The days of carrying a heavy external frame and slogging through the woods with a sore back are over for backpackers. Nowadays, minimalistic backpacks with careful ergonomic designs are all the rage.
The following are some of the best backpacks we've seen for 2023, ranging from lightweight packs for minimalists and thru-hikers to more comfortable models designed for weekend warriors and longer journeys.
Osprey Atmos AG 65
The Atmos AG strikes a perfect balance between convenience, organization, and ruggedness, making it our pick for the popular camping backpack of the year.
The "Anti-Gravity" suspended mesh back panel is the focus of attention since it eliminates the need for bulky foam in favor of improved airflow and comfort, as seen in conventional designs.
However, that's not the only benefit the Atmos provides: The Fit-on-the-Fly harness and hip belt provide a readily adjustable fit, the premium materials withstand rigorous handling, and the pocket design is smartly put out with lots of possibilities to divide up items.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear SW 3400
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest is our top option among the several ultralight packs made for thru-hikers and minimalists. The Southwest is distinguished from other sailboats by its use of Dyneema, which provides high strength and resistance to water at a remarkably low weight.
Compared to the Zpacks Arc Blast below, the thicker body fabric provides substantially greater durability, and the pack's slim profile will appeal to minimalists. The Southwest's sturdy foam back panel and metal stays make it ideal for transporting bulky goods.
Gregory Baltoro 75
Gregory's flagship Baltoro and Deva backpacks for men and women uphold the brand's longstanding reputation for premium comfort. Thanks to their sturdy suspensions, firm yet comfortable cushioning, and well-thought-out design, you can rely on these backpacks to carry your big gear.
The nine outside pockets, the U-shaped front access to the main compartment, and the enormous hip-belt pockets readily swallowing a large smartphone are all useful features when transporting gear for many days.
REI Trailbreak 60
Value-oriented shoppers and those curious about backpacking will find a lot to like in REI's in-house assortment. While the Co-branded op's products may not set the world on fire in terms of speed or weight savings, they are reasonably priced and have adequate quality and functionality for the needs of most casual users.
Their Trailbreak pack has all the essentials, including a simple foam back panel and hip belt cushioning and a 35-pound max load suitable for many overnight and multi-day hikes.
Granite Gear Blaze 60
The Blaze 60 is Granite Gear's showpiece; it has impressive load-bearing capabilities and is well organized while weighing only three pounds. The newest model held up well on our challenging hike into the Grand Canyon.
The pack's zipped main pocket allowed for simple access to our belongings. Its solid frame sheet and ample padding on the hip belt and shoulder straps effectively handled a full load. In addition, the large front and side outside pockets provide practical use. Most notably, the Blaze does this while being far lighter than its main competitors.