Below, we’ll cover brands that aren’t just popular, but manufacture products that set their brand apart from the norm – their the highest quality bags that money can buy.
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How Much Do Top Brand Backpacks Cost?
If you jump online, you’ll be able to find no name brands offering outdoor backpacks from as little as $20. But, if you want the best-of-the-best, you should expect to spend somewhere in the region of $40-300.
And, alongside the best backpack brands, below, we’ll recommend specific pack recommendations in this price range.
The Best Outdoor Backpack Brands
You might be fooled into thinking that Berghaus is one of the many top German backpack brands. In fact, it’s a UK based company that’s been producing high quality hiking and mountaineering equipment since 1972.
That said, their name, does translate directly to “Mountain House”.
There’s no doubt Berghaus produce some of the best outdoor backpacks in the industry. Take the Ridgeway 65+10L for example; it’s capable of hauling all your gear for your next adventure.
Looking for a daypack for hiking, something a little more compact? I personally own the Berghaus TwentyFourSeven. The 30L version is more than adequate for a day in the outdoors.
Dueter Sport is a company that has a rich history when it comes to outdoor bags. They started back in 1898, supplying the Bavarian Royal Mail with sacks. So, if you’re looking for products from a German company that is focused on backpacks, this is the brand for you.
One thing Dueter do, is really think about design and comfort. That’s true of the Deuter Futura PRO 40 hiking backpack.
Here, you’ll get an Aircomfort Sensic Pro back system. The aim? To reduce perspiration on the trail as much as possible. The result? A 25% reduction!
And, that’s further complimented by the fact the Futura Pro weighs a measly 3 lbs 9 oz; not bad for a 40L hiking backpack.
3. Gregory Mountain Products
Gregory Mountain Products are one of the best outdoor backpack brands, but they’re extremely underrated. They’ve been going since 1977, and have recently between acquired by outdoor manufacturer, Black Diamond.
Unlike brands such as The North Face or Berghaus, you won’t find them in every single store that sells mountain and outdoor equipment, as they’re not a generic outdoor brand; they’re super-focused on packs.
We like brands that focus on specific products as they ooze quality, and that’s exactly the case with Gregory Packs.
So which Gregory backpack should you choose?
A great all-rounder in our opinion, is the Zulu 40. For an average daypack, you’d want somewhere between 20-30L. However, the extra capacity means you’ll be all set for a 1-2 day adventure.
Just like Dueter packs, you’ll get excellent air ventilation thanks to the comfort cradle system. And, we all know what that means? No more sweaty backs on the trail!
Unlike brands such as Mountain Hardwear and Berghaus – Kelty, like Gregory – is on our list of the best backpack brands, because that’s what they spend their time focusing on, packs and packs alone.
And, if a company focuses on just one type of product, the result is generally, much better than the competition; that’s the case here.
Kelty are that popular, you’ll find them in all the biggest outdoor stores in the world (including the likes of REI and Eastern Mountain Sports).
One pack from Kelty that constantly comes up trumps for us, is the Redwing 50. Small enough to take out as a daypack, but big enough to strap various camping, hiking and mountaineering gear to; it’s not too pricey, either!
Mammut aren’t just one of the best outdoor backpack brands, they’re one of the best outdoor brands, period. In fact, I’ve just shelled out over $250 on a pair of Mammut hiking and mountain boots, and I’m more than happy with them.
Mammut is one of the longest established brands on this list, founded back in 1862. And, you don’t keep a company alive for that long, unless you’re producing high quality gear.
Although they have general outdoor backpacks, and daypacks for hiking, you’ll also find a range of specialist bags from Mammut. For instance, the Mammut Neon Gear pack, is designed specifically for climbing.
Osprey is a brand that’s been gaining a ton of traction over the last decade. Originally founded 1974 in California, their packs are sleek, rugged, breathable, durable and offer excellent value for money.
Like Gregory, they’re one of the best backpack brands for one reason; that’s all they focus their attention on.
Too many smaller brands like this try and develop a whole range of outdoor gear, and their R&D budget just doesn’t stretch far enough to make anything special, or outdoor backpacks that really stand out from the crowd.
Osprey manage to do that with almost every single backpack that they release. Looking for something special? The The Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65 is the ultimate bag for anyone looking for that extreme adventure.
Sure, it might not be the cheapest pack on this list, but it’s certainly one of the best. Its anti-gravity suspension means it feels lightweight, and there are plenty of features packed in, such as attachments for hiking poles, and even space for a 3L reservoir.
7. The North Face
The North Face was founded in 1966. Originally, it was a small outdoor store in San Francisco. With popularity growing quickly, they started manufacturing their own gear.
Nowadays, you’ll find The North Face gear in all popular outdoor stores across the globe. And, with their bags being top of the line in terms of quality and value for money, it was a no brainer to add them to this list of the best backpack brands.
Looking for something cheap and functional for a day hike? Our pick is the 29L North Face Borealis.
The Best Outdoor Backpacks This Year
Looking for specific recommendations from our list of the best backpack brands above?
Here are our picks for the best hiking backpacks this year. We’ve got two in each category and we’ve indicated our #1 backpack for each.
1. Osprey 30L Tempest
You’re in good hands with pretty much any Osprey rucksack. They are arguably the most popular backpack brand in the world, whether that’s for camping, hiking, biking or mountaineering.
The Tempest is the perfect day pack. It’s breathable thanks to the foam panel on the back of the pack, which is fully adjustable.
There’s plenty of internal storage, but also clips and hooks to hang any items that don’t need waterproofing on the exterior of the pack. It’s compatible with hydration reservoirs too.
2. Deuter 20L Speed Lite
Our pick for: the best hiking backpack under 30L
If you’re looking for an incredibly lightweight hiking rucksack (the Dueter weighs just 19 oz.), and can deal with the 10L drop in capacity, the Dueter Speed Lite is a great option.
What you do get with the Speed Lite is plenty of external packing space. There’s compression straps that can hold anything from a mess tin, to hiking poles.
If you’re looking for a pack to go on a day hike, this is a great option.
3. Kelty Redwing 32L
The Kelty Redwing is an excellent choice not just for hiking, but for a pack you can use daily. With 32L of internal capacity, it’s well worth the price tag.
It’s incredibly comfortable, but it does lack breathability in the back panel.
So, if you’re planning a day hike in the heat, you’re really going to notice it.
4. Osprey Stratos 36L
Our pick for: the best hiking backpack under 40L
Another entry for Osprey, with their Stratos 36L. It’s 2L larger than the Kelty. But, it’s slightly heavier, and costs a lot more.
But, where the Osprey Stratos really does shine, is comfort and back ventilation.
The straps spread weight evenly. That, combined with the mesh back panel helps to keep sweating to a minimum and comfort at its optimum.
5. Osprey Exos 48L
For its size, the 48L Osprey Exos is incredibly lightweight.
It feels more robust than other packs in this size and price range, and that means if you’re carrying a heavy load, it’s going to offer plenty of support.
The mesh back panel offers plenty of breathability, and there’s plenty of hidden storage pockets for essentials.
6. Lowe Alpine 45:55L Air Zone Pro
Our pick for: the best hiking backpack under 50L
At around $50 less, you’ve got a good buy with the Lowe Alpine 45:55L Air Zone Pro.
Comfort is the key here. Not only are the straps heavily padded, the vented back panel is better than most.
And, if you’re packing items on the exterior of your pack, there’s a waterproof cover included to keep everything dry.
It’s a well thought out pack, allowing any hiker to keep their kit organised. That’s especially important if you’re camping for 1-3 days. The last thing you want to do is be removing everything from your pack, every time you need a snack.
7. The North Face Banchee 65L
At 65L, there’s some serious storage capacity here.
But, The North Face have managed to create something both lightweight and comfortable in their Banchee 65L.
Kit can be organised, thanks to the 8 different pockets on offer. That said, there’s no pocket to access the centre of the pack, so you’ll have to remove kit to dig deep into the bottom.
8. High Sierra 65L Titan Frame
Our pick for: the best hiking backpack for long trips
At less than half the price, we’ve got the High Sierra Titan Frame, with the same 65L capacity as the Banchee. And, if you don’t know much about hiking brands, High Sierra are not exactly low-end.
What you’ll get with the High Sierra, is more focused on exterior packing. There’s plenty of places to strap poles and kit.
Smaller hikers might notice that this is a little taller than most packs, and that can be an annoyance.
9. Venture Pal 35L Daypack
The Venture Pal Daypack is about as basic as you’ll get. You won’t get much in the way of breathability, but it’s got plenty of packing space thanks to its 35L internal storage capacity.
But, the cheap price tag would probably only get you a strap or two with the Dueter, The North Face and Osprey equivalents.
10. Mountaintop 80L Internal Frame
Our pick for: the best cheap hiking backpack
This is a cheap hiking backpack for long trips. With a massive 80L capacity, if you run out of room in this bad boy, you’re probably better suited to beach holidays than camping and hiking.
You’ll be able to fit your tent, sleeping bag and every other piece of kit for your trip; and probably your partner’s kit too.
The breathability from the back panel is reasonable, but nothing special. It’s a spaced foam rather than a mesh, so it’s not really suitable for hiking in the heat.
Thanks for reading our guide to the best backpack brands. Hopefully that gives you a clear idea of which brands you should be sticking to when making a purchase, regardless of whether your hiking, biking, climbing, campaign or mountaineering.