The best hiking backpacks - KPTV - FOX 12

The best hiking backpacks

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By Amanda Ellis


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If you enjoy taking to the trails but aren’t into hardcore backpacking, day hiking might be more your speed. Day hikes offer the opportunity to experience the incomparable scenery of the great outdoors, exercise your body, and improve your mental wellbeing. The best part is that it’s a low commitment activity — you can go as many or as few miles as you want and you always have the option to turn around and head back to the trailhead.

Thankfully, day hiking has a very low barrier of entry, making for an outdoor activity designed for anyone. All you need to get started is a comfortable pair of hiking boots, loose-fitting clothing, and a hiking backpack for carrying supplies. To help sift through what’s available, these are our picks for the best hiking backpacks available. If you’re already an experienced day hiker and are looking to get into backpacking, here are our picks of the best backpacking backpacks.

The best overall

Osprey Talon 22

best hiking backpacks osprey talon 22 lifestyle

Choosing the right daypack for you means first identifying the features that matter most. These include comfort, size, organizational capacity, weight, durability, and price. The Osprey Talon 22 for men and the Osprey Tempest 20 for women score high marks in all of these categories. The Talon 22 is an ideal size for the average day hiker at 22 liters, packs a wealth of features and has adequate ventilation, convenient storage compartments, and plenty of padding.

Recently upgraded by Osprey, the pack serves for a variety of functions with bungee attachments for trekking poles, a blinker clip patch, helmet attachment, and ice ax loops. Weighing in at just 27 ounces, the pack is light enough for everyday use yet durable enough to handle any environment — from the lowest desert to the highest peak. The company incorporated its comfortable AirScape design into the back panel, featuring a layer of mesh over ribbed foam. The hip belts are cushy and include the BioStretch continuous wrap for stability across rugged terrain and the shoulder straps are padded for extra comfort.

Organizational features include a hydration sleeve, two hip belt pockets, a top zippered pocket, two water bottle pockets, and an expandable front pocket. Its $110 price tag is more than fair considering its all-around utility. Osprey is renowned for its high-quality backpacks and the Talon 22 is no exception.

Buy it now from:

REI

The best for the budget-conscious

REI Co-op Flash 22

best hiking backpacks rei coop flash 22

If you’re on a budget, you might think purchasing a quality daypack is out of the question. But REI has perfected the Flash 22 to hold its own against competitors listed for twice the price. The pack boasts ultralight construction but the materials are durable and although it lacks high-end comfort features provided by our top pick, it weighs in at just 15 ounces — a fair trade-off, in our opinion. When you’re shopping on a budget, there are always sacrifices to be made but they’re hardly noticeable in this case.

The internal frame is crafted of flexible foam, so while it’s able to haul a fair amount of weight, it isn’t designed for the heaviest of loads. The shoulder straps are thin and flimsy, which might seem uncomfortable to some but in hot weather, these function as a ventilation mechanism. The basic top-loading design is convenient and there are a zippered lid pocket and a zippered front pocket for organizing small items. An internal hydration sleeve and stash side pockets round out its storage features. For just $55, REI Co-op’s Flash 22 is quite the steal.

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REI

The best for weather resistance

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak

best hiking backpacks hyperlite daybreak

Hyperlite Mountain Gear is known for its incorporation of Dyneema — a stronger-than-steel wonder fabric — into its high-quality line of ultralight backpacking and mountaineering equipment. At $230, the Daybreak is on the more expensive end of packs but if you want a weather-resistant daypack that lasts a lifetime, it’s a solid choice.

The Daybreak is not completely waterproof but its Dyneema composite fabric makes it the most weather-resistant pack on our list. Its listed as a 17-liter capacity but seems much roomier than that in practice. An impressive front pocket and two side pockets make for adequate storage space for any kind of day hiking gear and a front shock cord systemallows you to compress gear (or the pack itself) if you’re just setting out on a quick jaunt through the woods.

There are plenty of additional organizational features including side water bottle pockets, an internal zippered pocket, and an internal sleeve pocket. Although the product is ultralight — weighing in at just 1 pound, 3 ounces — the company didn’t skimp on comfort. The Daybreak is designed with a quarter-inch padded back panel, Dyneema shoulder straps with foam and spacer mesh, and a lightly padded hip belt. It’s definitely not lacking for character, either as the pack includes a whistle on the sternum strap and a peekaboo hip belt pocket.

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Hyperlite Mountain Gear

The best for comfort

Osprey Stratos 24

best hiking backpacks osprey stratos 24 lifestyle

This is our second Osprey pick on this list, and for good reason — the company excels in pack design. The Osprey Stratos 24 for men and Osprey Sirrus 24 for women is hands down the most comfortable daypack you could ask for. The stretch mesh back panel features proprietary AirSpeed construction and a seamless hip belt interface that makes carrying larger loads hardly noticeable while providing for adequate ventilation. A metal frame compliments this capacity by transferring the weight to your hips — allowing you to go for miles across any kind of terrain.

Although the Stratos 24 is one of the heavier daypacks on this list — weighing in at 2 pounds, 12.1 ounces — if comfort is your priority, you won’t find a better selection. The only downside to a daypack with a metal frame is that it won’t compress like other models. The Stratos 24 offers plenty of organizational features like an internal hydration sleeve which allows you to carry a reservoir on your journey, along with side mesh water bottle pockets.

There are two zippered pockets on the hip belt for when you need easy access to small items, a zippered mesh pocket on the top that also includes a key clip, an additional pocket ideal for snacks, and a zippered pocket on the main body. The integrated rain cover serves as an added bonus in inclement weather. For $130, the Osprey Stratos 24 is not only a comfortable pick, it’s cost-effective, too.

Buy it now from:

REI

The best for short trips

Osprey Daylite

best hiking backpacks hyperlite daylite

When you’re just taking a stroll or setting out for a few hours, you don’t necessarily need a fully-featured daypack — and you’d likely prefer to save the weight. What began as a simple accessory for larger packs transformed into a daypack with its own distinct utility. For a modest $50, the Daylite offers quite the bang for its buck.

Its 13-liter capacity is small but perfect when you’re not going far, and Osprey didn’t skimp on comfort — the pack boasts a quality breathable mesh back panel and shoulder straps. The pack is certainly lightweight, weighing in at just 16 ounces but where it lacks concerns its advanced organizational capacity.

There are zippered pockets on the hip belt and standard side water bottle pockets but the Daylite lacks a front pocket, something groups of serious hikers consider a necessity. However, there is an interior sleeve to hold a hydration reservoir, which makes up some ground for the lack of a front pocket. When you’re not going far and you want to travel light, it’s hard to beat a pack designed by Osprey.

Buy it now from:

REI

The best with a hydration reservoir

Camelbak Fourteener 24

best hiking backpacks camelbak fourteener 24

If you’re looking for a dedicated hiking pack that includes its own hydration reservoir, the Camelbak Fourteener 24 is a quality option with plenty of features. It lacks versatility in that it’s solely designed for hiking, but a few key features help make up for that starting with the fact Camelbak recently redesigned the pack — and the improvement is noticeable.

Thick, spaced-out pads on the back panel provide for uniquely excellent ventilation and its unique hip belt design is complemented by curious off-set storage pockets. In addition to these pockets, there are a ton of other organizational features that make packing your gear a breeze. The storage compartments are highlighted by a wide main zippered pocket, providing for easy gear access.

Perhaps its biggest drawback is that it’s a touch heavy, weighing at 2 pounds, 9 ounces — not including the hydration system. The Camelbak Fourteener 24 is made from durable materials, however, helping ensure its longevity. The product is worth its $150 price tag, especially considering the included hydration reservoir.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

The best for organization

Gregory Salvo 28

best hiking backpacks gregory salvo 28

If you like everything to have its own dedicated place, you’re going to love the organizational features offered by Gregory’s Salvo (for men) andSula 28(for women). This pack includes an outstanding amount of pockets including a zippered front storage compartment, zippered mesh accessory pocket with a key clip located inside, dual zippered hip belt pockets, an internal hydration sleeve, side mesh stretch pockets, an additional accessory pocket, and a sunglass stash on the shoulder harness.

Unsurprisingly, it has more pockets than any other pick on this list and with a 28-liter carrying capacity, the Gregory Salv has enough room for everything, proving perfect for those who prefer to carry the kitchen sink rather than pack light. The company didn’t skimp on comfort, either and integrated a secure frame in addition to its proprietary VaporSpan ventilated back panel. The shoulder harness also includes EVA foam for carrying comfort. Although it’s a bit heavy at 2.23 pounds, no pack does organization this well, making it well-suited to its $130 price tag.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

The best for anti-theft

Pacsafe Venturesafe X12

best hiking backpacks pacsafe venture x12

When hiking, one of the last things on y our mind is the keeping your gear secure from theft. You’ve stocked up on water, packed your favorite trail mix, and that refreshing summit beer but just because you’re venturing into the great outdoors doesn’t mean any ol’ backpack is safe from the possibility of being stolen. This is exactly where Pacsafe’s Venturesafe X12 can help. Though it’s one of the smaller picks on our list, the Venturesafe X12 is perfect for quick day hikes or strolls to the park.

Featuring a strategically-designed interior storage system, the pack’s capable of toting light hiking gear, as well as an 11-inch laptop. Its padded shoulder straps and hip belt make it easy to take anyweight off your back. If it’s a particularly light day, the hip belt can easily be removed and stored in the pack itself, or left at home. Pacsafe even included hydration pack compatibility and a handy water bottle pocket.

The star of the show, however, is its anti-theft technology. Featuring the brand’s PopNLock security clips, a Roobar sport locking zipper mechanism, and its patented Carrysafe slashguard straps (with Dyneema), the bag excels at deterring pickpocketers or anyone bent on cutting it and running. An RFIDsafe interior pocket blocks any unwanted scammers from swiping personal data, which has become a standard feature on all Pacsafe packs. At just $100, the Venturesafe X12 won’t break the bank and is worth every penny for the peace of mind it offers.

Buy it now from:

Amazon


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