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Editors' Take

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Best BackpackReviews

LL Bean backpacks


For Dependable Quality and Price

LL Bean backpacks are just a small part of the entire range of LL Bean products that now reach a global market. For nearly 100 years, the company has been at the forefront of providing quality and reliable outdoor equipment.

Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean in Maine, the company was a leader in sales of products by catalog decades before the online revolution changed access to everyone. As a family-owned company, LL Bean remains a trusted source for outdoor gear with a strong heritage of customer satisfaction.

Recognized for practical product designs, the company devotes significant time to field testing its equipment, with some items having been around for several decades due to their high-quality standards. A phenomenal reputation for service and satisfaction stands behind the purchase of any LL Bean merchandise.

Environmental and Social Responsibility

Founded by an outdoorsman, LL Bean is dedicated to the environment through responsible business practices that promote sustainable forests, provide charitable donations, partner with conservation groups and constructing green buildings.

The company works with paper suppliers to reach their goal of having 90% of fiber for catalogs from certified timber, with 20% recycled. LL Bean promotes environmental stewardship through programs such as the EPA’s Climate Change Leaders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

LL Bean also carries out its energy efficiency and biodiesel transportation schemes and has built some retail stores under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design initiative, a nationally accepted benchmark. Plus, the company focuses on reducing the amount of packaging in shipping by using recycled materials.

The company monitors factories and investigates violations to ensure safe and fair working conditions and works with vendors with a reputable code of conduct. Support for charitable causes is made within the categories of Conservation and Recreation, Education, Health and Human Services and Culture and the Arts, including the National Park Foundation, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, The Student Conservation Association, The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the American Hiking Society.

LL Bean Backpacks: Recommended Selections

LL Bean Bigelow
(Hiking, Travel – 2160ci to 2394ci)

With accolades by Backpacker magazine as the Best Buy and Editor’s Choice Award in 2008, the Bigelow is one of LL Bean’s best all-around daypacks with performance features and comfort.

The top-loading pack also has a side access pocket for quick access and a front stash pocket for a jacket or to store wet gear. Two side water bottle pockets keep your drinks within reach and a zippered waistbelt pocket stores your GPS and maps.

On top, the fleece-lined lid pocket is handy to protect sunglasses and inside is another pocket for your keys and wallet.

A pivoting shoulder strap harness system conforms to your body shape for a custom fit, and the full torso length pack puts the weight on your hips for a stable ride.

Also included is a waterproof rain cover conveniently stored in the bottom of the pack. For a video presentation of the Bigelow backpack’s features, click here.

Colors available: Bright Orange, Dark Indigo/Royal Blue, Coal, Forest Moss

Recognized for its performance features and price, the Bigelow provides comfort and capacity.

LL Bean White Mountain
(Hiking, Travel – 3600ci to 5700ci)

A multi-day backpack that comes in four sizes to suit kids to adults, the White Mountain provides plenty of features in an economical price range. And each pack size gives you three inches of torso adjustments for a proper fit.

Designed for both novices and experienced backpackers, the pack has both top-loading and front panel access for easy retrieval of contents. There are ten pockets to carry any gear, including a front stash pocket, mesh pockets on the hip belt and two side pockets that fold open for skis or hiking poles.

For extra capacity, the free-floating top lid combines with an expandable spindrift collar to increase packing space. For comfort, a flexible thermal foam internal frame transfers weight evenly and a padded hip belt cushions the load.

The pack has a built-in hydration system and comes with camping and pack loading tips sewn into the pack to help you choose a campsite and show you how to wear the backpack properly.

Colors available: Red, Dusty Olive

An economical choice with plenty of pockets and features with adjustable sizes for kids and adult sizes.
LL Bean Ridge Runner
(Day Hikes, Urban, School, Travel – 1800ci)

A versatile pack with technical designs for a day out on the trail, at work or on campus, the Ridge Runner combines function with style for any environment. LL Bean Backpacks

For commuters and students, the large, padded laptop sleeve has a raised platform above the pack bottom for cushioned protection from rough handling. For hikers, the sleeve doubles as a hydration pouch.

There are plenty of pockets to secure your belongings, such as a two-section fleece-lined pocket on the front to protect small accessories and sunglasses that has a headphone port for a music player too.

The organizer pocket holds your wallet, keys, maps and other valuables besides the normal slots for stationery items, while a mesh pocket on the shoulder strap carries a cell phone.

The outer stash pocket keeps your rain gear handy, and two side water bottle pockets keep drinks within reach. For comfort, the pack has a padded back panel with cool air mesh fabric.

Colors available: Black, Dark Blue, Brown, Canyon Orange, Dusty Olive, Light Blue

For work or play, the Ridge Runner is suitable as a trail daypack and has laptop features for using in urban settings too.
LL Bean Day Trekker
(Day Hikes, Overnight, Travel – 1800ci)

Built with a capacity for a full day, the Day Trekker carries the load for hiking adventures, snowshoe outings or other outdoor treks. For comfort, support, the foam hip belt, and air mesh back panel keep your back cool too.

Besides the large main compartment, there are multiple pockets for organizing gear, including a “shove it” pocket with stretch panels for stashing a rain jacket, two water bottle pockets and a fleece-lined pouch on top for fragile items like sunglasses or MP3 players.

The pack comes with a hydration bladder sleeve with a built-in exit port for a convenient option when on the trail all day.

Users liked the extra space and pocket options of the Day Trekker, but its long length made it unsuitable for children with short torsos.

Colors available: Black, Bright Orange, Royal Blue

Hydration compatible daypack with good capacity and pocket options for day or overnight treks.

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Best BackpackReviews

Kelty Super Tioga


A Durable External Frame Option

Suitable for short and long hiking trips, the Kelty Super Tioga has a radial frame that puts the load nearer to the body to achieve a good balance.

This external frame pack has a high-alloy tube with an hourglass shape that provides better overall comfort. The suspension system can be adjusted vertically and horizontally to make sure it fits your body well. Padded shoulder straps help relieve the pressure when carrying a heavy load.

The pack contains two main compartments and several small compartments on the front and the sides for internal and external packing options. A full-length side pocket provides space for cumbersome gear, and two smaller same side pockets hold gear accessories in easy to reach outer pockets.

The 3-way internal divider and compression system lets you organize all your gear in separate spaces. In addition to its great features, it contains a front-loading sleeping bag compartment that can be opened with its circular zipper. And many users chose this backpack because it is hydration compatible and due to its adjustable strapping system.

If you require a tough pack for rough terrain and long-term use, this Kelty external frame bag comes highly recommended by wilderness hikers. Kelty is known for high-quality bags made of durable material that can be used during any season and weather conditions. Some users complained that the wires that keep the frame pins intact rip your clothes, so use tape to avoid this minor problem.

The Kelty Super Tioga is a reasonably priced pack that combines durability and convenience.

Kelty Super Tioga
Key Features

  • External frame
  • Comfortable and stable suspension system
  • Ventilating waist belt, back panel, and shoulder straps
  • Easy to organize with multiple internal and external pockets
  • Dual density foam waist belt
  • Weight: 6 lbs., 7 oz.
  • Internal volume of 4750 cubic inches
  • Dimensions: 76 cm x 61 cm x 61 cm
  • Torso Fit Range: 16″-19″/41-48 cm

Backpack Review Highlights

  • Well designed for storage and easy access for items such as maps, binoculars, and water with a bottom compartment for a tent, sleeping bag or pad.
  • Good for long weekends or weeklong excursions, the Kelty Super Tioga rides better on established trails than uneven terrain with plenty of adjustments to shift the weight.
  • An external frame pack that reduces the strain on your shoulders and back, making it an option for carrying lighter backcountry loads instead of using an internal frame.
  • A good value backpack with features found on other more expensive packs and made of very durable material.
  • A mesh screen provides back ventilation, and the frame and pack fasteners offer plenty of tie-in options for hauling backcountry camping gear.
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Best BackpackReviews

Eagle Creek backpack


Travel Gear and Luggage

The Eagle Creek backpack started out in 1975 from a small retail shop in California, where Steve and Nona Barker sewed custom packs and has since grown into a global brand.

Eagle Creek prides itself with a long history of making backpacks and accessories specially designed to mobilize every traveler for any trip, whether it is for business, leisure or adventure.

Known for their innovation in adventure travel gear, the company has pioneered many firsts in the market including bags built for far-flung travels with the Exploration System collection.

In recognition of their creative designs, they have received several awards including the Outside Gear of the Year honor, as well as the National Geographic Adventure’s Best of Adventure.

Offering a wide range of choices from everyday packs to adventure travel packs, Eagle Creek backpacks are smart, tough and comfortable for life, work and travel.

Environmental and Social Responsibility

Eagle Creek takes environmental concerns seriously, so they design their products for longevity, use materials that least impact the environment and minimize waste.

From The Conservation Alliance to Friends of the River, the company also partners with many programs to preserve and restore the great outdoors.

Eagle Creek Backpack: Best Seller Selections

Eagle Creek Travel Gear Universal Traveler

This Eagle Creek Backpack is a lightweight and streamlined travel daypack, and also makes a great carry on with a panel for stacking on wheeled luggage. It is airport friendly with a TSA approved design allowing your laptop to remain safe inside the pack when passing through security checkpoints. All you have to do is unzip the pack and lay it flat on the belt.

Two compartments contain several pockets and pouches, including a laptop sleeve, to keep your travel items well organized and secure. A zipped pocket with an organizer sits on the front of the bag for easy access to your travel documents.

Users like the fleece lining provided in some of the pockets to prevent their electronic devices and other valuables from getting scratched.

Although not a common complaint, it was mentioned that it could be a challenge to get past the sleeve to find and access the smaller pockets.

Colors available: Black, Clay/Coffe

  • A great daypack and carry-on that’s teeming with travel sensibilities for commuters and travelers alike.


Eagle Creek Travel Gear Thrive (65L, 75L, and 90L)

The Eagle Creek Backpack’s Thrive series are travel-friendly packs with loads of capacity for extended trips. Each includes a detachable daypack for those occasions when you want to tour light. The main pack provides an airy compartment for clothes and extras that zip open wide making it a cinch to pack.

With a zip-away suspension system for convenience and storage, it also functions as an attractive suitcase. The zip off daypack provides extra space and features an audio portal, an electronics pocket, a passport pocket, a key fob, and a pen slot.

Users agree that the suspension system, adjustable shoulder straps, and hip belt balance the weight making these sizeable packs comfortable to carry while traveling.

In regards to organization, some users criticize the pack for lack of pockets in the main module. However, they overcome this problem with Eagle Creek Pack-It cubes designed to fit nicely in the pack. Also, they don’t recommend the pack for hiking trips in steep or rugged terrain, as the pack’s hefty design would make it too cumbersome to carry.

Colors available: Night Sky Stratus, Fossil Stratus

  • This Eagle Creek Backpack is durable and versatile to accommodate both heavy and light loads, rendering it ideal for adventure travel.

Eagle Creek Travel Bug Backpack

The Travel Bug is a compact and efficient Eagle Creek Backpack for carrying your bare essentials hands-free.

Organized with a focus on travel, it features one compartment with padded electronics pockets, a concealed passport pocket, a slip pocket, pen slot, key FOB and audio portal.

It also has three exterior pockets to quickly grab your water bottle, electronics, and other necessities.

Users like the comfort and ease of toting this small pack, equating it to a large purse, but with hands-free convenience.

Although a minor complaint, it was mentioned that the pack tips over when placed on the ground due to its rounded bottom.

Colors available: Black, Cayenne/Coffee

  • Convenient and compact, this Eagle Creek Backpack is great for commutes or travels when you just want to tote the essentials around.

Eagle Creek Packable Daypack

For those who like to travel with a spare pack, this Eagle Creek Backpack converts from a pouch to a sleek, full-size daypack.

Simple, lightweight and convenient users like this bag for use on daily sprees or to keep handy for those occasions when you may need a backpack.

It’s large enough to carry a decent load. However, it doesn’t have a lot of organization features such as special pockets and compartments.

When not in use the pack folds up into a tiny sack that you can easily store in a purse or other small space, so you have it when you need it.

Colors available: Black, Pacific Blue, Morocco

  • A delightfully handy, but minimal day pack that is cleverly designed for carrying extra items during errands and day outings, or to use as a spare.
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Mini Backpack Purse


A Stylish and Lightweight Alternative

Good things come in small packages, and a mini backpack purse is no exception.

A fabulous fusion of comfort, ease, and charm, it’s the perfect choice for those who like to keep things simple. With limited capacity, these undersized bags help you to pack smart.

Wearing one is like a walk in the park with evenly distributed weight across your back. It also allows you to keep pace with active lifestyles from hands-free shopping to running with the kids.

In styles ranging from sweet to sophisticated with fabrics and colors galore, a mini backpack purse makes a fun and convenient alternative to your every day purse.

Mini Backpack Purse Selections

Leatherbay Mini

Unbelievable but true, this darling mini backpack purse from Leatherbay can sit in the palm of your hand.

Crafted from premium, full grain cow leather, women not only love this pack for its powerful look but also its high-quality construction and durability.

For those who like to keep things to a minimum, the interior with an inner pocket holds the bare basics.

However, some users suggest enlarging the pocket or adding an outside zipper pocket to separate their smaller items.

For safety and security, this mini backpack purse contains a leather drawstring with stoppers, and a flap closure finished with a precious silver accent and lock.

The 22 inch back straps, decorated with shiny silver buckles, adjust for a custom fit. And a cute handle sits on top for extra carrying convenience.

  • Extra small, but big on looks and quality, this adorable pack is ideal for those who like to tote a little list of essentials every day.

LeDonne Leather U-Zip Mini

Handcrafted from full grain vaquita cowhide and decorated with antique hardware, this suave mini backpack purse from LeDonne is a little treasure that goes over big in appearance.

As the perfect size for holding your essentials, the main compartment also has a u-zip for wide open access and a lined interior with a zip pocket.

The bag features two exterior pockets to place electronic devices within easy grasp.

However, the front pocket extends under the base making it difficult for women to retrieve smaller objects such as coins or pens that slip to the bottom.

Weighing only 12 oz. this bag is light and comfy to carry as a pack with adjustable straps or tote like a purse with the top handle.

  • With understated grace and elegance, this mini backpack purse carries a nominal load for the fashionista on the go.

Piel U-Zip Mini

Uncomplicated and cut down to size the Piel U-Zip Backpack purse seems deceptively large with a wide double zip entry into an airy interior.

It is so easy to load your gear including larger items such as a water bottle, paperback book or small camera.

Although not popping with pockets as some women prefer, most find the inside zip pocket and cell phone organizer along with the exterior zip pocket adequate for arranging their goods.

It’s also easy to grab and go using a top handle or carry without effort on your back with adjustable straps.

This mini backpack purse is fashioned from quality leather, but some users say it should last longer with less fading.

However, women do love the amazing selection in nine fun and flirty shades from saddle tan to vivacious violet.

  • Simply chic, this small pack flaunts a clean and smooth design appeasing those who like to backpack a purse care-free.

Piel Flap-Over Mini

Presenting the new Flap Over Mini backpack crafted from the finest naked leather, Piel pays attention to details with an eye on function.

Lift open the magnetic flap to discover two zippered main sections displaying a well-compartmentalized design.

This tailored pack is complete with a full organizer and window ID pocket in the front section. And in the rear section, there’s ample storage space for an iPad and an interior zip pocket.

As if that wasn’t enough specialization, the exterior also asserts a front zip pocket and a rear pocket. If you like to keep your things neat and tidy, with an executive look, then this is the bag for you.

As a new arrival on the market reviews are sparse, but if you require a generous internal compartment for bulkier items, then this bag may not be your best choice.

  • A one of a kind and clever design with a plethora of specialized pockets, this mini backpack is ideal for women fond of order and structure when carrying light loads.
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