The Best Weekend Backpacks (50-69 L)

Our experienced testers perform extensive field tests and score products on objective metrics to determine the best backpacks for weekend trips.

We evaluated the best weekend backpacks on multiple trips in the Sierra Nevada mountains. We scored each product on comfort, storage, stability, durability, and extra features. The packs in this test ranged from the lightweight Deuter ACT Zero 50+15 at 3 pounds 6 ounces up to the Gregory Zulu 65 at 4 pounds 13 ounces. The Gregory was the most expensive at $250, and the least expensive model was the Kelty Redwing at $140.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Osprey Atmos 65 AG
95
Best in Class
2015
Comfort/Fit 9
Stability 9
Storage 9
Durability 9
Extras 9

Super comfortable

Adjustable hip belt and shoulder harness

Great ventilation

Good organizational features

No integrated rain cover

Only two color choices

MSRP
$259.85
BEST DEAL
Arc’teryx Altra 65
94
Best in Class
2016
Comfort/Fit 10
Storage 9
Stability 9
Durability 8
Extras 8

Easy torso adjustment

Very durable

Unrivaled comfort

Very expensive

No external bottle pockets

Heavy

MSRP
$450.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Gregory Zulu 65
93
Comfort/Fit 10
Storage 10
Stability 8
Durability 8
Extras 7

Excellent bang-for-your-buck

Excellent comfort over long distances with heavy loads

Has all of the features you need with no extraneous extras

Heavier than other backpacks in the test set

Less water resistant exterior than other bags in the set

MSRP
$230.00
BEST DEAL
Mystery Ranch Sphinx 65 Backpack
93
Best in Class
2016
Comfort/Fit 9
Stability 9
Storage 9
Fit 9
Features 7

Very comfortable

Feels much larger than sized

Great organizational features

Stable with larger loads

Large middle zipper is great feature

No integrated rain cover

Small side water bottle pockets

MSRP
$299.00
BEST DEAL
Millet Torong 52 Backpack
90
Comfort/Fit 8
Stability 8
Storage 8
Durability 8
Extras 8

Light-weight

Comfortable

Integrated rain fly

Stretchy pocket on the harness

Shallow side stretch pockets

One color choice

Lid lays to the back of the pack

MSRP
$195.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Arcteryx Bora AR 50
90
Best in Class
2017
Comfort/Fit 9
Storage 7
Stability 8
Durability 10
Extras 6

Best water resistance in set

Unparalleled durability

Strong hip pivot action & comfort

Very expensive

Heaviest in set

No gear loops on bottom

MSRP
$500.00
BEST DEAL
Thule Guidepost 65 Backpack
90
Comfort/Fit 8
Stability 8
Storage 8
Fit 8
Features 8

Adjustable torso and shoulder harness

Numerous pockets create organizational options

Lid is removable, creates 24 liter day pack

Hip belt is wrap around

No integrated rain cover

Pivoting hip belt produces negligible results

Price

MSRP
$329.95
BEST DEAL
N/A
Granite Gear Virga 2 Backpack
89
Comfort/Fit 8
Stability 8
Storage 8
Durability 8
Extras 7

Very lightweight

Roll top closure adds weather protection

Versatile

No frame

No integrated rain cover

MSRP
$139.95
BEST DEAL
Osprey Exos 58 Backpack
89
Comfort/Fit 8
Stability 8
Storage 8
Durability 8
Extras 7

Two zippered hip-belt pockets

Removable lid

Comfortable

Breathable back panel

Zipper on the lid could be longer

Comfort diminishes with heavier loads

No integrated rain cover

Single access point (top)

MSRP
$219.95
BEST DEAL
N/A
Bergans Trollhetta 55 Backpack
89
Comfort/Fit 9
Stability 8
Storage 7
Fit 8
Features 7

Burley

Comfortable

Easy water bottle access

Good main compartment access

No integrated rain cover

No hip belt pockets

Limited function in the sled attachments

MSRP
$268.95
BEST DEAL
N/A
Granite Gear Lutsen 55 Backpack
89
Comfort/Fit 8
Stability 7
Storage 8
Fit 8
Features 8

Very adjustable

Comfortable

Deep water bottle pockets

Good organizational features

No integrated rain cover

Comfort diminishes w/loads over 40 pounds

Top access only to main compartment

MSRP
$219.95
BEST DEAL
Montane Summit 50+15 Backpack
89
Comfort/Fit 8
Stability 8
Storage 7
Fit 8
Features 8

Removable 15 liter daypack

Three storage pockets in the lid

Integrated rain cover

Sternum strap adjustment is clunky

Shallow side water bottle pockets

Comfort diminishes with loads over 40 pounds

MSRP
$289.00
BEST DEAL
Osprey Stratos 50 Backpack
89
Comfort/Fit 8
Stability 7
Storage 8
Fit 8
Features 8

Lightweight

Good organizational features

Good ventilation

Integrated rain cover

Shallow side water bottle pockets

Less comfortable with loads over 40 pounds

MSRP
$180.00
BEST DEAL
Deuter ACT Zero 50+15
87
Comfort/Fit 8
Storage 8
Stability 6
Durability 8
Extras 7

External storage

Easy to pack

Durable materials

Suffers under heavy loads

MSRP
$189.00
BEST DEAL
Gregory Paragon 58
86
Comfort/Fit 7
Storage 7
Stability 8
Durability 7
Extras 7

Lightest bag in test set

Simple construction keeps organization simple

Good compressibility for summit tags

Limited outward lateral expansion

Only one gear loop on back for trekking poles or ice axes

Small brain storage compartment

MSRP
$230.00
BEST DEAL
Lowe Alpine Cholatse 55
86
Comfort/Fit 8
Storage 7
Stability 8
Durability 7
Extras 6

Entry level price point

Three body access points

Removable frame

Light

Big zipper pulls and large water bottle sleeves

Long tag ends on many straps

Optional zippered divider adds weight

Limited use of one gear loop

MSRP
$180.00
BEST DEAL
Black Diamond Element 60
85
Comfort/Fit 8
Storage 8
Stability 6
Durability 7
Extras 6

Second lightest pack in test set

Very comfortable

Easily adjustable sternum strap

Huge water bottle sleeves with cinch

Only one hidden ice axe loop

Non-removable water bladder sleeve

MSRP
$220.00
BEST DEAL
Mammut Trion Pro 50+7
84
Comfort/Fit 7
Storage 7
Stability 6
Durability 7
Extras 7

Entry-level price point

Lighter than most bags in the set

Water resistant treatment with roll-top closure

Good compressibility

Thin padding not great for heavy loads

No exterior water bottles sleeves

Minimal pivot

MSRP
$200.00
BEST DEAL
Osprey Stratos 50
84
Comfort/Fit 6
Storage 7
Stability 6
Durability 8
Extras 7

Entry level price point

Airspeed system for back ventilation

Accessible rain cover pouch

Two dual-access bottle sleeves

Limited expandability

Thin padding precludes heavier loads

Basic plastic buckles

MSRP
$190.00
BEST DEAL
Osprey Volt 60
80
Comfort/Fit 7
Storage 5
Stability 6
Durability 7
Extras 5

Compresses for small loads

Fits a wide range of body shapes

Great price

Suffers under heavy loads

Doesn’t expand out as well as it compacts in

Narrow body compartment

MSRP
$180.00
BEST DEAL
The North Face Terra 50
79
Comfort/Fit 6
Storage 6
Stability 5
Durability 6
Extras 6

Lowest cost pack in test set

Good expandability

Tool loops

Tall frame with high center of gravity

Long tag ends on most straps

High brain buckles prevent much compressibility

No hip pivot, hindering stability

MSRP
$160.00
BEST DEAL
Thule Versant 60
79
Comfort/Fit 6
Storage 6
Stability 5
Durability 5
Extras 7

Expandable for larger loads

Large, two-pocket brain

Heavy construction aids overall durability

Heavy

No loops on bottom

Permanent water bladder sleeve

MSRP
$260.00
BEST DEAL
Kelty Revol 65
76
Comfort/Fit 5
Storage 6
Stability 4
Durability 6
Extras 5

Removable brain

Two gear loops on back

Decent expandability; can handle a variety of loads and situations

Heavy

High center of gravity

Ineffectual back sleeve

MSRP
$220.00
BEST DEAL
Kelty Redwing 50
74
Comfort/Fit 5
Storage 4
Stability 5
Durability 6
Extras 4

Great price

Durable construction

Suffers under heavy loads

Narrow body compartment

MSRP
$140.00
BEST DEAL
Osprey Atmos 65 AG

The redesigned Osprey Atmos 65 AG backpack is significantly more comfortable than its predecessor and reaches the pinnacle of comfort for a large backpack. The Atmos 65 AG still has the organizational features of the previous model providing versatility and enhancing comfort all in one package. 

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Amazon.com

Mystery Ranch Sphinx 65 Backpack

The Mystery Ranch Sphinx 65 backpack provides great organizational features, comfort and stability for weekend backpackers or extended expeditions. This pack performed very well when compared to other packs in this category.  

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Backcountry.com

Arc’teryx Altra 65

The Arc’teryx Altra 65 is an incredibly comfortable backpack that is also very durable. It has lots of great features including numerous points of adjustment to dial in the perfect fit. But all of those buckles and burly durable fabrics cause the bag to tip the scales to the heavier side and as usual Arc’teryx spared no expense, making it the most expensive bag in this test.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at

Gregory Zulu 65

The Gregory Zulu 65 has an unmatched value; it is a bag that testers would refer to personal friends. The Zulu will efficiently handle most things that you ask of it and is a well balanced all-mountain bag. The principle distraction from this value is its weight.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Backcountry.com

See All Weekend Backpacks (50-69 L) Reviews

What Is A Weekend Backpack?

by: Last Updated:

Backpacks for hiking and backpacking are differentiated by carrying capacity. This directly relates to the number of nights you spend on the trail and the type of gear you like to bring with you. Typically, a pack for a single day of hiking ranges from 15-29 liters, while packs for one to two nights tend to be 30-49 liters. A pack for trips of two to four nights is usually between 50-69 liters and packs for expeditions or extended trips are over 70 liters.

The most versatile size of backpacking pack usually runs between 50-69 liters—allowing for the widest range of trip length and packing styles. This is the ideal size for the average hiker heading out for two to four nights at a time, and is also the typical capacity chosen by hikers on long thru-hikes. It has a little more space than an overnight pack and allows for the options of adding more food for longer trips, more layers for cool weather camping, or more water for dry camping. You can still keep pack weight down by choosing lightweight gear and streamlining what you bring with you, but you won’t be constrained by a backpack that would feel too small in some situations.

Weekend backpacks in the 50-69 liter range come in a wide variety of styles, from the feature-laden to lightweight and minimal. You are sure to find a backpack in this capacity range that matches your packing preference and price range. If you are interested in an ultralight backpack in this capacity, be sure to check out our ultralight backpack review.