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Backpack Reviews

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

Exped Thunder 70 Backpack Review

The Exped Thunder 70 is an internal frame backpack with an adjustable frame and panel loading access. Weighing 3 pounds 6 ounces (tested), it has a very comfortable hip belt which ensures excellent load transfer to the hips and a single external aluminum stay which prevents torso collapse with heavier loads. …

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Seek Outside Unaweep 3900 Backpack Review

Off-Trail with the Paradox Packs Unaweep Backpack

One of the areas of the ultralight backpacking market that has long been underserved are lightweight (3-4 pound) durable backpacks for heavy loads exceeding 40 pounds and ranging up to 60, 70, or 80 pounds or more. Built using modern lightweight yet durable fabrics, with more streamlined UL-style designs, such packs would …

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Osprey Kestrel 28 Daypack

Osprey Kestrel 28 - Front

The Osprey Kestrel 28 dayback is ideally sized for multi-sport activities including day hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. It has ample internal and external storage providing great flexibility and an adjustable frame, making it ideal for newer hikers who don’t have the experience required to properly size a backpack …

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Deuter Guide 45+ Backpack Review

The Deuter Guide 45+ alpine-style backpack is an extremely flexible and rugged backpack for a wide variety of winter adventures. Although mid-size in capacity (2750 cubic inches / 45 + 10 liters), this pack really shines for multi-sport activities like mountaineering, backcountry skiing or climbing when you have to attach …

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Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack Review

Gossamer Gear Mariposa Plus on Mount Washington, White Mountains

Ultralight Backpack maker Gossamer Gear overhauled their entire backpack product line this year, including an update of the Mariposa, long considered one of the finest high volume (70 liters) ultralight backpacks made. I bought an earlier version of the Mariposa in 2008 and used it for section hiking Vermont’s 272 …

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Terra Nova Quasar 55L Ultralight Backpack

Terra Nova Quasar 55L Backpack

The Terra Nova Quasar 55L Backpack is a new alpine style ultralight backpack from the UK built using cuben fiber (which Terra Nova has rebranded as “Ultra” fabric) with heavy-duty Dyneema Grid/Cordura at high abrasion points and black silnylon for visual appeal. Complete with an optional top lid, dual ice …

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REI Flash 62 Backpack Review

REI Flash 62 Backpack

Storage Capacity The REI Flash 62 has a total storage capacity of 62 liters or 3,784 cubic inches making it a good-sized backpack for weekend or multi-day trips with frequent resupply stops. The bulk of the closed storage is inside the top loading main compartment, but the pack also has …

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CamelBak Highwire 25 Hydration Pack

Camelbak Highwire 25L Hydration Pack

The CamelBak Highwire 25L is a large capacity hydration pack that’s ideal for long distance day hikes and peakbagging adventures. Complete with a 100 oz/3L hydration reservoir, it  can hold 1526 cubic inches of gear, giving you plenty of capacity to carry food, extra layers, maps, and the 10 essentials. …

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REI Flash 65 Backpack

REI Flash 65 Framesheet/Stay and Optional Floating Lid

The REI Flash 65 is a big backpack with 65 liters or about 4000 cubic (3966) inches of carrying capacity, but it is very lightweight. Fully configured it only weighs 3 lbs 2 oz in a size medium, but you can remove its floating top pocket and internal frame sheet …

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REI Flash 50 Backpack

The REI Flash 50 backpack is the smallest multi-day pack in REI’s line of ultralight backpacks. With a base weight of 2 lbs 10 oz, it is possible to remove some of the features of this pack to further reduce it’s weight to 1 lb 13 oz. That’s sounded like …

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