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Hiking Backpack Reviews
Hiking Backpacks Performance
Hiking Backpacks Comfort.Comfort is the number one quality hikers look for when choosing a backpack and the performance measure most often noted in hiking backpack reviews. If a pack doesn't fit correctly, lacks adequate padding, or isn't equipped to support the load you're carrying, you might be in for a long, painful hike. Based on the hiking backpack reviews we read, the best cheap backpacks don't skimp on the comfort factors.
The Teton Sports Scout 3400, for example, is hailed as a decent entry-level, large hiking backpack that exceeds expectations, especially given the price. Numerous hiking backpack reviews posted on Amazon comment on users' comfort when carrying this pack, be it on multi-day overnight hikes or multi-week jaunts through Europe and Japan. Users like the padded and adjustable straps and the flexible aluminum stays, which ensure a good fit on their back.
The Osprey Stratos 24 also wins wild applause for comfort, with many users saying they hardly notice there's a pack on their back. In reviews on REI, they cheer the suspension-frame design and mesh back panel. Moreover, they say the shoulder straps and waist belt balance the weight nicely.
Another model with an ergonomic shoulder harness and contoured frame that wins points for comfort is the High Sierra Explorer 55. Even when stuffed to the gills (with 45 pounds of gear, in one case), users say the pack sits comfortably and is easy to adjust, according to hiking backpack reviews on Amazon. A couple of users report, however, that the shoulder straps and waist belt tend to come loose and necessitate frequent tightening. We also read one backpacks review on Sunnysports that says the pack shifts around a bit while you're walking.
Nearly every single review of the REI Flash 18 on the company site mentions comfort in the "pro" section of the hiking backpack reviews template. In particular, users seem to appreciate its size and light weight and a waist strap that keeps the pack stable on their back; one hiker says it's more comfortable than the detachable top compartments on other backpacks that double as fanny packs. An expert backpacks review by Outdoor Gear Lab concurs on the comfort assessment but claims the oversized waistband doesn't particularly enhance the ease of carrying the REI Flash 18. Users posting hiking backpack reviews on Trail Space, however, agree with the non-expert hikers about the value of the belt and sternum straps.
Compared to the other inexpensive backpacks we researched, the Outbound Manchester is the comfort outlier. Users posting reviews on Sierra Trading Post complain about the shoulder straps. For one thing, they're very thin (1.25 inches wide) and lack much padding. Additionally, they come together at the top and are relatively close at the bottom, a design that seems to irritate some users' underarms.
Hiking Backpacks Ease of Use.For the most part, the best backpacks on our list are quite user-friendly. They're light -- all weigh less than five pounds, while the REI Flash 18 weighs a mere 10 ounces. They're sufficiently roomy given what you need for a day hike or an outing of several days; one user writes of filling a Teton Sports Scout 3400 with a four-person tent, clothing, three-cup cooking pot, three bottles of water, a sleeping bag (in its very own compartment), and attaching an axe on the outside. The expert backpacks review of the REI Flash 18, however, says accessing whatever you might need while out on the trail is a chore: the pack is long and narrow and has few internal pockets. On the other hand, the REI Flash 18 compresses into a small ball, so it's useful for short sorties from base camp. One review of the High Sierra Explorer 55 notes that this best packpack's long, narrow shape makes it hard to reach the side water bottle pocket, although using a hydration bladder and tube easily circumvents this inconvenience. Another user would like to see more external pockets on this model.
Hiking Backpacks Durability.Almost uniformly, users insist that the best backpacks on our list are worth every penny. Reviews indicate they're reliably durable, although we did come across a few contrary comments in hiking backpack reviews. The clasp on the large compartment of the Teton Sports Scout 3400 broke on its maiden voyage, according to a review on Overstock, and two users posting on Amazon report that stitching unraveled after several uses. The REI Flash 18 gets zinged in a review on the company site for weak stitching on the daisy chains, and the expert Outdoor Gear Lab review says the very light 140 denier ripstop nylon shows wear on the bottom and front of this pack (although the site did award the Flash 18 its "best buy" moniker in a comparative test of seven daypacks). And finally, the word "delicate" appears in some hiking backpack reviews on Sierra Trading Post of the Outbound Manchester, presumably in reference to the nylon/polyester body and thin straps.
Don't Bother Cheap Hiking Backpacks
Outbound Manchester Backpack Review
Osprey Packs Stratos 24 Review
Teton Sports Scout 3400 Review
REI Flash 18 Pack Review
High Sierra Explorer 55 Review
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