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Backpacking, camping and hiking are the best past times to really disconnect from the world for a while and enjoy nature.
When it comes to packing for these activities, there is always a dilemma as to which backpacks to bring – do I go big or small? The debate between these two choices is something that all backpackers face when making their own pack list for an adventure.
For this article I will be discussing 5 backpacks that work well for every day use and items you would need if you are heading out on an overnight trip through your favorite park.
The debate of big vs small backpacks
Big or small backpacks? It is not always about the size of the pack but what you are going to be using it for. If you are going out for a long trip on a weekend and will be camping with friends, you probably won’t need many items with you.
If you are going on a trip where there will be no other people and no towns around, than I’d say go big. If your trip requires more carrying power, than I would suggest something bigger like an 80L+ backpack.
In this article we’ll cover both big and small, then you can work out which is best depending on your particular needs at the time.
Best large backpacks
Let’s talk about the best large backpacks first.
When it comes to large backpacks, the North face Borealis is a pack that will fit most people’s needs perfectly. It’s roomy enough for long distance backpackers and is built with durability in mind to last for years to come.
The Borealis can be used as a stand-alone pack, or it can be set up as a top loader or mid-top loader with its compression straps.
With the removable lid of the Borealis you have access to 3 large pockets, 1 medium pocket, and 2 small pockets.
It retails at around $200 and is very popular among backpackers due to its comfort and functionality.
Another great large backpack is the Osprey Aether 70. This is a newer model Osprey and is built with a lot of attention to detail. It’s an excellent pack to use as a daily pack, or big enough for weekend trips.
The Aether has great suspension for extra comfort and airflow in the back panel. The main compartment has a full sized zipper which makes opening it easy.
Like many other Osprey packs, it has their Exoskeleton hipbelt which provides extra stability while carrying your load.
It retails for around $220 and is available in 5 different colors.
If you’re looking for a large pack that’s built to last, I would recommend going with the Osprey Atmos 65.
The Atmos 65 has a wide base which provides extra stability while carrying your load. The hipbelt is made from durable Cordura fabric which makes it extra tough and able to stand up to long-haul use.
Many people find the Atmos 65 to be comfortable, even on long overnight trips.
This pack retails at around $240 and is also available in a wide range of colors.
The Osprey Transporter 70 is a backpack that you can use for many types of trips. It’s not as small as some of the mini only backpacks, but it’s still a great choice for those who want a mid-top size backpack.
It has really useful pockets, adjustable straps, and an easy access lid. It retails for around $220 and is available in a wide range of colors.
Best mid-sized backpacks
Now let’s talk about the best medium backpacks which are those that are in the 2-12L range.
If you need something smaller than the large plus backpack, the Osprey Atmos 65 is the best mid-sized backpack to consider.
The Atmos 65 is a great option for day use because of its comfort and durability. It retails for around $200 and is available in a range of colors.
If you’re looking for something in the 2-5L range, the Gregory Z020 is a great choice. This pack will fit most people’s needs perfectly.
It’s comfortable, has lots of storage, and is nicely made overall. It has features that make it versatile such as a hydration sleeve on one shoulder strap and two side pockets for water bottles, or something to carry your phone.
A lot of people say that the Gregory Z020 is a great pack for those who are looking into getting into backpacking.
It retails at around $150 and is available in a variety of colors.
I hope this article was helpful when you were deciding which backpack to buy. It’s always good to have more than one option just in case some go on sale or are being phased out by the manufacturer.
If you have any questions about backpacks or would like to add something that wasn’t mentioned, feel free to leave a comment below.