It’s time to start thinking about packing up and hitting the trails. Whether you’re training for a long backpacking trip, getting out every weekend for some off road exploration, or just looking for a good travel pack, we’ve searched out the very best outdoors backpacks for every discipline. Our testing has taken us from the heights of the Rockies to Southwest deserts, and everything in between. After months of beating on them, we can say that these are our absolute favorite backpacks for every sport.
Thule Stir 20
Best For: Short excursions in questionable weather. We’ve been using the Stir as a haul bag for our climbing gear, and it is a mighty little pack. The main body is coated for water resistance, and that also doubles to help it take a beating when we’re out bouldering and climbing.
Buy It If: You know how to travel light. At twenty liters, this pack has room for the essentials while keeping your load light. If you really need more space, there is a option as well.
Best Feature: Easy Access. The Stir is a top loader only, but expandable side pouches and a snap-close sleeve on the front panel let you store essential items like water bottles and a rain jacket within reach even when the pack is on your back.
Fjällräven Räven 20
Best For: The World Traveler. The all new Räven pack is designed for the serious traveler or commuter who likes to get off the beaten trail.
Buy It If: You have to carry your gadgets with you everywhere. The Raven will carry a 15-inch laptop, and has organization pouches for all your essential electronics so you can stay connected whether you’re navigating a foreign city or heading out for a light day hike. This is our choice for having a mobile office when on spring and summer road trips.
Best Feature: G-1000 Eco Fabric is incredibly burly, so this pack will definitely outlast anything you’ve been using for that commute from your backwoods cabin in to town. Don’t be surprised is this is the last travel pack you ever buy.
Topo Designs Klettersack
Best For: The style-conscious adventurer. Topo builds packs that look like they’ve been stolen out of a 1970s climbing photo shoot.
Buy It If: You want an indestructible pack that will look good for decades. Topo makes everything in Colorado using the best cordura nylon. Your body will probably fall apart long before this pack does.
Best Feature: The webbing and pack liner make the Klettersack stand out in all environments. Of every backpack we’ve gotten out for hands-on testing, this one consistently turns heads and gets compliments on the trail the most. It doesn’t hurt that is very comfortable to carry when fully loaded too.
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