Photo: Maridav/Shutterstock

The 7 Best Packs for Every Type of Summer Expedition

Technology + Gear Backpacking
by Matt Mosteller Apr 25, 2022

This summer’s wilderness trail explorations are bound to open up the world ahead of you. Enjoy star-filled nights or live that refreshing skinny-dip lifestyle at an alpine tarn. Let your mind recover and benefit from the break you’ve earned while you stare up at a massive rock wall or take in spectacular views while trekking up a mountain.

Finding the right way to haul your gear can make a big difference by reducing backaches and making you feel more lively when you arrive at your destination, allowing you to make the best of your outdoor time. Here are our recommendations for the best backpack for every type of outing this summer. Bonus because each of these packs is available through Amazon Prime, giving you free shipping and prompt delivery so that you can hit the trail this weekend.

We hope you love the backpacks we recommend. Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

1. Easy walks

gregory border pack

Photo: REI

The feel-good factor is high with the Gregory Border 18 Travel Pack, with a large main compartment and side pouches. The interior fits snacks, water, and basic supplies for a day out on the trail, exploring a city, or hanging out on the train. Now there’s no excuse to stick to scenic drives this summer.

  • Sleek, compact design
  • Storage compartment compatible
  • Lightweight

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2. Day hikes

Osprey Hikelite 18

Photo: Osprey

On a day hike, all it takes is a couple hours of effort for a magical payoff. Osprey’s Hikelite 18 will take care of storing what you need for a one-day trip. There are no frills here, just features that matter, like a well-ventilated back panel, fitted shoulder harness, and quick-access side pockets. It fits a thirst-quenching hydration reservoir, with the added nice touch of a hiking-pole attachment strap system.

  • Easy access to everything inside
  • Comfortable and adjustable shoulder straps fit hikers of all sizes
  • Sleek, form-fitting design makes for easy movement

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3. Multi-night wilderness journeys – men’s

mystery ranch terraframe

Photo: REI

If you’re embarking on a two-night journey, the Mystery Ranch Terraframe 65 blends key needs that backpackers will happy-dance over, thanks to its painstakingly good design, fit, and low weight. It’s a given considering the company’s pedigree that this pack entails high-quality materials and is built to withstand years on rocky trails.

  • External frame
  • 3L hydration reservoir
  • Easy access to everything in the pack

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4. Multi-night wilderness journeys – women’s

When you’re heading out on a long trail, the Gregory Deva 70 delivers elements that count — not only the needed form fit but also a hip-belt and shoulder harness that are meant to handle heavy loads. This pack is a big bonus when you’re halfway down that wet, rut-filled mud track since the material dries quickly and reduces hot spots.

  • Internal frame
  • Removable daypack
  • Women-specific frame build and metrics

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5. Hot steps

Patagonia 9 Trails backpack

Photo: Patagonia

Lightweight yet able to take a sand-storm pelting, Patagonia’s Nine Trails Pack comes complete with a must-have sleeve to fit your hydration bladder and easy-access pockets for key items on ultra-hot treks, like sunscreen and energy bars. You’ll appreciate that mesh on your back, too. Amen for air flow.

  • Snug-fit and frameless
  • Plenty of pockets
  • 28L size allows plenty of room

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6. River and ocean trips

Outdoor Research Dry Payload Pack in blue

Photo: Outdoor Research

The Outdoor Research Dry Payload Pack has deluge-proof bomber construction, which is perfect for taking a beating on day hikes during multi-day river journeys, or walks into the gully-washer rainforest of British Columbia’s coastline. Don’t worry about your valuables getting soaked: this pack will keep your devices dry, so it’ll function just fine for capturing the moment a rainbow peaks through the storm clouds.

  • Guaranteed dry storage
  • Textile lining
  • Lightweight, affordable, and long-lasting

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7. Trail runs

osprey duro pack

Photo: REI

Go ahead and hit your dirt-track stride this summer with the Osprey Duro 15 Hydration Pack is designed to carry what you need but not interfere with your step. With room for all the essentials, this pack has a form fit that prevents pack sway and provides ease of access to snacks when you’re about to collapse.

  • Lightweight and easy to run with
  • 2.5L liquid capacity, 13-15L internal capacity
  • Extra-stretchable for comfort and function

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