Best Hiking Backpack - Buyer's Guide
Full Review Of The Best Hiking Backpack
An in depth review of the best hiking backpack based on an analysis of the top brands. Any hiker looking to buy a new backpack knows how expensive they are, and that's why this review of companies and models is helpful. In this article we'll take a look at the most popular and best selling backpacks, and of course the ones rated highest by other users.
This review looks specifically at hiking backpacks and those used for that purpose (including bug out bags, etc...). If you're looking for another type of backpack, see my articles relating specifically to backpacks for grade school, backpacks for high school, the best day bags, and best bug out bag.
There are dozens and dozens of backpack manufacturers and brands to chose from, so it's naturally confusing to everyone when trying to sort out which one's offer the best quality for the price, and the features that are important to hikers and backpackers. Below we'll look at the top 5 backpack brands and then the best selling packs that each of them offer. It's fair to say that virtually all of the top brands have various packs that outshine others in their lineup, so we'll break it down and clearly identify the single best hiking backpack.
Rules Of Engagement For Choosing The Best Hiking Backpack
1) Comfort - Can You Carry The Load
2) Form Factor - Can It carry The Load
3) Quality To Price Ratio - Is It Worth It
4) Features You Need / Want
5) Reliability / Warranty
Top 5 Best Hiking Backpack Brands
The Best Of Class In A Crowded Industry
How do you know which is the best hiking backpack? As backpackers we don't have fancy metrics that we use to gauge which product we like best, we just know what works and what makes sense from a cost perspective. I've been camping, hiking and backpacking for years and I've bought, borrowed and used a wide variety of pack types and brands. I've learned that what looks good from a computer may not feel the best when you're carrying 35 + pounds up the side of a mountain, and sometimes the most expensive backpack isn't the best... for you.
These brands / backpacks are being judged on a variety of measures, including peer reviews (what others in the field are saying, experts and consumers), comfort, form factor, and quality to cost.
User Reviews are important because in most cases you're able to see what hikers thought about the pack after actually using it in the field. People who've actually paid money for a product are more likely to scrutinize it against a backdrop of things that matter to us, especially the "was it worth it" question. Experts who work for magazines and manufacturers are often biased (brand snobbery) and potentially influenced because they are 1) being paid to test gear, and 2) work for companies who receive millions in advertising fees. Because of that my research of reviews are from a broad base.
Comfort is an important factor and not one to be taken lightly. As was stated already, what seems good at home may not be on the trail. There are few things worse than having a load shifting with every step, straps that dig into your shoulders or a frame that doesn't distribute the load properly.
Form Factor relates to how well a backpack can manage itself... does it carry the load well and distribute weight based on your style and preferences. It also has to do with how the pack is designed, whether or not its user friendly with access where you need it.
Quality to Cost is important to all of us who are not rich; we want the best backpack we can afford. With almost everything you buy there's a point where the dollars spent don't result in an equal increase in quality or features. Finding that point is our goal.
Does It Have The Features You Want Or Need? Only you know what your hikes will look and feel like, and people in different parts of the country and different types of hikers have different needs. Identity yours. For example, I backpack primarily in the Rockies so I wanted a pack that came with a convenient rain cover, so when the near daily rains came I could easily slip the cover over my pack. I also wanted side stash / stow pockets and a removable top that I could use as a fanny or day pack for short excursions away from camp, without having to lug my entire pack. Those features helped me choose the pack that I use when hiking there.
For times when we hike further south, where the temperatures are as harsh as the terrain, I wanted a lighter (ultralight) pack since I don't carry cold weather gear on those trips and I don't want to be humping a heavy, relatively stiff expedition pack in 90 degree weather every day.
Reliability & Warranty - When you're spending this kind of money you want to know that you can trust your gear, or at the very least trust the brand to take care of you if there's a problem with that gear. There are very few companies who offer a warranty like Osprey, who guarantees your backpack FOR LIFE... even if YOU cause the damage they will repair or replace it, free, even 20 years later! And if you buy your pack from a company like Amazon you have the added comfort of knowing they stand behind you, and for Prime members the free 2nd Day Air is an added bonus.
So let's move on to discover which is the best hiking backpack.
Are you brand loyal or driven by something else?
Which quality, from those listed below, is the most important to you when looking at the various brands and manufacturers of backpacking gear? Please share your opinion with the rest of us.
Most Important Quality When Choosing A Backpack
And The Best Hiking Backpack Is....
After giving consideration to the factors that we've discussed, the top 5 best hiking backpack brands are:
- Mountain Hardwear
- Alps Mountaineering
Osprey - A Very Long Standing Leader In Hiking Backpacks
A Best Hiking Backpack Choice For Almost 40 Years
A world renowned manufacturer of outdoor gear and class leading backpacking equipment, Osprey (based in Colorado) has been around since the early 1970s and their brand is known as the champion to everyone who hikes, backpacks, skis, or does virtually anything in the outdoors.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that our choice of the best hiking backpack is made by Osprey.
Like the other top hiking backpack brands we're discussing here, Osprey has been a leader in innovation, even from the beginning. They pioneered the use of light, breathable mesh in backpacks, and something perhaps unique to a company of their age is that every single design that bears the company logo has passed through the hands of the founder, Mike Pfotenhauer. That personal commitment from the top shows in every Osprey pack I've seen.
Osprey's pack featured here is no ultralight, weighing in at just over 5 lbs, but for most backpackers that's a doable weight tradeoff for the added ruggedness and feature set of the:
Osprey Aether 70.
Using a LightWire alloy peripheral frame, the pack holds your gear steady and saves your back and shoulders from the agony of a shifty load. Adding to that is the internal load strap that allows you to adjust your stow inside for even more control and stability.
Perhaps taking a note from the MOLLE military style packs with their versatile straps for adding on or lashing equipment, Osprey added cord loop attachment eyelets, making it easier to tie your gear down or attach additional items to your load. In fact, I'm tempted to say that the Aether is the most versatile and feature rich pack I've ever reviewed. Watch the video below and you'll know what I mean. The pack comes in a multitude of sizes for a more customizable fit:
Small: 4089 cubic inches ~ 4 pounds, 11 ounces
Medium: 4272 cubic inches ~ 4 pounds, 15 ounces
Large: 4455 cubic inches ~ 5 pounds, 2 ounces
Extra-Large: 4638 cubic inches ~ 5 pounds, 2 ounces
Dimensions - length (height) x width x depth
In: 33 x 17 x 15
Cm: 85 x 44 x 37
Here's a brief list of my favorite features:
- Hipbelt convertible top pocket/lumbar pack
- Stretch woven dual access side pockets
- Stretch woven front pocket with welded vent
- StraightJacket compression
- Side gear loops and straps
- Hydration compatible (accessible from BOTH sides)
- 4 inches of fine torso adjustment for a better fit
Manufacturer's Warranty - This Is Why They're the Top Choice of the Best Hiking Backpacking "This year Osprey celebrates 35 years of independent innovation. Our constant dedication to superior quality, design and craftsmanship backed up by a solid warranty has gained us countless loyal customers and an exemplary reputation for producing gear that truly lasts a lifetime. Therefore, we thought it only appropriate to celebrate our 35th anniversary by launching an all encompassing guarantee - any product, any reason, any era - The Osprey All Mighty Guarantee.
Osprey will repair for any reason, free of charge, any damage or defect in our product - whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it. We proudly stand behind this guarantee, so much so that it bears the signature of company founder and head designer, Mike Pfotenhauer."
Note that they say ANY damage... what other company will repair damage that you caused by rough use!? If that doesn't justify an Osprey purchase then I don't know what does.
What I don't like? That the pack doesn't come with an integrated rain cover. Not a deal breaker, given the other massive feature advantages of the Aether and the plethora of pack rain covers available, but nonetheless it's worth mentioning.
Review of the Osprey Aether 70 - A closer look at the best hiking backpack that you can buy
Mountain Hardwear - World-Class Hiking Backpack
Packs That Professional Guides Choose
A close runner-up as the best hiking backpack, this pack from Mountain Hardwear is a gem!
Odds are extremely high that you know about, or at least have heard of, Mountain Hardwear. Now, 20 years after forming, the company has not only broken into the outdoor and adventure gear industry, they've taken the driver's seat. And no one is surprised. The founding members were all experienced in the industry, most having cut their teeth at Sierra Designs before kicking of Mountain Hardwear.
And unlike some brands which cater almost exclusively to buyers looking for a low-cost (budget) pack, Mountain Hardwear provides top quality gear at truly competitive prices making it a reasonable purchase for most of us. The company pushes their gear to the limit and always strives to find new ways to do more and do it better. That's not to say that the company doesn't pursue the average consumer, they do, but the point is that they earn their stripes by fire... their gear is used and tested by the best and in the harshest environments, so the rest of us know that it won't fail us in our relatively milder pursuits. It's no accident that Mountain Hardwear led the path to the development of Gore-Tex XCR, developed Windstopper Fleece, and introduced the first waterproof sleeping bag.
At the top of their newest and greatest line of hiking backpacks is the...
Mountain Hardwear BMG
This pack won Gear of the Year award from Outside Magazine, and it's well deserved. The company touts this backpack as "Designed to meet the needs of professional guides, this lightweight pack handles huge, heavy loads comfortably.".
And that is where the BMG really shines. With its versatile Alpine suspension you can adjust your load to match your pack weight, the terrain, and your movement (climbing, descending, etc...). While most backpacks from other brands do have similarly adjustable strapping systems, the BMG allows for greater specificity and fine tuning, adds a removable horizontal stay behind the hip belt, and the result is a delightfully easy hiking carry.Click on the image above to visit the product page at Amazon and learn more about the BMG and other Mountain Hardwear packs.
If you want rugged, if you want pouches and straps designed for real world carry, and if you want a pack designed for your comfort under heavy load, then the Mountain Hardwear BMG might be for you. This is not an ultralight backpack, but more of an expedition or mountaineering design, but still, at around 5 pounds this is in the range most backpackers seek (including myself).
True ultralight packs, like the Mountain Hardwear Summitrocket 40 listed below, while rugged, do offer some feature and strength limitations.The BMG is available in 3 pack sizes:
Small 5800 cu. in. / 95 L ~~ weight 5 lb. / 2.27 kg.
Med. 6400 cu. in. / 105 L ~~ weight 5 lb. 3 oz. / 2.35 kg.
Large 7000 cu. in. / 115 L ~~ weight 5 lb. 6 oz. / 2.44 kg.
Here's a brief list of my favorite features:
- Low-profile FitLock hipbelt
- Cutomizable Alpine suspension
- Alpine Compression Strap System with glove-friendly buckles
- Exclusive BigMouth lower compartment zip design
- Durable Dyneema front panel offers lash points for all kinds of mountaineering gear
- Removable top pocket has webbing loops on top and rope strap underneath
Manufacturer's Warranty - lifetime warranty against defects in materials or workmanship.
What I don't like? While the straps and padding are rugged and hold the load snugly enough, and despite the "FitLock" hipbelt system, the padding on the BMG leaves something to be desired and some users complained that it was so rough it caused blisters on their hips.... others had no complaints so perhaps there's an issue with body types and this pack, or perhaps some users simply didn't properly adjust their belt and suspension system. In the end it's more than worthy of being the runner-up of the best hiking backpack
Who Is Mountain Hardwear? Have A Look - Industry Leader In Hiking Backpacks
More Mountain Hardwear Backpack Models
A Great Company Where Quality Is Standard
The selection of a hiking backpack depends on so many things that it's difficult to suggest one over the other. For those who need an alpine pack that can carry their skis, the Via Rapida is an awesome pick. For others looking for a roomy and rugged trail horse, the Tadita would be a great choice. Whatever you choose, if it's a Mountain Hardwear brand backpack then you can rest assured that it's quality and that it'll have your back! Take a look at all of the models at Amazon.
Mountain Hardwear BMG
Deuter - The Oldest Brand In Hiking Backpacks
For Over 100 Years This Company Has Led Innovation
It's no surprise to anyone that a list of the best hiking backpack brands would include Deuter. First, Deuter is the quintessential backpacking brand, having been around for over 100 years, by far the industry's oldest manufacturer. While its Headquarters is located in Augsburg Germany, the company's USA branch, Deuter USA, is located in the Denver suburb of Longmont.
With so much history and experience you would be correct in assuming that Deuter knows how to design extremely high quality backpacks. The company seems to win an award of one kind or another for every new release. One of the features I really like on their newest packs is the Vari Flex System which features a hip belt that is rock steady yet somehow able to move and pivot as you do, on steep climbs, for example. Almost every backpack I've worn has a relatively rigid hip belt design and in situations in which you have to climb, crawl, or otherwise maneuver at all these stiff belts can become very uncomfortable, and worse, they don't give you the flexibility you need (think wearing a board strapped to your back while climbing).
Aircontact 65 + 10
Another feature that really draws high marks for the new Deuter line is the Aircontact cushions used on the shoulder, hip and back pads. These cushions consist of a special ventilating hollow chamber foam. The result is that every time you move a pump effect circulates air through the breathable Aircontact cushions of this direct body contact system, keeping you cooler and helping minimize sweat buildup, chaffing and sores.
Sounds like a lot of love for a backpack, huh. Well, there are some things I don't like about the pack and the first is a concern that many people wouldn't be willing to overlook... this puppy weighs in at 6 pounds! In all fairness this wasn't designed for, nor intended to be a lightweight pack... it is after all a mountaineering type of backpack that can withstand virtually anything you can throw at it. And in that category the added weight of the pack may be tolerable. The fact that the Aircontact is such a hot seller proves that many people can live with the weight of this rugged beast. The other complaint that has come up in reviews by field testers is that the "Aircontact" system that I described earlier, which is supposed to keep you cooler, was found by some to be too bulky and in fact did cause them to sweat.
Click on the image above to visit the product page at Amazon and learn more about the Aircontact 65 and other Deuter backpacks and gear.
Here are the specifics on the Aircontact 65 + 10:
Weight: 6 lbs 0 oz / 2710 g
Volume: 3970 + 610 cubic inches /
65 + 10 litre
Size: 33 / 16 / 11 (H x W x D) inches /
84 / 40 / 28 (H x W x D) cm
Here's a brief list of my favorite features:
- Vari Flex hip fins save your back and balance
- Cutomizable Alpine suspension
- Hip fin compression straps for exact load control
- Compressiona straps galore, including 3 on side
- Side pockets to hold your water bottles for easy access
- Cool side map pocket
- Integrated Rain Cover
- Wet stowaway pocket for wet clothes storage
Manufacturer's Warranty - Deuter USA, Inc. offers a lifetime warranty on their products against defects in materials and workmanship, but DOES NOT cover damage caused by extreme use, improper care, or the natural breakdown of material over time. If a product is deemed defective, Deuter will repair or replace it. Because Deuter does not sell direct to consumers, monetary refund or credit is not possible.
The pack is great in terms of quality and mid-level pricing, but the lack of warranty to match that of Osprey knocks this pack down to third on the list of best hiking backpack.
Deuter Aircontact Backpack Video - There's a lot to love and for some this may be the best hiking backpack
Aircontact 65 + 10
Gregory - Among The Best Backpack Companies In The World
Perhaps One Of The Most Widely Recognized Backpack Brands
Only because of the technical purpose and design of this pack (which resulted in fewer "backpacking" features) did this gem not land higher on our best hiking backpack charts.
Gregory is another backpacking company who's brand needs no real introduction and their reach in the outdoor gear industry is far and wide. Like other top companies listed here today, Gregory was founded by a man who's name the company bears. Wayne Gregory formed his first company in 1970 designing and building solid, external frame backpacks. A few years later he founded the company we now know as Gregory, and his love and passion for the newly emerging soft, internal frame backpacks fueled his imagination and the company's growth, and a long list of top hiking backpack winners.
What a lot of people may not realize is that a couple of years ago Gregory Packs (along with Black Diamond) was purchased by Clarus, who has since changed their name to Black Diamond, INC and serves as the parent company of the two brands. For all intents and purposes, however, Gregory still serves their original mission of designing rock solid and affordable gear for backpackers like us. Because of the company's age their product list is rather large.
No backpack in this category is more deserving of their top spot than the wildly popular
Gregory Alpinisto 50
Staying true to the goal of providing premium quality, industry leading features and ground-breaking technology, all at an affordable price, the Alpinisto backpack truly delivers. Designed as a climbing or technical pack, many people find that the Alpinisto also suits their trail needs very well with its svelte form factor and heavy duty features. The full length side zipper for easy access to the pack contents is a sweet addition.
I also find the Fusion Flex suspension pretty exciting. It consists of a HDPE framesheet and aluminum stay that are super light yet give incredible load support. There's also a cross stay that helps keep the pack from barreling as you scramble with a heavy load.
Finally, the Fusion Flex system includes an anti-slip lumbar pad to save your back by keeping the load squarely on your hips, and the shoulder straps are nicely curved and feature a double density padding. This is one of the best hiking backpack features I look for, how well the load carries, because nothing ruins a trip quicker than a saggy pack causing major back pain or blisters.
Click on the pack image to visit the product page at Amazon and learn more about the Alpinisto and other Gregory backpacks.
Size and weight specifics for the Alpinisto 50:
X Small: 2441 cu in. / 40 L ~ weight 3 lb. 4 oz / 1.47 kg.
Small: 2685 cu. in. / 44 L ~ weight 3 lb. 7 oz / 1.56 kg.
Medium: 2929 cu. in. / 48 L ~ weight 3 lb. 10 oz. / 1.64 kg.
Large: 3112 cu. in. / 51 L ~ weight 3 lb. 13 oz. / 1.73 kg.
Here's a brief list of my favorite features:
- Fusion Flex Suspension.
- There is one heavy duty body closure strap, and it's anodized aluminum for maximum durability. You can really snug the pack down tight with this.
- The zipper on the side for pack access to main body is nice.
- I love the high visibility Alpine gold color
- A Rope Strap can also be used to attach other gear
Manufacturer's Warranty - Lifetime warranty against defects in materials or workmanship, for as long as you own it.
What I don't like about this backpack? The Alpinisto doesn't have external water bottle pouches, but it does have an internal sleeve for your water bladder and an external port, so that's not a huge issue. I know it's designed for technical use, and because of that it's sparse on external pockets that most of us like, but depending on the trail and length of the trip I could see where this would easily be adapted for trail hikers. The clips, straps and hooks used for cramp-ons, axe, rope, and other technical gear can be converted for lashing gear that trail hikers use. Bottom line, if I were doing any technical work AND hitting the trails, and wanted one pack that I could use in either case, then this would be it. And the Alpinisto has earned it spot on the best hiking backpack roster.
Gregory Alpinisto 50 Review - The Light Backpacker's Best Choice
Gregory Alpinisto 50
Alps Mountaineering Backpacks Represet The Best Value Per Dollar
Blending Quality And Value, These Hiking Backpacks Are A Great Choice
For the budget minded, this is THE best hiking backpack, bar none. In terms of quality, features and price, no pack offers more.
I've owned a couple different Alps Mountaineering packs over the years and have used them for hundreds of miles on a variety of terrain types. My overall impression is that they're tough, much tougher than their price tag reflects. It's clear that most of these Alps packs aren't competing with the higher end brands in terms of technology (newest, lightest metals and fabrics), but what they do is give backpackers an awesome and reliable pack, with all of the features we want and need, and then some.
Dollar for dollar there is NO backpack company that rivals Alps Mountaineering. The only reason they didn't rank higher on this list of the best hiking backpacks is because that it's true, the latest technology can make for a lighter and sturdier load, and there are advancements in the industry which truly help stabilize your load under activity; but I still own them and would buy another.
Alps Mountaineering has been around for 20 years, so they've cut their teeth so to speak. We've all heard of Kelty, the massive outdoor gear company that sells affordable equipment to the masses. As it turns out, the founder of Alps Mountaineering, Dennis Brune, is the former CEO of Kelty. And that connection explains the seemingly intentional goal of building high quality equipment that everyday people can afford and trust.
For less than $100 this pack cannot be beat for cost / value. Others have more features, are lighter, etc... but for the bang this backpack is the best one I easily recommend for casual hikers.
If you are on a limited budget, but want a pack that you can trust on the trail and that has all the features that you'll need, then you can't do better than this company. While I own other backpacks, I almost always grab one of my Alps first when we're heading out for a few days in Colorado because it's rugged and reliable, and I never worry about rips or tears... I toss it around and the jagged edges of the rocky trails, and slopes are not a problem.
Some more expensive bags shave weight by using thinner materials that are more likely to rip or tear. And that weight savings is worth it on some trips, so again decide on how you'll be using the pack before you buy. If you aren't a week long ultralight hiker, then one of these will serve you well. And even if you are, if you can handle the load then Alps is still worthy. This pack has earned it's stripes:
Click on the pack image to visit the product page at Amazon and learn more about the Orizaba and other Alps Mountaineering equipment.
Size and weight specifics for the Orizaba 4500:
Weight: 3 lbs 14 oz
Volume: 4500 cubic inches
Torso Range: 14" to 21"
Waist Belt Size: 26" to 38"
Here's a brief list of my favorite features:
- Lid converts to a fanny / day pack
- Integrated Raincover
- Side pockets of mesh and bungee straps
- Pockets, pockets, pockets...
- Easy access front zipper
Manufacturer's Warranty - Warranty against defects in materials or workmanship. Not the greatest warranty, for sure, but it's industry standard and at the price point at which you can buy one of these (currently less than $100 and free shipping with Amazon Prime), there just isn't a better "deal" to be had.
What I don't like about this backpack? Ok, the straps and padding can be stiff to some people. Clearly there has to be some limitations for the price, and so while the padding is fine for me, you''ll notice that it's not near as soft and responsive as more expensive backpacks. The pack comes with a spindrift collar which let's you stuff even more in the pack if needed, but the frame on this pack, if fully loaded, doesn't offer much anti-roll support. For me these are nit picking issues... I love the pack and company and feel great adding it to the best hiking backpack list.
ALPS Mountaineering Orizaba
NOTE: This pack is currently not available at Amazon, but it may be available elsewhere, or perhaps you can check out the other Alps Mountaineering packs and find one you like. I haven't verified yet but this model may have been replaced since the original writing of this article.
Help Us Decide Which Backpack Brand Is Truly Best
Most of the readers here have used many brands of backpacks and have done their own research, so it would be cool to see what you all think, collectively, and let's find out which brand is tops. Take a second and chime in please.
Of The Brands Chosen As The Top 5, Which Do You Think Is The Best?
Marmot - A Hiking Backpack Worthy Of Consideration
Almost Making The Top 5 List Of The Best Hiking Backpack Brands
It was a difficult decision, in the end, to narrow down the list of the top five backpack companies. And Marmot nearly made it. I'm including them here as a "runner-up" of sorts, for your consideration. While the company doesn't offer the largest selection of backpacks, what they do offer truly does deliver. With offices in California (HQ), Colorado, Hong Kong, Canada, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom, this company knows a thing or two about the industry.
While the company was born from an idea while the founders were students and bagging glaciated peaks in Alaska (back in the early 70's), they've come a long way since those days. Now their Drakon (and Kompressor Summit) backpack designs are two top selling performers and the name Marmot is synonymous with quality.
Leading the pack for value and performance is this superstar:
Marmot Drakon 45
This is no minimalist's pack... though at a svelte 3 lbs 4.6 oz the bag delivers loads of features and room at a typically minimalist price tag (on sale at $168 as of writing). While every effort was made to keep the pack weight down, the Drakon gives up nothing on weight bearing performance and rugged reliability. Marmot knows that fit matters... is everything.
Fabrizio Zangrilli, Marmot Athlete and Alpine Climber, wrote that the success of the Drakon to climbers and those who require movement ability is the "freeflow shoulder straps, allowing the straps to adjust to the angle of your shoulders." This pack will adjust to every shape and trail.
And this isn't just hyperbole from some rookie reviewer. Backpacker.com says about the Drakon, "Despite being filled with an unholy amount of gear... it was very stable on the super-exposed, knife-blade arÃªtes." They went on to add that the pack's ultra-soft backpanel offers flexibility and added superior support via the removable framesheet stiffener.
Another top selling point for me was that the company was able to achieve top shelf performance, in a light and affordable package. But you're not foregoing the features you're looking for.
Click on the pack image to visit the product page at Amazon and learn more about the Marmot Drakon.
Here's a brief list of my favorite features:
- The molded back panel gives contoured, ergonomic comfort
- The Waist Belt is removable and has a Gear Loop and Biner Sleeves
- Integrated Vertical Rope Carry System
- Removable Dynamic Flex Suspension
- Stretch Mesh Water Bottle Pockets
- Dual ice axe loops help carry your technical gear
This model also has a hydration sleeve, Ice Axe loops, and holds a respectable 45 L.
Manufacturer's Warranty - "We warrant every product we make to be free of manufacturer defects. Should you have a warranty issue, return the item to us. We will repair it if possible or replace all valid warranty items." This is one of the reasons that Marmot landed outside of the top 5. Their warranty is somewhat vague on the length and terms. However, a company doesn't develop their kind of reputation without customer satisfaction, so for this price point it's a definite winner.
Where To Find The Marmot Drakon 45
You can turn to any of the larger outfitters, like REI or BackCountry.com for this or similar Marmot models.
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Share Your Thoughts With Us On The Best Backpack Brands
Alright, now it's time for you to share your opinion with the rest of us. Based on my review of these brands, and your own experiences, do you believe that you really do get what you pay for, or are you inclined to believe that there's still value to be had without paying top dollar? Some people argue that the elite brands and their top models put a lot of time and effort into R&D, and use the most expensive materials, while others say that it's hogwash, that there is no way to justify the $400 + backpacks.
What do you say? Do you get what you pay for?