Teton Sports Explorer 4000: Popular Hiking Backpack Reviewed

If you’ve so much as been on a hiking trail before, you know that there are a ton of different hiking packs to choose from. They all have different styles, features, and are made to be incredibly versatile.  

Teton backpacks are some of the best in this niche, and are oftentimes the first brand that an experienced hiker will recommend to a newbie. However, it can be difficult trying to select just the right one

We're here to fill you in on the Teton Sports Explorer 4000 Backpack, which is the ideal selection for a large percentage of hikers.  

man wearing a teton backpack

Design & Comfort When Hiking/Backpacking

You can fit quite a bit in here, there's no doubt about that. However, when carrying that much, you need a pack that can help minimize the stress on your spine, shoulders, and neck. The shoulder straps and hip belts do exactly this, which is partially due to the angles and structure of them, but also the heavy padding throughout them.  

The thickness of the hip belt is not only comfy but also helps keep the bag stable against you. This makes it easier to move around while wearing it and is fully adjustable, so it should work with just about anyone. You also have an optional chest strap, which is adjustable in height, as well.  

With so much padding, ventilation is a must. The ample airflow channels on the section against your back are wonderful. In fact, the only part of the bag that realistically gets wet from sweat is the hip belt, and that's because it needs to be snug against your body.  

The only possible downside to the comfort and design is the weight of the bag. If you're into ultralight hiking, then this isn't the bag for you. It's by no means excessively heavy, but the fabric does add a bit of weight.  

Size & Carrying Capacity

If you unzip the middle divider inside the bag, you get a large, 65L compartment. In addition, you have various exterior and top pockets. At the top, there’s a big pocket great for keeping quick-grab items like a wallet, sunglasses, snacks, etc.  

You'll also find two adjustable straps for holding trekking poles. On the sides are three pockets: 1 big one on the left and 2 smaller ones on the right. Right behind them, you have the perfect spot to hold longer items like a tripod, walking poles, and so on. Mesh is plentiful here, with pockets for storing water bottles, and a large mesh pocket in the middle.  

Inside the Bag

The bag features all kinds of cool pockets, pouches, and other methods of keeping your belongings stowed safely away. At the bottom, there’s a dedicated compartment for your sleeping bag. It’s smart to stow the bag at the bottom of your pack, though if you don’t want it separate from the rest, you can just unzip the divider.  

There's also a side pocket ideal for your water bladder, along with a convenient opening at the top for any drinking tube. The internal frame is comprised of double aluminum rails which are extra-tough and offer extra support for heavier loads, keeping this stress off your back. When the bag needs washing, you can quickly remove the rails, too.  

Color & Style Options

There are quite a few great color options to choose from: Black, Hunter Green, Metallic Silver, and Navy Blue. All look sporty and are easy to spot from far away distances. The backpack works for men, women, and youth!

Material & Zip Quality

For hiking, your backpack is almost certainly going to be brushed up against twigs, rocks, and more abrasive surfaces. As the Teton Sports Explorer 4000 is made of such thick, durable materials, you don't have to worry about ripping. The shell is made from 600 Denier squared nylon ripstop and 600 Denier PU-coated nylon. This is heavier; however, it's thick and made to last.  

Zippers and all plastic elements feel equally sturdy, and you can tell this backpack is made to take a beating. The fabric is also quite effective at water resistance, thanks to the PU-coated nylon. It's important to note that the seams aren't water-sealed, so it's not 100% certain that moisture will never get in. However, there is also a rain cover tucked inside the bottom Velcro pocket that is fully waterproof!  

Going back to zippers for a moment, these seem to be a generic brand, though very durable and made for years of use. They don't tend to catch at all, though the zipper for the bottom sleeping bag section can be more challenging to open when it's packed tightly.  

TETON Sports Explorer 4000

Our Review of The Teton Sports Explorer 4000

TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame...
  • NOT YOUR BASIC BACKPACK: Continues to be the...
  • VERSATILE QUICK TRIP PACK: Perfect backpack...
  • COMFORT YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE: Multi-position...
  • TRUSTED QUALITY: Hiking backpack with...

Even if the TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack were twice as expensive, we would recommend it. It's probably the best pack you can get if you plan on carrying heavy. However, as previously mentioned, this is not ideal if you're an ultra-light packer or someone just going up for a few hours or one day. Rather, the 4000 is made for 3-5-day backpacking trips.  

On its own, it weighs 5 pounds. Take into consideration its 65L capacity, and things can get realistically up to 40-50 pounds. However, with the internal aluminum frame, multi-position torso adjustment, and open-cell foam lumbar padding, it does an excellent job of supporting this weight for you. 

It's evident that comfort was a top priority for Teton, with carefully crafted airflow channels and methodical padding locations. The entire torso, waist, chest, and shoulders are all adjustable to keep you feeling great, too. Versatility is another important feature here, with pass-through side pockets for a tent or fishing poles, hydration pack pockets, a separate sleeping bag compartment, and more. Designed with all climates in mind, you even get an integrated Rainfly to make sure your gear always stays safe and dry.  

Ultimately, for the multi-day adventurer who needs something reliable, sturdy, and equally as comfortable, it's hard to get better than the Teton Sports Explorer 4000.  

Pros

  • Very durable 
  • Ample padding 
  • Completely adjustable 
  • Various types of pockets 
  • Includes internal frame for added support 
  • Includes Rainfly to keep equipment dry 

Cons

  • A bit heavy 
  • Not ideal for very short hiking trips 

Price Guide & Sales Expectations  

On any regular day, you'll find the pack available for around $85 to $95. However, it does go on sale consistently throughout the year, and if you time things right, you'll be able to score the pack for $60 or less!  

Teton Sports website and Amazon are the best places to get a great deal on it. This usually happens around holidays, such as Labor Day, Cyber Week, and Memorial Day.  


Comparing the Sports Explorer 4000 with Other Teton Models  

The 4000 is often compared to other Teton Models, usually the Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack. While it does come in more color options, it's nowhere near as durable and does not carry as much as the 4000 does. It has just an 18L capacity, while the 4000 can support up to 65L. This is a nice option for shorter hikes or those who won't be carrying as much gear.  

The Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack is very similar to the 4000. However, there are some significant differences between them. First, the 4000 has a few more color options and is about 10L more incapacity. They are both highly adjustable, though we found the sleeping back compartment in the 3400 to be a bit too small. The Scout 3400 is more ideal for beginners, younger hikers, and those with less physical strength and conditioning overall.  

In contrast, the Teton Sports Outfitter 4600 Ultralight Internal Frame Backpack offers 10L more than the 4000! However, it manages to stay very lightweight and adjustable. It may be too big for women and smaller males and tends to be a bit uncomfortable around the lower back and hips due to the large size of the backpack. This is why we find the 4000 to be a nice meet-in-the-middle for most hikers.  


Teton Sports Explorer 4000 vs. Other Popular Models  

Teton Sports Explorer 4000 is most commonly compared to Osprey backpacks in terms of capacity, versatility, and comfort. The Osprey Atmos AG 65 Backpack is very similar, coming with a 65L capacity, adjustable harness, and comfortable hip belt. However, it’s 2-3 times as expensive due to its Anti-Gravity suspension. For many, it’s not worth the extra cash when the 4000 is quite comfortable without this feature.  

For something within a similar price range to the 4000, the MOUNTAINTOP 40L Hiking Backpack is good. There's a ton of color options; however, it is only able to support up to 40L. This one is a nice selection for weekend trips, though it isn't quite as rugged as the former. However, it is water-resistant, breathable, and comfortable.  

We have reviewed more Mountaintop backpacks in this article.  


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Who owns Teton? 

Teton is a privately-held company incorporated in Utah in 2005. It is owned by Andrew Kittleson.  

Where are Teton backpacks made?  

They are manufactured in various parts of Asia.  

How do you adjust a Teton 4000 backpack?  

Place the pack in front of you, making sure the shoulder straps are side-up. Open up the Velcro strap, taking it out of the webbing loops. After, thread the strap through the 2-3 loops that suit your height. If you’re on the taller side, use the top 3. If you’re shorter, use the bottom loops. You’ll see “M” or “L” next to those as indicators.  

Is Teton Sports waterproof?  

It sure is! 

Is this model good for multi-day hiking?  

It's ideal, in fact, for multi-day hiking of 3 to 5 days! 


Conclusion

Now that you know just about everything you could ever need about the Teton Sports Explorer 4000, have you decided if it's the right backpack for your hiking adventures? If you're planning on going on extensive hikes or packing a lot, it's really the best option for the vast majority of people. Thanks for tuning in, and we'll see you again shortly! 

  • September 25, 2021