The Best Hiking Backpacks For Backpacking In Australia For 2024

Wandering deep into the wilderness with nothing but your backpack on your back, crammed with everything you’ll need for a few days, evokes feelings of raw freedom and solitude you couldn’t feel any other way. But for these peaceful emotions to conquer those of fatigue and frustration, you need the best hiking backpack for your multi-day adventure.

Having the best hiking backpack that offers superior support and can handle the rugged nature of long expeditions, will be the difference between a positive and a negative backpacking experience.

We’ve spent our fair share of days on the trails with cranky moods and aching feet, carrying around a backpack that simply couldn’t stand up to the task. Until finally, we found a hiking pack that could comfortably support our load and even offer comfort during long and arduous days of walking. 

Finding a hiking backpack that fits perfectly and suits your style isn’t always easy, there are many factors to consider before you can even begin to try on various options. So to help save you time and frustration, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to finding the best hiking backpack for multi-day adventures. 

In this guide, you’ll find helpful explanations on the numerous factors that contribute to the creation of the best backpacks for hiking, as well as a list of the best hiking backpacks for backpacking in Australia for 2024. 

Sunset cloud waterfall at Hartz Peak in Hartz Mountains National Park

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Your Guide To Choosing The Best Hiking Backpacks for 2024

When you begin your search for the best hiking backpack, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the options and the multitude of contradicting advice found on the internet. Instead of telling you which pack you should buy, we are going to explain the steps to take to ensure you partner with the best fit for you. 

Define Your Intended Hiking Style

Hiking through Barron Pass on Frenchmans cap in misty conditions
Hiking on technical trails in extreme weather conditions

The first step to finding the right hiking backpack is to understand what your hiking style requires. Much like the traps you’ll find when searching for the best down jackets or sleeping mats, it’s an easy mistake to purchase the biggest and best bag you can find only to realise it’s largely over the top for what you actually need. On the other hand, it’s common for beginners to choose a bag that’s cheap and basic – but that generally ends in aching shoulders and a pack that can’t handle the added weight.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before moving on to choosing the size and style of your hiking backpack.

  • What is the difficulty of the hikes you plan to complete?
  • Do you see yourself hiking for longer than 1 – 3 nights?
  • Will you be predominantly staying in huts?
  • Will you be hiking alone or with a partner?
  • Do you have or are you willing to buy ultralight sleeping gear?
  • Will you be hiking in winter?

As you move through this post, the reason for these questions will become clearer. But basically, each question is geared towards deciphering the size and durability you’ll need for your hiking backpack. 

Hiking in the snow with the best hiking backpack on, the Osprey Ariel
We constantly find ourselves in extreme weather, so our choice is heavily based on finding tough, reliable packs!

Quick Buyers Guide For Choosing The Best Hiking Backpack

  • Define your intended hiking style before choosing a backpack
  • Look for a backpack with a high nylon denier count for superior durability
  • The recommended volume for overnight hiking backpacks is 50 litres
  • For hikes over 3 days, 65 litres is a good middle-ground option
  • Ensure a backpack has an internal hydration reservoir sleeve and two side water bottle pockets
  • Extra external pockets are handy for storing wet clothes or items you’ll need on the fly
  • For increased support of a medium to heavy load, choose a pack with thick and firm padding
  • Don’t forget to check whether your chosen pack comes with a rain cover, as you’ll need to purchase one separately if not

What Volume For Your Hiking Backpack

Hiking to the Labyrinth in our backpacking packs

Arguably the most important decision you have to make regarding backpacks is their size, but more specifically – their volume. The volume of a backpack refers to the capacity it can hold and is almost always measured in litres. 

The ideal volume needed for a hiking backpack is one of the biggest debates in the hiking community, closely followed by the hiking boots vs trail runners dispute. 

The volume of a backpack is measured in litres and is often included in the name of the product. While many seasoned hikers will try and tell you exactly what size you need, it’s a little more complicated than simply going with their favoured volume.

The most common guide for volume is:

  • 1 – 3 nights: 35 – 55 lt
  • 3 – 5 nights: 55 – 75 lt
  • 5 + nights: 75 lt +
Osprey Ariel 65 AG Hiking Backpack showing litres and small tear

However, remember to consider the questions on your hiking style before taking notice of this volume guide. 

Unless you have ultralight and highly compressible gear, you’ll struggle to fit all the hiking essentials into a 35 lt backpack. A 50 – 55 lt backpack is a good starting point if you’re just getting into overnight hiking or if you have a partner to share the load for 1 – 3 night hikes. 

Personally, I have an Osprey Ariel 65 lt backpack that I use for anything from an overnighter to 5+ nights of hiking. I do have a little space left for overnight hikes and it’s filled to the brim on the longer adventures, but not enough to warrant having two multi-day backpacks.

My Partner has an Osprey Aether Plus 85 lt backpack to allow enough space for his camera gear and to cater for our longer hikes. This is on the larger end of the scale and really only necessary if you have a lot of gear – as you would for mountaineering, climbing or ski touring. 

Size And Fit Of Hiking Backpacks

Adjusting the size of the Osprey Arial 65L hiking backpack on the trail

The size of a hiking backpack refers to the length of the harness which rests against your back. This is commonly adjustable, as are the hip belt and shoulder straps. Unfortunately, the sizing of a backpack is not standardised among brands so you’ll need to measure your torso. 

To measure your back, run a measuring tape from the protruding bone at your neck to the middle of your hip bones. If you’re sitting on the cusp of a size and can’t decide which to choose, it’s better to contact the brand rather than purchase a backpack that isn’t the right fit. 

If the fit is incorrect, this can lead to added weight on your shoulders or hips and can cause unnecessary frustration and pain. 

You’ll also find women’s and men’s specific hiking backpacks which are designed to fit the unique shape of both genders. The women’s backpacks are generally shorter, more narrow and have contoured shoulder straps. If you’re a smaller male, a women’s specific backpack could be better suited to your shape. This is also true for taller women who need a longer harness.

Note: Many brands will have a guide on their website that teaches you how to adjust your pack once you receive it. But if you’re unsure you can always pop into an outdoor shop and ask one of the staff to fit it for you.

Support Systems Of The Best Hiking Backpacks

The support of a hiking backpack is achieved by the suspension system and the padding provided. The system includes the harness, hip belt, back panels, shoulder and chest straps, and frame.

Padding

For the best support, look for a hiking backpack that has firm and thick padding on the back panel and hip belt. This may not be as comfortable as a pack with softer padding when you try them on in a store, but the softer padding won’t perform as well with a medium to heavy load.  

Frame

Back in the day, many backpacks for hiking were made with a big and bulky external frame. These were great for hauling giant loads but super unnecessary and uncomfortable for your average hiker. 

Now, most hiking backpacks will come with a specific internal frame design. Some ultralight backpacks have no frame at all or just a frame sheet, which doesn’t offer much support for a load over 10 kg. 

If you plan to carry more than 10 kg, look for a backpack that has either a perimeter frame or a tubular frame. This essentially means there is a purpose-built frame that runs around the harness of the pack in order to distribute the weight. 

If there is little information to be found about the frame of a backpack, you can look at how heavy the pack is and the load range (if listed). Usually, a higher weight and load range will indicate a sturdier and more supportive frame.

Ventilation

Ventilation on the hip belt and back panel is a major factor to consider in order to avoid having sweaty patterns across your shirt! Some hiking backpacks are made with a suspended mesh back panel that allows air to flow between your back and the pack. 

Osprey Mira 32 Airspeed Suspension harness system

An example of this is the Osprey Aura/Atmos backpacks, which have a technology called Anti-Gravity. This is the technology that I have on my Osprey Ariel AG 65 and I absolutely love it. Unfortunately, they have stopped including this technology in the Ariel/Aether range. 

Load Range Of The Best Hiking Packs

In addition to the volume a pack can carry, it’s important to factor in the bag’s load range. This refers to how much weight the bag can comfortably support. Unfortunately, not all brands list a load range for their hiking backpacks. Instead, you can gauge the range by taking note of the construction of the harness, the type of frame, and the overall weight of the pack.

While a higher load range will ultimately involve a heavier backpack, the extra support and durability are often worth the added grams.

Weight Of Hiking Packs

Hiking Mt Kosciuszko at sunset in the best women's hiking Shirt

As a basic guideline, the heavier the pack the bigger load it can bear. This is because the heaviness is often due to a more robust frame, increased padding and tougher material. Most brands will provide a base weight for the hiking backpack when it’s empty. 

For ultralight hikers that have a gear list weighing under 15 kg, a bag with low weight will often suffice. However, if you’re just starting out or know your gear is heavier than 15 kg, you’ll want to look for a pack with a larger base weight that can take the brunt of your load. 

If there is a load range listed for the backpack in question, the weight is of little concern. But sadly, not many brands other than Osprey list the load range. To help you in these circumstances, below is a basic guideline to match the bag weight to its potential load range. 

  • Pack Weight: 0.8 kg – 1.5 kg | Load Range: 5 kg – 15 kg
  • Pack Weight: 1.5 kg – 2 kg | Load Range: 14 kg – 18 kg
  • Pack Weight: 2 kg – 2.5 kg | Load Range: 16 kg – 25 kg
  • Pack Weight: 2.5 kg + | Load Range: 18 kg – 30 kg

Just remember to use this as a guide only and take the price into consideration as well. Some bags are made superior to others and can therefore carry more loads while keeping their base weight low. Others are made of a cheaper construction that won’t hold up nearly as well.

Durability Of The Best Backpacks For Hiking

Osprey Ariel 65 AG Hiking Backpack showing litres and small tear
The only blemish on my pack after years of heavy use, this has no impact on the performance of the pack.

The durability of a hiking backpack is arguably the most important component, fighting for first place with support. Because let’s face it, If your bag breaks when you’re deep in the wilderness, you’re pretty much screwed! 

For this reason, I will always choose a more durable fabric over a lightweight fabric. Luckily, there are a few hiking backpacks that have managed to excel in both lightweight and durable fabric which then eliminates the choice. However, you’ll pay a pretty penny for this option. 

Canvas is the most durable fabric, closely followed by nylon with a high denier count (the density of the fabric). Most brands will list the denier count on the description of the product. 

These are the most common fabrics and technologies you’ll come across while searching for the best hiking backpacks:

  • Nylon: The most popular fabric for hiking backpacks, this is a synthetic fibre and a type of polyamide thermoplastic
  • Polyester: Similar to nylon, polyester is a synthetic fabric that is lighter yet not as durable as nylon
  • Canvas: Not as common anymore, canvas is a highly durable fabric made predominantly of tightly woven cotton or a blend of cotton and polyester
  • Ripstop: A fabric (usually nylon but can sometimes be polyester) that is woven in such a way that reinforces it, making it more resistant to tearing and ripping
  • Cordura: A brand that makes a collection of synthetic fibre-based technologies that are known to be highly durable, the base fabric is usually nylon
  • Polyamide: Nylon is the commercial name for a type of polyamide thermoplastic, but recently brands have been simply stating the material is polyamide
  • Nylon Dobby: Dobby refers to the style of weave usually created on a dobby loom, this style of weave offers a little extra stretch and less weight

Features Of Hiking Backpacks

Pulling water bottle from accessible pcket on my favourite hiking backpack

Not all backpacks for hiking are made equally, and some sacrifice certain features for a lower base rate. It’s important to choose the backpack components you care most about and ensure your pack of choice delivers on these features. 

Hydration

Most hiking backpacks will have an internal hydration reservoir sleeve for your water bladder and two side pockets to fit two extra water bottles. Most packs will have a sleeve large enough for either two to three litre bladders. 

We strongly recommend purchasing a backpack with both the reservoir sleeve and side water bottle pockets. While bladders are the most functional and sought-after for hiking, the hose can freeze when hiking in winter conditions and water bottles are much easier to fill from a flowing stream.

Rain Cover

Walking down a staircase made from logs on Frenchmans Cap Tasmania

The best hiking backpacks will have a rain cover included that rolls up and fits inside a pocket either at the top or the bottom of the pack. If your most desired backpack doesn’t have a built-in rain cover, it’s possible to buy one separately. But make sure it fits perfectly as one that is too large or too small will be useless.

Water Resistance

In addition to a rain cover, most backpacks will be equipped with the same DWR (durable water repellent) finish found on many rain jackets and sleeping bags and some might even come with water-resistant zippers. But remember, while the DWR will stop a light spray from dampening your gear, it’s not a waterproof solution. There are some waterproof backpacks on the market but it’s not common. 

Note: Even if a backpack has a DWR coating, it’s wise to keep your items in dry bags inside your pack – especially those that are valuable. We use the Sea To Summit dry bags and can highly recommend them. 

Main Compartment Access

Placing a PLB in the main compartment of my Hiking Backpack, the Osprey Ariel 65 AG

Almost every backpack you find that’s designed for hiking long distances will have its main access from the top. In addition to the top access, you’ll often find another zip at the front or side that opens to the main compartment of the pack. 

Honestly, I rarely use the extra access on my hiking pack as I have all my equipment in a dry bag. However, it is a lot easier to find something stuffed at the bottom of your bag if there are extra access points. 

Additionally, some packs have an additional zip at the bottom of the bag that provides access to what is often referred to as the sleeping bag compartment. This part can be sectioned off by a removable divider and I have found it handy to stash my tent in this section when it’s wet. 

Exterior Pockets

Hiking out from Lonely Tarns with Lightening Ridge, Mt Eliza and Mt Anne behind

Generally, the top lid of a backpack will have at least one zippered pocket in order to store items you need often such as sunscreen, snacks and a headtorch. You’ll also find pockets on the hip belt and sometimes either a stash pocket or a separate zippered compartment at the front of the pack. 

Having extra pockets does add a smidge of extra weight but they prove their worth when you constantly need to grab items or take off layers. Especially if the weather is crummy and you’re trying to keep the majority of your gear dry! 

Compression Straps

Hiking through Pine Valley Forest near Pine Valley Hut

Compression straps may seem unnecessary, but they do wonders in keeping your load close to your back – especially when your bag isn’t completely full. This helps to keep you balanced and your bag comfortably positioned. 

Plus, these straps can come in handy when you need to clip something to your bag or secure a longer item in the side pockets. 

Look for a bag that has dual compression straps on either side as a minimum. 

Top Lid Vs Roll Top

Most commonly, hiking backpacks are designed with a top lid that covers the top access to the pack and is held in place by buckles. The other type of closure is a roll top, where you simply roll the top access and clip it to the side of the backpack. 

The benefit of a top lid is the extra external pockets, and the benefit of a roll top is the fact it is lighter. However, most brands have eliminated the need to make this choice by making the top lid completely removable. 

Finding Sustainably Made Hiking Backpacks

Walking in comfort in my Osprey 85L hiking backpack

Finding a sustainable option for a hiking backpack is finally becoming easier as brands are beginning to use recycled materials for their fabrics. However, it’s important to remember that more factors contribute to a product or brand being classed as sustainable.

Below are some points to consider if you’re looking to find the most sustainable option for your hiking backpack. 

What Materials Are Being Used

While it’s not always easy to determine whether the materials used to make our beloved products are sustainable, there are a few words we can look out for. 

Obviously, anything that states it’s recycled is a big win, as is a product with a Bluesign Approved label. 

Bluesign Logo, sustainably sourced fabric checker
Bluesign Logo

Fair Trade 

Fairtrade refers to the promise that traders in developed countries are ensuring the producers in developing countries are being paid and treated fairly. This is an extremely difficult metric to figure out as in many cases, even the brands trying to do the right thing in supporting fair wages and conditions have no idea what the factories are actually doing. 

However, if a brand has the Fairtrade logo then this is a great start.

Durability and Longevity

Durability is a massively important factor in sustainability. Even if a hiking backpack is made with sustainable materials in an environmentally conscious way, if the quality of the backpack is poor then this results in a short life span which directly adds to waste and overconsumption. 

Just remember, you get what you pay for!

Hiking up Stacks Bluff in the snow wearing some of the best rain jackets on the market

Company Policies

Company policies, such as repairing faulty or damaged products, and taking back old gear to be recycled, can make a significant impact on sustainability. Many of the companies at the forefront of sustainability, such as Osprey and Mammut will offer a lifetime repair warranty.

9 Best Hiking Backpacks For Backpacking In Australia For 2024

Best Hiking Backpacks Comparison Table

Hiking PackPriceVolumeConstructionLoad RangeWeightSustainable
Osprey Ariel 65 / Aether 65$47065L420HD Nylon Packcloth14-27kg2.2kgBluesign Approved Material, PFC-Free DWR
Osprey Renn 65 / Rook 65$27065L600D Polyester, 450D Polyester, 1000D Nylon Packcloth14-18kg1.6kgPFC-Free DWR
Osprey Aura AG 50 / Atmos AG 50$42050L210D Honeycomb Nylon, 210D High Tenacity Nylon, 500D High Tenacity Nylon11-16kg1.9kg100% Recycled Fabrics, Bluesign-Approved, PFC/PFAS-Free DWR
Osprey Lumina 60 / Levity 60$37060L30D Cordura Silnylon Ripstop, NanoFly 210D Nylon, NanoFly 210D Nylon4-11kg0.8kgPFC-Free DWR
Mammut Trion Spine 75$68075L100% Polyamide16-35kg2.6kgPFC-Free DWR, Fair Wear Partner
The North Face Banchee 65$55065L70D IronLite™ Nylon, 210D IronLite™ Nylon14-22kg1.8kgPFC-Free DWR
The North Face Terra 65$39065L210D Nylon, 600D Polyester14-22kg1.9kgPFC-Free DWR
Gregory Deva 60 / Baltoro 65$48060/65L210D 40% Recycled Nylon & 420D 45% Recycled Nylon, 630D Nylon14-23kg2.2kgPFC-Free DWR
One Planet Styx 65 – 75$59065/75LWATERLOC Canvas Body and Binding, 750D Cordura® Nylon Base15-34kg2.7kgBluesign-Approved Ethically Sourced, Made In Australia

Note: Every pack on this list is either made sustainably or from a brand that is putting sustainable practices at the forefront of its future. Check out our post on the best sustainable outdoor brands to learn more. 

Best Overall Backpacking Backpack
1. Osprey Ariel/Aether 65 Hiking Backpack

The Osprey Ariel and Aether technical packs are women’s and men’s specific respectively. These backpacks are Osprey’s award winners in the 55-litre range, and we can certainly vouch for that title over the range of volumes offered. 

I have owned the Ariel 65 pack for over 5 years now, and Dylan has purchased the Aether Plus 85 backpack in the last year. My pack has shown next to no wear in that time and I can assure you, I’ve put it to the ultimate test!

Dylan fills his pack with 21 – 27 kg of gear, depending on the length of our hike, and finds it comfortable throughout even the toughest journey’s such as Frenchman’s Cap and the Western Arthur’s Traverse

We love these bags and couldn’t recommend them highly enough. Check out our full review of the Osprey Aether Plus.

What they’re good for: The Osprey Ariel and Aether range are designed to carry heavy loads with ease due to their superior suspension system. They’re the ideal pack for hikers carrying extra weight and/or those that need a tough backpack they can trust will see them through a technical trail.

Price: $470 AUD
Material: Bluesign-approved 420HD nylon packcloth, PFC-free DWR
Weight: 2.2 kg
Volume: 65 litres (also available in 55, 60, 70, 85 & 100 litres)
Load Range: 14 – 27 kg
Sustainability: Bluesign-approved material, PFC-free DWR

Osprey Ariel Backpacking Pack

Features:

  • Included raincover packed into the top lid, made from PFC-free DWR and Bluesign-approved materials
  • Large dual side water bottle pockets constructed of stretch mesh, with access from both the top and the side to grab on the go
  • Front stash pocket large enough for a rain jacket
  • Dual zippered hip-pockets that can fit a phone or snacks comfortably
  • The main compartment can be accessed via a large front panel zip and the top
  • A removable floating top lid with an external zippered pocket and lash points  
  • Zippered sleeping bag compartment with a removable divider
  • The internal hydration reservoir sleeve fits up to a 3-litre bladder
  • Dual upper and lower side compression straps help to prevent movement and increase balance
  • Dual front panel compression straps with StraightJacket compression to bring contents closer to your body
  • Removable sleeping pad straps at the bottom of the pack
  • Dual ice axe loops and bungee tie-offs
  • Anchor loops to attach an Osprey Daylite day pack (sold separately)

Suspension:

  • AirScape backpanel – a mesh-covered 3D foam framesheet that keeps the pack’s weight close to the body for extra stability and provides cushioning and additional ventilation
  • A thicker panel of mesh-covered foam for increased lumbar support
  • An adjustable torso length and custom Fit-on-the-Fly hip belt and shoulder straps allow for the perfect fit
  • Internal 3.5 mm LightWire peripheral frame

Positives

  • Highly durable
  • Can comfortably manage heavy loads
  • Wide range of adjustments to perfectly fit any body shape

Negatives

  • The packs base weight is on the heavier end of the scale
  • Lumbar foam can feel a little hard for some
  • I personally like the Anti-Gravity suspension better (which they have dropped but still use for the Aura and Atmos packs)

Best Budget Hiking Pack
2. Osprey Renn/Rook 65 Hiking Backpack

The Osprey Renn and Rook Hiking Backpacks are the best budget packs on this list – without compromising on comfort and support. These packs are made without all the extra features, which would turn some veteran hikers away, but for those that are just starting out it’s perfect. 

The Renn is a women’s specific pack and the Rook is men’s specific. Both backpacks are lightweight thanks to their basic design yet offer exceptional comfort for loads under 18kg.

What they’re good for: The Osprey Renn and Rook backpacks are the ideal companions for those entering the backpacking scene. The lightweight design is perfect for an overnighter where you can happily pack enough gear without overloading the pack. 

Price: $270 AUD
Material: Main: 600D Polyester, Accent: 450D Polyester, Bottom: 1000D Nylon Packcloth
Weight: 1.6 kg
Volume: 65 litres (also available in 50 litres)
Load Range: 14 – 18 kg
Sustainability: PFC-free DWR

Osprey Rook Hiking Backpack

Features:

  • Integrated rain cover that pulls out from a compartment at the bottom of the pack
  • Dual side mesh water bottle pockets
  • Dual zippered hip pockets
  • Main compartment access from the top, which is covered by the top lid
  • Fixed top lid with zippered pocket
  • Zippered sleeping bag compartment with a removable divider
  • Internal hydration sleeve can fit up to a 3lt bladder
  • Dual upper and lower side compression straps help to keep your load balanced and close to your body
  • Removable sleeping mat straps at the bottom of the pack
  • Cord loop attachment points on the front panel that are compatible with the Osprey Daylite (sold separately)

Suspension:

  • 4 mm LightWire peripheral frame transfers your load from the harness to hip belt sufficiently
  • The Airspeed backpanel is a 3D-tensioned breathable mesh backpanel with great ventilation
  • The Airspeed backpanel has a torso adjustment to provide a better fit for more sizes

Positives

  • Very affordable
  • The pack has a light base weight without foregoing comfort and support
  • Durable

Negatives

  • Not made from sustainable material
  • Lacks some features needed for mountaineering or ski touring
  • There is no external stash pocket
  • Torso adjustment points are set and don’t offer very many options

Most Sustainable Hiking Backpack
3. Osprey Aura/Atmos AG 50 Hiking Backpack

Osprey is certainly known to be at the forefront for the best hiking backpacks but now there’s an even better reason to love them… 

They’re beginning to make packs with 100% recycled fabrics!  

The Aura and Atmos backpacks are Osprey’s most popular packs and are now manufactured with recycled fabrics that continue to be durable and trustworthy. The only major downside to the Aura and Atmos packs is its weight to load range ratio. These packs weigh just under 2 kg and can only handle up to 16 kg. 

However, if that doesn’t bother you then these are feature-filled packs that offer the best suspension Osprey has designed (in my opinion). The Anti-Gravity system is the most comfortable and supportive suspension system I have tested and even if you’re carrying a lighter load, it could be worth the extra few grams of base weight!

What they’re good for: The Osprey Aura/Atmos 50 packs are the perfect companion for an overnighter or for smaller folk who don’t need such a hefty pack, such as the Ariel/Aether 65. You can also purchase the Aura and Atmos backpacks in a 65 litre option that will assist in a larger gear haul, however, the load range is still maxed at 18 kg so it might be better to choose the Ariel or Aether in those circumstances. 

Price: $420 AUD
Material: Main: recycled 210D honeycomb nylon, accent: recycled 210D high tenacity nylon, Bottom: recycled 500D high tenacity nylon
Weight: 1.9 kg
Volume: 50 litres (also available in 65 litres)
Load Range: 11 – 16 kg
Sustainability: 100% recycled fabrics, Bluesign-approved material, PFC/PFAS-free DWR

Osprey Aura Backpacking Pack

Features:

  • Integrated raincover packed into a pouch at the bottom of the pack, made from PFC-free DWR and Bluesign-approved materials
  • Tall dual access side mesh water bottle pockets on both sides
  • Dual zippered hip pockets
  • Reinforced front shove-it pocket that is perfect for a rain jacket or wet gear
  • The main compartment can be accessed via the curved zip access on each side, and the top
  • A removable floating top lid with an external zippered pocket and lash points 
  • Zippered sleeping bag compartment with a removable divider
  • Internal hydration reservoir sleeve
  • Dual upper and lower side compression straps help to prevent movement and increase balance
  • Removable sleeping pad straps at the bottom of the pack
  • Dual ice axe loops with upper compression strap capture
  • Stow-on-the-Go hiking pole attachment system

Suspension:

  • The Osprey Fit-on-the-Fly harness and hip belt allow you to fine-tune the fit as you hike to increase comfort
  • The suspension system can be adjusted by the shoulder straps, torso and hip belt
  • The Anti-Gravity system has a 4 mm powder-coated full peripheral frame to increase stability
  • The backpanel has a two-tone spacer mesh to add strength and a silicone print in the lumbar zone to increase grip for load transfer and comfort
  • The Anti-Gravity system seamlessly extends the tensioned and mesh covered backpanel into the hip belt

Positives

  • Extremely comfortable suspension system that can be easily fine-tuned
  • Sustainably made with recycled fabrics
  • Durable pack with lots of features

Negatives

  • The pack has a heavy base weight compared to its load range of only 16 kg
  • Quite expensive for its size and load capacity

Best Ultralight Hiking Backpack
4. Osprey Lumina/Levity 60 Hiking Backpack

The Osprey Lumina and Levity 60 ultralight hiking packs are the lightest on this list, but that doesn’t mean they lack superior comfort. Osprey has managed to create a pack that weighs under 1 kg yet still supports a wire frame to uphold the structure of the pack.

What you will sacrifice for such a light construction is a long list of handy features or the ability to carry more than 11 kg. However, if you’re goal is ultralight hiking then none of these sacrifices will concern you. You might actually be impressed with the features that are still included! 

What they’re good for: For ultralight hikers who would rather have a sturdy pack than shave those last couple of grams, the Osprey Lumina and Lumina are for you. This pack will continue to provide exceptional support and comfort on those long treks even when your bag is packed to the 11 kg max.  

Price: $370 AUD
Material: Main: 30D Cordura Silnylon Ripstop, Accent: NanoFly 210D Nylon, bottom: NanoFly 210D Nylon
Weight: 0.8 kg
Volume: 60 litres (also available in 45 litres)
Load Range: 4.5 – 11 kg
Sustainability: PFC-free DWR

Osprey Levity Backpack for hiking in Australia

Features:

  • Dual access fabric side water bottle pockets on both sides
  • Front fabric stash-it pocket
  • Main compartment access from the top
  • Fixed top lid with external zippered pocket
  • The top lid has cord loop attachment points for external gear 
  • The main compartment has an internal compression strap to keep the load close to your body
  • Two removable side compression cords

Suspension:

  • 3.5 mm LightWire aluminium frame
  • The backpanel has a 3D-tensioned breathable mesh with superior side ventilation
  • The shoulder straps and hip belt are built with a seamless layered mesh for increased comfort and cushioning

Positives

  • Very lightweight without compromising on support and comfort
  • Relatively affordable compared to other ultralight backpacks
  • The pack fabric is quick drying

Negatives

  • No integrated rain cover
  • No ability to adjust the torso or hip belt
  • No internal hydration sleeve

Best Hiking Pack For Heavy Loads
5. Mammut Trion Spine 75 Hiking Backpack

The Mammut Trion Spine 75 is the creme de la creme of hiking backpacks with an innovative back panel design they call Active Spine Technology. This technology allows greater range of motion as the shoulders and hips can move independently, while staying connected in the centre to keep the weight distribution even. 

While you’ll pay a pretty penny for this backpack, it could be worthwhile if you’re a technical hiker that needs to carry massive loads. Just remember you’ll need to purchase a separate rain cover as this pack doesn’t come with one. 

What they’re good for: The Mammut Trion Spine 75 is an adventurous hiker’s dream. With plenty of features to latch on ski or mountaineering gear, and a load range of up to 35 kg, you’ll fit all your activities in the one bag and barely feel the weight. 

Price: $680 AUD
Material: 100% Polyamide
Weight: 2.6 kg
Volume: 75 litres (also available in 50 litres)
Load Range: 16 – 35 kg
Sustainability: PFC-free DWR, Fair Wear partner

Mammut Trion Backpacking Pack for hiking in Australia

Features:

  • One side pocket for a water bottle
  • One shoulder strap zippered pocket
  • One zippered pocket on the hip belt
  • Internal zipper compartment for valuables
  • The main compartment can be accessed via a large front panel zip and the top
  • A floating top lid with zippered pocket and lash points
  • Compatible with a hydration bladder
  • Lateral compression straps to secure load closer to the body, these can also be tensioned at the front to carry extra gear
  • A rope-fixing strap can be found underneath the lid
  • Trekking pole carrier to free hands quickly
  • Daisy chain loop to attach mountaineering gear
  • Dual ice-axe attachments
  • Gear loop on the hip belt
  • Reinforced side ski attachments

Suspension:

  • High-density 2-layer EVA padding covers the hip belt and shoulder straps
  • Active Spine Technology that allows for increased movement
  • Adjustable back panel to accommodate a range of heights

Positives

  • The back panel allows for great range of motion
  • Durable outer fabric
  • Very comfortable with a heavy load
  • Easily adjustable

Negatives

  • No raincover included
  • Expensive
  • Heavy base pack weight
  • The inner fabric isn’t as durable as it should be
  • Unisex size doesn’t fit smaller females

6. The North Face Banchee 65 Pack

The North Face Banchee 65 pack offers the best of both worlds with a lightweight design that can still carry a medium load range comfortably. Not only that but this pack is filled with features that will make organisation a dream. 

Comfort, ventilation and ease of access are the main priorities with this technical backpack and you sure can tell. While there is a women’s 50-litre option, we recommend the 65-litre for all unless you’re sticking to short overnight hikes. 

What they’re good for: The North Face Banchee 65 pack will be your favourite hiking backpack if you prioritise organisation and a lightweight design. You’ll comfortably carry up to 22 kg in this pack over moderately technical terrain. But while we haven’t found any reviews stating a decline in durability, we’d be wary of the thinner fabric used. 

Price: $550 AUD
Material: Body: 70D IronLite™ nylon, Bottom: 210D IronLite™ nylon with PFC-free DWR finish
Weight: 1.8 kg
Volume: 65 litres (also available in a women’s 50 litre)
Load Range: 14 – 22 kg
Sustainability: PFC-free DWR

The North Face Banchee 65 Pack for Backpacking in Australia

Features:

  • Spacious dual-zippered hip pockets large enough to stash a phone
  • Dual side mesh water bottle pockets
  • Two front zippered stash pockets
  • Zippered sleeping bag compartment
  • Access to the main compartment is through the top, which is secured by a floating top lid
  • Floating top lid with zippered pocket and internal zippered valuables pocket
  • Internal hydration reservoir sleeve
  • Dual side compression straps help to prevent movement and increase balance
  • Dual loops at the bottom of the pack to keep tools such as an ice axe or hiking poles

Suspension:

  • On-the-fly adjustable back panel, adjustable and breathable hip belt and shoulder straps
  • T6 aluminium frame can accommodate loads up to 22 kg and sits close to your back to allow improved load control
  • The frame is 2 piece to allow increased flexibility
  • Full trampoline back panel with FlashDry technologies is highly breathable, quick drying and comfortable

Positives

  • Very lightweight compared to its load range
  • A large number of pockets makes organisation easy
  • Highly breathable back panel

Negatives

  • A little expensive
  • No raincover included
  • Compression straps aren’t sufficient enough to secure a smaller load

7. The North Face Terra 65 Pack

The North Face has recently redesigned its Terra 65 pack to incorporate the user-friendly OPTIFIT suspension system. This basically means you now have the ability to adjust the hip belt and torso to suit your body shape. 

While this pack doesn’t stand out in any category, it’s a great all-rounder that won’t cost you your entire savings yet will offer great comfort and support for a medium load.

What they’re good for: The North Face Terra 65 pack is the ideal choice for hikers that are looking for comfort over a long weekend of hiking. However, there have been some concerns about its durability so perhaps keep it away from super technical hikes. 

Price: $390 AUD
Material: Body: 210D nylon, bottom: 600D polyester
Weight: 1.9 kg
Volume: 65 litres (also available in 55 litres)
Load Range: 14 – 22 kg
Sustainability: PFC-free DWR

The North Face Terra Hiking Backpack for Australian hiking

Features:

  • Dual side mesh water bottle pockets
  • Dual hip zippered pockets
  • A floating top lid with an external zippered pocket covers the main top access of the pack
  • Additional main compartment access through the front courtesy of a full J zip
  • Large front stash pocket that’s perfect for wet gear or camp shoes
  • A zippered sleeping back compartment at the bottom of the pack
  • Internal hydration sleeve
  • Dual upper and lower side compression straps
  • Dual sleeping mat straps at the bottom of the pack

Suspension:

  • The Dyno Lift System is self-equalizing and allows for on-the-fly adjustability of the torso and load lifters
  • The OPTIFIT suspension system ensures a comfortable and secure fit due to the extra thick foam cushioning
  • Breathable mesh covers the foam cushioning to increase breathability

Positives

  • Great all-rounder
  • Easily adjustable on the go and fits many body shapes
  • Loads of pockets for organisation

Negatives

  • No Internal raincover included
  • Some reviews have warned of its durability
  • Recycled materials are only used in North America

8. Gregory Deva 60/Baltoro 65 Hiking Packs

You may not have heard of Gregory, but this brand is extremely popular in North America for its comfortable and durable packs. And finally, their products are slowly seeping into Australia. 

The Deva and Baltoro are Gregory’s flagship packs that have provided comfort and durability time and time again. These hiking packs are filled with features that will allow you to bring along your favourite items without noticing the extra weight. 

What they’re good for: The Deva 60 and Baltoro 65 are the ideal choices for those intending to embark on long and technical hikes where comfort, durability and a high load range are of the most importance. 

Price: $480 AUD
Material: Body: 210D 40% Recycled Nylon & 420D 45% Recycled Nylon, bottom: 630D Nylon, lining: 40% Post-consumer Recycled 135D Polyester
Weight: 2.2 kg
Volume: 60/65 litres (also available in 75 & 80 litres)
Load Range: 14 – 23 kg
Sustainability: Recycled materials, PFC-free DWR

Gregory Deva Backpacking Pack

Features:

  • Side mesh water bottle pocket on one side and an additional SideWinder bottle holster for one-handed on-the-go access on the other – can be tucked away when not in use
  • Dual front zippered pockets with a divider
  • Spacious dual zippered hip belt pockets that are large enough to fit a phone
  • Front stash-it mesh pocket
  • The main compartment can be accessed from the front via a U-shaped zip and from the top
  • Removable floating top lid with external and internal zippered pockets and lash points
  • Zippered sleeping bag compartment at the bottom with a removable divider
  • Dual upper and lower side compression straps
  • Sleeping pad straps at the bottom of the pack
  • Internal hydration sleeve
  • QuickStow system on the shoulder strap to secure sunglasses when they’re not in use
  • Adjustable attachment loops and upper shock locks for hiking poles and ice axes
  • The suspension components are treated with an odour control fabric treatment called Polygiene Stays Fresh Technology

Suspension:

  • The FreeFloat A3 suspension system has dynamic flex panels and auto rotating shoulder straps that move with your body
  • AirCushion Foamless backpanel provides exceptional ventilation
  • 3D Shoulder harness and hip belt construction provides a close fit comfort
  • ComfortGrip lumbar pad increases comfort and support by allowing you to position the pack high on your hips
  • Perimeter alloy frame and fibreglass anti-barreling cross-stay create stable load management

Positives

  • Durable and well-trusted backpack
  • Loads of pockets to help with organisation
  • Extremely comfortable suspension system with odour control

Negatives

  • Quite Expensive
  • No integrated rain cover
  • The pack’s base weight is on the heavier side

Most Durable Hiking Pack
9. One Planet Styx 65 – 75 Hiking Backpack

One Planet is an all-Australian company that will provide you with the most durable hiking pack you’ve ever seen – for an affordable price and without sacrificing comfort. The Styx 65 – 75 litre backpack is one of the only canvas-built packs you’ll find these days and its durability is incomparable. 

Of course, this does mean you’ll be lugging around a heavy pack but for the peace of mind that this beast will survive whatever you throw at it – and keep you supported with a heavy load – we think it’s worth it. 

What they’re good for: The Styx 65 – 75 litre backpack is the perfect all-rounder pack for a weekend or week-long adventure into the rugged wilderness. You’ll be able to pack comfortably knowing that the superior support system will keep you comfortable over the long days of trekking. 

Price: $590 AUD
Material: WATERLOC canvas body and canvas binding, 750-denier Cordura® nylon base
Weight: 2.7 kg
Volume: Size small – 65 litres, size medium – 70 litres, size large – 75 litres
Load Range: 15 – 34 kg
Sustainability: Bluesign-approved material, Ethically sourced and made in Australia

One Planet Hiking Backpack for Australian Hiking

Features:

  • WATERLOC canvas fabric is water resistant and highly durable
  • Dual large canvas side water bottle pockets
  • Front external pocket with hook closure
  • Option to add on hip belt pockets for $35 each
  • Main compartment can be accessed via the zippered bottom compartment and through the top
  • Removable floating top lid with external and internal zippered pockets
  • Internal loop to secure hydration pack
  • Dual upper and lower side compression straps
  • Internal compression strap underneath the lid provides a cavity for your head
  • Attachment points located on the pack to secure ski touring or mountaineering gear

Suspension:

  • The EXACT FIT harness is endorsed by the Australian Chiropractic Association
  • The frame is made from high-grade, hardened aluminium, channelled to increase rigidity and hand-bent in Melbourne
  • Torso and shoulder strap adjustments allow for the perfect fit
  • Thick lumbar support foam for increased comfort and stability

Positives

  • Extremely durable
  • Comfortable with a heavy pack weight
  • Made in Australia 
  • Ethical and community driven company

Negatives

  • Expensive
  • The pack has a heavy base weight
  • No information to determine if the cotton used is organic
  • Not as breathable as some of the other options

Final Thoughts

As you may have noticed, we are big fans of Osprey’s hiking packs and they are most certainly our go-to for the best backpacks in Australia. While they’re not the cheapest options, their suspension systems are ahead of the game and the fact they’re beginning to produce recycled packs just puts the icing on the cake. 

Dylan and I have the Osprey Ariel and Aether and couldn’t be happier. However, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the hiking backpacks we’ve suggested and whether you would recommend one that isn’t on this list. And as always, please don’t hesitate to comment if you have a question – we’re always happy to answer.

Happy Hiking 🙂

Last Updated: 31/12/2023