Backpack Reviews

Hands-on, in-depth backpack reviews by an experienced backpacker and wilderness guide.

Osprey Mutant 52 Backpack Review

Osprey Mutant 52 Backpack Review

The Osprey Mutant 52 is a top-loading alpine-style backpack made for winter backpacking, climbing, and backcountry ski tours. Like many winter-specific packs, it is highly modular and can be stripped down to save weight, with a removable top lid,  hip belt, and frame. Reinforced ski loops, haul loops, hip belt …

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Mountainsmith Zerk 40 Backpack Review

The Mountainsmith Zerk 40 is a speed hiking backpack designed for ultralight thru-hiking. Weighing 25 oz, it has a roll-top closure, removable, hip belt strap, a running vest-style shoulder strap system, and removable foam framesheet. Numerous open mesh pockets make it easy to store frequently accessed gear and food on …

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Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest Backpack Review

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest Backpack Review

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 (55L) Southwest Backpack is a durable Dyneema DCF (formerly called cuben fiber) backpack that’s good for thru-hiking and multi-day backpacking trips in rugged terrain. The 3400 Southwest is basically the same pack as the smaller volume Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 (40L) Southwest Backpack (SectionHiker Gear of …

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Osprey Kestrel 48 Backpack Review

Osprey Kestrel 48 Backpack Review

The Osprey Kestrel 48 is a lightweight backpack that’s well-sized for thru-hiking and weekend backpacking trips with moderate loads. Weighing 3 lbs and 5.3 ounces (size M/L), the Kestrel has many of the features you find on higher volume backpacks without the overhead of more weight. The 48L Kestrel is …

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Zpacks Arc Haul 62L Backpack Review

Photo pf the Zpacks Arc Haul 62 L Backpack in use

The Zpacks Arc Haul 62L Backpack is an ultralight, ventilated, and adjustable-length backpack made with conventional HDPE gridstop fabric instead of the Dyneema DCF used in the company’s other products. Weighing 22.5 oz, it’s set up like most ultralight-style backpacks with a roll-top closure, front mesh pocket, and side water …

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Deuter Aircontact Lite 65+10 Backpack Review

Deuter Aircontact Lite 65+10 Backpack Review

The Deuter Aircontact Lite 65+10 is an adjustable-length backpack that’s good for multi-day or extended backpacking trips when you need to carry more gear and supplies. Weighing just 4 lbs 6 oz, its surprisingly lightweight for a pack that can comfortably haul 50 pound loads.  Despite it’s lightweight, the  Aircontact …

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Osprey Stratos 36 Backpack Review

Backpack Review

The Osprey Stratos 36 is a ventilated and adjustable length backpack that is suitable for long day hikes, multi-sport adventures, and even lightweight backpacking trips. It has a suspended mesh back panel and seamless wrap-around hip belt that make it cool and comfortable to carry, with a lightweight frame that …

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Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Backpack Review

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Backpack Review

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Southwest Backpack is a 40L pack (with an additional 9.8L of external storage) that is suitable for ultralight backpacking trips, off-trail hiking through dense vegetation, or winter day hikes when you need to carry extra clothing layers. Made with Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s (HMG) ultralight Dyneema …

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Deuter Futura Vario 50+10 Backpack Review

Deuter Futura Vario 50+10 Backpack Review

The Deuter Futura Vario 50+10 Backpack is a ventilated and adjustable length pack that’s well-sized for multi-day trips, hut-to-hut hikes, and pilgrimage style trips. While it’s loaded with convenience features and cushy padding, it’s comparatively lightweight at 4 lbs 9 oz providing a good balance between carrying comfort and ease …

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