it offers a bigger capacity than the Osprey and Montane backpacks listed above because the volume of the main compartment can be extended by 10 liters (from 40 liters to 50 liters) by rolling the top collar up and extending the lid straps. The backpack’s backpanel is made of robust foam with air channels for good cushioning and breathability. The backpack is equipped with a water reservoir pocket (located inside the main compartment) and an opening for the tube at the top. In addition to the main compartment, the backpack also has attachment points for ice axes, an internal security pocket and a large stash pocket which is perfect for storing items that you don’t want to put directly in the main compartment – like wet clothes. As the backpack has a daisy chain (vertical length of webbing with multiple loops) on the front side, additional equipment can be attached to it with carabiners or bungee cords. The lid and frame can be removed to additionally decrease the weight of the backpack (useful for ultralight hiking/backpacking). The backpack is equipped with a top lid buckle similar to the Montane Fast Alpine 40 backpack which allows you to easily open/close the backpack even when wearing gloves. The only downside of this backpack is the absence of smaller pockets (there are no side or hip belt pockets). Nevertheless, the Lowe Alpine Ascent 40:50 backpack is a great option for mountaineers and those who prefer lightweight hiking and backpacking.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Removable frame and lid
  • Top lid buckle (easy to use while wearing gloves)

Cons:

  • No side or hip belt pockets

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Deuter Futura Pro 42

Deuter Futura Pro 42

4. Deuter Futura Pro 42

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Walking
  • Via Ferrata

The Deuter Futura Pro 42 backpack is an extremely durable and comfortable backpack (as it has well-padded shoulder straps and hip belt). However, we have to mention that it is, with the weight of 1740 grams, also the heaviest backpack in this review. The backpack features the Aircomfort Pro System on its backside (suspended mesh fabric which lifts the backpack from the back), and thus provides great breathability and comfortable back-to-backpanel contact. The backpanel is also equipped with a fairly rigid frame which efficiently stabilizes your load and provides a good fit. The backpack is made of highly durable materials; it uses the Deuter-Super-Polytex material (600-denier polyester blended with nylon) as well as the Macro Lite 210 material (210-denier nylon). Both materials are coated with polyurethane for good water resistance. The Deuter Futura Pro 42 backpack also allows you to efficiently organize your gear; it is equipped with an external lid pocket, internal lid pocket, stretch side pockets and two hip belt pockets. Additionally, it has gear loops on the lid, a stash compartment, a separate bottom compartment as well as attachment points for trekking poles and ice axes. The shoulder straps and hip belt are super comfortable as they use anatomically shaped 3D AirMesh fabric. The backpack is also hydration system compatible and fits water reservoirs with a volume of up to three liters. The Deuter Futura Pro 42 is perfect for those who want ultimate comfort but don’t mind a little extra weight.

.

Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Pockets
  • Adjustability

Cons:

  • Weight
  • Price

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Video

Gregory Mountain Products Alpinisto 50 Hiking Backpack

Gregory Mountain Products Alpinisto 50

5. Gregory Mountain Products Alpinisto 50

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Walking
  • Via Ferrata
  • Climbing

The Gregory Mountain Products Alpinisto 50 backpack is best for climbers, mountaineers and others who usually carry gear like crampons, ice axes etc. The backpack comes in 4 models which differ by weight, volume and torso length. The backpanel is ventilated (due to foam with air channels) but less comfortable than the backpanels of the above listed backpacks.  The framesheet (which is in the backpanel) is removable and thus it can be taken out to reduce the weight of the backpack. However, if you are carrying a heavy load you should use the framesheet because it stabilizes the backpack. The Alpinisto 50 backpack has an external lid pocket, internal security lid pocket and a single wand pocket. The main compartment has a side access, making it easy to get items out of the backpack. Additionally, it is equipped with an adjustable ice axe attachment system and a stowable crampon pocket (which is made of a puncture-resistant TPU material). The crampon pocket is also useful for storing other gear which you don’t want to put directly into the main compartment, such as wet clothes. The real added value of the Alpinisto 50 backpack is its adjustability. The hip belt padding and top lid are both removable. The backpack also comes with a sleeping pad which is stored inside, next to the hydration sleeve.

 

Pros:

  • Ice axes attachment system
  • Crampon pocket
  • Side access
  • Bivy pad included

Cons:

  • Comfort

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3. The most attractive product in the review

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