Backpacking adventures mean hiking for the majority of your day, so gear that you can stand to sport for an extended period of time is a must. Our dream gear checklist offers up the perfect trio of backpacking kits necessities- durability, style, and superior function. Our Ultimate Backpacking Kit takes stock of the essentials and brings you gear that can not only stand up to the test of time, but look darn cool doing it. So lace up your boots and strap on that pack- we’re ready for backpacking season, are you?
The difference between a death march and a glorious weekend trek may just be a supported, custom-fitted pack. Perfect for touchy backs and longer hikes, Osprey’s Aether 60 Backpack includes a LightWire peripheral frame for support and an IsoForm CM waist-belt that can be heat molded for a fully customized and comfortable fit. Osprey added a sleeping bag compartment and J-Panel access to gear along with the improved suspension. Plus, the detachable top lid doubles as a lumbar pack so you can carry all your necessities when away from base camp.
This bag arrived, so huge, it’s like a monolith to gear and travel being discovered. I placed it outside for filtered-light photos this morning. After the pug furiously barked at it, apparently concerned an alien intruder was in the yard, I thought the toddlers next door could pretend it was a spaceship from planet Osprey too!
You can stuff your courage AND all your gear in this hauler before your next big trip to race and ride. The Shuttle 32” / 110L is available from Amazon and a retailer near you for $299.95
GEAR INSTITUTE EDITORS PICK THE top hiking GEAR for spring and summer 2014
Osprey Exos 58 L Backpack
The beauty of hiking is being able to reduce your world to what you can carry on your back. Osprey’s totally redesigned Exos—featuring state-of-the-art suspension, sewn-in seamless hip belts for superior comfort, and trick upgrades like a trekking pole attachment and sleeping pad straps—lets you overstuff for your adventure without overtaxing your shoulders and hips. The original was a masterpiece of ultralight pack design, and the update is even better. Ultra light and super supportive, this is the new cornerstone of all your fast and light missions. 2 lbs., 6 oz.
If I had to pick a backpack that I knew would stand a brutal long distance hike, it would be anything Osprey! Just the fact that this company show’s up every year at Trail Days to fix, and stand by their packs if a AT Thru-Hiker has an issue with one of their packs, say’s a lot about the Osprey Culture. I have an Osprey myself, and love it! One pack I would recomend is the Osprey Exos 48 Pack. Still a standard among ultralight enthusiasts not willing to sacrifice comfort, the Osprey Exos 48 has been updated for 2014 with the latest technology and innovative design, making it one of the lightest and most comfortable packs available.
Since its introduction in 2008, the Exos Series has become a standard on the Appalachian Trail and with ultralight enthusiasts not willing to sacrifice comfort. Our AirSpeed™ suspension, torso-specific sizing and ergonomic design all contribute to bridge the gap between comfort, fit and light weight. The Spring 2014 redesign benefits from Osprey’s never-ending search for the latest technology in materials and hardware as well as innovative design. The comfort and support of the harness and hipbelt are drastically improved. Updated materials and hardware provide a lighter weight pack, and the lid, key straps and attachment points are all removable.
The Raptor 10 is just large enough to carry everything you need for extended backcountry riding while leaving the kitchen sink at home. As the name implies, the Raptor 10 has 10 liters of cargo capacity. It’s just large enough to hold a pump, tools, a couple of tubes, some food and a light jacket without feeling cumbersome.
Pros: Comfortable fit, packed with thoughtful features
While this pack has the all essentials of most other trail packs, it’s the small creature comforts that set the Raptor 10 ahead of the competition. Osprey’s LidLock is an oval shaped piece of plastic that passes through a vent on the top of your helmet and is held in place by elastic cord. It’s a nice touch that makes transporting your gear that much easier.
Of all the details Osprey includes in its packs, perhaps the most useful is the magnetic hose holder that’s mounted to the sternum strap. There’s no fussing with trying to tuck the hose out of the way to keep it from flopping around in front of you while you ride; it just stays put.