7 Premium Extra Large Hiking Backpacks Reviewed [2020]

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Are you on the hunt for some extra large hiking backpacks?

Do you want to have a complete list of only the best long-hauling packs out there, tested, compared, and reviewed?

We got you covered.

This article contains the information you need to make the right choice for you, without feeling overwhelmed or confused. We spent 14 hours compiling this list, carefully examining and short-listing supreme backpacks that fit the following criteria:

  • Volume – all packs have a volume bigger than 75 L
  • Comfort – since comfort is crucial when carrying heavy loads, we included backpacks with superior suspension and ventilation
  • Durability – larger volume means taking more gear, and for that you need strong fabrics and faultless stitching on your backpack
  • Storage organization – our list features pocket-rich packs suitable for strategic packing so you can compartmentalize your essentials in the most efficient way possible

Related: You’ll also probably find helpful our guide on the best hiking packs for big guys. It contains some exceptional long-haulers.

To create this guide, we meticulously researched the overstuffed market. We read tons of user reviews. We compared features and specifications to list the most important pros and cons of each backpack.

We tested some of the packs ourselves. We also consulted fellow backpacking experts who actively use the packs and asked for their honest feedback.

Furthermore, the article includes a buying guide containing tips and useful information that will help you make the best choice for you.

Let’s jump right in.

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Our Top Choice Based On Expert Opinion

Best Overall Quality

Gregory Baltoro Pro 95 L

5 / 5

gregory baltoro pro 95

Advanced Response A3 suspension with pivoting shoulder harness and hip belt

Multiple access points to the main compartment

Easy to access and custom-fitted rain cover included

Pocket and feature-rich

Budget-Friendly Choice

Teton Sports fox 85 L

5 / 5

Ridiculously cheap for its quality

Detachable structure

Lifetime warranty

Durable and adjustable

Best Extra Large Hiking Backpacks: Quick Overview

Backpack

Volume

Rain Cover Included

Weight

Price

88 L

No

5 lbs. 8 oz. / 2.49 kg.

95 L

Yes

6 lbs. 7.5 oz. / 2.93 kg.

85 L

Yes

5.5 lbs. / 2.49 kg.

105 L

No

5 lbs. 8 oz. / 2.49 kg.

80 L

No

5.91 lbs. / 2.68 kg.

90 L

No

4.6 lbs. / 2.08 kg.

105 L

Yes

4.9 lbs. / 2.26 kg,

#1 Osprey Xenith 88 L

osprey Xenith

A premium long-hauler, the Xenith is Osprey’s solution for those who struggle to find a capacious, yet highly comfortable backpack. Rich in trail-friendly features, the pack offers multiple options to fine-tune the fit. The Xenith boasts with an excellent suspension technology, featuring a custom moldable BioForm hip belt and shoulder harness, and the celebrated Airscape™ ventilated mesh back panel. And we’re just scratching the surface. Check it out.

Pros
  • Plenty of customizing options to achieve the perfect fit  
  • Unparalleled carrying comfort and breathability thanks to the Airscape™ suspension technology and mesh-covered back panel
  • Removable top lid transforms into a feature-rich day pack
  • Fantastic storage organization including 9 exterior pockets for strategic packing and a sleeping bag compartment
Cons
  • No rain cover included  
  • The buckles on the day pack are not that strong  

A top loading pack, that’s hydration-ready, the Xenith is also available in 105 L and in 75 L.

This specific model comes in three sizes – medium (88 L), large (92 L), and extra-large (96 L). The weight of the backpack is pretty good for its size – 5 lbs. 8 oz. or 2.49 kg.

Two things make the Xenith stand out from other packs:

  • The ability to customize the fit based on your body thanks to interchangeable Osprey components
  • The top-notch suspension and ventilation system

Osprey allows you to combine and change different elements of the backpack until you achieve an ultimate fit. For example, you can pair a large hip belt with a medium shoulder harness. You can do that in any local REI store.

Of course, and in most of the cases, you can tailor the fit by just wearing the pack until it adjusts to your body. You have plenty of options to do that on the harness and on the belts.

And if you’ve ever had an Osprey backpack, then you know they pay critical attention to the suspension system. I have two Osprey packs – the Stratos 24 and its bigger brother – the Stratos 50, and I’m amazed with the suspension.

The Xenith features the Airscape™ technology. It features the heavily foamed, mesh-covered back panel with lumbar support that provides unparalleled breathability and heat evaporation. The ergonomic shoulder straps contain soft foam material that’s thick enough to alleviate pressure coming from extensive carry of heavy loads.

The advanced BioForm hip belt is thickly padded and pivoting, following your body movements on the trail. Sure enough, it’s fully adjustable and you can tighten it up on the go with a simple pull of the dual straps around your waist.

Some other premium features that make strong impression include the well-organized removable top lid that’s also a detachable daypack. The little pack is perfect for short summit hikes or camp exploration. It has its own shoulder straps, multiple pockets, and even a hydration sleeve.

The Xenith also has a bottom sleeping bag compartment with a divider and the ability to store your trekking poles at hand and access them without slowing down. That’s the Stow-on-the-Go™ attachment system. Very convenient.

When it comes to storage, Xenith also delivers. The pack has 9 exterior pockets and plenty of gear loops to attach gear externally, such as your tent, for example. The water bottle side pockets are deep as are the hip belt zippered pockets that accommodate large smartphones.

The materials are super tough too and the pack is backed up by Osprey’s famous Almighty Guarantee.

Offering fantastic comfort, plenty of options to customize the fit, and excellent storage organization, Osprey Xenith should definitely be one of your top choices for a long-hauling, multi-season backpack.

#2 Gregory Baltoro Pro 95 L

gregory baltoro pro 95

Being one of Gregory’s finest models, meet the updated pro version of the Baltoro. Having an extremely durable construction and a myriad of backpacker-friendly features, this is a serious pack that provides unbelievable comfort and strong support for your gear. This model has the Response A3™ suspension with pivoting shoulder harness and hip belt, a removable daypack, and included rain cover, to start with. Check out all the features!

Pros
  • Excellent load transfer and carrying comfort thanks to the Response A3™ suspension including pivoting shoulder harness and hip belt 
  • Three access points to the main compartment to prevent endless searching for specific items
  • Plenty of pockets on the inside and on the outside including water-resistant large hip belt sleeves and a tuck-away water bottle holder
  • Included rain cover that’s custom-fitted and easy to access that protects your pack from downpour rain
Cons
  • Due to a faulty batch, some packs may not include the hydration port. You have to contact Gregory to send you another pack if that’s the case. 

Perfect for thru-hikers and backpackers on long expeditions, this is the updated version of the award-winning Baltoro model.

The nifty enhancements include:

  • an improved ventilation on the back panel that keeps you dry for longer
  • reinforced bottom (where you experience a lot of wear and tear)
  • two large zippered pockets on the front for more practical space organization
  • quick-drying shoulder harness and hip belt for more comfort
  • changed position of the rain cover which now stores under the top lid for an easy access

Conveniently, the backpack comes in three sizes – small (92 L), medium (95 L), and large (98 L). What’s really nice is that it has the ability to fit a large range of torsos thanks to the adjustable torso length.

Gregory used very tough materials for this pack to ensure that it will stay in excellent shape after many years of rugged use. The fabrics are 210D honeycomb CryptoRip and HD/210D tear-resistant nylon.

What we particularly like about the Baltoro is that it has three access points to the inside. Besides the top lid, you can also access the contents via the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom.

And if you lay the pack down, you can use the U-shaped front zipper that opens the pack like a piece of luggage so you don’t have to dump out everything else to have access to some specific items.

Looking at the suspension system, after the first wear, you’ll immediately notice that it’s a premium one. The Response A3™ (Auto Angle Adjustment) technology is insanely comfortable because the shoulder harness and the beefy hip belt have rotating panels that move along with your body when you walk.

On top of that, there’s an ergonomic, EVA-foamed pad that stays behind the lumbar area at the back panel that provides extra support and cushioning. That’s especially useful on long excursions when you carry big loads.

The load transfer that the suspension and the aluminum frame provide is impressive. The load is distributed to your hips instead of only concentrating on your back and shoulders.

The breathability of the back panel is very well thought out too, and quite efficient. It features a porous EVA foam padding and a silicone reinforcement on the lumbar area to prevent the pack from slipping.

The pack is hydration compatible and accommodates a 3 L reservoir sold separately. The hydration sleeve acts as a convenient day pack that has its own shoulder harness and pockets. Very useful when you hike away from camp for the day. You’ll find plenty of pockets on this backpack. The exterior ones are 9 and include a quick-access tuck-away water bottle holster.

Weighing 6 lbs. 7.5 oz or 2.93 kg, this is not the lightest of packs but rest assured that it provides excellent comfort and the storage organization needed to make your trip go as planned.

#3 Teton Sports Fox 85 L

teton sports fox backpack

Click image to see full features.

With hundreds of positive reviews, the Fox model from Teton Sports is the most affordable long-hauler on our list. It mimics the features of the shiny brands at a ridiculously low price while still offering splendid comfort and dependability. Some of the prime features include the adjustable torso length, the sewn-in rain fly, the removable top lid, and the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom. If you’re on a budget, that’s the pack for you!

Pros
  • Super affordable
  • Large sleeping bag compartment that can be used as a regular sleeve
  • Removable top lid acts as a waist/shoulder pack
  • Very sturdy and adjustable thanks to the strong fabrics and adjustable torso length
Cons
  • No hip belt pockets
  • A bit heavy

The Fox continues to be Teton Sports’ bestselling model thanks to its amazing price/quality ratio. We have very good impressions with the brand and that’s visible from our review of the Teton Sports Scout 3400 pack or our review of the Oasis 1100 hydration backpack

Perfect for weekend-long hiking trips, the Fox is thoughtfully designed to hold your gear comfortably without breaking the bank.

Its weight is 5.5 lbs. or 2.49 kg., so if you’re an ultralight hiker, probably you’ll find it a bit heavy for your needs. Yet the pack is quite robust, made of 600D rip stop polyester and the bottom is reinforced with a 1000D water-resistant canvas. Users reported that the pack doesn’t show signs of wear after years of tough use.

The suspension doesn’t have a fancy name, and it’s more basic. It still does the job really well, though. You can position the adjustable torso length easily to fit any size, no matter if it’s you or your spouse.

The back panel is foam padded and channeled to ensure heat evaporation. It works pretty well too. The hip belt is very well padded and supports and stabilizes the load when you walk. Unfortunately, though, there are no pockets on it. You can easily unbuckle and remove the top lid if you don’t need it, or you can use it as a fanny pack for short hikes near camp.

What’s convenient is the placement of the rain cover. It’s right below the top lid, in a zippered pocket, which makes it easy to access without having to kneel down if it would have been positioned at a bottom compartment.

At the bottom of the pack, you will find a surprisingly large sleeping bag compartment. It will accommodate even the bulkiest of sleeping bags (in a compression sack), so you won’t have issues if you like to hike during the winter season when you have to bring a winter bag.

The Fox has a good number of pockets, including two spacious pockets on both sides with water-resistant zippers, and pockets on the top lid. You can effortlessly attach and stabilize bulky gear on the exterior of the pack because it has many compression straps. You can attach your tent or sleeping mat using the top or bottom straps as well.

There’s a hydration sleeve too, and you can purchase and use up to a 3 L reservoir. The Fox comes with a limited Lifetime warranty and a celebrated customer service located in the USA.

#4 Kelty Coyote 105 L

kelty coyote 105 l backpack

Click image to see full features.

Also available in 85 L, the Coyote is here to prove that you don’t need to sacrifice comfort or a small fortune for an extra space. Featuring the Fit-Pro torso adjustment and the Amp-Flow ventilated back panel, this is arguably Kelty’s best model. The pack is able to hold heavy loads stably thanks to the advanced perimeter aluminum frame, while providing excellent gear organization to support your most challenging journeys. Check it out.

Pros
  • Very well-priced
  • Lightweight for its size
  • 12 capacious pockets and plenty of options for external organization
  • Three-point access to the main compartment
Cons
  • The shoulder straps are thinner than the 85 L version
  • The top lid isn’t removable

Ideal for week long expeditions and beyond, the updated for 2020 Coyote is a dependable pack that hikers love because it’s relatively cheap and lightweight for its size. The pack is also available in 60 L, 65 L, 80 L, and 85 L. Feel free to read our full Kelty Coyote 80 review.

What’s nice for the 105 L model is that it offers a three-point access to the main compartment – from the top, from a bottom zippered compartment dedicated for a sleeping bag that has a divider, and from a J-shaped zipper on the front. The last one is perfect if you want to have quick access to items located in the middle.

An especially handy feature is the Fit Pro system that allows you to adjust the torso length on the back of the pack. That’s very helpful when you change layers or give the pack to someone.

The hex mesh covered back panel provides good ventilation thanks to the Amp Flow technology. Your back relay doesn’t get sweaty, even in demanding conditions. The suspension features a reinforced padding on the lumbar area for maximum comfort and stability.

Furthermore, there are load lifters on the shoulder harness and hip belt stabilizer. When tightening those up, you’ll achieve a comfy and more stable fit that truly makes a difference when you carry heavy loads for long time.

In addition to the advanced perimeter frame, there’s an aluminum stay for frame support. That further stabilizes the load preventing it from shifting when you walk. With Kelty Coyote, you can comfortably carry up to 70 lbs. of equipment.

The ample storage is thoughtfully organized. There are 12 pockets in total. Surprisingly, the top lid isn’t removable, and it doesn’t convert to a day pack. Still, it has some nice pockets on the inside and on the outside, though.

Without going into much details about the pockets I’ll say that the hip belts pouches are just great. They fit a large size smartphone, a GPS unit, or snack. The main compartment is large and contains a spacious sleeve where you can store an up to 3 L water bladder. There’s a hole for the hose too.

On the front there are two overlapping zippered pockets where you can store t-shirts and a map. On both sides, you’ll find the wing zippered pockets that Kelty are known about. They are large and will fit various-sized water bottles including a Nalgene.

Those pockets are pass-through, meaning that you can slide in long objects such as a fly rod, for instance.There are plenty of dual loops, daisy chains, and straps to attach gear externally. Especially handy are the gear loops at the bottom where you can store your trekking poles.

Last but not least, the pack weighs only 5 lbs. 8 oz. or 2.49 kg, which makes it an ultralight backpack for its size that even can find a spot in your lightweight gear list.

One minor complaint is that the pack doesn’t come with a rain fly.

#5 Mystery Ranch TerraFrame 80 L

mystery ranch terraframe backpack

Heavily built to military standards and with an OVERLOAD® feature, this pack makes carrying excessive loads feel like a breeze. Thanks to the carbon fiber stays, the hybrid suspension makes it easy to walk with up to 150 lbs. on your back. The pack also exceeds expectations with fantastic storage abilities. If you’re looking for a pack that can comfortably handle everything you throw at it, this is the right choice for you. Check it out!

Pros
  • Extremely durable
  • Expandable storage design thanks to the OVERLOAD® load sling
  • Hybrid carbon fiber frame that flexes with your body when you walk
  • Excellent storage organization and customization abilities
Cons
  • Adjusting the torso length takes an effort
  • Small sleeping bag compartment

If there’s one thing that this pack excels in, that’s durability.

The Terraframe 80 is a strong, long-hauling cargo horse that will serve you well throughout many years to come. Its structure is super rigid starting with the tough materials that include 330D Lite Plus CORDURA® textile, weather-protected YKK zippers, and robust carbon-fiber frame with 4 stays.

Two features make this pack really stand out from the rest:

  • the hybrid carbon-fiber frame stays
  • the patented OVERLOAD® technology

Made out of carbon, the frame is super tough, yet lightweight. It is a mixture of an internal frame design, but part of it also stays outside of the pack for more stability. It has horizontal stays that well support your back when carrying heavy loads of gear.

On top of that, it flexes with you when you walk, thus eliminating strain and reducing fatigue.

Thanks to the OVERLOAD® sling feature, you can largely expand the volume of the Terraframe when needed. The back harness detaches and provides additional storage space for bulky items that you can put between the frame and the pack.

In that way, you keep the load close to your body for maximum stability. You can safely carry really burly objects such as big boxes, coolers, and everything that wouldn’t normally fit in your pack.

Another handy feature is the telescoping yoke. It allows the pack to adjust to different torso lengths. I admit that this is more difficult to achieve as with other packs, but it still does the job flawlessly.

To adjust the harness, you have to unbuckle the two load lifter straps. Then you have to remove the plastic back support. Then you need to push this down behind the harness. After you hear the Velcro loosing, you can slide the yoke up and down. In the end, you have to re-secure the Velcro, secure the plastic tool to its own pockets and re-buckle the load lifter.

The ample storage of the backpack is fairly well organized. The top lid removes and converts to a day pack that has its own hydration compatibility and several useful pockets. Handy for short hikes when you don’t need much stuff.

In the main compartment, you’ll find a roomy water reservoir sleeve. At the bottom of the pack, there’s a big sleeping bag pouch with Speedzip™ opening and has a divider. It allows you to open the pocket fast. If you remove the divider, you’ll gain access to the insides of the pack.

On the exterior of the pack, there are two zippered torpedo pockets that are vertical and very big. The pack is a top loader, but there’s also a U-shaped opening that gives you quick access to specific gear located in the middle. The water bottle pockets are large and you also have multiple daisy chain loops (MOLLE) on the exterior for attaching more gear.

The suspension is awesome and the ventilation is decent. Here, you don’t have suspended mesh on the back panel, though. The padding is beefy, to alleviate the tension from carrying extra loads.

The weight of the pack is 5.91 lbs. or 2.68 kg. Not bad for its volume and tough materials. Unfortunately, this pack doesn’t come with a rain fly but the fabrics are water-resistant.

#6 High Sierra Pathway 90 L

high sierra pathway backpack for hiking

Click image to see full features.

Another affordable solution, the Pathway offers high performance and ample storage capacity.  You’ll see most of the trail-friendly features that other packs have, minus the bulky weight. This is a top loader made of durable ripstop materials and it has a floating lid, awesome padding, and plenty of options to store and transport various types of gear comfortably. This pack is a hit and for a reason. Check it out!

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • Strong, water-resistant materials
  • Pocket-rich and well-organized
Cons
  • Small hip belt pockets
  • The zipper of the hydration sleeve is installed in reverse (the pull is inside the sleeve)

High Sierra is an established brand, and we are satisfied with their backpack quality. See our High Sierra Swerve pack review for more details.

The Pathway comes in several volumes, the 90 L being the biggest one. We have feedback that the pack is able to handle week-long expeditions easily, and after 2-3 years of heavy use it doesn’t show signs of tear and wear.

Its biggest advantage is that the Pathway is a lightweight pack. It weighs only 4.6 lbs. or 2.08 kg. That’s amazing for a 90 L backpack, making it a good choice for folks who like to hike with minimum weight.

The pack doesn’t have an included rain fly, but the fabrics are rugged enough to handle a drizzle if you don’t stay exposed for too long. The Pathway is made of 500D ripstop Duralite textile and it’s reinforced at the bottom with 900D polyester.

It uses a tech weaving technology to make the material water-resistant. So the Pathway could easily find a place on our water-resistant backpacks list of 2020.

In terms of suspension, the pack performs really well. The shoulder harness is curved, height-adjustable, and padded with EVA foam. The same goes for the hip belt that you can also adjust to distribute the load efficiently on your hips. There are two zippered pouches on the belt that hold a gps unit or a smartphone.

The chest strap is also comfortable and easily modifiable. The Pathway has a torso length adjustment feature that allows you to get the ultimate fit for your back size. Unlike with the Mystery Ranch Teraframe 80 L, that’s done easily, without the necessity to do some detaching or unbuckling.

The back panel has an airflow channel to keep you sweat-free as much as possible. What’s really comfy is that the panel consists of thick, porous foam padding on stress points, including on the lumbar area for maximum support.

To better adjust the fit, there’s a load lifter near the top back of the pack. That really helps in stabilizing the load and making it close to your body. And that’s essential when you walk carrying the kitchen sink.

The Pathway has a large main compartment that’s accessible from the top but also from the bottom of the pack, via the sleeping bag compartment. It has a divider that you can remove to gain access to the middle of the pack.

The top lid has external and internal pockets and is completely removable. It can’t be used as a day pack, though but I think that’s not a deal breaker.

When it comes to storage organization, the pack delivers. It has an internal pouch in the main compartment where you can store a 3 L hydration bladder or use as a laptop sleeve. There’s a port for the tube hose too.

The water bottles holders are stretchy and quite large. You can stabilize your bottles by using the side straps. I’ve used packs without that feature and it could be annoying for carrying big bottles because they slip.

On both sides of the back there are two big zippered pockets where you can store important gear that you need quick access to. On the front, there are two zippered vertical pockets and a mesh daisy chain for attaching gear externally.

There are also trekking pole loops that allow you to attach your poles and access them easily, on the go. The Pathway is a fantastic choice for those looking for an inexpensive but well-built backpack for long treks.

#7 Terra Peak Explorer 85 L +20 L

terra peak explorer backpack

Click image to see full features.

Cheap and lightweight this pack is roomy enough to handle a 1-3 day hike. It is made of high quality water-resistant nylon that doesn’t let the rain soak through. That’s not all. For an extra protection, Diamond Candy comes with a rain cover stored in a small bottom pocket. The mesh shoulder straps are breathable and the padded back is super soft. That make the pack perfect for those seeking maximum comfort and easiness of use for long-lasting walks in the outdoors.

Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • Removable hip belt that’s supper supportive and comfortable
  • Provenly durable materials that withstand rough conditions and treatment
  • Great suspension and adjustability combined with expandable storage capacity
Cons
  • The fabrics are not as water repellent as advertised
  • The zippered pouches on both sides lose their space if you over-stuff the main compartment

The Terra Peak Explorer is a unisex pack and the largest volume is 85 L or it’s fair to say 105 L. That’s because right under the hood you have 20 L of additional storage and a bivy extension to cover your essentials and prevent them from falling out. This is handy if you want to bring extra gear on some of your trips.

The pack is quite durable, the main fabric being Terra Pro 630D rip stop polyester that’s slightly rain repellent. When you find yourself hiking in bad weather, there’s a convenient rain fly stored in a zippered pocket on the top lid.

The weight of the pack is surprisingly only 4.9 lbs. or 2.26 kg, which is very good for its volume.

The Explorer features Terra Peak’s own ProMech suspension. There’s beefy, yet breathable padding on the back panel, on the hip belt, and on the shoulder straps. There are gear loops on each shoulder strap too, which is useful for storing gear externally.

The shoulder straps are adjustable and curved. They don’t cause rubbing or strain. Very comfy. The back panel is well-ventilated, and the pack features all the typical adjustments you’d expect – load lifters, sternum strap and adjustable hip strap.

Moreover, the back of the pack is adjustable to fit most torso sizes. That’s done easily. All you need to do is loosen the strap on the back panel to move up and down the harness based on your torso length. It expands up to 15 cm or 5.9”.

To enhance the supportability of the load, besides the internal frame, the pack includes two aluminum stays on each side. That prevents the load from shifting if you’ve done your job well and obtained a perfect fit using the straps.

What’s unique is the PE Board on the hip belt. It’s a removable plastic fabric that’s inserted in the strap for more stiffness, cushioning, and support. That’s especially handy when you carry excessive loads for long miles.

Another small but important advantage is the presence of two grab handles on the pack. Those are both reinforced with PVC tube that makes lifting and holding the pack with one hand easy.

The Explorer is a hydration-ready pack having an internal sleeve with a hook where you can store up to a 3 L water reservoir and a tube hose. Many packs sometimes lack the tube hose. This one has it.

Moving to the storage capacity, let’s start by mentioning the bottom zippered compartment that’s dedicated for a sleeping bag. It has a zippered divider, thanks to which you will gain access to the main contents of your backpack. The space is big enough for a summer sleeping bag. Fitting in a bulkier winter bag would be nearly impossible, though.

On the upper sides of the Explorer, you have two zippered butterfly pockets. Those are great for stuffing clothes or other items. Their volume directly depends on how much you’ve already stuffed the main compartment. If you have too much things already, the smaller the size of those pockets would be.

Externally, the pack has plenty of options for you to secure ice axes, trekking poles, but also larger items such as a sleeping mat or a tent.

The Terra Peak Explorer is an ideal choice for beginner hikers or backpackers who don’t want to spend a small fortune for a luxurious pack just yet.

5 Crucial Factors To Look After When Buying A Large-Sized Backpack

Needless to say, long-hauling packs are not exactly like regular-sized rucksacks. Choosing the best one for you requires paying attention to a special array of characteristics. Sure enough, those are also valid for any other pack, but let’s say they are more important when it comes to packs with a bigger volume.

Let’s start with something that’s strongly related to one thing that’s priceless – your health.

Comfortable Fit Based On Your Body

As you know, bigger packs are heavier, especially when fully loaded. They are designed to carry bulky loads no matter if you transport camping gear to camp or you’re headed on a long mountain expedition.

hiker hiking among gorgeous nature

The last thing you want is walking extensively on a tough terrain with a badly fitted pack that weighs 60 lbs. and above. This could cause serious injuries, especially if you already have a bad lower back or pain in the knees.

Here’s why you don’t want to overlook this aspect and get yourself a backpack whose suspension is adjustable and customizable. That will allow you to obtain a perfect fit and distribute the load evenly across your body.

Often, when fully adjusted, the pack will hug your torso and you won’t feel any load shifting, rubbing or strain. And that’s crucial for fatigue reduction on long treks.

Look for packs that have the following features:

  • Adjustable torso length – this is a no-brainer and will ease your life a lot when you change layers or pass the pack to someone
  • Adjustable hip belt, sternum strap, and shoulder harness that follow the curves of your body. Some reputable brands go way further and include a pivoting hip belt that moves when you move
  • Load lifters – located on the upper part of the shoulder harness, these will help in tightening up the load and making it sit close to your back

Thick Padding

The padding on stress points will alleviate the tension from carrying heavy loads. Look for backpacks that have beefy, porous padding on the shoulder straps, hip belt, and on the back panel. Also, the shoulder straps shouldn’t be too narrow.

This may sound obvious, and it is. Every respected brand manufactures their extra-large backpacks with thick EVA foam padding. Cheaper, shabby brands often neglect that aspect, though, so be careful when doing your research.

Accessibility Of The Contents

Besides looking for a pack that’s pocket-rich, what’s more important for you is to be able to access your main contents easily. For that, it’s best that your rucksack has at least two access points.

hikier packing his big backpack

Some packs on our list such as, for example, #2 Gregory Baltoro Pro 95 L, even allow you to access the main opening from the top lid, via a U-shaped zipper in the middle, and from a bottom sleeping bag compartment.

In that way you have three places from which you can reach to specific gear without endlessly digging into your contents and making a mess. Needless to say, that’s super convenient.

Note that to be able to access the main interior via the sleeping bag compartment at the bottom, the sleeve should have a divider. In most cases, it’s there, and it’s zippered.

Durability

If you’re looking for an extra large hiking backpack, chances are that you’re planning to carry heavy loads, probably on long trips. In that case, I bet you’ll agree that overlooking the type and strength of the materials would be a terrible blunder.

Imagine your pack, ripping off in the middle of nowhere or a shoulder strap tearing apart when you walk uphill. Horrible, right? Ending with your backpack damaged only after two or three trips is not pleasant either.

To prevent such scenario, you need to be extra careful when choosing your backpack. Pay special attention to the strength of the fabrics. Look for packs made of polyester and nylon and avoid canvas and cotton. Furthermore, the denier of a backpack is a good measurement of how tough is the material. The higher the denier, the stronger the fiber of the textile which reduces the chances of the pack wearing out too early or damaging, leaving you disappointed.

A piece of advice I’d like to give you is to avoid shabby, unknown brands that have little to no reviews. Generally speaking, the durability and overall quality of their products is lackluster.

Renowned brands such as Osprey or Mystery Ranch use super strong Cordura and Duralite polyester to reinforce the sturdiness of the fabrics. All their packs have an extra layer of tear-resistant coating on areas where that makes sense, such as the bottom and shell, for instance.

Also, aim for a backpack whose manufacturer offers a warranty. Again, often you won’t find that with cheaper brands. As you probably know, Osprey are known for their legendary All Mighty Lifetime Guarantee.

Detachable Structure

When you have a long-hauling pack with a big volume, often you’d want to wear it on shorter trips. On such, you don’t need all the bulk.

The good news is that there are packs with a detachable structure. They allow you to remove the hip belt or the top lid. In that way, you strip off some weight, thus obtaining a lighter pack.

Most of the packs on our list are with a removable top lid. Moreover, it often transforms into a day pack or a sling pack that you can use to explore the nearby area without the need to carry a heavy pack for only a bottle of water and an extra layer of clothing.

FAQ

How do I pack a backpack for long trips?

Are long-hauling backpacks suitable for carry on?

Are big hiking packs waterproof?

How am I sure that such a large backpack will fit me?

Are large hiking packs suitable for women?

Conclusion (Plus Infographic)

That was our guide on the best extra large hiking rucksacks on the market as of October 2020. Like always, we will constantly update this list and add or replace backpacks that fit our strict criteria for quality and performance.

We hope that finding such a backpack will be easier for you with our comprehensive guide. Don’t hesitate to leave comments or remarks in the comments below!

Before you leave, take a look at this infographic that offers useful information on how to find, fit, and pack a backpack the right way. Thanks for reading!

Backpack Cheat Sheet

 

From Visually.

Asen Stoyanchev

Founder of this website, Asen is a passionate hiker and writer who is also a gear nerd. He’s been featured on many established hiking websites where he gives hiking advice & tips. When he is not trekking with his family or friends, he is writing articles and product reviews. Asen spends most of his time in Bulgaria but he constantly travels the world in seek of more unforgettable experiences. Read more about Asen here.

  • October 6, 2020
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