One of the biggest items explorers, travelers, and adventure seekers desire is the perfect backpack for their needs. Even with the seemingly endless options, it is still hard for some of us to really find what we are looking for. We pick a bag, use it for a while, and then start to find faults in its design, comfort, size or all of the above.
So what is the perfect backpack?
Surprise surprise… there isn’t one! But is that really a surprise? Everyone’s tastes and needs are different, so there will never be a perfect bag unless you have the skills and creativity to make your own, which the majority of us unfortunately don’t.
With that said, I have put together a list of backpacks that should have a little something for everyone. These are my recommendations from years of research and on-the-road experience.
Here are the backpacks I recommend:
I do not give in-depth reviews of the packs below, but rather a general overview to bring awareness to the great options that are on the market today. If one of them interest you, I provided links for more information about each one below.
For the Photographers:
These backpacks are geared towards adventurous photographers. Their mountain series have a hollow shell which houses different sized inserts with customizable dividers. They are great for organizing the interior exactly to your needs for cameras, lenses, and a multitude of other gear. The options are pretty much endless with interior customization. Other big factors with these packs are the fantastic comfort level and its weatherproof design. F-stop really puts the time and effort into making quality products and listen to their customer’s needs. I consider them to be the best of the best not only for photographers, but anyone who needs a versatile and customizable backpack.
Lotus (Smallest in the Mountain Series)
Tilopa (Great All Rounder)
Shinn (F-Stop’s Larges Bag)
Lowpro Protactic Series
This is another all-weather backpack geared towards photographers. Lowpro has been among the top known brands for photographic gear for quite some time, so they have a good understanding of a photographer’s needs. Their Protactic series is one of their most customizable backpacks. If you are a fan of MOLLE, this pack has it all over the exterior. You can attach pouches, water bottles, straps, and countless other MOLLE compatible gear making it super adaptable. The interior can be accessed from the top, left and right sides, and the back. It’s completely customizable with padded inserts so you can divide your gear to your liking. One of my favorite features is being able to sling the pack to one side, unzip the side compartment for quick access to my camera while on the go – no need to fully take the backpack off and dig though it. This fast action could be the make or break when that perfect photograph flashes before your eyes. Like the F-stop bags, this one also has its uses for non-photographers, seeing how versatile and adaptable it is.
Victoriatourist V6022 (Budget Bag)
This is a good option for low-key cost effective every day bag. I like the fact that it doesn’t stand out as a photography bag, so you will bring less unwanted attention from the wrong people – a good safety measure when out and about. It has a sleeve for a 15” laptop, a top compartment for your day gear, a padded insert for a camera and a couple lenses stored at the bottom with its own zippered access.
For the Backpackers
Kelty REDWING 50 and COYOTE 65
Kelty is another known and trusted name when it comes to backpacks. The Redwing 50 and Coyote 65 are great options for backpackers and hikers who have plans for a weekend getaway or even big trips. Both packs have adjustable on-body suspension systems for ultimate comfort for extended periods of time.
The Redwing 50 is not too big, and not too small. It offers multiple pockets for organization, including a RFID-blocking pocket, laptop/hydration sleeve, trekking pole loops, removable waist belt, and plenty more great features.
The Coyote 65 is a big brother to the Redwing and shares most of its features. Additionally, it has a separate compartment for your sleeping bag and the removable top lid converts into a sling pack for your short day trips.
TETON Sports Scout 3400 (Budget Bag)
This was the first hiking backpack I bought years and years ago and it’s still going strong on the market today. It’s a great option for those who are on a budget, but don’t want to sacrifice quality! It includes most of the same features that you get with the higher end packs – like a fully adjustable fit, multi-directional compression straps, a compartment for your sleeping bag, and various other pouches for organization. If your plan is to put together a cost effective trip, this is a perfect bag for you!
For the Day Trippers
Kelty REDTAIL 27
Hey look, another Kelty pack! Why? Because they know how to make a good backpack. The Redtail is more geared as a daypack which is great for small hikes or exploring around new territory for the day. The HexMesh on the back straps and pads help ventilate and keep you dry and comfy, while its streamline design helps cut down on any bulkiness.
AUGUR SERIES Vintage Backpack
If you are looking for something with a little more style, check out these retro backpacks. The Augur series comes in many different color options so there is sure to be one that catches your attention. You will be ready to take your Pinterest and Instagram game to the next level when sporting this on your back in your travel photos. Another good option if you are carrying camera gear would be the Kattee Fashion Canvas DSLR backpack which comes with a removable padded compartment to keep the camera gear safe.
Outlander Packable Lightweight Daypack
Looking for a smaller daypack to bring along with you on your big backpacking trips, but not sure how to carry two bulky backpacks? Packable backpacks are an awesome option! The Outlander is perfect for tucking away in a compartment of your larger backpack. When you are ready to make a short day trip and don’t want all the extra bulk and weight, just unpack the Outlander and fill it with your items for the day and be on your way! Oh, and it’s also built with water resistant rip stop nylon, pretty sweet deal.
These are just a few of my personal favorites of the many, many options available to us today. Explore these options and do a little extra searching yourself to see what may fit your needs the best! Good luck and have fun!