From easy day hikes to multi-day treks, a good pack on your back can make carrying a load a joy (relatively speaking), especially if you draw the short straw and have to carry the extra beer on a five day expedition through Zion National Park. The perfect pack is a simple one: it carries everything you need and nothing you don’t. In practice, this is much harder than it seems and involves careful planning and design. Beware of the old trap. If you have the space, you’ll try to fill it with something. Whether you’re throwing gear together for a short hike to your favorite fly fishing spot or taking a month-long stroll down the Continental Divide, less is more. With that in mind, we’ve picked the best backpacks to put a few miles on this season. Features like load distributing-straps, rainflys and easy access to hydration all made the cut. Heavy materials, unneeded space, and dead weight? Not so much.
Best Tech Friendly Pack: Osprey Portal Series Cyber Pack
The Cyber Pack looks like the love child of a waterproof iPad case and commuter pack. Unzip the front panel of the Cyber Pack and tuck it away, and you can access your tablet through Osprey’s “portal” without taking the tablet out of the pack. The pack’s “powerhouse cord organizer” looks a lot like any dopp kit that you would bring traveling with you, but I appreciate Osprey pushing the point of placing all of your cords in one place. Available now.