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|Name||Price||Rating||Size||Ideal Hike Length|
|Osprey Talon 22||
Small/Medium: 18.1” x 11” x 11”, 20L, 1.68 lbs
Medium/Large: 20.1” x 11” x 11”, 22L, 1.78 lbs
|Deuter Speed Lite 20||18.1” x 10.2” x 7”, 20L, 1.08 lbs||Single day|
|REI Co-op Flash 18||16” x 9.5” x 8”, 18L, .625 lbs||Single day|
|Hyperlite Daybreak Ultralight Daypack||21” x 11” x 6.5”, 17L, 1.27 lbs||Single day|
|Matador Freerain 24||24” x 14”, 24L, .31 lbs||Single Day|
|Osprey Atmos AG 65||
Small: 32.28” x 15.35” x 16.14”, 62L, 4.48 lbs
Medium: 34.25” x 15.35” x 16.14”, 65L, 4.56 lbs
Large: 36.22” x 15.35” x 16.14”, 68L, 4.64 lbs
|Granite Gear Crown2 60||Regular: 23.5” x 13” x 8”, 60L, 2.36 lbs||Multi-day|
|REI Co-op Flash 45||
Medium: 13” x 26” x 9”, 45L, 2 lbs 12 oz
Large: 13” x 27” x 9”, 47L, 2 lbs 14 oz
|Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest||Medium: 34” x 10.5”, 55L, 2 lbs||Multi-day|
|Arc'teryx Bora AR 63||Check Site||63L||Multi-day|
The outdoor industry has exploded in the past few years with the popularity rising for outdoor sports like rock climbing, surfing and mountain biking. A new generation is coming up and they have a keen interest in protecting outdoor spaces and the environment. For these reasons, the amount of companies in the outdoor industry has grown exponentially and is still growing at a rapid rate. Within the category of hiking packs, a few key brands hold the top spots in popularity. However, many smaller brands and individual designers have been popping up to give the top brands competition over the market. Read below to find the feature sets to look for when purchasing a new pack, as well as the top packs in a variety of categories within day and multi-day hiking (backpacking).
Simplicity is the focus here with the Osprey Talon 22. Built for day hikes, commuting or around town travel, the Talon 22 features ventilated and comfortable shoulder straps, a ventilated back padded panel, helmet carry system as well as straps for attaching trekking poles. And with pockets at the hip belt, side of the pack, shoulder straps and top of the pack, there are plenty of storage options for all of your gear, whether hiking or day use.
Looking for a more technical day pack? The Speed Lite 20 is built for adventure races, alpinists and ski touring in mind, so you know you'll find quality and durability. The Dynajin 210D nylon fabric with 3D air mesh at the back panel is a 1.1-pound pack built to be used under intense conditions over long periods of time. It is also hydration compatible, adjustable and offers a removable hip belt for those shorter trips.
You can't beat the price and feature set on the REI Co-op Flash 18, REI's best selling day pack. Weighing in at just 10 ounces, this could have been a contender for the best ultralight pack as well. It features a cinch cord closure with a hydration port that supports a bladder. It also offers an exterior zip pocket and daisy chain to attach additional items with ease. Whether out on the trail or on a trip across town to the farmer's market, the Flash 18 is both multi-functional and looks good all the same.
Made from Dyneema composite fabric, this pack is built for all-day use and ultralight hiking. Dyneema composite is fifteen times stronger than steel but light enough to float on water to provide the ultimate ultralight material. The Daybreak will ensure that your pack will hold up whether in short or long hikes and will be lightweight and comfortable the entire time. This pack weighs 1.27 pounds and is offered in three torso sizes: Small, Medium and Large.
Matador has become the industry leader in innovative, packable designs for technical hiking and travel packs. The Freerain 24 offers a fully waterproof, seam-sealed 24-liter pack with a rolltop construction and packs down to fit in a pants pocket. Weighing in at just 5 ounces, what the Freerain lacks in features and comfort, it makes up for in weight and durability. If you are looking for a lightweight, waterproof pack that doubles as the ultimate travel companion, the Freerain 24 is the top pick.
Osprey built the Atmost AG 65 with the intention of creating the most comfortable pack with the best ventilation and fit. Using a proprietary suspension system, AntiGravity, to create a weightless carrying experience, the Atmos AG 65 is built for long-distance backpacking. The pack also features side pockets, a unique pole attachment system and the ability to use the pack without the lid. For the all-around best backpacking pack for outdoor use, the Osprey Atmos AG 65 is the best you can buy.
Designed for ultimate comfort over multi-day hiking, the Granite Gear Crown2 uses a proprietary compression-molded polypropylene frame sheet to provide serious support. The adjustable, removable hip belt and three torso size offerings (Short, Regular, Long) offer the opportunity to customize the Crown2 to any body size fully. Weighing just 2.2 pounds, the pack provides a 35-pound load rating, removable top lid and is hydration compatible.
Those in search of the best budget pack that is feature-rich and highly durable need look no further than the REI Co-op Flash 45. Built with a contoured hip belt, breathable back panel, and load stabilizers, the Flash 45 ensures comfort during any multi-day backpacking adventure. REI also developed a couple of proprietary feature sets in their UpLift and Packnit technologies to provide a serious compression system as well as a back panel with triangle foam to increase airflow.
Thanks to the Dyneema Composite material, this pack is built for ultralight adventures but also will maintain the highest levels of durability throughout. Used by professional climbers and guides, Hyperlite is known to offer the highest quality, most durable packs. Though the price point is quite high, this will be the only multi-day pack you'll need for a lifetime. Weighing in at just 1 pound and made in the US, this pack will exceed all expectations in both fair and foul weather. This pack is offered in Small, Medium, Tall and Large sizes.
Known for their innovation in simplified design and aesthetically-beautiful construction techniques, Arc'teryx is the leader in premium outdoor equipment and apparel. The Bora AR 63 features an advanced hip belt in its RotoGlide belt, which rotates from side to side and up and down to reduce rubbing and improve stability. The shoulder straps of the pack are adjustable in both width and height for the ultimate adjustability. And finally, with weatherproof and durable nylon fabrics used across the pack, this pricey pack will hold up for the long haul. This pack is offered in both Regular and Tall sizes.
The first significant factor to consider when buying a new pack is the price. This should be determined by the frequency and intensity of the hiking you will be doing with this pack. If you plan to use this pack for extended, frequent periods of time, you should consider spending more money on a more durable pack from a brand with a robust warranty policy. Also, if you plan to use this pack in high-intensity situations, where there are serious safety risks involved, you should be spending as much as you can on a pack. If you plan to use this pack for occasional, low-intensity use like day hiking or backpacking close to home, you may be able to get away with a lower budget pack.
Once the price is determined, you should then focus on what specific hiking you plan to do with this pack. This is usually narrowed down to day hiking or multi-day hiking. Day hiking will allow for a smaller volume pack since you will not be needing overnight essentials. Day hiking packs are usually under 35 liters in volume. Multi-day hiking backpacks range in volume anywhere from 40-70 liters for shorter (1-5 day) backpacking or up to 110 liters for more extended expeditions. You should be purchasing a pack specific to your end use and what hikes you will go on most frequently. If you plan for both day use and multi-day use, you should purchase separate packs for each of these goals.
While weight is not as crucial for day packs, where time wearing the pack is usually kept under 6-8 hours, the weight of the pack is significant to consider in backpacking. Various pack companies exist to supply the ultralight backpacking community, which is a style of backpacking where the focus is on the lightest and most simplified setup needed to complete the trip. This usually means the total weight of all necessary equipment, including food, weighs less than 10 pounds. This is compared to standard backpacking, where the total weight is usually around 30 pounds. This should be considered when purchasing a pack, whether you want to achieve a lightweight system, or prefer more features.
Whether or not you've chosen to focus on an ultralight pack or traditional pack, the feature set is important to consider as the final factor when purchasing a pack. Some features come more standard to packs, such as a supportive hip belt with adjustability for multi-day packs or water bottle holders for day packs. It is essential to determine the end use for the pack when deciding which features are worth searching out and possibly paying extra for. Some of the most requested features on any technical pack include: an adjustable hip belt, side water bottle pockets, load lifters, rear stretch pocket, ventilated back panel, hip pockets, and an adjustable torso.
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