As with all products there are many different manufacturers of backpacks all around the world. Obviously some focus on the budget lower-end product, and others concentrate on maximising quality (whilst usually still offering a sensibly priced product). This article will list some of the top backpack brands so you can go looking for your next high quality bag:
Deuter is a well-known brand in the world of backpacks and has a history dating back from 1898. The philosophy of the company is to maximise comfort, and the name even means ‘ventilation’. The AirComfort system was originally developed by Deuter back in 1894, and they have ventilation systems and comfort features that help to maximise the ease of which their backpacks can be carried. Their current range covers the full spectrum of backpacking packs, ranging from ones to carry kids in (eg: KidComfort III), ones for kids to carry, hiking and mountaineering backpacks, rain covers, camera cases and much more. As a rough estimate, it looks like the majority of their backpacks have a minimum of 4 out of 5 star reviews on Amazon.
The North Face
The North Face was founded much more recently than Deuter Sports. It was established as a US company in 1984, and the logo itself resembles a particular monolith at Yosemite National Park (the Half Dome). Apparently the rationale behind the name is that the north face of a mountain is usually the most inhospitable and tougher to climb. Consequently their products are known for their ability to withstand the elements, and are primarily aimed at the outdoors types. The North Face range includes outdoor clothing and apparel in addition to backpacks, however in terms of backpacks they offer serious mountaineering products, hiking day-packs, and also high quality bags that could be used for school or college. As with Deuter above, the majority of their bags have at least 4 star reviews on the Amazon website.
JanSport is another US backpack giant that is sibling to The North Face, even located within the same headquarters. Statistics on Wikipedia state that both North Face and Jan Sport combined sell over half of all the small backpacks sold in the US. JanSport was established in 1967 and was named after the founder’s wife, ‘Janice’ or ‘Jan’. They also offer a wide range that incorporates hiking backpacks, daypacks, and they also have a large share of the college / school backpack market. Many of their products still feature their signature innovation, which is zip panel loading, rather than having just one zip pocket at the top of the bag. Their student / college range has a variety of colorful and fashionable designs that are popular with their target audience.
High Sierra was founded back in 1978, and has the aim of providing feature-rich and high quality gear at sensible prices. They aim their products on the ‘freedom to go anywhere’, and is another leading brand of outdoor gear including backpacks, hydration packs, totes, suitcases, laptop bags, wheeled bags and many more. Their products are all great looking and have a feeling of adventure and high technology about them, more so (in my opinion) than the classic ‘JanSport’ look. A wide variety of size and carrying capacity of backpacks are available, ranging from the small daypacks to large hiking backpacks that are large enough for multi-day / week trips.
Gregory Mountain Products
Gregory is another well-known name in the provision of backpacks for all walks of outdoor activity. Comprehensively their website states that their range includes bags and backpacks for hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, skiing, ‘on the trail’ and bags for everyday uses. As you can see they have a comprehensive variety of products to suit all possible uses, available in many different sizes and color variations. Many of their newer models have a really modern feel, some utilising bright block colors. Whilst these might not be to everyone’s tastes, there is an advantage of being visible to others whilst on the mountain, especially to any potential rescuers! Innovative features are included with many of their backpacks, including an innovative ski locking system on the award winning Targhee 32 skiing pack.