Campers, backpackers and hikers all generally require a good backpack. Without one you’re not likely to have a very good time in the outdoors. The best camping backpack has a few things going for it, the most important being that it’s big enough to carry everything. Many campers make the mistake of buying a backpack first, but it’s far smarter to buy everything else, and then buy a backpack that is just big enough to carry it all, without forgetting about food and water.
Best Camping BackpackA few things to watch for when shopping for a new camping backpack.
- Capacity – First and foremost, your camping backpack needs to be big enough to carry everything you plan to big. As pointed out above, you need to include everything in this calculation, including food and water. The amount of food and water you take will vary quite a bit, depending on the conditions you go camping in and the length of the camping trip.
- Frame – If you manage to get the weight and bulk of your camping gear down far enough you will be able to get a smaller, lighter backpack, and you may even be able to get a backpack without a frame. If the total weight of your backpack is going to be below 25 pounds or so, then a frameless backpack is a definite option.
Best Camping Backpack ReviewsReviews of some of the best camping backpacks across a range of capacities.
- GoLite Jam Backpack - On the smaller side of things is the Jam, with a capacity of 50 liters. It's definitely a lightweight backpack intended for either lightweight backpackers who don't carry a lot or else regular backpackers who plan on doing nothing longer than a weekend trip. It lacks a frame, but does have a few essential features, like a hydration bladder pouch and pockets on the hip belt that campers will definitely appreciate. Campers will also appreciate the weight of just 1.73 pounds, or 788 grams.
- ULA Equipment Circuit - ULA Equipment is another company that makes products with lightweight backpackers in mind, though with a capacity of 68 liters, even backpackers that like to take a few luxuries should have plenty of room. The Circuit also has a carbon fiber frame, hip belt pockets and a simple, roll top closure that all help to save on weight while maximizing usability. Thoughtful features like a mesh exterior pocket where wet clothes can dry out help to make this an excellent camping backpack. And with a weight of just 2.25 pounds, or 1.02 kilograms, it's an extremely lightweight option too. It's also unisex, with several different length and hip belt options available for various body sizes.
- Osprey Argon 85 Pack - If you're looking for something big, with just about every feature you could hope to find on a backpack, the Argon is ideal. A frame, plus a well ventilated back panel make carrying heavy loads relatively comfortable. Besides being accessible through the top opening the main compartment is also accessible via side zippers, and there's a sleeping bag compartment on the bottom of the backpack too. There's also plenty of exterior pockets, and the top lid is removable. But at 6 pounds 7 ounces, or 2.92 kilograms, the Argon certainly isn't going to win any weight contests. There's also a similar women's version available.