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Best Hiking Backpacks Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated Sep 16, 2019

“Between every two pines, there is a doorway to a new world.” John Muir, one of the most influential naturalists in history said that and we like it. His point is that getting out into nature is so much more than a neat day trip. And If you want to have a successful hiking trip you need three things: a GPS device, good boots, and a good backpack. Hiking backpacks are made to carry all of your essential items with you on a hiking trip. There will be some hybrid options on the list, so be prepared for some surprises. So come on in, get yourself suited up and then get out there, as Muir said: a whole new world awaits.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 21 hrs of research

icon
WASING 55L
94.8/100 our score
Materials
94
Water Resistance
95
Durability
95
Ease of Use
94
Features
96
WASING 55L
Why is it better?

Extension collar can expand to accommodate 5 extra liters

Sternum strap comes with emergency whistle buckle

Eight different torso length adjustments

Can still carry on an airline

Only weighs 3.5 pounds

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
WASING 55L
Test Winner: WASING 55L
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
18
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
13k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
21
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Shanena Ketchum
By Shanena Ketchum:

We have updated this guide to help you find the most effective hiking backpack possible. We have added new tips and backpacks that exceeded our expectations and will do the same to yours. We wanted to bring you the best options possible and we have done just that.

Sorting Options
Materials Water Resistance Durability Ease of Use Features By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
Materials
94 %
Water Resistance
95 %
Durability
95 %
Ease of Use
94 %
Features
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.10.19)
Amazon Link
$36.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Materials
93 %
Water Resistance
95 %
Durability
94 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Features
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.10.19)
Amazon Link
$18.82
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Materials
94 %
Water Resistance
93 %
Durability
92 %
Ease of Use
92 %
Features
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.10.19)
Amazon Link
$22.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Materials
92 %
Water Resistance
91 %
Durability
93 %
Ease of Use
92 %
Features
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.10.19)
Amazon Link
$37.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
Materials
90 %
Water Resistance
89 %
Durability
88 %
Ease of Use
90 %
Features
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.10.19)
Amazon Link
$57.95
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.6
Materials
88 %
Water Resistance
85 %
Durability
84 %
Ease of Use
86 %
Features
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.10.19)
Amazon Link
$70.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
Materials
81 %
Water Resistance
82 %
Durability
80 %
Ease of Use
80 %
Features
82 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.10.19)
Amazon Link
$18.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79
Materials
80 %
Water Resistance
79 %
Durability
77 %
Ease of Use
80 %
Features
79 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.10.19)
Amazon Link
$37.89
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.2
Materials
77 %
Water Resistance
79 %
Durability
76 %
Ease of Use
79 %
Features
75 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.10.19)
Amazon Link
$289.95
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
74.2
Materials
77 %
Water Resistance
75 %
Durability
74 %
Ease of Use
72 %
Features
73 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.10.19)
Amazon Link
$199.95

Top 10 Hiking Backpacks

1. WASING 55L

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
WASING 55L
Amazon Link
Materials
94
Water Resistance
95
Durability
95
Ease of Use
94
Features
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$36.99
Pros:

Extension collar can expand to accommodate 5 extra liters

Sternum strap comes with emergency whistle buckle

Eight different torso length adjustments

Can still carry on an airline

Only weighs 3.5 pounds

Cons:

Might be too big for some customers

The #1 spot goes to the Wasing 55L. This huge monster has circled many lists for years and is the best friend of any determined hiker. There is nothing that this backpack can’t do, and it is head and shoulders above the rest of the items on the list.

Lots of Special Features
Wasing has made sure that you have an attachment place or compartment for just about everything you can possibly need. Want to pack your trekking poles, no problem there is a spot for that. Need to bring water but want to have free hands, no worries there either, there is a place for this too.

Its Big
Going big with the Wasing 55L model is a smart choice if you’re going to be doing some serious hiking. The outdoors won’t be able to surprise you, and inside your backpack will be everything but the kitchen sink.

Cost and Value
This is the best value on the list, no question about it. At a low price, you get almost quadruple space, a highly durable backpack and a brand that can be trusted. Buyers that want a smaller backpack will be better off with another item on the list.

2. OUTLANDER 20L/33L

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
OUTLANDER 20L/33L
Amazon Link
Materials
93
Water Resistance
95
Durability
94
Ease of Use
95
Features
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$18.82
Pros:

Nylon makes it light and strong

Weak points are reinforced with bar tacking

Several pockets to store things in

33L version is huge

Warranty is ironclad

Cons:

No middle ground in sizes between the 20L and the 33L versions

No dedicated laptop compartment

Outlander is one of those brands that strikes like lightning. The company took a few features from all of the top backpacks in the industry to create their very own, and it’s incredible. Functionally it is one of the best values on the list and continues to be a really good choice for hikers.

Your Size, Your Choice
Besides all of the usual color choices, Outlander is also offering this model in sizes 20L and 33L. The only difference between the two is their actual size, so customers won’t miss any important features if they go with the smaller model. And just to make a note, the 33L is a massive size upgrade from the 20L.

Unique Features
Folds into a zippered inner pocket, and also has two side pockets. The backpack is also resistant to both water and ripping, as well as abrasion-resistant.

Cost and Value
Amazingly this is one of the lowest-priced backpacks on the list, even at the #2 spot. Because of the attention to durability customers will get instant value on this purchase, along with a very strong warranty.

3. VENTURE PAL LIGHTWEIGHT

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
VENTURE PAL LIGHTWEIGHT
Amazon Link
Materials
94
Water Resistance
93
Durability
92
Ease of Use
92
Features
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$22.99
Pros:

Perfect for taking on flights

More pockets than you know what to do with

One of the most comfortable backpacks on the list

Built from the ground up for multiple uses

Side pockets can hold water bottles

Cons:

No dedicated laptop space

Depending on how you pack the material may be noisy

When the Venture Pal first came out, the first thing people noticed is how lightweight it was. This was nothing new by backpack standards. But when you realize just how light it is compared to the others on the list, well that is when you’ll understand why it is #3.

Light and Comfortable
The reason the Venture Pal is so light comes from how it distributes weight. Good hiking backpacks don’t concentrate weight all in one area, and in this case, they managed to throw in breathable mesh shoulder straps. And with the additional sponge padding for the shoulders, it becomes the most pleasurable backpack experience of your life.

Tough Construction
This backpack is both tear and water-resistant. Not only that but it's crafted to fit into a small space when your hike is over. It's foldable into its own pocket, and those folded dimensions are 9×8.5×2.2 inches.

Cost and Value
Venture Pal has kept this backpack at an insanely low price for a while. The company is always good with pricing their equipment, although this ranks as the best price. The bag is one of a kind, and a value worth having around the house.

4. HIGH SIERRA LOOP

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
HIGH SIERRA LOOP
Amazon Link
Materials
92
Water Resistance
91
Durability
93
Ease of Use
92
Features
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$37.99
Pros:

Colors are very well done

Tablet sleeve is 12.5x11x0.75 inches

Polyester holds up well to abuse

Multi-compartment design includes large pockets

The backpack can have extra gear attached to it

Cons:

No laptop sleeve

Not waterproof

Fun for many reasons, the High Sierra Loop backpack comes as a surprise in the #4 position. The model is an improvement over one of their older models, and it has ironed out all of the flaws. Buyers will have a lot of extra new features to play with and plenty of colors to choose from.

An Insane Amount Of Color Combinations
There are currently 32 different color combinations to choose from, all of them with a unique twist. High Sierra wanted to give the customers a chance to choose a design that is personal. And these are more than just plain colors mixed together, as each bag has a very nice shade that holds over the years.

Lots of Options
There are a number of little things that make this backpack special. Things like a tablet computer sleeve, and a media pocket. There are monster hooks and bottom straps and also mesh beverage pockets.

Cost and Value
Sierra opted to keep this backpack at a low price which is one of the reasons it is so popular. Durable materials will protect your investment, even if it lacks water resistance.

5. SPEEDO TEAMSTER

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
SPEEDO TEAMSTER
Amazon Link
Materials
90
Water Resistance
89
Durability
88
Ease of Use
90
Features
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$57.95
Pros:

35 liters is pretty generous for what it does

There is no better protection for your laptop than inside this bag

Durable material can take a lot of damage and drops

Dirtbag is an ingenious idea and can even be used for wet items

The bleacher seat is another one of those ingenious ideas

Cons:

A little heavy for its size

Redesign of the bag took away some cool features of the old design

And then there came a surprise, and its name was Speedo! The large teamster backpack is a nice addition to the list, made more for light hiking with limited miles rather than long expeditions. There is enough room here to put your most important stuff away and have it comfortably resting in your pack.

The Laptop Sleeve Was A Surprise
Built-in laptop sleeves for a backpack can be a bit of a hit or miss depending on the brand you choose. Speedo went all out and made sure that your equipment is 100% protected from the most dangerous outside elements.

Options, options
There are up to Up to 18 colors to choose from. Add the water-resistant bottom and laptop sleeve and you've got a backpack perfect for the hipster in you.

Cost and Value
Speedo is iconic as a brand even if people wouldn’t think to associate them with backpacks. The price is low on this item, and it is about as big as you can get without getting a bag with a frame.

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6. TETON 3400

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.6
TETON 3400
Amazon Link
Materials
88
Water Resistance
85
Durability
84
Ease of Use
86
Features
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$70.00
Pros:

There is a space on this pack for anything

The padded pocket keeps water bladder cool

Has a lot of high-end features without a high price

Very low priced for what it offers

Cons:

Water bladder not included

Some sleeping bags may not fit

Now comes the big ones, with the Teton Sports Scout 3400 leading the way. These are true to form so they can’t be mistaken for anything else. They are made to carry as much as possible while maximizing the room available.

Great For A Beginner
There’s nothing really technical about using these, although if you want to maximize the space in it there will be some trial and error. With the way the pockets and compartments are set up with this model, it’s easy to make use of all the extra room. There will be less user error to go around and more time getting ready for your big hike.

Plenty of Room
This baby comes in at a huge 3400 cubic inches but only weighs 4.5 pounds. It has a lot of space for a sleeping bag and to top it all off it has a limited lifetime warranty.

Cost and Value
This one is a no brainer for all they are offering at a low-mid tier price. You’re getting everything that would be in a high-end bag, although it could stand for a little more support. Once you realize how fun it is to use the dedicated compartments, it’ll be easy hiking from that point forward.

7. G4Free Large 40L

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
G4Free Large 40L
Amazon Link
Materials
81
Water Resistance
82
Durability
80
Ease of Use
80
Features
82
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$18.99
Pros:

Heavy duty but lightweight

Multicompartment and drawstring pouch

High volume capacity

Cons:

Straps are not padded enough

The G4Free Large 40L Lightweight Water Resistant Travel Backpack was designed to give the flawless balance between size, durability, lightweight, and volume capacity. The G4Free backpack can also be transformed into a handheld bag when you are not using it on your hiking trips so it can serve more than just one purpose.

Huge Storage
What makes the G4Free backpack an ideal travel bag for backpackers with so many things to pack for a single trip is its capacious storage. This bag has a top-loading sack designed with a drawstring lock. This unique feature allows the user to fit more items into the back when needed or less slack if it is not packed to the brim. Unlike traditional bags, your packing is restricted to the limitations of the bag’s zipper lock. The bag’s main compartment has an integrated fabric divider and comes with a secured top double-sided pouch for additional storage.

Big and Light
The pack comes with a high 40 liters volume capacity but is also a foldable backpack. That makes it very lightweight and convenient to use.

Cost and Value
For a backpack that is as versatile and durable as the G4Free backpack, this is actually very affordable too. It seldom happens that a bag this size comes with a very reasonable price even when it is sold online.

8. TETON 1100

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79
TETON 1100
Amazon Link
Materials
80
Water Resistance
79
Durability
77
Ease of Use
80
Features
79
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$37.89
Pros:

Limited lifetime warranty

Hydration pack only weighs 2 pounds

Three zipper pockets and two mesh pouches

1,100 cubic inches to fill

The chest shock absorber works wonders

Cons:

Durable but could still use some work

Won’t fit any laptop over 13 inches

When Teton came out with the Sports Oasis 1100, they intended to cram as much backpack as possible into one model. They may have succeeded, as there are only a few things this model seems to be lacking.

Great Athletic Cut
When you’re hiking the last thing you need to worry about is your backpack straps cutting into your shoulders. Little things like the straps not being able to be adjusted correctly and weird shapes make for an uncomfortable experience. The Sports Oasis 1100 cuts down on that problem by making it the perfect for men, women, and children.

Easy Use Features
This pack comes with a few features that make it really easy to use. Take your pick: the replaceable hydration bladder that fits all sizes, The comfort straps, and weather guard also notch up the ease of use factor. Add in the bungee cord system and the Butterfly opening and you have one simple backpack.

Cost and Value
At some point, you will end up filling all of the space in this bag, even if it takes years. With its low price buyers will flock to it solely for all the space they’ll be given. Any fears about the durability should go away with the included limited warranty.

9. Osprey Packs Aether AG 70

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.2
Osprey Packs Aether AG 70
Amazon Link
Materials
77
Water Resistance
79
Durability
76
Ease of Use
79
Features
75
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$289.95
Pros:

Completely convertible

Lightweight even though it has an abundance of pockets

Carries everything you need and more

Padded straps for additional comfort

Durable

Comes in multiple colors to choose from

Cons:

The hip belt is uncomfortable to wear after some time

Not completely waterproof

Created to carry everything you need and more the Osprey Packs Aether AG 70 backpack is perfect for long hiking trips that require an abundance of tools. Being one of the largest options on our guide this one promises a whole lot and delivers. Offering key features this backpack allows you to feel secure when you are away from home. There is something quite calming about knowing you can pack everything in one single bag.

Completely Convertible
One of the biggest features the Osprey Packs Aether AG 70 backpack has to offer is its convertibility. As previously stated, this backpack was created to help you transport everything you need in one single bag, this one takes it a step further by converting into a daypack for smaller trips. This is achieved by having a completely removable lid, with zippered pockets that ensure all of your items remain safe and secure. So not only are you getting a large backpack with everything you need, but you get a smaller bag for those times you don’t need to travel with everything just the necessities.

Comfortable
Though you can carry everything you need and more, this backpack never stops being a comfort. This is mainly due to being able to distribute the weight throughout the plethora of pockets the backpack has to offer. It’s all about having as many pockets as possible with as little bit of discomfort as possible. Furthermore, you can remove a lid for less weight on your backpack.

Cost and Value
When it comes to the cost and value of this item, it is on the pricier side; however, when you consider that you are getting a super large and effective backpack that is also convertible, it makes sense as to why the price is on the higher end. Furthermore, you are truly getting two items for the price of one.

10. Granite Gear Crown 2 60

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
74.2
Granite Gear Crown 2 60
Amazon Link
Materials
77
Water Resistance
75
Durability
74
Ease of Use
72
Features
73
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$199.95
Pros:

Dual-density shoulder harness with load-lifter straps and removable sternum strap

Adjustable hip belt

Extra-large with a multitude of compartments

Roll-top main compartment for extra storage

Removable lid

Cons:

Comes in multiple sizes that can be confusing to select from

As stated in the name Granite Gear is a brand designed to create quality products that are as tough and durable as granite. To them it’s all about bringing forth the best high-quality selections possible, they did just that with the Granite Gear Crown 2 60. Constructed out of cotton, this bag is not only durable is flexible enough to allow you to store everything you need in one big backpack.

Dual-density shoulder harness
To create something sturdy yet lightweight this comes with dual-density shoulder harness paired with load-lifting straps and a removable sternum strap that help distribute the weight evenly throughout the backpack. Furthermore, having this specific feature ensures even when your backpack is full, and you are traveling or hiking for far distances you don’t feel the weight as much. Its all about having as much of a lightweight feel as possible.

Roll-top Compartment
Just like most, this one is all about having an abundance of pockets and compartments. Showcasing a roll-top main compartment with easy access, the Granite Gear Crown 2 60 brings you everything you need in one single backpack. Additionally, this compartment is easy to compress so when it isn’t fully loaded you can collapse it, giving you more room and space. Its all about getting the most out of your bag without compromising space or tools you want to carry.

Cost and Value
When it comes to the cost and value of this item it is pricey yet effective. You want to keep in mind, Granite Gear is a well-known brand that creates quality above all, and they exceeded most expectations with this one. Furthermore, this backpack allows you to have everything you need right when and where you need it most.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

Choosing a hiking backpack with the best quality of the material is important especially when you are planning to use it for all your outdoor activities and trips. From the outer canvass to zippers and suspension system, the quality of the materials used in the construction of the bag will determine its durability and overall function. We have considered several options based on diversity and quality of materials that are ideal for activities that require a lot of movement and walking.

Water Resistance

Although it is not necessary that a backpack is one hundred percent waterproof, it is still important to consider the water-resistance of the bag. There are bags that are only semi-waterproof while other models come with external tarps you can wrap around the bag in case of a heavy downpour. Here, we have several options you can consider in terms of the hiking bag’s water resistance capacity, such as the Under Armour and Speedo options.

Durability

The hiking backpack you will choose will be subjected to harsh conditions not to mention heavier loads which are its primary purpose. Just like with anything, the durability is very important because it will technically be the main factor in determining how long your bag will be used. In this regard, we have taken the liberty to prepare a list of hiking bags with higher ratings when it comes to durability and resistance to wear and tear that is only natural for these things.

Ease of Use

When you go on a hunting trip or hike, your backpack will be the only thing that will be carrying all your important gear and camping stuff. It is important to choose a model that is not too complicated to use and one that is very easy to maintain and store every after your hunting trip is over. We have made a selection of options with different levels of ease of use and maintenance depending on the number of features that a particular model has.

Features

When efficiently packed, your backpack can carry an amazing assortment of equipment. Below are some packing tips and explanations on the right way to pack your hiking bag. Your load can be divided into three different levels or zones in addition to peripheral storage:

Base Level:
Ideal for bulkier gear and other similar items that are not needed until you set up camp.

Midpoint:
Ideal for your more compact or heavier items to provide balance.

Upper Level:
Ideal for other bulkier hiking essentials you need to use while you are on the trail.

Accessory compartments:
Ideal for small essentials you will need immediately or frequently.

Lash-on points and tool loops:
Ideal for overly long or oversized items that will take up too much space inside the bag.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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expert tips icon
Primary Use

Before making your big purchase, you want to make sure you know what you will be using it for. Knowing what you will be doing, ensures you not only get the most out of your backpack, but it also points you in the right direction when it comes to finding something that has all your necessities taken care of. You want to have as many compartments possible to fit everything you need every time you travel. Furthermore, keep in mind how heavy you want your bag to be. Knowing ensures you make the most eloquent purchase possible.

Other Factors to Consider

Accessories

Accessory compartments are ideal for smaller essentials because they provide easy and fast access every time you need a piece of gear from your bag. However, different models of hiking backpacks may also have different accessory compartments like front pockets, lid pockets, and side pockets. Some models may also have hip or belt pockets. Some of these pockets may also include smaller pockets on the inside but all these options are there to help you better organize smaller items.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Are internal/external frames required for a good hiking backpack?

a:

Only if you plan on carrying excess weight on a multi-day trip. The reinforced frames are for carrying a lot of weight for long periods of time and shift some of the stress away from your own body.

There are several frame types to choose from on any hiking bag models in the market today. If you want to go extra light, your option would be the frameless hiking bag. There are also hiking bags with an internal frame that helps provide stability when hiking on uneven terrain.

These models often integrate an assortment of load support system designed to shift the load from the back to the hips. If you are planning to bring an irregular and heavier load like an inflatable kayak for your hunting trip, hiking bags with an external frame is an ideal choice because it offers plenty of organization options for your gear and good ventilation.

q: Is putting my laptop in a backpack without a designated laptop compartment a good idea?

a:

Some of the backpacks on the list have special cushioned compartments just for laptops. If you purchase a bag without it, simply buy a sleeve for your laptop and put it in the bag where weight won’t constantly be on it.

q: Will the airline let me bring my backpack aboard?

a:

Yes, as long as it meets size guidelines. No, if it contains anything on the ban list.

q: Is it more practical to own a hybrid backpack?

a:

In a perfect world, yes, but there simply is no replacement for a backpack with an internal/external frame. There is no way you can fit an incredible amount of weight in a hybrid without adding stress to the backpack and your body. There is room in the industry for both, which is why people usually buy one of each.

q: What size of bag do I need?

a:

The size will depend on how long your trip will be and the weight and bulk you are capable of carrying. For weekend hunting or activities that often last from one to three nights, a sturdy 30 to 50 liters hiking bag is ideal. Efficient hunters using more modern and less bulky hunting gear can really pack things light on one to three days hunting trip by using a hiking bag of this range. But you need careful planning and self-discipline if you want to pack things light because you need to carefully choose the gear you need to bring as well as your clothing.

q: What type of backpack is preferable for extended hunting trips?

a:

For extended trips that go as long as five days or more, the ideal hiking bag is not smaller than 70 liters. These bag sizes are also preferable during winter because its size can accommodate additional clothing, a four-season tent that comes with extra poles and a warmer sleeping bag.

q: How heavy should the backpack be?

a:

How heavy your hiking bag should be is relative. Every person is unique and it is important to spend some time discovering the optimum pack weight. For example, some people may carry a twenty-seven-pound hiking bag which is good for a seven-day pack and the overall weight is still optimum for them.

q: Is it important to consider ventilation?

a:

There are hiking bags that feature a back panel with suspended mesh to work against the sweaty back syndrome which normally happens with hiking bags with an internal frame that usually rides against the back. Also known as “tension-mesh suspension,” this is designed like a trampoline which allows the frame supported bag to be carried several inches from the back and rests on top the highly breathable mesh. There are also bags built with ventilation chimneys that help promote better airflow because it is built right into the back panels of the bag.

Sources

  1. BackCountry, How to Chose a Backpacking Pack, Website
  2. Outdoor Gear Exchange, What Volume Pack Do I Need, Website
  3. BackPacker, How to Clean and Store Your Gear, Website
  4. Backpacker, Backpacking 101, Website
  5. Section Hiker, Day Hikers 10 Essentials Guide, Website