“Eco-economic” Packs Dominate Travel Lemming’s 2023 Backpacking Test

Colorado-based Travel Lemming, an online guide with 10 million readers, tested 8 top backpacking backpacks on a 5-day trek. “Eco-economic” packs excelled, with the Osprey Eja winning the #1 spot.

DENVER, May 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — To inaugurate the summer hiking season, Travel Lemming revealed the results of its head-to-head comparison test of 2023’s best backpacking backpacks. Eco-friendly and affordable models dominated, reflecting post-pandemic consumer trends towards “eco-economic” spending.

Editor Abigail Bliss personally tested 8 popular packs on a multi-day trek in challenging weather conditions, revealing her findings in a suite of video and written backpack guides published yesterday.

Key takeaways include:

  • Bliss independently tested and reviewed 8 popular backpacking packs on a 5-day trek in southern Utah, evaluating factors like durability, value, comfort, functionality, and features.

  • The project emphasized eco-conscious backpack selection, considering post-consumer fabric and long-term sustainability offered by lifetime warranties.

  • The Osprey Eja / Exos series claimed the #1 spot, scoring a 4.9 / 5-star rating. Bliss praised the backpack’s eco-friendly design, which is made from 100% recycled materials, and the value offered by its $240 price point and lifetime guarantee.

  • Other eco-conscious hiking packs to receive high marks include Gregory Maven / Paragon series, rated “best for organization,” and the REI Co-Op Flash 55, rated the “most customizable.”

The following table summarizes Travel Lemming’s backpack ratings:


Backpack Series




Eja / Exos 48


#1 Overall


Aura / Atmos AG LT 65


Best for Multi-Day Trips


Apex 60


Best for Long Thru-Hikes


Mountain Gear 3400


Best Ultralight Pack


Sports Scout 45


Best Budget


Maven 55 / Paragon 58


Best Organization


Co-Op Flash 55


Most Customizable


The Backpacker


Most Versatile

A summary of Travel Lemming’s reviews can be found at: https://travellemming.com/best-backpacking-backpacks/.

Travel Lemming Editor Abigail Bliss commented: “My friend and I encountered extreme winter weather when we took these packs on a 5-day trek in southern Utah. With multiple variables and preferences, defining the ‘best’ anything is tricky. I have great confidence in recommending these backpacking packs given 100+ hours of research and writing, along with personal use in real-world conditions.”

Travel Lemming CEO Nate Hake added: “We’ve noticed some clear post-pandemic trends among our 10 million readers. Travelers want to spend more time outdoors, they care about the environmental impact of their consumption, and they must balance tighter budgets. I’m proud of Abigail for creating such a detailed and helpful buying guide so our readers can navigate these trending priorities.”

The backpack reviews reflect Travel Lemming’s recent expansion into the outdoors vertical, following last week’s publication of a controversial ranking of US National Parks that placed lesser-known parks ahead of famous counterparts.

About Travel Lemming

Travel Lemming publishes practical online guides written by locals and experts. It is read by more than 10 million Americans annually.

Original backpack images available for reprint can be accessed here.

Press Contact: Taylor Herperger


SOURCE Travel Lemming