The 6 Best Backpacks for Hauling Heavy Loads
Whether you like to go ultralight or ultraluxe, Backpacker’s gear reviews have what you need. Get access to our full library of gear reviews—including the complete reviews for these six products—when you become an Outside+ member.
We love going light. But sometimes, for whatever reason—kids, winter, a luxury trip—you just need more space. When you’ve got a big load to tote, these six packs will do it without making your shoulders, back, and hips scream.
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Most Durable: Deuter Aircontact Pro 70+15 / Aircontact Pro 65+15 SL
Price: $380 / Weight: 6lbs. 11oz.
With a sturdy aluminum frame that stabilizes loads up to 60 pounds, this ultratough pack is ideal for rugged, expedition backpacking. The frame’s V shape transfers weight to the center of a wide, padded hipbelt, and a slender profile keeps loads close to the back. Read the Full Review / Buy Now
Best Oranization: Helly Hansen Capacitor
Price: $290 / Weight: 4lbs. 2oz.
Testers loved the 12.5-inch-long vertical pockets on either side of the pack. “I was able to keep my thermos in one, so my hot tea was always accessible,” said one tester after a sleet-filled trip in mid-30°F temps in Denali. Read the Full Review / Buy Now
Most Versatile: REI Co-op Traverse 60
Price: $229 / Weight: 4lbs. 4oz.
The hipbelt wings are moderately padded and provide a central channel to accommodate the iliac crest, preventing compression and rubbing at the top of the hipbone. Multiple adjustability points let us dial in fit even further: Each size—there are four to choose from for both men and women—offers three inches of vertical torso adjustability. Read the Full Review / Buy Now
Most Eco-Friendly: Fjällräven Kajka 65
Price: $375 / Weight: 7lbs. 1oz.
We may complain about heavy loads, but the Kajka never does. (We mean it: The eco-friendly canvas and birch-wood frame don’t squeak like plastic or metal.) Its sturdy-but-flexible parallel wooden stays mimic a spring-steel frame surprisingly well (caveat: they’re more expensive). Read the Full Review / Buy Now
Best Suspension: Mystery Ranch Terraframe 65
Price: $400 / Weight: 5lbs. 11oz.
For packrafters, overpackers, or anyone who’s just gotta have that second case of beer, the Terraframe offers a unique solution originally conceived for backcountry hunting: a 7-inch-deep shelf that accordions out from between the main packbag and backpanel. The shelf provides you a spot to load your heaviest gear right against a reinforced carbon-fiber lattice frame (which, by the way, is rated to carry up to 150 pounds). Read the Full Review / Buy Now
Best Value: Kelty Coyote 65 / Coyote 60
Price: $160 / Weight: 4lbs, 10oz
One zippered hip pocket on the Kelty fits a phone and headlamp, and one non-zippered mesh belt pocket holds a few granola bars. Our testers also loved the space between the lateral zipper pouches and the packbody, which creates a hollow sleeve: “You can run tent poles or trekking poles through the sleeve and into the mesh bottle pockets. Read the Full Review / Buy Now
Published at Wed, 02 Jun 2021 00:51:55 +0000