Measuring roughly 2,190 miles and traveling through 14 different states, the Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Each year, millions of people trek at least a portion of the trail, some of them walking its entire length.
If you’ve decided to be among them, congratulations! You’re in for the journey of a lifetime.
Although no one can fully prepare for the challenge of walking the Appalachian Trail end to end other than doing it, there are some pearls of wisdom and pieces of advice that can prepare you for the challenges ahead.
One of the most important decision you will have to make is how and what to pack. You don’t want to end up carrying an empty backpack through your hike, but you don’t want to end up not having enough space for your things either. So how do you pack then?
The best advice thru-hikers will give you is to buy the backpack the last. That way, you’ll know exactly what size your pack should be and how much weight it should carry.
In order to make this decision easier, we’ve put together a list of the best backpacks for the Appalachian Trail!
Osprey Men’s Atmos 65
When it comes to trail and hiking equipment Osprey is one of the best brands on the market and the Atmos 65 AG is definitely one of their most popular choices.
The AG in its name comes from the Anti-Gravity suspension system, the main feature of this model. The anti-gravity system consists of a continuous panel of lightweight mesh extending from the top of the backpanel to the hipbelt in order to provide good ventilation.
The backpack is extremely adjustable and can be fitted to your body type. This is a huge plus, considering you’ll be carrying your backpack for weeks, even months and you need to be as comfortable as you possible.
The backpack has a volume of 68 liters and it weights 3.9 pounds when empty.
Gregory Baltoro 65 Liter
The Gregory Baltoro 65 is a load hauling pack that’s been the recipient of many awards and much praise and for good reasons. This back is full of trail worthy features and a really innovative suspension system that makes it a workhorse on the trail.
The Baltoro pack comes with the innovative response A3 suspension system. This stands for automatic angle adjust. Each shoulder strap and hip belt rotate and flex individually to offer maximum mobility and comfort.
The Baltoro’s hip belt and shoulder straps can be removed and changed out to various sizes depending on the size and shape of the user.
The backpack has a capacity of 65L and weights 5lbs.
Osprey Packs Aura AG 65
With brand new innovations and custom fit, this feature rich pack is going to appeal to a variety of hikers.
The first thing you should think of when looking for any hiking backpack is the suspension system and how it carries the load. Just like the Atmos 65 we previously mentioned, the Aura AG comes with the same anti-gravity suspension system.
The first thing that stands out about this pack is the very broad, breathable mesh on the back panel. The broad openings in the mesh are allowing the warm air to escape in order to keep you comfortable when you’re hiking.
The backpack weights 4.1 pounds and is waterproof.
Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack
We believe that the Kelty Redwing 50 is that one backpack that everybody should own. This backpack has so much different diversity and capability regardless if it’s a light one day hike, a multi-day backpacking trip or the Appalachian Trail.
The backpack has a total capacity of 51 liters and it weights under 4 pounds. For a lightweight pack, the Kelty Redwing 50 can fit a surprisingly amount of gear. The multitude of pockets, both interior and exterior is a great addition when it comes to keeping everything organized.
Unfortunately, this backpack is not waterproof and you will need to purchase a separate rain cover before going on your trip.
TETON Sports Grand5500
Teton Sports is an American brand that specializes in outdoor and hiking equipment that is geared toward all genders and ages. The Grande 5500 is the largest pack in their blackout series, making it a great fit for extended tours, such as the Appalachian Trail.
The backpack has a total capacity of 90 liters, which is definitely the largest backpack on our list. The pack is very large in dimension and it weights 6 pounds.
Granite Gear Crown VC 60
The Granite Gear VC 60 is known as a great choice for the Appalachian Trail because it’s very lightweight. With a capacity of 60 liters, this back weights only 2.2 pounds, which is definitely the most lightweight pack on our list.
One of its best features is the vapor current (VC) suspension system. The system consists of a molded back panel with built-in airflow channel to circulate the air from top bottom, because nothing feels worse than your pack sticking to your back while hiking.
The pack comes in two sizes and with an interchangeable hip belt, offering you the possibility of customizing it to your needs
TETON Sports Scout 3400
Another great choice from Teton Sports, the Scout 3400 model is a very budget friendly backpack that comes with a lot of awesome features.
The pack comes with a rain cover and a hydration pouch inside the main compartment. There’s also a special compartment for keeping your sleeping bag and a lot of other useful features.
The backpack has a capacity of 55 liters and it comes in at 4.5 lbs, so it’s a bit heavy.
TETON Sports Explorer 4000
The Mountain Adventurer 4000 backpack is very similar to the previously mentioned, the 3400.
The suspension system for the torso is fully adjustable, from 15 inches all the way up to 20 inches. There are seven total pockets and this pack was made for user customization.
The backpack comes with a great design and in three colors, is budget friendly and recommend it to new hikers who aren’t sure yet how much they want to invest.
Deuter ACT Lite 65+
Light and fully featured, with an anatomical shape, the Deuter ACT Lite 65+ backpack is perfect for long hiking trips.
This pack comes with a lot of amenities for its price: attachments sleeping bag, adjustable frame, huge main compartment with 10 extra liters of expansion, trekking pole attachments and plenty of straps.
Weighting 4.6 lbs, this backpack is a bit on the heavier side so you might wanna take this into consideration before purchasing it.
BOLANG Internal Frame Pack
Last but not least, the Internal Frame Pack from Bolang is another budget friendly choice that we love.
Made of high quality durable lightweight nylon material, this pack is water proof and very comfortable to wear, due to its bear breathable system.
The bag also has a removable suspension support system in case you want to use it as a normal backpack throughout the year.
The backpack has a total capacity of 45 liters and weights 3.2 pounds, making it a lightweight choice.