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Through mountain climbing backpacks are made for individuals who embark on multi-day hikes on lengthy trails just like the Appalachian Path (AT) or the Pacific Crest Path (PCT). For through hikers, a dependable pack that’s mild, sturdy, and has loads of capability for gear is crucial for a profitable journey. This fall, we examined every little thing from ultralight minimalist packs to strong, feature-specific choices in an effort to discover the vary of backpacks wanted for a various group of hikers. Whether or not you’re a seasoned trailblazer or embarking in your first through hike, this information will allow you to discover the proper backpack for a long-distance journey. Listed below are one of the best through mountain climbing backpacks you should buy.

How We Picked the Greatest Through Climbing Backpacks

As an avid hiker primarily based in New Hampshire, I routinely traverse the rugged terrain of the Appalachian Path. My experience in through mountain climbing backpacks stems from each intensive private expertise in addition to skilled involvement. Having led guided journeys over varied sections of the AT, notably New Hampshire and Maine, I’ve gained useful insights into the calls for of long-distance mountain climbing. Drawing from this background, I got here up with a complete methodology to establish one of the best through mountain climbing backpacks:

  1. Cautious Choice: I did exhaustive market analysis to establish and shortlist a variety of widespread and highly-regarded backpack fashions. I took under consideration weight, capability, supplies design, and consumer suggestions.
  2. Gear Standardization: To offer honest and unbiased analysis, I loaded every chosen pack with a standardized set of typical through mountain climbing gear. This included an ultralight shelter, sleep system, cookware, clothes, water, meals, and fundamental electronics.
  3. Discipline Testing: I launched into a number of mountain climbing excursions, simulating the circumstances and challenges that hikers generally encounter, together with a wide range of terrains, elevations, and climate.
  4. Consumer Interviews: Along with private testing, I sought useful enter from skilled through hikers. I requested about their preferences, experiences, and suggestions relating to backpack decisions. This was notably useful for the “Greatest Males’s” class.
The writer with a loaded-out Six Moons Swift V pack within the Northeast. Lindsey Lapointe

Greatest Through Climbing Backpacks: Suggestions and Opinions

Greatest General: Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60

Mariposa 60 Backpack on a white and blue background


  • Complete Weight Of Pack: 2.1 lbs (Measurement massive with belt, body, and pad) 
  • Capability: 60 L
  • Max Carry Weight: 35 lbs


  • Snug
  • Plenty of room
  • Ultralight


The Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 shortly emerged because the champion, notably for these in search of a light-weight pack. The design is a testomony to considerate engineering, that includes a single massive physique opening constructed from strong Robic high-tensile energy nylon. I just like the open design for environment friendly packing but additionally for seamless group with out fuss of quite a few pockets or zippers. The entrance has an expansive mesh pocket, whereas the left facet exterior pocket may accommodate a reasonably large merchandise like a sleeping pad or tent. On the other facet, two extra exterior pockets simply accommodated my water bottles and range with gasoline. Moreover, the zippered hip belts had been a handy contact. Whereas this pack lacks the standard lid pouch, the highest of the sack folds over and secures to the physique, revealing one final zippered pocket, the place I saved my map.

Testing revealed that the Mariposa 60 was not solely roomy, but additionally snug. The cushioned hip and shoulder straps present assist, complemented by the froth again pad. And the load lifters are useful for overly stuffed packs or if the pack is sitting excessive on the hiker.

Along with design and luxury, the pack’s versatility shines by modifiable options. This contains the detachable hip belt, U-shaped body, and a again pad that may be swapped out for a sleeping pad. This adaptability permits hikers touring with an ultralight load (below 15 kilos) to shed extra weight and cut back the pack to a mere 18 ounces.

Greatest For Girls: Osprey Eja 48

Osprey Eja Backpack on a white and blue background


  • Weight Of Pack: 2.7 lbs
  • Capability: 48 L
  • Max Carry Weight: 40 lbs


  • Huge number of torso size choices
  • Sizing in Additional Small to Giant
  • Sturdy


The Osprey Eja 48 ladies’s ultralight pack stood out in our testing attributable to its gender-specific design, a rarity amongst ultralight packs. For starters, it comes with two sizing choices—xx-small/small and med/massive. The pack additionally has 5 adjustable heights making tailoring the torso size straightforward and versatile. I additionally respect that the Osprey ladies’s shoulder straps are engineered for a lady’s physique, narrowing on the entry level within the again panel and tapering outward beneath the collarbone in an effort to guarantee consolation and room within the chest space. As well as, the 15 mm adjustable slide sternum strap is a flexible addition in an effort to accommodate varied chest sizes. 

Shifting past match, the Eja incorporates a design that mixes parts of conventional packs with the advantages of an ultralight construct. This pack has a standard top-loading condominium that contains a hydration sleeve. Storage is ample because of a large entrance stretch mesh pocket for quick-access gear, in addition to the spacious hip belt pockets and exterior facet pockets. 

Some of the spectacular options of the Eja was its air flow. The pack has a well-designed mesh panel that pulls the pack off its wearer and ensures breathability. That is notably appreciated when tackling sizzling and humid circumstances on long-distance trails. I additionally preferred that the ripstop nylon, buckles, and zippers had been powerful sufficient to toss on the paths right here within the White Mountains of New Hampshire with out worrying about ripping. 

The paddling and again panel primarily prioritize airflow, favoring air flow over additional padding. For people delicate to strain factors or in search of additional cushioning, the Gregory Deva could be a greater match. Nonetheless, in the event you’re focusing on swift-drying airflow throughout a summer time through hike, this ladies’s pack undoubtedly takes the lead from the most effective backpack manufacturers.

teal osprey backpack laying on the ground
The Osprey Eja 48 is snug and may match loads of gear for an extended hike. Lindsey Lapointe

Greatest For Males: ULA Circuit

ULA Circuit backpack on a white and blue background


  • Weight Of Pack: 2.7 lbs
  • Capability: 40 L (Predominant physique), 68 L potential capability
  • Max Carry Weight: 35 lbs


  • Ultralight
  • Sturdy
  • Snug


  • Not as steady with heavy masses

The Circuit backpack made by Ultralight Journey Tools (ULA) is certainly one of our favourite ultralight backpacks, and has gained immense reputation on the Pacific Crest Path. Whereas labeled a 68L pack, it’s necessary to notice that the principle compartment accounts for 40L, with the extra area cleverly distributed throughout the facet pockets, hipbelt pockets, unrolled high compartment, and the entrance mesh pocket. Following the pattern of ultralight designs, the pockets are intentionally simplified, a principal compartment housing two small, detachable pouches—certainly one of which serves as a hydration pouch holder. The Circuit is crafted from 100% Robic nylon material and fortified with a three-pass Teflon DWR in high-abrasion areas for added sturdiness. 

This pack has a reasonably wide selection of dimension/form choices, with 4 torso choices, six hipbelt choices, and two shoulder strap decisions. Nevertheless, particular person packs cannot be adjusted additional. Most males shall be accommodated by the standard J-shape shoulder strap, however these with bigger or huge chests shall be higher served with the S-curve. As for assist, the Circuit contains two detachable frames: a carbon fiber U-shaped body and a aluminum keep again panel.

We discovered the ULA Circuit to rank excessive in consolation. It has a completely padded again pad that gives wonderful cushioning, although air flow might be improved. The Circuit additionally has a cushty padded hip belt and shoulder straps so bruising or sizzling spots are uncommon. 

Whereas the roll-top closure gives versatility so as to add 8L of capability, it’s value contemplating the trade-off between added gear and luxury. Whereas the pack can accommodate extra, our male testers reported a discount in consolation and stability with increased and heavier masses. This considerate steadiness between capability and luxury solidifies the ULA Circuit as your best option for male through hikers.

Greatest Waterproof: Hyperlite Windrider 55

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider 55L Backpack on a white and blue background


  • Weight Of Pack: 2.18 lbs
  • Capability: 55 L
  • Max Carry Weight: 40 lbs


  • Waterproof
  • Ultralight
  • Sturdy


  • Not as snug, particularly at increased base weights
  • Costly

You’re wanting on the most waterproof pack we examined. The Hyperlite Windrider 55 revolves round maximizing efficiency whereas minimizing pointless weight, leading to a modern, minimalist building with fewer pockets, straps, and padding. Nevertheless, the place it really shines is in its impeccable waterproofing capabilities. Crafted with Dyneema and that includes taped seam sealing, the Windrider stands as a fortress in opposition to moisture. The roll high not solely permits for vertical enlargement, giving management over storage capability, but additionally acts as a safe barrier in opposition to water intrusion harking back to a dry bag.

The pack is available in 4 unisex torso sizes with restricted changes. Moreover, to maintain base weights to a minimal, padding is intentionally saved sparse. Because of this, I like to recommend making a cautious sizing selection since there are restricted adjustment choices. The Windrider 55 additionally options generously sized exterior pockets made with a breathable mesh. These function handy storage choices and even present a spot to air out damp gear as you trek on that moist path. It’s value noting that this degree of waterproofing and efficiency material does come at a premium, making it one of many higher-priced choices in the marketplace. However for individuals who prioritize holding their gear dry in even the wettest circumstances, the Hyperlite Windrider 55 is an funding that guarantees unparalleled peace of thoughts on the path.

Greatest For Giant Capability: Gregory Deva 60 (Girls’s) and Baltoro 65 (Males’s)

Gregory Mountain Products Women's Deva 60 on white and blue background


  • Weight Of Pack: 5 lbs
  • Capability: 60 L
  • Max Carry Weight: 50 lbs


  • Snug
  • Sturdy
  • Superior Suspension


The Gregory Deva 60 (tailor-made for ladies) and Baltoro 65 (designed for males) are your most suitable option if through mountain climbing with a cumbersome or heavy load. These packs have the design of a standard backpacking backpack. Each characteristic a big principal physique pocket that’s simply accessible from the highest, entrance panel, in addition to the very backside. They’ve a traditional entrance mesh pocket, simply accessible facet water bottle pockets, a roomy lid, and sensible hip belt pockets. The Deva and Baltoro additionally flaunt Gregory’s AirCushion foamless back-panel which options proprietary mesh and is 90 % open air so that you’re much less prone to get sweaty and sizzling spots in your again. The strong supplies make sure the pack withstands the tough wilderness and makes it ideally suited for carrying heavier objects. Personally, my 15-year-old Deva 70 has weathered numerous miles in unforgiving circumstances and not using a single tear or cracked buckle. The brand new Deva 60 we put to the take a look at comes with a number of upgrades, however nonetheless captures the essence of the pack I fell in love with. 

Weighing in at 5 kilos empty, one would possibly query its suitability for through mountain climbing, however the reply lies in its unparalleled consolation. The pack boasts a superior suspension system that alleviates strain from high-stress factors, making your load really feel even lighter one way or the other. The plush padding on the decrease again and hip belt is actually a game-changer in addition to the power to regulate the hip belt padding to an association that works for you. As well as, the free-floating suspension ensures a steady load. Even after I loaded it to max capability, I used to be capable of bend down and swing over rocks and logs with out the burden pulling me down. 

As a 6’1” feminine, this pack is without doubt one of the few ladies’s choices that is available in my dimension and suits like a glove. Whereas the Gregory Deva and Baltaro might seem to be overkill for the standard ultralight backpacker, they emerge as the best selection for these shouldering a hefty load.

Greatest for Dangerous Backs: Six Moons Swift V with Vest Harness

Six Moons Swift V with Vest Harness on white and blue background


  • Weight Of Pack: 2.25 lbs
  • Capability: 50 L
  • Max Carry Weight: 35 lbs


  • Snug vest type harness
  • Adjustable torso size, harness type/dimension, and hip belt dimension
  • Helpful storage on pack and harness


  • Too many hanging straps and bungees
  • Vest type harness not good for big/huge chests

That is the pack for hikers with a foul again. The vest harness, harking back to vests favored by path runners, is a sport changer for consolation and accessibility. It effectively redistributes weight throughout the chest and core, assuaging undue pressure on the shoulders and again. Including to the assist, the ring keep body aids in weight distribution to the hip belt. 

The Swift V is engineered with strong Robic nylon and options sizable facet and entrance pockets constructed from a sturdy ultra-stretch mesh. As well as, the vest harness gives an assortment of simply reachable pockets that conventional straps lack. This contains devoted areas for a water bottle, snacks, pockets, and extra. 

The pack additionally comes full with an adjustment instrument accommodating 4 totally different torso lengths, making certain a tailor-made match. Moreover, you may have the choice to pick out from two sizes of shoulder harnesses and three sizes of hip belts, guaranteeing a cosy and safe match. If the flight vest type isn’t your cup of tea, Six Moons additionally gives conventional shoulder straps, in addition to an S-curve harness tailor-made for these with narrower shoulders and a bigger chest space.

Most Versatile: Granite Gear Crown 3 60L

Granite Gear Crown 3 60L Backpack on white and blue background


  • Weight Of Pack: 2.48 lbs
  • Capability: 60 L
  • Max Carry Weight: 43 lbs (by addition of aluminum keep add on)


  • Versatile: Elements might be eliminated/rearranged for various pack wants
  • Giant carrying capability
  • Giant exterior pockets


Very similar to different ultralight packs, the Granite Gear Crown 3 has a single principal compartment for storage, complemented by a handy entrance stretch pocket for fast entry to rain gear and important objects. It additionally has generously sized water bottle pockets that safe with a bungee wire. Nevertheless it’s the ingenious detachable elements that set this pack aside. Each the hip belt and the lid might be indifferent and mixed to type a roomy fanny pack. I used this characteristic for slack-packing a peak throughout testing. After organising camp, it allowed me to go away behind the majority of my gear and take solely the necessities for a day hike.

The usual pack comes with a plastic body sheet and permits a cushty carry of as much as 35 kilos of substances. I additionally experimented with the non-compulsory aluminum keep. This add-on supplied a cushty transition to carrying as much as 43 kilos, a necessary adjustment for various gear masses between summer time and shoulder seasons.

The pack physique, whereas not excessively cushioned, gives a ventilated design. The hip belt boasts above-average padding and isn’t solely adjustable but additionally gives substantial space for storing. One notable absence, nevertheless, is stabilizer straps connecting the physique of the pack to the hip belt.

Most Sturdy: Exped Lightning 45

Exped Lightning 45 Backpack on a blue and white background


  • Weight Of Pack: 2.2 lbs
  • Capability: 45 L
  • Max Carry Weight: 53 lbs


  • Sturdy material
  • Glossy, minimalist design
  • Adjustable torso


  • Minimal exterior storage
  • Cushioning is ample however inflexible

This dependable pack boasts an impressively clear design that minimizes potential breaking factors. It contains a deliberate absence of unfastened mesh, superfluous straps, and extreme zipper pulls. The Lightning 45 is constructed from an abrasion-resistant 630D nylon material base, bolstered with the unfailingly powerful Dyneema, which ends up in it not solely being extremely sturdy, but additionally close to waterproof. The zigzag compression system additional enhances its robustness and ensures that gear stays securely in place. The roll-top closure is mounted with a strap and held into place with a steel hook, making it much more sturdy. 

For assist, Exped’s T-frame system makes use of an aluminum backbone, which provides spine to the pack. It’s designed in order that solely the very high and backside of your again are available contact with the pack. The thick foam padded hip belt and decrease neck/shoulder straps maintain the remainder of your physique off the backbone. This gives minimal again contact factors to advertise wonderful air flow, however barely decreases consolation. As for match, the torso top is completely adjustable by a quick-sliding clip hidden behind the velcro of the hip belt. Exped sells each a unisex and girls’s model of the pack and, mixed with the torso adjustment, is an effective match for many physique sizes. 

Issues to Think about Earlier than Shopping for a Through Climbing Backpack

Shopping for a backpack for a through hike isn’t as straightforward as selecting the primary one you see off the shelf. You need to take into consideration your pursuit, capability, consolation, and a bunch of different components. So earlier than selecting a classy backpack, contemplate these components:

  • Capability and Quantity: Take a list of all of the gear wanted on your trek. Through mountain climbing backpacks vary from 30 to 70 liters in capability. Discover a pack that matches all of your gear inside and not using a bunch of additional room. A smaller capability pack (30-50 liters) is appropriate for weekend journeys and ultralight through hikers, whereas longer treks, or journeys with numerous gear might require a bigger pack (50+ liters). 
  • Weight: Each little bit of weight counts while you’re overlaying intensive distances on foot. Take note of the burden of the pack itself. Lighter packs have the benefit of lowering the general base weight. Nevertheless, it’s necessary to notice that among the heavier packs present higher padding and sturdiness, which makes them higher for winter, tough terrain, and heavy masses.
  • Match and Consolation: I’ve used many poor-fitting packs, leading to sizzling spots, bruising, and physique ache due to a foul match. Take measurements of your hips, torso, waist, and shoulders, and discover the pack that matches your dimension. As well as, search for adjustable options like shoulder straps, hip belts, and cargo lifters to customise the match to your physique. 
  • Entry and Group: Think about the way you’ll entry your gear on the path. High-loading packs provide simplicity and sturdiness. Pockets, compartments, and attachment factors are useful for holding gear organized and inside straightforward attain. Lastly, contemplate the place your water shall be saved for simple entry on the path. 
  • Supplies: Through mountain climbing exposes your gear to a variety of environmental circumstances. Search for backpacks constructed from sturdy, waterproof supplies like Dyneema, Cordura, and ripstop nylon. As well as, a well-ventilated backpack and cozy padding can imply the distinction between consolation and agony on the path. Mesh again panels and airflow channels cut back sweating and discomfort. 


Q: What dimension backpack do you want for through mountain climbing?

Most through hikers shall be greatest served with a backpack that holds about 50 liters in capability. This could present ample area for important gear with out changing into burdensome. Nevertheless, the best dimension in the end relies on components just like the size of your journey, the local weather you’ll be encountering, and your private choice for consolation and group. When you’re aiming for an ultralight method with a sub-10-pound base weight, go for a smaller capability pack within the 40L vary.

Q: What’s the ideally suited backpack weight for an extended distance through hike?

The best backpack weight for an extended distance through hike is usually thought of to be round 20-30% of your physique weight. Nevertheless, a lighter pack may help with consolation and suppleness. Because of this, many skilled through hikers intention for a base weight (excluding consumables like meals and water) of below 20 kilos, and a few even go for a sub-10-pound base weight for an ultralight method. Take into account that lighter packs typically require cautious and specialised gear choice.

Q: How ought to I pack my backpack?

When getting ready for a through hike, strategically packing is crucial for a cushty journey. Start by organizing your gear. Place heavier objects, akin to your shelter and meals, near your again and within the heart for optimum steadiness. Guarantee water bottles are simply reachable. Place the quick-access objects like maps, rain gear, snacks, water, and first assist in easy-to-access pockets just like the lid, hipbelt pockets, and mesh exterior.

Greatest Through Climbing Backpacks: Ultimate Ideas

Choosing the proper backpack is a pivotal determination for any through hiker, because it kinds the spine of your gear arsenal. Every of the chosen backpacks above caters to totally different wants and preferences, from ultralight pace walkers to these prioritizing sturdiness and waterproofing. Whether or not you’re embarking on a multi-month journey or a weekend trek, investing in the precise backpack could make all of the distinction in making certain a cushty and profitable journey on the path.

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