What are the best multi-day backpacks recommended by badass backpackers? We surveyed 900 backpackers to find out what packs they use and their top picks include the ULA Circuit Backpack, Osprey Exos 58 Backpack, Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Backpack, Osprey Atmos AG 65 Backpack and Granite Gear Crown 60 Backpack.
1. ULA Circuit Backpack
is the most popular multi-day backpack chosen by backpackers. Weighing 41 ounces, this 68 liter backpack has a load carrying capacity of 35 pounds and is available with men’s or women’s specific shoulder pads and hip belts. The Circuit has a roll-top favored by long distance hikers, with a large rear mesh pocket, two large side water bottle pockets, and two large hip belt pockets. Lightweight, but bomber tough, this pack can last through a long distance thru-hike and come back for more! Price $235.
2. Osprey Exos 58
is lightweight minimalist pack favored by weekend backpackers and thru-hikers alike. Weighing 40 ounces fully configured, it has a rigid frame that makes it good for hauling heavier loads up to 35 pounds. The top lid can also be removed if not needed, dropping the pack weight close to 33 ounces. Ultralight details and back ventilation make the Exos a good backpack for hiking in hot or humid conditions. Sizing is Unisex. Price $220.
3. Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60
is a great pack for backpackers who are lightening their loads because it has plenty of storage. It’s intuitively organized for a multi-day trips, with plenty of external pockets for wet gear, and lots of covered storage for items you need less frequent access too. The Mariposa has a lightweight aluminum frame stay capable of carrying 30 pounds comfortably, and interchangeable hip belts sizes are available, ensuring a good fit. While not as durable as other packs, it is very lightweight, weighing just 32.7 ounces. Sizing is Unisex. Price $255. .
4. Osprey Atmos AG 65
is one of the most comfortable backpacks ever made with a ventilated “anti-gravity” suspension system that wraps around your hips and back. Featuring a lightweight, yet rigid frame, this 9-pocket top loader has an adjustable length hip belt, ensuring an optimal fit. While the Atmos AG 65 weighs 4 pounds and 6 ounces (70 ounces), that weight can be trimmed down by removing optional components such as the top lid. Osprey also offers a women’s version of this packs: . The maximum recommended load for the Atmos AG 65 is 45 pounds. Price $260.
5. ULA Ohm 2.0
is a lighter weight 32.5 ounce, 63 liter version of the #1 ranked ULA Circuit Backpack that uses the same frame and hip belt system as its bigger brother. It’s a roll-top backpack, with a large rear mesh pocket, two large side water bottle pockets, and two large hip belt pockets. Available with men’s or women’s specific shoulder pads and hip belts, it has a maximum load of 25-30 pounds. Price $210.
6. Osprey Exos 48
is also a lighter weight, smaller capacity version of the #2 ranked Osprey Exos 58 pack, good for weekend backpacking trips and ultralight backpacking. Weighing 40 ounces, it also has a removable top lid that provides additional weight savings when not needed, with a maximum load rating of 25 pounds. Sizing is unisex. Price $190. .
7. Granite Gear VC Crown 60
is thru-hiking backpack that’s also excellent for multi-day backpacking trips. A roll top pack weighing 34 ounces, it has all of the features you’d expect in an ultralight style backpack including a large mesh back pocket and side water bottle pockets. What makes this pack distinct is its multi-tiered, wrap-around compression system. The VC Crown 60 has a maximum recommended load of 25-30 pounds. A women’s specific version, , is available. Price $199. . Granite Gear has also just released an upgraded version of this pack called the , also available in a women’s specific version.
8. Gossamer Gear Gorilla 40
is a 34 ounce ultralight backpack designed for minimalist, fast and light backpacking or weekend trips. It has an optional top lid pocket, rear mesh pocket, and generous side water bottles pockets, including a foam back panel which can serve double duty as a sit pad. The Gorilla has a lightweight aluminum frame stay capable of carrying 25 pounds comfortably, and interchangeable hip belts sizes are available ensuring a good fit. Sizing is unisex. Price $245. .
9. Gregory Baltoro 65
is a favorite for extended style adventures that require carrying very heavy 50-60 pound loads. While the Baltoro is a top loading pack with a top lid, the main compartment can be accessed from the back side like a panel loader, providing excellent gear access. Another distinguishing feature is an interchangeable hip belt available in multiple sizes () and the ability to adjust the amount of lumbar support provided. A holster style water bottle pocket, waterproof hip belt pocket, and a separate sleeping bag compartment are a few more notable features on this fully loaded pack. Weighing 5 pounds 6 ounces (86 ounces), the Baltoro 65 is the most fully featured pack in the top 10 list. A women’s version is also available called the . Sizing is unisex. Price $299. .
10. Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
is a traditional style top loading backpack designed for multi-day trips. Weighing 4 pounds 6 ounces (70 ounces), it has an adjustable length torso to help you dial in a good fit, with side water bottle pockets, a rear mesh pocket, top lid pocket, and separate sleeping bag compartment. Maximum recommended load is 40-50 pounds. Sizing is Unisex. Price $209. . Deuter is the most popular backpacking manufacturer in Europe and offers many other female-specific backpack models, designated with an “SL”.
Backpack Rankings by the Numbers
The following table lists the top 10 backpacks recommended by backpackers from a survey of 900 backpackers run in January of 2017.
Osprey Exos 58
Gossamer Gear Mariposa
Osprey Atmos AG 65
ULA Ohm 2.0
Osprey Exos 48
Granite Gear VC Crown 60
Gossamer Gear Gorilla
Gregory Baltoro 65
Deuter ACT Lite 65+10
About This Survey
This survey was conducted on the SectionHiker.com website which has over 300,000 unique readers per month, so a large pool of potential respondents. Readers were incented to participate in the survey in exchange for a chance to win a raffle for a piece of backpacking gear.
While we’re confident that the results are fairly representative of the general backpacking population based on the size of the survey results where n=900 people, we can’t claim that the results are statistically significant.
There are also a number of ways in which the results could be biased including: backpackers who read SectionHiker.com might not be representative of all backpackers, backpacker who read Internet content might not be representative of all backpackers, backpackers who respond to raffle incentives might not be representative of all backpackers, our methods for recording responses might have been unconsciously biased, and so on.
The author is an expert in statistical analysis, survey, and experimental design and is sensitive to these issues. However, given the size of the respondent pool and the very strong consensus among user responses, we believe that the survey results published here will be useful to backpackers who are interested in learning about the popularity of different backpacks.
Support SectionHiker.com, where we actually field test the products we review. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you.