Pick the Best Backpack for Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Ready to hit the outdoors?

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,190-mile trip which historically takes between five to seven months to complete in its entirety. There are many things a hiker will need to think about before embarking on this adventure, including facing bears and the norovirus. 

The last thing you will want to add to your preparations will be what kind of backpack to take with you.

In this post, I’ll take a look at the best backpacks for such a long hike, so you don’t have to.

What's the best backpack to take on the appalachian trail?

Top 3 backpacks for hiking the Appalachian Trail

Top Backpack for the Appalachian Trail: Osprey Farpoint 40 Anti-Theft Travel Pack 

Osprey Packs Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack, Volcanic Grey, Medium/Large


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The Osprey Farpoint 40 Anti-Theft Travel Pack is Osprey’s lightest travel bag.

Featuring a robust carrying system, the backpack is the ideal option for traveling between multiple terrains. 

This excellent pack has a mesh ventilated back panel, which optimizes breathability, while the Zip away harness and hip belt spreads weight for comfort during carrying. You can opt to carry this backpack like a suitcase using its top handle, giving your back and shoulders a little rest. 

Osprey Packs Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack, Volcanic Grey, Medium/LargeIt also includes a sternum strap with an emergency whistle which could come in handy, but hopefully won’t be needed. With low profile padded handles on the side as well, the main compartment has lockable zippers. 

Depending on how big you are, this backpack is available in Small/Medium and Medium/Large in two stylish colors – red and black.

Want to know more? Check out more info about it over on Amazon!

Second Choice for Top Hiking Backpack: Osprey Ketrel 48 Backpack

Osprey Kestrel 48 Men's Backpacking Backpack


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As one of Osprey’s top backpacks (and my second choice), the Osprey Packs Kestrel 48 Backpack is a great lightweight pack that will carry you (and your stuff) through anything!

It only weighs 3lb 8oz, so it’s pretty light compared to many other comparable backpacks – when you’re doing a weeks-long hike on the Appalachian Trail, this low weight will be extremely helpful.

It also has 48 liters of space inside, so you’ll have plenty of room to carry all of your stuff for a long hiking trip.

Comfort was top of mind when Osprey was designing this pack. There’s the airscape back panel which keeps your back cool. The hip belt helps to balance the weight and keep the heavy pack from hurting your shoulders.

It’s also got handy pockets right on the hip belt, so they’re right there at hand when you need them. Additionally, they’ve built in sleeping pad straps, compression straps, and a rain cover that is integrated right into the backpack!

Other important features include:

  • Stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment
  • Stretch woven front pocket
  • Tool attachment loops
  • Zippered sleeping bag compartment

Want to know more? Check out this great backpack over on Amazon to read more and find the best price!

Hiking the Appalachian Trail - what backpack to use?

Best Anti-Theft Backpack: XD Design Bobby XL 17″ Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack

XD Design Bobby XL 17' Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack USB Port Black (Unisex Bag)


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The Dutch company Bobby sell a wide range of anti-theft backpacks. This particular bag weighs a little under 2lbs and comes in 2 colors; grey or black. 

The #1 XD Design Bobby XL 17 can hold your laptop or tablet (at 17” max) and is designed to lift weight away from your shoulders, thus applying less pressure on the spine using an optimal weight balance. 

It also has protective layers and a cut-proof protection board as an inner-layer to keep your expensive belongings secure.

On the exterior of the backpack, you have an integrated USB port to keep your electronic devices charged when you reach villages and towns where charging is possible. 

The backpack is water-repellent, and has hidden zippers keeping those thieves at bay!

Want to know more? Check out more info about it over on Amazon!

Honorable Mention: Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 Anti-Theft Backpack

Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 25 Liter Anti Theft Laptop Backpack - with Padded 15' Laptop Sleeve, Adjustable Shoulder Straps, Patented Security Technology (Black)


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This Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 Anti-Theft Backpack is lightweight, durable, and secure. The bag features several Pacsafe anti-theft systems to add to your peace of mind, from the eXomesh slash-guard (a flexible, stainless steel wire mesh built into its fabric) to the lock-about security clip to help prevent access by pickpockets. 

At only 25-liters, this backpack can double up nicely as a backpack for daily use, so you won’t need to store it in a cupboard once you have completed the Appalachian Trail. 

It has an internal protective sleeve for a 15” laptop/tablet, comfortable, adjustable and padded carrysafe slash-guard shoulder straps, and a zippered RFIDsafe blocking pocket which is the right size for a wallet. 

Want to get one for yourself? Click over to Amazon for more info!

Is the choice of backpack important for hiking the Appalachian Trail?

You will probably already have a checklist of what you need to take, which will include maps, first aid kits, money, food, a water canister, and camping gear. 

Walking for so long each day carrying all these items will be hard enough, but taking a heavy-duty backpack of poor construction will simply add to your misery.

A hiker on the Appalachian Trail can burn up to 6000 calories per day compared to 2000 for an average male, or 1800 for the average female. This shows you how hard the project can be on you and your body.

So let us make your life easier by picking a backpack that works well.

Picking the best hiking backpack for Appalachia

Features to Look For in a Backpack for Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Consider these factors before you start looking for the bag you need.

Size:  Above we outline some things you will need to take with you. Additionally, you will need clothes for all weathers, shoes suitable for all terrains, sunglasses, your cell phone or tablet, hygiene accessories, thermals, travel documents, toiletries, tissues, some essential medicines like aspirin, wet wipes, laundry detergent, and perhaps even the kitchen sink!  

So the first thing we know is that you need a bag big enough to fit all these essentials but light enough to carry.

Compartments & Pockets: There will be a handful of items that you will need easy access to. For example, if you have planned to be at a motel soon, you will need easy access to your cell phone. 

You don’t want to empty out all the contents of your bag looking for it in the pouring rain. All your belongings will get wet, and it will slow down your progress during the trail. 

However, if you know you are walking through a forest, you will favor water bottles, and compasses in those easy to access pockets. 

Whatever your plans for the day maybe, you will need one easy-access pocket as a minimum, but more would be beneficial.

Anti-Theft:  Whenever you are traveling anywhere for an extended period, preventing theft of your essentials is crucial. 

Losing your passport is your worst nightmare!  Instead of enjoying the adventure, you will end up at the national embassy trying to sort this out. 

So select backpacks with anti-theft systems and avoid these issues.

Durability:  Weather conditions during your hike will range from heavy rainstorms to dry, scorching, bright sunshine. You are likely to chuck your bag down on terrain that ranges from soft and sandy, to muddy and wet, or dry and rocky. 

Your backpack must survive in all conditions that you subject it to.

Material: Some of you will be jumping the gun and opting for leather – please don’t!  Leather is derived from animal skin so understandably should be the most durable since it was initially designed by nature to last a lifetime. 

However, a cow was never expected to handle the duress, wear and tear that your backpack will. So forget about leather!  Pick something water-repellant, light-weight, and durable.


There are many travel backpacks to choose from, but these are my top picks. 

In particular, I love the Osprey Farpoint 40, which integrates anti-theft technology into a great hiking pack!

Think about your needs before you make your purchase. Consider the factors we mentioned here, especially any anti-theft features and durability of the material. 

Choose your backpack wisely and your hike of the Appalachian Trail will definitely go a lot smoother.


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