Best Large Backpacks for Backpacking and Travelling in 2017


Gregory Baltoro 75

Gregory Baltoro 75

Here we selected and reviewed the best large backpacks for backpacking and travelling. We included only backpacks with a capacity of 70 liters and more. Such backpacks offer sufficient storage space for hiking trips lasting more than five days. However, be aware that the required capacity of a backpack greatly depends on the equipment and/or supplies that you need/want to carry with you. Winter hiking, for example, requires additional equipment such as crampons, gaiters, insulated clothing etc. and thus also a bigger backpack.  Nevertheless, every backpack has to be sufficiently packed to be stable on your back and therefore the backpacks listed here might be too big for shorter trips. To learn more about how to properly pack a backpack for stability and comfort check out our article How to pack a backpack. The backpacks in this review are, however, perfect for extended trips of five days or more (backpacking, trekking, expeditions etc.) which require a lot of supplies (water, food etc.) and equipment (sleeping equipment, cooking equipment etc.). Due to their storage capacity and pockets, they can be also used efficiently for travelling. When it comes to travelling, backpacks have certain advantages over suitcases; they allow better mobility and organization.

If you are looking for a backpack with a smaller capacity, check out our selection of the best 55-liter backpacks (typically suitable for up to five days long trips) or our selection of the best backpacks with a capacity of around 40 liters (typically suitable for weekend trips) instead. For in-depth information about how to choose the right backpack for your needs check out our Backpacks Guide.

1. Buying a Backpack for Backpacking and Travelling – What is important?

Frame:

All backpacks in this review have an internal frame so that they transfer the weight from the shoulders to the hips via the hip belt. Carrying a heavy backpack is much easier if the weight is efficiently transferred to the hips as the hips are supported by larger muscle groups than the shoulders.

Fit:

The length of the backpack’s backpanel has to match your torso length so that the backpack sits comfortably on your back. Your torso length is the distance between the bony bump at the base of your neck and the tops of your hipbones (see the fit section in our Hiking Backpacks Guide). In the table below we have listed the respective torso length(s) which each hiking backpack fits.

Backpanel:

The backpanel is a very important part of the backpack as it has to provide ventilation so that the sweat from your back can evaporate, rather than seeping through your clothes and the backpack. Backpacks in this review feature ergonomically shaped ventilated backpanels. Some backpacks in this review also use a suspended mesh fabric (backpanel) which creates a distance between your back and the backpack to allow the air to flow in-between. Such a construction provides especially good ventilation.

Weight:

Lightweight equipment decreases the aerobic demand (heart rate, calorie consumption etc.), and thus allows you to hike faster and easier than with heavier gear. As backpacks are not among the lightest pieces of hiking gear, a lightweight backpack makes a big difference. In this review we only included lightweight backpacks (in terms of weight to capacity ratio) – the heaviest backpack in this review weighs around 7 lbs (3 kg).

Pockets and attachment points:

In addition to the main compartment, a backpack with a capacity of more than 70 liters should also have well-placed and easy accessible pockets/compartments. Pockets and compartments allow you to organize your gear so that you can easily and quickly find important items. All backpacks in this review are also equipped with attachment points (for hiking poles, ice axes, helmet etc.).

Hydration System Compatibility:

A hydration system allows you to hydrate without having to take off your backpack to get to the water bottles. To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of hydration systems please read our article Hydration Systems VS. Water Bottles. If you don’t already have a hydration bladder, check out our review of the Best Hydration Bladders.

2. The Best Large Backpacks for Backpacking and Travelling Review

Best Large Backpacks

Best Large Backpacks

  1. Osprey Aether 70
  2. Gregory Baltoro 75
  3. Deuter AirContact Pro 60+15
  4. Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 OutDry
  5. Kelty Coyote 80

Comparison

Feature/Product Osprey Aether 70 Gregory Baltoro 75Deuter AirContact Pro Mountain Hardwear South Col Kelty Coyote 80
Weight5 lbs. 2 oz. 5 lbs. 5 oz. 7 lbs. 3 lbs. 12 oz. 5 lbs. 5 oz.
Weight (Metric)2330 g2420 g 3180 g1720 g 2400 g
SizesS, M, L, XLS, M, L One Size S/M, M/LOne Size
Frame Internal Internal Internal Internal Internal
Fits Torso 16-19 in. (S); 18-21 in. (M); 20-23 in. (L); 22-25 in. (XL)16-18 in. (S); 18-20 in. (M); 20-22 in. (L)15 – 22 in16-19 in. (S/M); 18-22 in. (M/L)15 – 21 in
Fits Torso (Metric) 41-48 cm (S); 46-53 cm (M); 51-58 cm (L); 56-64 cm (XL)41-46 cm (S); 46-51 cm (M); 51-56 cm (L)38 – 56 cm41-48 cm (S/M); 46-56cm (M/L)38– 53 cm
MaterialNylonNylonNylon/PolyesterNylon Nylon
Volume67 (S); 70 (M); 73 (L); 76 (XL)71 (S); 75 (M); 79 (L)60 + 15 70 (S/M); 75 (M/L)80
BackpanelAG AntiGravity 3D Response A3 AirContact ProHardWave (Removable)PerfectFit
Hip BeltYesYesYesYesYes
Sternum Strap YesYesYesYesYes
Osprey Aether 70

Osprey Aether 70

1. Osprey Aether 70

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Expeditions
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling

The Osprey Aether 70 backpack is very popular among backpackers, hikers and travelers as it provides great functionality while being super light (it weighs merely 5 lbs. 2 oz.). The body of the backpack is made of durable nylon while the shoulder straps and the hip belt are made of breathable foam which is covered with a mesh fabric for better durability. Due to the AntiGravity back system, it is perfect for carrying heavy loads. The AntiGravity back system features stiff load bars which efficiently transfer the weight from the shoulders to the hips via the IsoForm hip belt. The IsoForm hip belt adjusts its shape to your body with time and thus provides great fit. The backpanel is covered with a suspended mesh fabric for good breathability and comfort. The Osprey Aether 70 features a spacious main compartment, multiple lid pockets, two side pockets, two hip belt pockets, a front stash pocket and an internal sleeve for hydration bladder. The main compartment can be accessed from the top as well as through the zipper at the bottom and a third zipper that goes all around the front side of the backpack. Therefore, you can easily get things out of the main compartment even when the backpack is fully loaded. The lid can be removed and doubles as a day pack which comes in handy on long hikes – you can, for example, leave the backpack in the camp and go for a day hike carrying only the lightweight daypack. When the lid is removed the top of the backpack can be protected with the FlapJacket top cover (a piece of fabric that goes over the top of the backpack). Therefore, you can also leave the lid at home if you don’t need the extra storage space. The Osprey Aether 70 also features an integrated rain cover, side compression straps, front compression straps, trekking poles attachment system and ice axe loops. The backpack is available in four sizes which differ in backpanel length and overall capacity.

 

Pros:

  • Main compartment access
  • Lid doubles as a daypack
  • Weight
  • IsoForm hip belt
  • Back system
  • Main compartment access

Cons:

  • /

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Gregory Baltoro 75

Gregory Baltoro 75

2. Gregory Baltoro 75

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Expeditions
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling

The Gregory Baltoro 75 is another highly popular and functional backpack. It is slightly bigger than the Osprey Aether 70 mentioned above but not much heavier. The backpack features the advanced A3 (Automatic Angle Adjust) back system which adapts to your body and maintains your center of gravity. Due to the A3 back system, the backpack also efficiently transfers the weight from the shoulders to the hips via the hip belt. It uses an ergonomically shaped hip belt which rotates for better fit (a so-called pivoting hip belt). The backpanel is padded and has a ventilation channel in the middle in order to provide good breathability. A plate made of EVA foam is inserted under the backpanel for cushioning but it can be removed in case that it’s not required. The backpack has a main compartment, one internal lid pocket, two external lid pockets, two large side zippered pockets, a large front zippered pocket, two hip belt pockets and a water bottle pocket on the side. Similar to the Osprey backpack mentioned above, the main compartment of the Baltoro backpack can be accessed from the top, bottom and front. The right hip belt pocket is waterproof and thus perfect for storing a GPS device or phone. The backpack also features an internal sleeve for hydration bladder which doubles as a lightweight daypack. The Gregory Baltoro 75 backpack is available in three sizes which differ in backpanel length and overall capacity.

 

Pros:

  • Main compartment access
  • Hydration bladder doubles as a daypack
  • Weight
  • Rotating hip belt
  • Back system
  • Main compartment access

Cons:

  • /

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Deuter AirContact Pro 60+15

Deuter AirContact Pro 60+15

3. Deuter AirContact Pro 60+15

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Expeditions
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling

The Deuter AirContact Pro 60+15 is an extremely durable backpack which provides great functionality. However, with the weight of 7 lbs. it is also the heaviest backpack in this review. The body of the backpack is made of 600-denier polyester while the areas exposed to abrasion are made of durable 330-denier nylon. Both materials are coated with polyurethane for better water resistance.  The backpack features the AirContact Pro back system which has two aluminum stays for good stability when you are carrying heavy loads. The shoulder straps and hip belt are anatomically shaped and well-padded to provide good comfort. Like the Gregory Baltoro 75, the Deuter AirContact Pro 60+15 features a rotating hip belt for good fit. The backpanel is padded with foam and has an air channel in the middle for increased breathability and comfort. The backpack features a main compartment, external lid pocket, internal lid pocket, two zippered side pockets, two side mesh pockets, front stash pocket and a hip belt pocket.  The main compartment can be accessed from the top, bottom and front. The zippered side pocket is designed to fit a hydration bladder with a volume up to 3 liters. The backpack also has attachment points for trekking poles and ice axes. It comes with a rain cover. The Deuter AirContact Pro 60+15 backpack is only available in one size but it does have a fully adjustable back system which ensures perfect fit for most people. It has a capacity of 60 liters but it can be extended for 15 liters by rolling the top collar up and extending the lid straps.

 

Pros:

  • Main compartment access
  • Rotating hip belt
  • Back system
  • Main compartment access

Cons:

  • Weight
  • Hydration bladder goes in the side pocket (has to be balanced out with a counterweight)

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Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 OutDry

Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 OutDry

4. Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 OutDry

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Expeditions
  • Backpacking

The Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 OutDry backpack is best for mountaineering expeditions and other demanding trips. It is a very minimalistic backpack which weighs merely 3 lbs. 12 oz. The body of the backpack is made of 400-denier nylon while the areas exposed to abrasion are reinforced with 840-denier ballistic nylon. Therefore, the backpack offers great durability. The fabric also utilizes Mountain Hardwear’s OutDry technology and thus offers superb water resistance. The backpack features the HardWave back system for good weight distribution from shoulders to the hips. However, the HardWave suspension can be also removed to reduce the weight of the backpack (useful for carrying lighter loads). The Mountain Hardwear backpack has a main compartment, external lid pocket, internal lid pocket, large zippered front pocket, stash pocket for crampons and a deep wand pocket.  The main compartment is only accessible from the top and the backpack doesn’t have a pocket or sleeve for hydration bladder. Nevertheless, a hydration bladder can be inserted in the front zippered pocket. The lid and hip belt are removable. The backpack is available in two sizes which differ in backpanel length and overall capacity. The Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 OutDry backpack might not be the best option for travelling (lack of pockets, main compartment access etc.) but mountaineers will certainly appreciate its low weight and functionality.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Durability
  • Waterproof fabric
  • Functionality for mountaineering

Cons:

  • Main compartment access
  • No pocket for hydration bladder

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Kelty Coyote 80

Kelty Coyote 80

5. Kelty Coyote 80

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Expeditions
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling

The Kelty Coyote 80 is the most spacious backpack in this review – it has a capacity of 80 liters. The backpack provides great durability as it is made of 420-denier nylon. The hip belt, shoulder straps and backpanel are made of breathable foam and thus they provide good comfort and breathability. The backpack uses the PerfectFit back system which is designed for carrying heavy loads. The PerfectFit back system features two LightBeam aluminum stays which efficiently transfer the weight from the shoulders to the hips. The backpack has a main compartment, external lid pocket, internal lid pocket, two zippered side pockets, two side mesh pockets, front stash pocket and two hip belt pockets. The lid is removable and converts into a sling pack. The main compartment can be accessed from the top, bottom and front. Additionally the backpack features ice axe loops and two handles on the side. It comes only in one size but as it has a fully adjustable back system, it fits most people.

 

Pros:

  • Main compartment access
  • Back system
  • Pockets
  • Sling Pack

Cons:

  • /

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3. The most attractive product in the review

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