The point of these gear recommendation posts is to make gear recommendations based on what I find to be the best value for your money. I am a painfully pragmatic person who needs equipment to last forever.
So its either relatively inexpensive and will last a reasonable amount of time, or you cry once, pay the price, and it lasts forever. The first product I will go over is my 11 year old Osprey Aether 70 Liter pack (which I am wearing in the picture above).
So why Osprey? Well, not only do they make a bitchin' product that is extremely high quality but they also have the crazy good "almighty guarantee". Ground squirrel eats through your straps? Osprey fixes or replaces it for free. Threw your pack off a wall on decent where it fell through 200 feet of void and smashed into granite on the surface? Well if it doesn't survive that (mine did fine, no issues, not even a fray, which is NUTS) Osprey replaces or repairs....for free* (you pay shipping I think its like...chump change). So you buy your backpack...ONCE and that is it.
So lets talk upgrades. I wanted to hike with my big 70 liter but wanted a smaller bag for day hiking from where I was camping. Example, I hike five miles to a shelter, sleep, wake up, unclip my day bag, hike two peaks, and come back to camp. So 11 years later I bought the Osprey daylight + hiking bag and their BRAND NEW product still fits onto the 11 year old model of backpack. It clips on the front, and I essentially have upgraded my bag into a 90 liter pack that has a 20 liter removal day pack, backpack straps and all. They make a phenomenal product and cannot recommend it enough for any and all outdoor activities. The old Aether 70 Liter with the new Daylite + 20 Liter is pictured above.