5 Budget Backpacking Packs That’ll Go The Distance (2023)

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What Are The Best Cheap Backpacking Packs?

When preparing for a backpacking trip, having a dependable pack gives you peace of mind that you’ll get where you’re going with your gear intact. Being such a critical piece of gear, backpacks can run up in price and become daunting for entry-level backpackers. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of budget packs from top-quality manufacturers that you can feel confident choosing for your next thru-hike.

Our backpack recommendations range across sizes from 30 to 60 liters and are all $200 or less. The brands we cover are reputable and have been crafting gear for many years, as we feel it’s best to grab a pack from a team you can trust.

Best Overall Budget Pack

REI Co-op Trailmade 60 Pack

Price: $149

Volume: 60 liters

Pack Weight: 3lb 6oz(Men’s); 3lb 4oz(Women’s)

What we love: Great pack that is easily adjustable to find a comfortable fit; Multiday pack built from quality materials at an affordable price; REI Warranty Policy

If you’re new to backpacking or looking for an affordable multiday pack to replace your current one, the REI Co-op Trailmade 60 is an exceptional choice. Built from recycled nylon materials, this pack is durable while remaining lightweight. The adjustable features that REI engineered for this pack make it easy to find the perfect fit. At this price point, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a pack that performs as well as the Trailmade 60.

If you’re unfamiliar, REI has an excellent return policy for members, making their gear an excellent value. You can read more about it on their website.

More Great Budget Backpacking Packs

Osprey Rook 50/Renn 50

Price: $180

Volume: 50 liters

Pack Weight: 3lb 8 oz(Men’s); 3lb 4.8oz(Women’s)

What we love: Durable all-around pack; Great weight distribution; Lifetime warranty from Osprey

The Osprey team is well known for their quality packs and quality warranty policy, and they’ve done a great job with these budget packs, the Rook 50(Men’s) and Renn 50(Women’s). These sizeable packs provide excellent storage volume for multiday treks, and do a good job in terms of allowing for adjusting for a comfortable fit. Overall this pack does a great job distributing weight for a budget backpacking pack.

5.11 Tactical Skyweight 36L Pack

Price: $200

Volume: 36 liters

Pack Weight: 2lb 7oz (S/M); 2lb 14oz (L/XL)

What we love: Easy to adjust for a great fit; Durable tactical engineering; Lots of gear loops and compartments

The 5.11 Tactical Skyweight 36L Pack is a fantastic choice for hikers seeking a durable lightweight pack with tons of compartments for organizing gear. The Skyweight is made from durable 330D ripstop nylon and has an internal frame, padded back panel, load lifters, and lumbar pad to provide comfort and support, and even comes with an included rainfly for added protection from the elements. Finding a great fit is a breeze with this pack and all of its adjustment options. The team at 5.11 have also designed a 24-liter version of the Skyweight, suited well as a day hiking pack.

The North Face Terra 40L Backpack

Price: $148.95

Volume: 40 liters

Pack Weight: 3 lb 9 oz

What we love: Super comfortable weight compression system and back panel; Durable nylon materials

The North Face Terra 40L Backpack is another excellent choice when looking for a budget backpacking pack. While this pack is a bit smaller than the other ones we’ve covered, the mesh back panel and weight compression system make this backpack extremely comfortable and high performing. If looking for a weekender pack on a budget that will last for many miles, consider the Terra 40L

Kelty Asher 55L Backpack

Price: $149.95

Volume: 55 liters

Pack Weight: 2lb 12oz

What we love: Affordable, large, comfortable backpack; Limited lifetime manufacturer warranty

Another great choice, the Kelty Asher 55L is an affordable larger pack that’s comfortable and has proven to be durable on the trail. Kelty’s limited lifetime manufacturer warranty provides added peace of mind when selecting the Asher 55L.

How We Review Budget Backpacking Packs

Time spent out on the trail has taught me that you truly need to trust your gear and know that it will perform for you, even in the harshest conditions. Backpacks, footwear, and shelter are all areas that you want to make sure you count on them for the extent of your hike. The backpacks I’ve reviewed are built to perform for you and developed by companies that you can trust for quality gear. With proper maintenance and care these budget backpacking packs should last you thousands of trail miles and many years of adventure.