Throughout the year, Gear Institute faculty field tested and reviewed scores of backpacks. From those, we’ve rounded up the Best in Class in a number of pack categories.
Millet Ubic 60+10 Backpack
Ideally suited for weekend backpackers, extended mountaineering expeditions, or a more minimalist longer-haul trek, the Millet Ubic impressed our tester with its expansive organizational features and trail-ready comfort. An integrated rain cover amps the versatility, and the variety of gear loops lets you carry whatever you need for your choice excursion in complete comfort (or at least until you start pushing past 55-pound loads). Read the full review here.
Dakine Arc 34L Ski Backpack
Though it doesn’t have a dedicated snowboard carrying system, the Dakine Arc gets just about everything else right. Our tester loved how it molded to his back “like clay” and ski-carrying configurations worked in both the A-frame and diagonal profiles. The only catch? Since the outer pockets can be hard to access you do need to think ahead when you pack everything up. Read the full review here.
Patagonia Ascensionist 35L Backpack
Tester Tanner Jackson described the Patagonia Ascensionist as “as pure a climbing pack as I’ve tested,” in large part due to its remarkable versatility. A wide-mouth opening’s overlapping collars secure your goods with remarkable effenciency, and a variety of different external storage configurations lets you customize the load to your kit. OCD-obsessed may notice a lack of internal organization options, but the pack has a fantastically low weight-to-capacity ratio. Read the full review here.