- 1 Criteria:
- 2 SwissGear ScanSmart Backpack Review
- 3 Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack Review
- 4 Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack Review
- 5 High Sierra Titan 55 Frame Pack Review
- 6 ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter Review
- 7 Our Top Choice
- 8 The Best Value for the Money
- 9 Other backpacks Worth Considering
Your backpack will hold some or all of your gear during your trip so it’s important to choose one that is best suited for the occasion.
A good camping backpack is not just one that is comfortable, durable, and can carry your load. It should also be well-fitting for the length of your trip, the season of travel and the way you pack.
Indeed, there are several things to consider when selecting the right backpack to take on your next trip and in this review, we have compared the best and most popular backpacking and travel backpacks available on the market today. We tested side-by-side five backpacks that are versatile and that an average person would use on trips of as little as three days but are also capable of going up to a twenty-day trip.
Making it on our list of backpacks are award-winning backpacks that are versatile enough for general hiking and travel applications.
So if you’re planning to purchase a new travel backpack, looking to retire your old one or simply want to add a new backpack to your growing collection of outdoor gear, we’ve rounded up the top five backpacks and evaluated them based on the following criteria.
Comfort – You must be able to comfortably handle the load upon your back and the weight of your load should be managed mostly by the hips. Wearing the backpack should not feel painful on your back or shoulders and should not restrict your range of motion. It is also important to note that comfort is also relative to the backpack’s size, capacity, fit and adjustment systems.
Material Quality and Workmanship – This refers to the type of material used in constructing the backpack as well as the quality of workmanship. These factors can impact the backpack’s durability, comfort and defense against wear and tear.
Key Features – Different backpacks are equipped with different features to make them functional and practical for various purposes.
Key Advantages and Disadvantages – Different backpacks also have their own set of strengths and weaknesses that buyers should take into consideration.
Price – Backpacks come in various prices and their cost should be justified by what these backpacks have to offer.
Making it to our list of top five backpacks are:
- SwissGear ScanSmart Backpack
- Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack
- Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack
- High Sierra Titan 55 Frame Pack
- ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter
SwissGear ScanSmart Backpack Review
Coming from the well-known SwissGear brand, the ScanSmart backpack has good features that optimize user comfort.
It comes with a well-padded shoulder strap system designed to help you carry your belongings without feeling pain on your back or shoulders. It also has ventilated back channels that allow your back to breathe and eliminate sweating despite the rush and the heat.
The backpack is lightweight but durable weighing only 2.5 lbs. It can comfortably carry a weight of 25 lbs. so this also makes it a great option for day trips.
With such features, we recommend the Swissgear ScanSmart backpack for students or for cross-country business trips.
Material Quality and Workmanship
Many are pleased with the quality of the ScanSmart backpack, saying the fabric is strong and the zippers are all sturdy and durable. The SwissGear ScanSmart is made of 1200D ballistic polyester fabric, an impressively high D rating that ensures the product’s durability.
The main compartment comes with sturdy and oversized zippers while the shoulder straps are made of mesh fabric that adds breathability. Users are very happy with this backpack’s obvious heavy-duty construction and strong pockets and zippers.
The SwissGear ScanSmart backpack has a number of key features to boast.
First, it comes with a laptop compartment that can secure a 17-inch laptop safely and effectively. This makes it a great choice for students and travelling businessmen. The compartment is also removable so that you can pass through TSA at airports without hauling the things from your bag and putting them back again.
Pockets and compartments are also strategically located throughout the bag so you can easily access your things, such as your passport or IDs, without hassle. Finally, the ScanSmart backpack is designed to be huge and roomy enough to accommodate your things in a very organized way.
- Great choice for a school and travel backpack
- Shoulder straps are padded while the back portion is equipped with airflow ventilation technology
- Laptop compartment is well-padded and can keep up to 17 inches of laptop
- The compartment is removable and well-designed so you can easily go through airport checks stress-free.
- This backpack can accommodate your things for daily use, but is not ideal for multi-day trips or mountaineering activities.
- The laptop compartment can only accommodate 17 inch laptops; anything more than that won’t fit.
The SwissGear ScanSmart backpack is deemed by many users as a cool choice for short trips and daily school use. It is built for comfort and takes into mind the numerous needs of the wearer.
The laptop compartment is also a good selling point. This sweet backpack can truly serve your needs for short trips without breaking the bank. Check the latest price here
Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack Review
When it comes to comfort and versatility, the Kelty Redwing 50 backpack proves to be a smart choice. It’s a great hybrid pack that will work for both mountaineering and travel purposes.
In terms of comfort, the Kelty Redwing 50 backpack is equipped with a removable Lightbeam aluminum stay that gives structure to the backpack, and a Dynamic Airflow Panel which optimizes ventilation. However, while its back padding is designed to keep you fairly cool, we found that it does not totally eliminate the sweaty back syndrome in the most humid and hot environments.
What’s most commendable about the Kelty Redwing 50 backpack is that it comes with an army of suspension systems like sternum straps, removable hip belts, high quality shoulder straps and a waist buckle that helps keep the load well-balanced and evenly distributed on both your back and hips. We tested this feature on a days-long cross-country trip and the product indeed delivered what it promised related to comfort in carrying the load.
This backpack is one of the lightest backpacks of its class at 3.3 lbs., but it can comfortably fit a load of 50 liters.
Many users have agreed that the backpack is durable and comfortable enough to use for cross-country travel, and is versatile enough to use for business trips as well.
Material Quality and Workmanship
The Kelty Redwing 50 is not made with the highest D ratings, but the quality is good enough to stand wear and tear.
It is made of 420D Polyester Ball Shadow which is good enough to ward away abrasions, while the reinforcement fabric of 450D Polyester Oxford lends the backpack increased durability. This backpack was engineered with organization in mind as is evident based on the number of zipped and meshed pockets, daisy chain straps and ice hook loops. This makes it even easier to pack while giving you better and easier access to your gear.
If there’s one thing that makes Kelty Redwing 50 notable, it is its U-shaped zipper in the front that makes the backpack both a top and panel loader. This means you can easily access the items located at the top as well as at the bottom of the pack.
The U-zipper, however, does not go all the way to the bottom, so it will still require some effort if you’re accessing items from there. It also has a built-in hydration system and its two carry handles allow you to conveniently carry your backpack in different ways.
- It can fill a load of up to 50 liters, making it a great choice for multi-day trips.
- It’s designed to be a carry luggage inside the airplane. If it’s not fully packed, it can easily fit the plane’s overhead compartment.
- It can be used for outdoor adventures but its look and functionality also fits city travel.
- It doesn’t have a dedicated compartment for laptops.
- The zippers aren’t lockable.
- You need to purchase a rain cover separately.
The Kelty Redwing 50 backpack is reasonably priced on Amazon considering its quality and key features. If you would like to have a versatile backpack that you can use for both outdoors and city-to-city travel, the Kelty Redwing 50 fits that purpose perfectly. Check the latest price here
Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack Review
The Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack prides itself as a state-of-the-art backpack that delivers optimum comfort through its proprietary suspension system.
In terms of comfort, what we like most about this backpack is its Anti-Gravity suspension system. This refers to the continuous panel of lightweight mesh fabric that runs through the length of the back and hip belt of the backpack, simulating the look of a trampoline.
This feature provides unmatched comfort and ventilation. Shaped to conform seamlessly to the shape of the body, the backpack’s back panel provides outstanding fit and unrestricted movement.
Furthermore, the same technology claims that the load is distributed evenly on your back which helps relieve pressure and fatigue.
We recommend the Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG backpack for hiking activities or any days-long outdoor activities.
Material Quality and Workmanship
We think that the Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack is the winner when it comes to quality, being built with 100D X 630D Nylon Dobby on its main body. Meanwhile, the backpack’s accents are made of 210D High Tenacity Nylon while the bottom is constructed with 420HD Nylon Packcloth.
It is an internal frame backpack with 1 Lightwire peripheral hoop while 11 exterior pockets are strategically placed on the body of the backpack.
Users commend how well the backpack is designed stating that all strapping is placed in the right places and made of excellent quality to well-secure the load.
We find that the Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack has numerous beneficial features that make it an excellent choice if you’re into heavy loads and extended backpacking trips.
First, it has a “Fit on the Fly” system which allows you to easily adjust the fitting of the pack based on your torso length. The hip belt is likewise adjustable so you can just dial it up and down according to your comfort.
Its anti-gravity mesh fabric wrapped at the back of the Atmos also helps distribute the load allowing easy movement.
And let’s not forget the number and location of zipped and meshed pockets to satisfy even the most organization-savvy adventurer. Such a feature also allows you easy access to your things.
It comes in two sizes:
1.) 50L Atmos AG weighs 4.0 lbs. with a capacity of 24-40L
2.) 65L Atmos AG weighs 4 lbs. 6oz. with a capacity of 30-50L
- It comes with the proprietary Anti-Gravity suspension system that maximizes airflow, ventilation and load distribution.
- It has numerous adjustment points so you can easily modify the fit until you feel the most comfort.
- It is easy to use, thanks to its top-loading main compartment and numerous pockets.
- Some users reported that the hip belt abrade easily developed small holes from abrasion when the pack is not in use and resting on the ground. The belt tends to face the ground or rub against rocks which can cause the abrasions.
Although the Osprey Atmos backpack costs a little (depending on the capacity you choose), we find it is still a respectable cost for a backpack with such quality and durability.
We conclude that this backpack is the perfect choice among the products in this review, if you’re usually sweaty, hike during the warm seasons or have a lot of gear to carry.
With its surprising capacity, great features and minimal flaws, it’s definitely worth its cost. Check the latest price here
High Sierra Titan 55 Frame Pack Review
The High Sierra Titan 55 Frame Pack has surprised a number of users in terms of comfort, especially since it is one of the most affordable frame packs of its capacity.
We tested the product in a days-long hiking activity and we conclude that the High Sierra Titan 55 Frame Pack is a great buy for the comfort it provides given its price.
It has padded S-Shaped Ergo-fit shoulder straps that protect the armpits from chafing and tiring the wearer’s back and shoulders. It also comes with an airflow system that maximizes the ventilation of the back despite the heavy load and the heat.
The back portion of the frame pack is also designed to follow the contours of your back and keep the weight at your hips. The compression straps are located at the side and bottom so you can easily adjust your load to a comfortable level.
Material Quality and Workmanship
The High Sierra Titan 55 Frame Pack is made of decent quality materials, specifically nylon fabric however, there’s no clear indication of its D ratings. It comes with adjustable load lifters that fit leaner torsos, but this can be a problem for potential buyers who believe that the backpack would fit standard torsos as well.
It is well-designed to provide easy access to your things, especially with its front pockets, mesh side pockets and internal hydration reservoir. The waist belt also comes with pockets where you can keep small but regularly used items like a digital camera and GPS.
All in all, the High Sierra Titan 55 seems to be decently constructed to fulfill the basic needs of a backpacker.
With a capacity of 55 liters, the High Sierra Titan 55 Frame Pack is a great choice for multi-day outdoor trips.
Its interior can hold a lot of gear and its plethora of pockets ensure you’ll have easy access to small but regularly used items. This backpack is surprisingly comfortable especially with the S-shaped shoulder straps that many users appreciate.
We find its well-padded S-shaped shoulder straps have an ingenious design for comfort, especially for small-framed hikers.
All in all, the features of this backpack can easily be found in other brands as well, but this pack seems to be more affordable than others.
- S-shaped shoulder straps make this frame pack very comfortable even with heavy loads
- Airflow system at the back encourages maximum ventilation
- It carries a capacity of 55 liters, making it perfect for multi-day trips
- Some users ended up returning or exchanging the product after finding out it is suitable only for people with trimmer torsos or people with smaller frames.
- The materials used are decent but not the most durable.
If you’re just starting to get the feel of backpacking, the High Sierra Titan 55 Frame Pack seems like a decent choice.
This is one of the most affordable frame packs you’ll find with this capacity. However, there’s still more that can be improved when it comes to the quality of materials, durability and features. Check the latest price here
ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter Review
The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter backpack is one of the highest rated external frame packs on Amazon.
The Commander also happens to be the largest frame pack from the ALPS OutdoorZ line. Despite its size, this frame pack offers a huge dose of comfort, especially for the seasoned adventurer.
It comes with a great suspension system and adjustable straps. It also has padded waist belts and adjustable shoulder straps for additional comfort. The frame also comes with padded webbing that promotes maximum ventilation.
Despite ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter’s huge capacity (5250 cubic inches or 86 liters), many users find it surprisingly lightweight but solid.
Material Quality and Workmanship
The fabric of ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter is constructed with nylon ripstop which is a durable material that is resistant to abrasions and wear. Meanwhile, the frame is made of aluminum with three internal cross bars making the pack more rigid. And since the frame is made of aluminum, it is lightweight but still feels solid. In total, the Commander weighs 7 lbs. 5 oz. including the frame.
The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter has a number of great key features.
Where this product really shines is that when you buy it, you don’t just get one item. You get two: the backpack + the freighter frame.
The backpack is designed for camping and comes with many compartments allowing you to easily and neatly store all of your items. It also comes with a spotting scope pocket, rifle holder, front pocket and two side-hinged pockets.
The backpack itself can be detached from its frame which can be used for something else such as hauling firewood during your camping trip.
The interior of the Commander can carry up to 5250 cubic inches of gear while the frame is durable enough to carry other items externally.
- It is comfortable despite its size and capacity.
- The pack is detachable from the frame. You can use the frame as a carrying device for heavy loads.
- Overall, it is durable and sturdy, perfect for serious adventurers and hunters.
- It is adjustable to match your torso length.
- It may be too large for small-framed people to conveniently carry.
The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander Freighter is decently priced for an external frame pack of this capacity. It can be a great starter pack if you intend to carry along lots of gear or for camping for a number of days.
It is well-equipped to serve the basic needs of the outdoor enthusiast and is comfortable enough to be lugged around for longer travel times. Check the latest price here
Our Top Choice
Our top choice for the best backpack goes to the Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack. This backpack’s proprietary design and technology makes the splurge worth it.
The Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack may be the most expensive among its contenders, but you will also enjoy a host of wonderful features like the proprietary suspension system, maximized comfort and even load management.
It is made of high quality materials, has a great capacity and the design is great for meeting the various needs of the user.
The Best Value for the Money
The Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack has earned our respect as the backpack that can give you the best value for your money.
Given the backpack’s capacity, durability, design and versatility, every dollar you spend for this item is definitely worth it. It is both aesthetically and functionally pleasing and can be used in numerous settings. You can easily use the Kelty Redwing 50 outdoors and transition to the city without looking awkward and conspicuous. Its price is decent and reasonable enough given its many wonderful features.
Other backpacks Worth Considering
Backpacks for Women
For women, backpacks that can carry daily school or work essentials such as laptop or books, one of our top picks for this category is the Northface Women’s Jester Backpack.
This stylish backpack can carry up to 27 liters, and is ideal for those who tote their laptops and school books all day. It is also equipped with a padded 15-inch laptop sleeve to keep your gadget safe and secure.
Also, the women-specific, FlexVentTM injection-molded straps ensure that the backpack is contoured for women’s body frames.
It also comes with a lot of pockets to keep all your things well-organized and easily accessible.
Backpacks for Kids
The CamelBak Kid’s Mini M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack is one of our top choices for a cool backpack for kids.
It comes with adjustable straps so that your kids can grow with it and it is equipped with cool features such as reflectivity, sternum strap whistle, bike tool organizer pocket and safety flasher loop.
It also comes with a hydration system that holds 1.5 liters of water and lots of compartments to keep kids’ essentials tucked in safely.
When it comes to selecting a baby carrier, our top considerations are the baby’s safety and comfort, as well as the parent’s comfort. With that in mind, we find the Boba 4G Carrier a great choice.
Every element of this product complies with US and European standards for child and baby-wearing safety. Moreover, the carrier is designed to be super simple and easy to use.
The Boba 4G Carrier is also a versatile baby carrier that can be used with the baby in front of you or on your back. It is made of 100% cotton so it isn’t abrasive to the baby’s delicate skin. You can also easily adjust the carrier so you can continuously use it as your baby grows.