Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Backpacks

Lowe Alpine Manaslu 65:75

91

2017

Lowe Alpine Manaslu 65:75

The Lowe Alpine Manaslu 65:75 is a good value multi-day or weekender backpack.

Black Diamond Mission 75

90

2017

Black Diamond Mission 75

The Black Diamond Mission 75 is a multi-day expedition pack that can handle a variety of conditions.

Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 70

89

2017

Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 70

The Mountain Hardwear Ozonic 70 Outdry is a water resistant multi-day backpack.

Gregory Stout 75

89

2017

Gregory Stout 75

The Gregory Stout 75 is an ultralight multi-day backpack. 

The North Face Fovero 85

77

2017

The North Face Fovero 85

The North Face Fovero 85 is a heavy expedition backpack.

Osprey Aether 85

87

2017

Osprey Aether 85

The Osprey Aether 85 is a multi-day and expandable expedition backpack. 

Thule Guidepost 75

84

2017

Thule Guidepost 75

The Thule Guidepost 75 is a heavy and pricy multi-day backpack.

Arc’teryx Bora AR 50

90

2017

Arc’teryx Bora AR 50

The Arc’teryx Bora AR 50 is a technologically advanced backpack for day or light weekend use. 

Lowe Alpine Cholatse 55

86

2017

Lowe Alpine Cholatse 55

The Lowe Alpine Cholatse 55 is a versatile 55L backpack.

Gregory Paragon 58

86

2017

Gregory Paragon 58

The Gregory Paragon 58 is an ultralight weekender or gear-intensive day trip backpack.

Black Diamond Element 60

85

2017

Black Diamond Element 60

The Black Diamond Element 60 is an expandable backpack capable of handling a wide weight range.

Osprey Stratos 50

84

2017

Osprey Stratos 50

The Osprey Stratos 50 is a basic and durable mid sized backpack.

Mammut Trion Pro 50+7

84

2017

Mammut Trion Pro 50+7

The Mammut Trion Pro 50+7 is a light alpine summit bag or day trip pack. 

The North Face Terra 50

79

2017

The North Face Terra 50

The North Face’s Terra 50 is an entry-level day hike or one-night backpack. 

Thule Versant 60

79

2017

Thule Versant 60

The Thule Versant 60 is a heavy pack with good expandability. 

Kelty Revol 65

76

2017

Kelty Revol 65

The Kelty Revol 65 is an entry level backpack for day or weekend use. 

Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60

87

2017

Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60

The Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60 may be the largest pack in the test group, but it doesn’t act like it.

Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus

90

2017

Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus

The Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus is a bare-bones rucksack designed for the long-distance hiker who seeks durability and minimal weight. 

Osprey Exos 48

82

2017

Osprey Exos 48

The Osprey Exos 48 is comfortable and accessible to backpackers carrying smaller loads but is heavy for its size. 

Marmot Graviton 58

81

2017

Marmot Graviton 58

The Marmot Graviton 58 caters to both backcountry and urban travelers, resulting in increased weight and reduced durability. 

Mountainsmith Scream 55

80

2017

Mountainsmith Scream 55

The Mountainsmith Scream 55 is an affordable and durable frameless pack with some out-of-place features.

Bergans Trollhetta 55 Backpack

90

2016

Bergans Trollhetta 55 Backpack

The Bergans Trollhetta 55 is one of Bergans’ most popular backpacks and has been recently updated. The latest enhancements to the pack’s design include a torso adjustment system and several other technical features.  

Mystery Ranch Sphinx 65 Backpack

93

2016

Mystery Ranch Sphinx 65 Backpack

The Mystery Ranch Sphinx 65 is a lightweight and supportive backpack designed for the avid backpacker and avid mountain adventurer.  

Granite Gear Lutsen 55 Backpack

89

2016

Granite Gear Lutsen 55 Backpack

The Granite Gear Lutsen 55 is a highly technical backpack developed with a custom fit in mind thanks to their Re-Fit air current suspension system that provides fully adjustable torso length, and an adjustable hip belt.

Montane Summit 50+15 Backpack

89

2016

Montane Summit 50+15 Backpack

The Montane Summit 50 backpack is a fully featured pack with an emphasis of being lightweight for multi day trekking and backpacking trips.  

Osprey Stratos 50 Backpack

89

2016

Osprey Stratos 50 Backpack

The Osprey Stratos 50 is designed for lightweight overnight trips and multi-day excursions when carrying lighter loads.  

Thule Guidepost 65 Backpack

90

2016

Thule Guidepost 65 Backpack

The Thule Guidepost 65 backpack has a 65-liter capacity and is designed to carry larger loads for extended weekend trips or weeklong backcountry excursions.   

Osprey Talon 44

86

2016

Osprey Talon 44

The Osprey Talon 44 is a lightweight pack with superb ventilation and a long list of usable features.

The North Face Shadow 40+10

80

2016

The North Face Shadow 40+10

The North Face Shadow 40+10 has a simple design, a minimal but mobile suspension system and sparse features, keeping the weight as low as possible. 

Gregory Zulu 40

87

2016

Gregory Zulu 40

The Gregory Zulu 40 is a well-ventilated and stable pack, capable of hauling heavier loads comfortably into the backcountry.

Black Diamond Speed 40

82

2016

Black Diamond Speed 40

The Black Diamond Speed 40 is a workhorse alpine pack that stresses simplicity and balances weight vs. durability.

Granite Gear Lutsen 45

91

2016

Granite Gear Lutsen 45

The Granite Gear Lutsen 45 backpack is armed with an excellent suspension system and quick size adjustability.

Bergans of Norway Helium 40

82

2016

Bergans of Norway Helium 40

The Bergans Helium 40 is an ultralight, compact alpine pack with adjustable torso length that excels at ferrying lower volume loads during active pursuits. 

 Osprey Volt 60

80

2016

Osprey Volt 60

The Osprey Volt is a 60L backpack that is well suited for beginner to moderate hikers on overnight or weekend length trips.

Kelty Redwing 50

74

2016

Kelty Redwing 50

The Kelty Redwing is a durable 50 liter backpack of solid construction. 

Gregory Zulu 65

93

2016

Gregory Zulu 65

An all around-bag that has the functionality of many different types of trips with the comfort of a thru-hiker’s pack.

Deuter ACT Zero 50+15

87

2016

Deuter ACT Zero 50+15

The Deuter ACT Zero 50+15 is an expandable pack well suited for beginning and intermediate backpackers. 

Arc’teryx Altra 65

94

2016

Arc’teryx Altra 65

The Arc’teryx Altra 65 is an incredibly comfortable 65 liter backpack that is very durable.

Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 Backpack

91

2015

Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 Backpack

The Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 is a 70-liter climbing and expedition pack that works well for both climbing and backpacking and has a waterproof membrane for extended backcountry trips and expeditions.

Gregory Denali 100 Backpack

93

2015

Gregory Denali 100 Backpack

The Gregory Denali 100 is a 100-liter expedition backpack that was re-designed for sheer performance and is capable of comfortably carrying heavy loads through harsh weather and demanding terrain.

Osprey Exos 58 Backpack

89

2015

Osprey Exos 58 Backpack

The Osprey Exos 58 is a 58-liter top loading technical backpack designed for the super light weight hiker or trekker. This pack was redesigned for 2014 to provide more comfort and organization for thru-hiking and trekking.

Osprey Atmos 65 AG

95

2015

Osprey Atmos 65 AG

The Osprey Atmos 65 AG is a 65-liter backpack that has been redesigned for 2015 to provide maximum comfort and ventilation without sacrificing load carry and organizational features.

Millet Torong 52 Backpack

90

2015

Millet Torong 52 Backpack

The Millet Torong 52 is a 52-liter top loading alpine backpack that combines lightweight comfort and functionality for alpine climbs or backcountry treks.

Gregory Baltoro 75 Backpack

95

2015

Gregory Baltoro 75 Backpack

The Gregory Baltoro 75 is a 75-liter backpack that has been redesigned for 2015 to provide maximum comfort and organization to make your life easier for weekend and extended backcountry trips.

Granite Gear Virga 2 Backpack

89

2015

Granite Gear Virga 2 Backpack

The Granite Gear Virga 2 is a 54-liter top loading ultra-light backpack that has been redesigned for the super lightweight hiker or trekker. 

Outdoor Research Levitator

84

2014

Outdoor Research Levitator

The OR Levitator offers noticeable improvements over typical lightweight summit-sacks. I found it to be a nifty load-hauler for day trips that caters to the unique needs of harness-wearing mountain-climbers.

Mammut Trion Guide 35+7

87

2014

Mammut Trion Guide 35+7

The Mammut Trion Guide 35+7 intentionally packs on some extra weight in the name of improved durability, versatility and long-day comfort. Some of those features come as removal accessories, so the pack’s weight can be trimmed a bit at times, but the Trion Guide is still heavier than most packs we tested. 

Patagonia Ascensionist 35L

91

2014

Patagonia Ascensionist 35L

As pure a climbing pack as I’ve ever tested, the Patagonia Ascensionist 35L earns the Best in Class award for this season and sets a new bar for alpine backpack performance. 

Millet Ubic 30

78

2014

Millet Ubic 30

The Millet Ubic 30 is a comfortable, tough mountain daypack. The Ubic 30 proved itself to be a generally well-rounded backpack capable of taking on a wide variety of tasks.

JanSport Sinder 15

77

2014

JanSport Sinder 15

It doesn’t get much more basic than the JanSport Sinder 15. JanSport distilled their daypack designs down to the barest of bones to create the Sinder. 

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