Best Backpack: REI, Osprey, Gregory Baltoro and Hyperlite mountain gear
With a wide spectrum of brands all purporting to give you the best backpacking packs, it can be difficult to choose one: the best one. To determine this, let us put our top picks to the test to find out who does give you the best options.
Osprey is an expert in outdoor gear headquartered in Cortez in Southwest Colorado. According to the company, the terrain surrounding their headquarters (the craggy San Juan Mountains and the vast sandstone canyon country) inspires the team to come up with innovative gear and provide various trails which make great testing grounds for their products.
Rating the Osprey brand backpack
Rated 4.7 out of 5.0 stars Osprey backpacks are fitted with some adventure friendly features that make their packs a joy to use. The mission of the Osprey brand is to create packs that not only looks great in modeling but also stitch well and remain proportional even after being put together.
Their team of experts uses three steps to get their product to the reputable standard it enjoys
The materials are sourced from Vietnam where the production team is based and the entire process creates plenty of job opportunities. Osprey is also very involved in conservation and we love that they manage the entire process of creating and building the packs.
Angled water bottle: With Osprey packs you do not need to remove your backpack to access your water bottle. The bottle is angled making a turn of the head sufficient to reach your bottle.
Stow-On-the-Go: The Osprey Stow-on-the-Go is a trekking pole attachment which facilitates quick attachment and efficient carriage of trekking poles. This feature allows you to have easy access when you need to ride out a rough terrain
Fit-on-the-Fly hip belt: This hip belt’s pad can accommodate a wide spectrum of hip sizes while providing a custom fit. It also comes with a pad that extends 5 inches more. The fit-on-the-Fly-hip belt is a standard feature on all Osprey backpacks.
Adjustable harness: With the adjustable harness on Osprey backpacks you can fine tune the torso length of the pack using the release cams behind the harness yoke.
Anti-gravity suspension: The back panel of the Atmos and Aura line of Ospreys is one seamless structure that contours to your body. The panel, which is covered in lightweight mesh from top to bottom, stays well ventilated and comfortable.
Hip belt pockets are not big enough: Because of the padding, there is little room left for the storage pockets without making the construction too bulky.
For a lover of the outdoors backpacking packs do not come any better than Osprey. From the construction to the materials used everything is high quality with a conscience behind it. Every product you get has been tried and tested before being sold to you.
The brand which is officially known as Recreational Equipment Inc (REI) is synonymous with quality backpacking packs and gear. They design their own line of gear and clothing that enables both new hikers as well as hiking veterans to enjoy the outdoors.
Also very involved in conservation efforts, REI sends out its employees and enlists the help of volunteers to clean up trails, clean up beaches and their local habitat. The brand also features some of the top backpacking pack brands in the world in its product line.
Rating the REI brand packs
Rated 4.8 stars out of 5 stars the REI brand brings together formidable brands in backpacking e.g. Sea to Summit, Granite Gear, Osprey and Gregory Baltoro among others. As such, it provides backpacking enthusiasts with several high-quality options to choose from.
Internal compression straps: Not only do these features aid in stabilizing the load, they also help create more room in the pack.
Suspension system: The general design of REI backpacks features a suspension system that pulls the bag upright and tight to your core area. This alleviates any undue pressure and strenuous weight balance on your hips or back as the center of gravity is balanced in your midriff.
Each of the brands features an innovative suspension system that allows you to carry your pack in perfect comfort and safety.
ActivMotion Hip belt: This belt is the main pivot point for the bag and balances the pack on your hips no matter what terrain you are on. The belt is made from sculpted foam padding and features multiple pockets for easy access to your trail essentials. While it is specific to REI backpacks, functional and practical hip belts are synonymous with all the brands under REI.
Detachable brain: You can convert the datable brain at the top of the pack to a day sling backpack.
The detached sling day backpack is not usually a comfortable wear especially if you have it on for hours.
My final thoughts:
Most of these backpacks from REI are featured among the top most popular backpacking packs in the world. They offer well thought out features which signify attention to detail. They are also not too bulky in their construction as to make them too heavy to carry. REI products are generally considered ideal for every type of adventure.
Under the manufacturer name Gregory Mountain products, these backpacks are the brainchild of an entrepreneur who designed his first backpack at 14 years of age as part of a Boy Scout Project. Over the years the Gregory brand has grown to create meticulous designs. In addition, each backpack is geared towards being functional in the field.
Rating the Gregory Baltoro brand packs
With a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0 stars, this brand is considered among the crème de la crème of the backpacking pack brands. Experts in backpack designs and construction, Gregory Baltoro packs feature the most efficient yet innovative, ergonomic designs guaranteed to enhance your backpacking experience.
The brand was the first to build backpacks with different harness, frame and waist belt sizes. It was also the first and only brand to design and feature a hip belt that can be adjusted to fit different hip sizes.
Response A3 suspension: This suspension system creates a more balanced feel to the backpack making it more comfortable to carry. It is rated highly by hikers on long expeditions as well as long distance travelers.
Hip belt and shoulder straps: Featuring a pre-curved, ergonomically tapered hip belt and similarly designed shoulder straps, the weight of the load is adequately distributed on the hips on Gregory Baltoro packs. Both features are created using LifeSpan foam for comfortable padding and have a quick, easy to change design which allows you to easily customize the fit.
Side winder Bottle Holster: The option of mounting your water bottle with a side slant allows easy access to it while on the trail. The pocket is ergonomically shaped with a mesh drawstring closure to secure the bottle. This is a widely appreciated aspect of these packs.
The brand is considered high end and as such can have a very hefty price tag.
My final thoughts
It is no mean feat to be the winner of the Backpacker Magazine’s 2015 Editor’s Choice Gold Award and the winner of the Outside Magazine’s 2015 Gear of the Year Award. These awards are a testament to the quality of products created by the brand. From the pack details to the customized fit, everything about Gregory Baltoro backpack is precise and calculated.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear
The striking feature about Hyperlite Mountain Gear Backpacks is their ultra light constitution. This American brand creates backpacks that can handle everything from weekend trips to extended adventurous hiking expeditions on rugged terrain and still remain a light load.
Rated at a high 4.7 out of 5 stars, this brand appeals to hikers who value comfort and storage capacity owing to their long haul expeditions. Self-confessed minimalists, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear brand focuses on providing high-performance gear for advanced hiking needs.
The brand’s backpacks are designed to become a seamless extension of the hiker’s body making it easy for you to maneuver over any terrain. They are masterpieces of balance, strength, and weight.
Ultra light weight: This selling point appeals to a wide demographic of backpackers. Trails can be long and tedious without adding a bulky backpack that makes it even more uncomfortable. The light weight of Hyperlite Mountain Gear packs makes it easier for hikers to cover difficult terrain quicker.
The weightless feel of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear is achieved using Dyneema technology. This includes
This is the foundational technology for all the brand’s products.
Dyneema Suspension system:
The Dyneema Hardline suspension system allows you to bear the weight of the backpack evenly on the aluminum stays and the padded back panel. The shoulder straps and hip belt are also adequately padded and customized to fit the user seamlessly. The brand makes its shoulder straps, hip belt and back panel from sewn-in spacer mesh and 3/8 inch foam.
Removable aluminum stays:
These stays provide the needed support for the backpack when you are carrying bulky gear. However, they can be removed to make the pack lighter.
This is also a high-end product so you can expect a hefty price tag.
My final thoughts
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear scores highly on technology, functionality, comfort, and durability. The same way their backpacking packs are phenomenal, their other camping products like shelters and tents, sacks, kits and accessories are equally exceptional.
Looking at all of the above options it is understandable why making a choice can be such a difficult affair. We will leave it up to you to decide who gives you the best options. Good luck!