If you have already started planning your trips and adventures for 2016, your plans certainly include acquiring one of the best backpacks out there. Of course, choosing the best is no easy task, as the choice should depend both on what you need the backpack for and on how much you are willing to spend for it.
While it is obvious that quality comes for a price, not many of us can afford to invest a fortune in gear meant to help them pursue their passion. Some do not even need impressive qualities or are willing to settle for less in order to save money.
That is why, in the following lines, you will find two options for the best backpacks, established based on two main criteria: qualities and affordability. So, you will have one suggestion in case you want the best products on the market and one suggestion in case you are on a budget but do not want to settle for the worst either.
But, before moving on, it is important to make a difference between various backpack models according to the activities they will be used for and the circumstances they will be used in. After all, various activities require various sizes and storage capacities, as well as different design features.
Going on a few hours hike is not the same as spending days or weeks on uncovered trails. There are so many variables. It is one thing to carry along clothes, food and accessories and a completely different thing to bring along an expensive bulky professional camera, with all the accessories involved. In the following lines, you will find suggestions fit for each of these scenarios, so one will surely match your needs and expectations.
Best Day Pack
One of the best displays of quality materials and awesome design is the Osprey Talon 22. It stands out when it comes to carrying comfort, storage space versatility and features. It is adjustable, well ventilated and comes with a separate compartment for drinks.
Its features include attachments for helmet and bungee trekking poles, ice axe and blinker clip patch, so, no matter the grounds you plan to conquer, it will not disappoint you. It weighs little and distributed weight comfortably, so you will barely feel it, while resting assured that your possessions are safe.
If the Talon 22 exceeds your budget, there are more simple but affordable options, like the REI Flash 18, lightweight, versatile and minimal. It features a simple design based on a single compartment, which ensures that it remains comfortable no matter the activities you undertake. You will surely notice its narrow profile and its urban specific features that makes it a great option for city life and public transportation as well, not just for hiking or other outdoor adventures.
Best Multi-Day Pack
Multi-day adventures require specialized gear, and who could design it better if not the pros at Hyperlight Mountain Gear, who have already wrote history in multi-sport backpacks when it comes to durability, streamlined exterior, and waterproofing.
The Hyperlight Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest Pack is a great display of smart design and innovative technology, relying on a tough combination of cuben fiber and durable fabric that makes it perfect even for the most challenging adventures, where a regular, nylon backpack would not stand a chance.
Obviously, all the above benefits come at a price, and if you cannot afford to cover it, or you simply do not need something that strong and extravagant, the Granite Gear Crown VC 60 should be your next best choice. It is ultralight and affordable, available in both women’s and men’s versions, and features a rear mesh pocket, a roll closure at the top, side pockets for water bottles and a 360 degrees compression system.
Best Backpack for Traveling
For those wishing to travel in style and comfort, there is hardly a better choice than the Osprey Meridian 60, a hybrid backpack that offers a lot of space and is easy to carry around due to its wheels system. It can take a lot of weight off your shoulder if your travel involves airports, public transportation or paved roads, but it could indeed become a burden if you prefer off-road traveling, as its wheels and frame make it rather heavy, adding as much as 3.5 kilos to your possessions.
If a hybrid backpack is not what you have in mind or your budget cannot put up with its price, you can still have your needs met by the much more affordable REI Vagabond Tour 40 Travel Pack. It is a lightweight comfortable backpack with a padded hipbelt and a stylish harness that allows you to carry heavy weights but with the option of stowing it away or slipping it in narrow compartments when necessary.
Best Backpack for Photography and Hiking
There are not many options out there for professional photographers with a thing for backpacking, but from those available, the Unaweep – Exposure 4500 73-80 l will surely stand out. It was designed using feedback from backpacking photographers, including a panel loader and high performance suspension and providing easy access to the gear through its size meant to fit the case of an F-Stop perfectly. The rear pocket and bottle pockets give you fast access to small but indispensable things, while the zipper closing and the 3-side compression make the backpack a smart, comfortable and convenient choice.
Of course, all the amazing features of the Unaweep Exposure come at a price, and some may consider it a little too steep for their budget. That is when the Boreas Sapa Trek becomes the next best option. It features the same lifesaving zipper panel loader, but it replaces the wrap-around zipper with one in the shape of the letter “Y”. It is quite light and spacious enough, perfect for short hiking adventures, but does not support heavy loads due to its plastic framesheet suspension, as opposed to the aluminum used on other models. This means it might not be strong enough to hold several lenses or bulkier cameras. However, you will love the two torso size varieties, making it accessible to both men and women.
What do you think is the best backpack of 2016?
Nobody can tell you exactly what the best backpack is for your situation just as nobody can tell you what the best car is. It’s always going to be a question of what you really need vs what you can afford. We hope to have given you some solid choices but more importantly we want to hear from you. Tell us what you think the best backpack of 2016 is in the comments below.