Hiking season is nearly upon us, and that means it’s time to shake the cabin fever by heading out on a multi-day trip into the backcountry. But with a multi-day trip comes multitudes of gear. Not just any old bag will do to carry your goods effectively and comfortably. We’ve broken down this year’s best multi-day backpacks into three categories: under 50L for the weight weenie crowd; 50L to 75L for the standard types; and 75L+ for those who take everything but the kitchen sink. If you need inspiration for where to head out on a multi-day trek, check out these lesser-known National Parks.
If ultralight is your game
Granite Gear Lutsen 45
Granite Gear are the OGs of the lightweight pack game; their Crown 60 is still regarded as one of the best ultralight packs ever. The Lutsen 45, though, is a modern, comfortable and ultra-light pack designed for overnight trips. The pack’s Re-Fit adjustable sizing system makes it easy to dial in your fit while the cushy foam back panel provides an extra layer of comfort.
Boreas Tamarack 48 SE
Many overlook Boreas because of its lifestyle leanings, but that’s far from the whole story. The Tamarack 48 SE features a minimalist design (one that our team is quite fond of) and a super comfy Z-foam back panel for plenty of ventilation. Plus it weighs in at just over two pounds.
Mystery Ranch Coulee 40
Mystery Ranch is known for making some of the most durable packs on the market. In fact, the brand’s packs are so durable that Mystery Ranch landed a military contract. The Coulee 40 is the perfect size for someone who likes to go ultralight but still likes the comfort of a padded back panel, straps and hip belt. The Coulee also features Mystery Ranch’s signature three-zipper system, which allows the pack to be split open for easy access to all of its contents.
Patagonia Ascensionist 40L
While the Ascensionist may not be designed as a backpacking pack, it’s the perfect pick for those who like to go ultra ultra light. It’s made from tear- and wear-resistant 201D Cordura with a polyurethene coating for weather resistance.
Space enough for everything you need and a few extra flourishes
Zpacks Arc Haul-Zip
Unless you’re a hardcore backpacker, you probably haven’t heard of Zpacks — but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of your full attention. The brand was started by Joe Valesko in West Melbourne, Florida, and specializes in ultralight packs with smart features. Valesko brings plenty of trekking knowledge, having finished the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail, among others. The Arc Haul-Zip is handmade in the U.S. and weighs in at under two pounds.
Arc’teryx Bora AR 50
The Arc’teryx Bora AR 50 may be the most advanced hiking pack ever made. Its RotoGlide hip belt is essentially free-floating: It slides both horizontally and vertically on rails to allow for an unsurpassed range of motion whether you’re hiking, fording a river, scrambling up a tight chute or sprinting through the airport.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 4400 Southwest
Each Hyperlight Mountain Gear pack is handmade in Maine from the lightest, most durable materials available. The 4400 Southwest utilizes a Dyneema (often used in climbing webbing) and poly blend that is fully seam sealed via a proprietary process. It’s a simple pack, but that simplicity leads to a feather-like weight of 2.21 pounds.
Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 70
The Nimbus Trace offers ample space without paying a weight penalty; it weighs in right around four pounds. It features compression straps on both the inside and outside, making it easy to keep all of your gear from shifting around in your pack and keeping the weight close to your center of gravity.
Are you camping, or glamping?
Gregory Baltoro 95 Pro
The Gregory Baltoro Pro is the benchmark for large backpacking packs. It offers supreme comfort with a little bit of extra weight, allowing you to carry heavy loads more comfortably. The Response Pro chassis conforms to your back and allows for the hip belt and shoulder straps to articulate as you move.
Osprey Aether AG 85
The AG in Osprey’s Aether AG 85 stands for anti-gravity, a testament to its ability to make heavy loads feel weightless. The suspension system hugs the contours of your back for a seamless, comfortable fit. The lid of the pack also converts into a useable daypack with features like dual entry locations, along with an ice tool loop and mesh shoulder straps.
Lowe Alpine Cerro Torre 75:100
If you need the most room possible, the Cerro Torre 75:100 from Lowe Alpine is about as big as it gets while still remaining functional. It also features one of the easiest adjustment systems that can be used while wearing the pack. Wearers operate the system by pulling on two separate cords: one to unlock the adjuster and another to snug the shoulder straps to the perfect fit.
Deuter ACT Lite 75+10
For its size and features, the Deuter ACT Lite is incredibly affordable, coming in at roughly $100 cheaper than other similarly sized packs on our list. The floating lid and expandable cinch collar allow you to overstuff the pack to 85L in the event that you pick up some items along the way. An air mesh back panel, hipbelt and shoulder straps keep the air circulating.