- Buyer's Guide
Best Active Backpack Finalists – Carry Awards
The term ‘active’ covers a broad range of backpacks, and that’s fine by us. These are backpacks that hike trails or huck cliffs. They can be bike biased backpacks for pounding pedals, or military issue rucks for grinding it out in desert storms. To keep it manageable we’ve shied away from big hiking backpacks, instead focusing on more versatile day and overnight size packs.
In our nominees you’ll see a diverse bunch. Each of them has a target activity that they shine in, but each is then also versatile enough that you can use it for travel or relaxing. Get in a vote for your favorite!
Ahhh, the Quintic. Odd name, but incredible silhouette, fresh feature layout, and a design that feels truly and thoughtfully 3D (rather than the typical extruded 2D form). This is a remarkable pack from a pioneer brand in carry.
When Boreas launched, our whole Carryology team started frothing. These guys innovate in countless ways, have deep insights about better ways to carry, and somehow manage to get lots of that into the Bolinas’ minimal package. A very accomplished backpack.
The Topo Klettersack is an odd inclusion amongst this list of sport jocks, but it is a refreshingly simple and relaxed backpack, that works a treat for weekend play or short excursions. We love seeing it in here.
It’s occasionally embarrassing how much we respect Dana Gleason and the companies he has built, but bags like the Mystery Ranch 3 Day Assault help justify our obsession. While this pack is not new, the optional Spadelock laptop accessory has opened it up to more urban use. The 3 Zip opening is awesomely practical, from hauling SLR’s to packing for a trip away, and the whole bag oozes versatile carry despite its military origins.
The Triple Aught Design FAST Pack Litespeed is another military/tactical pack, but one that has had great success making the jump beyond special forces to an EDC audience. It’s narrow profile gives great freedom of movement, and it’s bombproof construction lets many trust their lives to it (or just their lunch and sweater).
Klättermusen doesn’t have the broad global reach of many other brands here, but their mountaineering inspired carry goods have a cult following in Europe and Japan, where the Swedish brand mix eco cred with a unique aesthetic. The Ratatosk 2.0 is one of their simplest bags, but also one of their most practical.
Osprey had several packs nominated, but it was the Stratos 24 that came out ahead. It ticks every box for a ventilated outdoor pack, with a dynamic form, full feature set and appealing silhouette.
Voting has closed and winners have been selected. Check out the winners here.