In its simplest form, a pack comes with two straps and a pocket with enough space to carry whatever you need throughout the day. But if you overload your pack and carry it for the long haul, the downside of simplicity becomes apparent. Besides, the gear world would never leave things simple. These packs speak to both needs, both OCD-driven travelers and those who don’t need any more bells or whistles than a good-looking pack.
1. Nixon JJF, $150; 2. Fjallraven Raven, $60; 3. Osprey Manta AG 28, $165; 4. Herschel Lawson, $150; 5. The North Face Access, $135; 6. REI National Park Service Traverse 28, $119; 7. Oliberte Tatona, $180.
Nathan Borchelt is a gear-obsessed travel writer and adventurer whose collection of shoes, backpacks, jackets, bags, and other “essential” detritus has long-outgrown his one-bedroom apartment (and his wife’s patience).