Hiking Backpacks - Using the Knowledge of a Community to Choose The Best Camping Gear
At the start of 2018 we set ourselves a number of goals. One particular goal formulated when we realised the fountain of knowledge we had at our disposal.
In the last number of years we have been steadily building a community of friends, industry colleagues, ambassadors and customers. All of these people share a love of camping and the great outdoors. Between them, they've enjoyed countless hours of hiking, camping and adventuring. Together, they have years of experience and know their stuff. This community of adventurers know what makes a great pair of hiking boots and which sleeping bags can be trusted to give a good night's kip. In all, these people know their camping gear.
So, the goal we set was to use this experience and knowledge to create the ultimate camping guide. With the help of our community we've been sharing our thoughts on all the essential camping gear. We've compiled lists of our favourite camping chairs, camping stoves, sleeping bags, camping mattresses and more.
Last time around, we shared our community's advice on Three Steps to Consider When Choosing a Hiking Backpack. We explained why it's important to have a great camping backpack and what to look for when choosing the best one. If you are looking to buy some great hiking gear, we would definitely urge you to check that post out. Having a quality hiking backpack and hiking boots make for a great hike. And as we all know, a great hike is part and parcel of a great camping trip.
This time around we have put together the Crua Community's 7 Favourite Hiking Backpacks. Hiking backpacks can be expensive. However, you must remember that you will be wearing them for hours on end while physically exerting yourself. A high quality, sturdy and comfortable hiking backpack should be considered an investment. One that we're sure you will be thankful you've made when you're ten hours deep into a strenuous trip.
So, in no particular order, let's get it started.
Crua Community's Seven Favourite Hiking Backpacks
Osprey Atmos (M) / Aura (F)
The Osprey Atmos for men (and Aura for women) comes highly regarded as the Ultimate Backpacking Pack. The Atmos can comfortably carry loads of 50lbs with a volume of 65L. This truly outstanding hiking backpack has won numerous awards for its innovative design. Although it is a sizable pack, it has a unique anti-gravity suspension system that helps to spread the load. It does this by allowing the frame to take the brunt of the weight instead of having it all on your back. All major pressure points are alleviated, allowing you to hike in total comfort.
Some other standout features include a well thought out pocket design, extremely good fit with a lot of adjust-ability. It also offers first in class ventilation.The ultimate hikers backpack. A fan favourite that looks to be a very solid investment.
Osprey Exos (M) / Eja (F)
Yes, we are starting our list with two entries from Osprey. Added to that we could have included the Osprey Anther/Ariel and Osprey Levity/Lumina amongst others. It is fair to say that Osprey Hiking Backpacks come strongly endorsed by the Crua Community.
The Osprey Exos comes in about 2 pounds lighter than the Atmos at approx 2 pounds 8 ounces. Of course, this means that it can't carry those very large loads. Nonetheless, for a hiking backpack that would find itself in a more lightweight category, it is surprisingly strong, sturdy and robust. It's also incredibly comfortable and contours the back nicely. A great all-round hiking backpack that comes with the Osprey life-time guarantee. You can't argue with that.
Gregory Baltoro 65
One of the most highly acclaimed hiking backpacks on the market right now. An all-round top quality backpack that offers great back-support, durability and exceptional comfort.
Although, at 5 pounds 5 ounces, this camping backpack is a little on the heavy side, it makes up for it with some cool features. There's lots of external pockets for storing easy-access-snacks and a waterproof hip-belt pocket for your phone or camera. Some other nifty features include a hydration sleeve which doubles as a day pack, ergonomic shoulder straps and excellent rain cover. The main compartment also includes a removable divider which creates the perfect compartment for storing your sleeping bag.
Granite Gear Crown 2
The Granite Gear Crown 2 offers an eclectic mix. It is lightweight, 2 pounds 5 ounces but has a large volume capacity of 60L (max rec weight 35lbs). It is very well designed with a number of great features but comes at a very affordable price. In all, it's everything you would expect from Granite Gear, a market leader in ultralight camping backpacks.
For a minimally designed pack, the Granite Gear Crown 2 comes with a lot of support and padding. There is also a high level of adjust-ability. Although the pack is less than 2 and half pounds, those who like to go extra light can remove some additional baggage. You can remove the hip-belt, back panel and top lid. In all you can turn it into a pack that's well under 2 pounds. Ultralight while maintaining a high degree of comfort, a worthy addition to the list.
ZPacks Arc Blast
The ZPacks Arc Blast is the lightest hiking backpack on our list. Weighing 1 pound 5 ounces it is a standout choice for ultralight backpackers. This top quality hiking backpack is aimed at serious trekkers with a price to match.
The features on the ZPack Arc Blast cannot be faulted. The pack itself is made with DCF fabric which accounts for the feather light weight and also makes it incredibly water-resistant. A lot its features scream 'elite trekking'. There's the weight of course but there are also trekking pole straps and hip belt pockets. It also has a unique tension system which arcs the middle of the back away from your back. This features is what gives the pack its name and attributes to exceptional breathabilty. An elite piece of hiking equipment.
Kelty Coyote 65
The tried and trusted Kelty brand is becoming a near ever-present in our top seven list. As always Kelty offer great quality, sturdy goods at an affordable price and that's something we definitely appreciate.
The Kelty Coyote comes in both 65L and 80L capacity. It is perfect for entry level hikers that want to get a quality hiking backpack at a great price. A feature of note is the PerfectFIT suspension system. This truly means one size fits all. Once you have the backpack on your back you can adjust all areas to fit your body. The system is surprisingly comfortable. It also makes it a great backpack for sharing with friends and loved ones, of all shapes and sizes!
Teton Sports Scout 3400
In the same vein as the Kelty Coyote, we've added the Teton Sports Scout 3400. When you are talking about getting your money's worth, you would be hard pushed to beat this hiking backpack.
All things considered, it's relatively inexpensive but doesn't leave you short on features. There's an adjustable torso positioning feature, padded hip belt, solid internal framing and padded waist belt. All these features amount to great comfort and versatility. There are also a number of useful bungee storage pockets, rain cover and a sleeping bag compartment. Like the Osprey backpacks, this one comes with a life-time guarantee. A well rounded backpacking pack that we would definitely recommend for casual hikers.
Thanks to everyone who helped us in compiling this list. We started this series by including seven items. In all honesty, a top 20 would have been much easier. There were so many great camping backpacks that we didn't have room for.
Did your favourite hiking backpack miss out on our list? Let us know below.
Any other pieces of equipment you’d like us to tackle? Write a comment underneath and let us know.