(Inga Hendrickson)
2019 Summer Buyer's Guide

The Best Packs of 2019

The season’s haulers emphasize user-friendliness


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The North Face Griffin 75 ($320)

(Courtesy The North Face)

If you often find yourself stopping to fiddle with the fit of your pack, the Griffin can solve that for you. The most dynamic and customizable big-load hauler we’ve seen, it has a pair of rip cords at the shoulder and hip that let you adjust the back-panel length and load-stabilizer tension on the fly, so you can transfer weight to your hips without breaking your stride. Throw in a pivoting hipbelt that keeps the load centered while you hop-step over boulders—plus all the high-end bells and whistles you’d expect to find in a full-featured pack, including zippered cargo access, a detachable daypack, and a jumbo floating top lid—and you’ve got a recipe for unparalleled comfort on extended trips. 5.3 lbs (men’s) / 5.1 lbs (women’s)

Men's Women's

Granite Gear Blaze 60 ($270)

(Courtesy Granite Gear)

Best Ultralight

The three-pound Blaze punches well above its weight, working in features rarely seen on ultralight packs. A hidden zipper opens up side access, while a rigid plastic back panel allows you to dial in the torso length. Even when loaded with 50 pounds of gear—easily achieved, thanks to the stretchy fabric and floating top—the Blaze rode comfortably on its dual-density hipbelt, which features a firm ring of foam for stability and a soft, cushy center. Massive side pockets further distribute weight, though they’re a bit bulky even with the straps cinched. 3 lbs (men’s)

Men's Women's

Osprey Renn 65 ($165)

(Courtesy Osprey)

Best on a Budget

It’s hard to tell that the Renn (and the men’s Rook) is a budget pack. It has the polished look and many of the features of Osprey’s higher-end models—like the breezy trampoline-style back panel, integrated rain cover, and phone-size belt pockets—but at about half the price. Yes, there are sacrifices, but nothing major. The hip­­belt is less anatomical, the back panel requires two hands to adjust, and there’s no built-in hydration system. But on short overnights and casual trips, we barely noticed that anything was missing. 3.5 lbs (men’s) / 3.4 lbs (women’s)

Men's Women's

Deuter Trail Pro 36 ($165)

(Courtesy Deuter)

Best Daypack

Tough, meet smart. The Trail Pro is a no-frills pack built with burly 600-denier fabric and a solid deck of features—like U-zip cargo access, a quick-stash pocket, a rain cover, and ax loops. We loved the novel quick-cinch cord that pulls the load closer to the wearer’s center of gravity, and the tall zippered pocket on the side is perfect for a pair of thick gloves or a bottle of pinot. The Trail Pro isn’t all that versatile—the suspension doesn’t adjust, the top lid doesn’t float, and the back panels could have more cushioning for big days—but it’s a dependable trail companion nonetheless. 3.3 lbs

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Mammut Trea Spine 50 ($350)

(Courtesy Mammut)

Best for All Seasons

The Trea (and men’s Trion) is like your best adventure buddy. Built to handle summer backpacking overnights, mountaineering day missions, and winter ski tours, it’s a tough utility pack. The stand­out feature is the pivoting hipbelt and harness, which provides a smoother hiking gait (not common in midsize packs). We also loved the novel, glove-friendly pull-pin back panel, which allowed for one-handed adjustment. Ice-ax straps, climbing-rack loops, and A-frame ski carry round out the details. As a do-it-all hauler, this pack was a real standout. 4.9 lbs (men’s) / 4.7 lbs (women’s)

Men's Women's

From Summer 2019 Buyer’s Guide Lead Photo: Inga Hendrickson

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