Tag Archives: backpack reviews
By Michael Lanza
Yosemite. The Grand Canyon. The Tetons. Glacier National Park. Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park. The Wind River Range. The North Cascades. The Tour du Mont Blanc. New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The Canadian Rockies. Paria Canyon. These are just some of the numerous places where I’ve tested the backpacking gear you see reviewed at The Big Outside. I treat gear roughly in mountains and canyons that are notoriously hard on outdoor gear and apparel so that I can give you brutally honest and thorough, field-tested opinions that help you make the best gear choices for your adventures.
And that’s exactly how I came up with these select picks for today’s best backpacking gear. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Backpacks come in many sizes and flavors for a reason: so do backpackers. Some of us need a pack for moderate loads, others for heavy loads, while still others want a pack designed for lightweight or ultralight backpacking. Some prefer a minimalist design, others a range of features and access. Everyone wants the best fit and comfort they can find, and almost everyone has a budget.
From the many backpacks intended primarily (if not exclusively) for backpacking that I’ve tested and reviewed at The Big Outside, I’ve selected for this article 10 top performers that stand out for reasons that make each appeal uniquely to a certain type of backpacker. (In addition, I point out below two excellent packs for kids of all ages.) I think one of them will be perfect for you—possibly even more than one if, like me, you prefer different packs for different kinds of trips. Continue reading →
Osprey Exos 58 and Eja 58
$220, 58L/3,539 c.i., 2 lbs. 11 oz. (men’s medium Exos)
Sizes: men’s Exos S-L, women’s Eja XS-M
It’s difficult and sometimes dangerous to improve on a piece of gear that’s nearly perfect in its simplicity and functionality. So when Osprey rolled out the redesigned Exos for 2018, along with a women’s version, the Eja, with some changes to this popular model—which became an ultralight pack archetype when it was introduced in 2008—I immediately wanted to see whether the changes represent an improvement. Taking it on a six-day, roughly 90-mile hike on the Continental Divide Trail through Glacier National Park, I found definite improvements—including that it carries better than the previous iteration—and I think some backpackers may miss one convenient feature that’s absent from the updated pack. Continue reading →
Gregory Baltoro 65 and Deva 60
$300, 65L/3,966 c.i. (men’s medium), 4 lbs. 15 oz. (men’s small, without the rain cover)
Sizes: men’s Baltoro S-L, women’s Deva XS-M
Loaded with up to 40 pounds on a four-day, nearly 30-mile family backpacking trip in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, this pack felt almost unnoticeable on my back—even climbing over three 9,000-foot mountain passes (two of them in one day). That may sound hyperbolic, but it’s true: I was thinking about the scenery rather than about my pack. That observation speaks volumes about the comfort of the fully featured men’s Baltoro and women’s Deva, which rank among the two or three best backpacking packs for hauling heavy loads—and may be the very best of them all. Here’s why. Continue reading →
I read your article about ultra-backpacking and how you did the John Muir Trail in seven days. I am planning on doing it, but would like to know, for an ultralight backpacker, what do you suggest for a backpack, tent, sleeping bag, etc.? Any feedback or thoughts that you have would be much appreciated.
Covina, CA Continue reading →