Best Camping Backpack – How To Get The Right One (With Comparison Table) - Mountain IQ

Best Camping Backpack – How To Get The Right One (With Comparison Table)

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Camping-Backpack

Looking for the best camping backpack to take on your next adventure?

Our comprehensive guide can easily help point you in the right direction, whether you are looking for the best overall performer, the best lightweight or a fantastic budget backpack, we have you covered.

You will also find that some duffel bags can work as temporary camping backpacks, if they have two straps. We recommend having a look at the best value for money TYTN Duffel. It could work for short hikes, as it's large enough, yet can be warn on your back. 

Also you can check our expert review of the Best Hiking Daypacks and Dry Bags.

​Best Camping Backpack
(Mountain IQ #1 Choice)

Coming in at the number one spot is ​Osprey Aether/Ariel AG Series. With an ergonomic, innovative design that keeps the hiker in mind, it is easy to see why this comfortable, versatile backpack received five out of five stars.



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Best Camping Backpacks - Comparison Table

​As a start you can look at our comparison table, which gives you a good general overview of the packs we reviewed. If you are interested you can find further details for each pack in the rest of our article.

Camping Backpack

Rating

Size 

​Frame type

Pack access

Hydration compatible

Price

#1

​Osprey Aether/ Ariel

(​Best Overall)

67L (S)
70L (M)
73L (L)
76L (XL)

​Internal Frame

Top/bottom/ panel

​Yes

#2

​Osprey Atmos

(​Editor’s Choice)

62L (S)
65L (M)
68L (L)

​Internal frame

​Top/bottom

​​Yes

#3

​High Sierra Women’s Summit

(​Best Women’s)

40L 

​Internal frame

​Top

​​Yes

50L

​Internal frame

​Top and panel access

​​Yes

#5

​Teton Sports Scout 3400

(​Best Budget)

55L

​Internal frame

​Top

​​Yes

1. Best Overall Camping Backpack 

5/5 Overall Rating

Claiming the title of Best Overall backpack is the Osprey Aether/Ariel AG Series. This backpack has all the features you can possibly need for any outdoor adventure, and the large variety in sizes available means that the pack caters to most people.

The packs durability, clever design and versatility made it the best backpack, in our opinion, scoring it 5/5.

Although the Osprey isn’t the cheapest backpack, spending a little more is worth it in our opinion - especially considering Osprey will repair any damage or defect free of charge, regardless of when you bought the pack.

The pack keeps your back comfortable. This is due to its lightweight suspended back panel in combination with the LightWire tensioned, fill peripheral frame, meaning that any load is comfortably transferred.

The packs innovative features are what really sold us. The best being the convertible top-lid day back (the top lid converts into a smaller backpack).

You can easily leave your pack at basecamp and deploy the DayLid to use for small adventures, and the flap jacket on the main backpack means that you can use the pack easily without its lid.

Other clever features include ice axe holders, an internal compression strap and hip belt pockets that come with zips.

Coming with an IsoForm5 harness and CM hipbelt, the pack provides great fit and comfort to the hiker. The components are interchangeable and the hip belt is heat mouldable, so as to provide you with the best fit possible.

The weight distribution efficiency of the pack is made even better by the side compression straps which serve to ensure balanced weight transfer.

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Main Features
  • ​CM™ hipbelt and IsoForm5 harness
  • ​Convertible daypack lid
  • ​Antigravity technology
  • ​Compression straps
What we like
  • ​Customisable fit
  • ​Good weight distribution
What we dislike
  • ​Is a bit pricey
Key Takeaway

The 2017 winner of Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year award is both comfortable, durable and innovative. If you are looking for the very best of backpacks and have a little to splurge, we definitely recommend the Osprey Aether or Ariel.

2. Editor’s Choice Camping Backpack

​Osprey Men's Atmos 65 AG Backpack

5/5 Overall Rating

Note: Women’s version is the Osprey Aura

The Osprey backpacks performed well, and the ​Osprey Men's Atmos AG 65 Backpack was the Editor’s Choice of backpack. This versatile pack was designed with the hiker’s comfort in mind and is lightweight, durable and with an ergonomic design.

One of the backpack’s key design features that stood out to us was the Anti-gravity suspension system, which makes the pack feel as if it is floating off your back.

sThe system is a mesh back panel that contours your body, evenly distributing weight and keeping you cool.

The “Fit-on-the-Fly” hip belt is another feature of the pack that we liked, as the hip belt pads can extend 5 inches to accommodate a variety of body types, ensuring maximum comfort.

The belt of the back contours your body and does a good job of keeping impact off both your back and hips.

Other handy features of the Osprey are the side compression straps, which help stabilize your load, and this, in combination with the adjustable harness, makes sure that the pack fits your body and is stable.

The clever, stow-on-the-go feature means you can quickly attach and carry trekking poles.

Lastly, the pack comes with a removable, floating top lid which contains two zip pockets. This lid means you can squeeze in a little extra if you are carrying a large load or you can remove the lid completely to reduce weight.

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Main Features
  • ​Anti-gravity mesh panel
  • ​Fit-on-the-fly hip belt
  • ​Adjustable harness
  • ​Removable, floating top lid
What we like
  • ​The excellent fit of the hip belt
  • ​The ventilation of the back panel
  • ​Has a place to store trekking poles
What we dislike
  • ​Some packs can initially be squeaky
  • ​Could have more places to clip items onto the pack  
Key Takeaway

This Osprey backpack is made with the avid hiker in mind. It comes with lots of clever features to ensure optimal fit, and considers all the extras that hikers carry with them, such as trekking poles and water bottles.

3. Best Women's Camping Backpack

​High Sierra Women’s Summit

4/5 Overall Rating

The High Sierra Women's Summit backpack is our best women’s backpack, as its design is female specific, especially if you are smaller in stature.  

Coming with a single contoured aluminium frame which can easily be shifted to fit the shape of your back, as well as adjustable hip and chest straps, the High Sierra can easily fit a variety of body shapes.

The moulded foam back panel that features airflow channels cool and comfortable.

The pack loads from the top, with bottom and side compression straps that help you secure your gear and stabilize your load.

The daisy webbing chain, one either side, is ideal for carabiners and other gear, and the soft lashing hardware means that you can easily attach equipment such as trekking poles and ice picks.

Other nifty features that this pack came with was an included tuck-away rain cover, for wet conditions, as well as space for a hydration back and dual exit ports for hydration pack tubes.

Main Features
  • ​Moulded foam back panels
  • ​Tucked away rain cover
  • ​Contoured aluminium frame
What we like
  • Female specific design​
  • ​Good price
  • ​Lots of straps to attach items
What we dislike
  • ​Could have more pockets for small item storage
  • ​Main compartment only opens at the top 
Key Takeaway

The High Sierra Women's Summit is light and sturdy backpack that is designed with women in mind. As the pack has many straps, it can easily compress or condense your load if you aren’t carrying much.

4. Best Large Day Camping Backpack

​Kelty Redwing 50

4/5 Overall Rating

If you are aiming at doing day hikes, a bigger backpack may be a little too bulky and heavy. Although not really suitable for multiple overnight hikes, of the backpacks we tested the Kelty Redwing Daypack was one of our favourite daypacks.

The packs Perfect Fit Suspension means that the bag is comfortable and fits your body without hassle. The pack easily adjusts to you, meaning you can have an almost customised fit within seconds.

The Hex Mesh back panel means that your back is kept ventilated.

​Featuring top and panel loading, a stretch front pouch as well as front pocket with organisation the Kelty Redwing makes it easy to pack and keep organized what you need for a quick day hike. 


This, with the packs compression straps and trekking pole loops means that all your gear is kept in place.

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Main Features
  • ​Perfect Fit Suspension
  • ​Top and Panel loading
  • ​Hex Mesh back panel
What we like
  • ​Lots of pouches and straps for storage of gear
  • ​Ergonomic design
What we dislike
  • ​Can only be used on day hikes
Key Takeaway

​While the ​Kelty Redwing 50 isn’t a pack you would use for longer treks, the multipurpose backpack is ideal for small, quick day hikes. The pack has lots of features which kept the hikers gear in mind. All in all a great daypack for shorter adventures.

5. Best Budget Camping Backpack

​Teton Sports Scout 3400

​3/5 Overall Rating

The ​TETON SPORTS Scout 3400 backpack is affordable and is designed with your comfort in mind. Although it may not be the most high tech backpack, it is perfect for those starting out hiking or for shorter, three to four day treks.

Some of the Teton’s best features include a rain cover, so that even in miserable weather your belongings are kept dry, a sleeping bag compartment, lots of quick access pockets for storing items on-the-go, as well as gear loops and compression straps.

The pack’s shell is made from sturdy 600D ripstop and 600D Oxford canvas, making it able to endure heavy strain.

With an adjustable internal frame and ergonomic, contoured, adjustable shoulder straps, the pack can fit a variety of body ranges. Moulded channels aim to provide you with maximum comfort and airflow. 

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Main Features
  • ​Sleeping bag storage
  • ​Rain cover
  • ​Adjustable frame and shoulder straps
What we like
  • ​Limited lifetime warranty
  • ​Handy quick access pockets
  • ​Affordable price
What we dislike
  • ​Slightly smaller
  • ​Not as high tech as some of the fancier packs
Key Takeaway

An ideal backpack if you are on a budget or are a beginner hiker. Although it is cheaper, the design is still ergonomic and adjustable.

Camping Backpack Buyer's Guide (Key Features)

A camping backpack is a key piece of equipment, especially when you plan on spending considerable time outdoors. There are numerous factors to consider when picking your next purchase, such as how long you are hiking and camping for, and how far you will have to carry your pack for.

When deciding on a backpack for your personal, there are a number of variables that you need to take into consideration.

There a large variety of backpacks to choose from, with many variables for you to take into consideration. Generally the more features a backpack has the more expensive it is, however, depending on how intensely you will be using your pack, it may be worth it to spend slightly more on something that is higher quality.

Below you will find some of the key features to look out for when buying your next camping backpack.

​Volume 

​Many backpacks come in a variety of sizes, so you can select the most appropriate capacity for your needs. However, there are no set rules on how big of a pack you need - rather, you should consider multiple factors before deciding on the volume.

Considerations such as how many nights you will be hiking, the time of year (as colder weather normally means you will be carrying more) and where you are going, will affect the volume of pack you next purchase.

As a general rule, it is better to stick to smaller sized packs. If you have an unnecessarily large backpack, you may be tempted to pack it with items of heavy gear that are unnecessary.

Remember to keep your gear in mind when picking your next pack. You need to consider whether your gear will compress well, and if you have larger items, such as tents and sleeping bags, it is a good idea to check how they will fit into the available space.

​Adjustability

​​A key feature to keep in mind is the backpacks adjustability. Even if the frame and weight are good, a bad fit will make your entire journey uncomfortable. Thereby it is important that backpacks are adjustable in a number of areas so you can ensure the fit is as close to perfect as possible.

​Breathability

​Another feature to take into consideration when purchasing your next camping backpack is its breathability. If you trekking through hotter areas over lengthy periods it is important that your back allows your body to breath.

​Padding and Support

​Hiking for longer periods with heavier loads means that you pack has to provide adequate support and padding to keep you comfortable throughout the day.  The three most important areas are the hip belts, shoulder straps and back pad.

As you should be carrying the majority of your packs weight on your hips, it is important the hip belt is well padded and comfortable, with some packs go as far as having heat moulding padding.

Obviously, added padding adds extra weight, so you need to consider how many days you will be trekking, as well as how much weight you will be carrying, so you can find a pack that offers a good balance between padding weight and comfort for your needs.

Shoulder straps should sit evenly and not cut into your neck and shoulders. Backpads should allow your back to breath, while evenly distributing weight.

​Organisational and Compression Features

​More of a bonus than a must have, something to look into when buying a new backpack is how many organisational features the pack has.

Features such as webbed loops, which allow you to clip on carabiner clips, or place for your hiking poles, come in handy. If you want to go on longer hikes, it is a good idea to check if the backpack has space for a hydration pack.

Compression straps on the side of the backpack helps stabilize the load, and compresses the contents of your pack. This will affect the overall balance of the load you are carrying, so it is something that you should consider.

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