Your backpacking pack is one of the most important components of your backpacking setup. Your style of pack goes hand in hand with your style of hiking. They need to complement each other, regardless of whether you’re a luxury camper or an ultralight fast packer. The best backpacks for thru-hiking are the ones that fit your specific wants and needs.
We based our 2022 list of the best thru-hiking backpacks on recommendations from Trek writers, our gear testing team, the 2019 Appalachian Trail thru-hiker survey, and an extensive comparison of price, weight, features, durability, and intended use. That said, there’s no one-size-fits-all. There are a lot of styles of backpackers, and a lot of styles of packs. Remember that gear trends come and go, and ultimately it’s up to you to decide what works best for your packing style and intended use. Did we leave out your favorite? Feel free to yell at us in the comments. We’re always open to testing new gear.
Best Backpacks for Thru-Hiking:
Best Backpacks for Thru-Hiking FAQs:
Best Backpacks for Thru-Hiking of 2022
ULA Circuit (PCT Thru-Hikers’ Favorite Pack)
Weight: 37 ounces
Maximum load capacity: Up to 35 pounds (per manufacturer)
What We Love
The ULA Circuit has been the highest-rated pack according to Halfway Anywhere’s annual PCT thru-hiker survey for two years running, and for good reason. While it might not be the lightest pack on the list, it makes up for this in comfort, carrying capacity, and durability. The pack has an excellent carrying capacity, coming in at 68 liters and a max load of 35 pounds, making it one of the roomiest packs you can get—perfect for longer carries or dry stretches common on the PCT or CDT.
An aluminum stay, carbon fiber loop, and dense foam panel form a rigid frame that molds to your back over time. This makes the pack incredibly comfortable, keeping weight stable and as close to your back as possible. The circuit is made from 400 Robic Fabric, ULA’s fabric of choice due to its …….