Every hiker knows that in planning any outdoor adventure, strategizing on gear can be half the battle. Sure, you have that pre-trip run-through down pat: water bottle, check; sun protection, check; bug spray, check. But the perfect bag to carry it all in? Getting that right can take a little more perfecting over time. To help you find the best backpack for your next hiking trip—whether you're headed on a half-day excursion in a nearby state park, or a two-week trek through the Andes—we looked to some of our tried-and-true outdoor brands, and tapped the outdoorsy folks in our world to tell us which bags they love most.
If you're stocking up for a one-off adventure or want to start slow by comparison shopping our picks, there's a cost-conscious option for you, too. Insta-famous drag queen and outdoors advocate Pattie Gonia suggests going for a rental. “Instead of buying new, there are so many ways to be an environmental queen by thrifting a bag or renting one. REI offers so many fantastic rental options, for day backpacks and bigger backpacking options, and will help fit you to one, just like a ski boot, for the perfect match.”
If you're ready to gear up, find the best hiking backpacks out there for every level of hiker, from day bags and parent-friendly packs to multi-day workhorses, below. (And if you’re looking for one specifically designed for a woman’s frame, we have more recommendations here.)
This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.
$150.00, Gregory Packs
$280.00, Gregory Packs
$280.00, BH Photo Video
$169.00, The North Face
$189.00, Granite Gear
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler