When it comes to quality hiking backpacks you generally get what you pay for, but that doesn't mean you need to sacrifice comfort, durability and convenience. Experts say the Teton Sports Explorer 4000 (*Est. $80) offers everything you could need in a pack for short to moderate hikes at a great price. It gets rave reviews for ease of use, and owners say you can pack it to the max and it holds it all securely while still offering a comfortable carry.
The Marmot Ultra Kompressor (*Est. $50 ) is not as well equipped as the Explorer 4000 but still provides you with plenty of space (65 liters), as well as a separate compartment for a sleeping bag, although some owners say it may be too small for extended trips. It's extremely lightweight, just 1 pound, 6 ounces, and may make it a better choice as a daypack.
The Kelty Redwing 50 (*Est. $120) has five external pockets, as well as an array of clips and daisy chains that the Teton Explorer lacks. These can be convenient for storing the things you will need quick access to throughout the day without having to dig through your main compartment to reach them. The Teton gets better reviews for comfort, though, due to a stability bar that runs up the center of the Redwing.
The Explorer 4000 is made up of 600D diamond ripstop, which is a fairly durable material that can stand up to some considerable abuse. Compared to the Marmot Ultra Kompressor, which consists mostly of 210d double ripstop, the Teton is both more durable and better resistant to water. With a lifetime warranty and such a low price, the Teton Sports Explorer 4000 is an all-around admirable pack. If you're in the market for a hiking backpack that can supply you for long trips, stand up to the elements and sit comfortably on your back with a sub-$100 price tag, this is your best choice.