Best Hiking Backpack (2020): Reviews and Comparison

  • January 1, 2020
  • / By Keith Terrell
A Buying Guide For Finding Best Hiking Backpack

There’s nothing quite like getting out into the great outdoors and leaving the city behind, but unless you’re into the minimalist experience you’ll need to take all of the essential gear with you. The smartest and most comfortable option is with a dedicated hiking backpack, but with so many on the market, it can be hard to find one that’s worthwhile.

Man with a hiking backpack.

If you’ve been struggling to choose your first hiking backpack or you’re a seasoned hiker looking for their next upgrade, you might find yourself overwhelmed after reading just a few hiking backpack reviews. For this reason, we’ve decided to do the hard work for you and sort through them ourselves to present you with the top rated hiking backpack options around.

Whether you’re looking for a light hiking backpack or something more intense, we’ve got the perfect choice for every occasion. These bags have been expertly designed to help you carry your belongings efficiently and comfortably as you make your way through the great outdoors, so they’re not a purchase that you want to make lightly.

Choosing the best hiking backpack is a matter of looking at everything from volume to material, and matching it up with your needs as a hiker and the environment you’re going into. With that said, it’s no wonder the search can get complicated so we’re here to help you out and show you the best hiking backpack brands and models on the market today.

Our Picks For The Best Hiking Backpack

When it comes to hiking and camping gear, no piece of equipment is more important than the bag that holds it all, which is why it’s crucial to get it right the first time. We’ve scoured the top reviews for these unique styles of bag to bring your our picks for the best hiking backpack so that you don’t have to do any of the work.

Winner: KAKA Outdoor Backpack

When you’re looking for a seriously tough backpack that can handle all kinds of outdoor conditions, you can’t go wrong with the KAKA Outdoor Backpack. Specifically designed for these kinds of settings, you’ll feel at ease trusting this bag to carry all of your important hiking gear the next time you hit the trails.

This backpack has a huge 40L capacity which makes it ideal for short hikes or weekend-long adventures, with more than enough space to take everything you need. The bag has been designed with separate compartments to keep everything in its place and give you easy access when you’re out in the wilderness.

Multipurpose 40L Outdoor Hiking Backpack(Black)

According to the reviews, some people found this backpack looked a little smaller than they thought when they purchased it. If you’re after something sizeable like a 50L hiking backpack you might want to keep shopping around then, as this one will only hold up to 40L maximum.

There are plenty of ergonomic features that make this bag a dream to carry and your back will certainly thank you after a long day of hiking. There are soft, padded shoulder straps and a waist strap that you can tighten up to keep the bag closed. These features mean you’ll feel more stable and less likely to get off balanced which can be a huge bonus as you hike.

The material used is Oxford polyester and it means your bag is wear resistant and water resistant which are nice qualities to have in a backpack meant for the outdoors. KAKA has made sure to choose a durable material like this that suits hikers but also one with breathability that will keep you cool as you work up a sweat.

This is a serious hiking backpack that ticks all of the boxes feature wise and with quality that you can feel in an instant. Provided the smaller width isn’t a problem for you and you’re sure that your hiking gear will fit inside, this is the perfect hiking backpack and at a reasonable price that most could afford.

Runner-Up: TOPQSC Outdoor Backpack

When you’re looking for a serious hiking backpack but don’t have the funds for one of the more expensive brands, you will still be impressed by the TOPQSC Outdoor Backpack. Coming in at just a fraction of other hiking backpacks, this backpack is still extremely well made and with the features and design of a more expensive brand.

This hiking backpack by TOPQSC would be considered a smaller size so it’s better suited to those who only like day-long hikes. With a 25L capacity, it’ll have just enough to keep you covered for the day but not weight you down, so you’re given the freedom to have a lighter outdoor adventure.

Leegoal Multifunctional Outdoor Military Tactical Backpack

TOPQSC has made this backpack with seriously tough materials like 600D military-grade polyester oxford. For the outdoors, this means that it can stand up to intense weather conditions and the usual wear and tear that happens on a hiking trip.

However, because of its low price you might want to invest in a backup just in case it does start to wear thin after a year.

The shoulder straps on this bag are padded but there are really no other ergonomic features to be found so if this is important to you then you might want to keep searching.

There are plenty of separate compartments to store your stuff, though, which does keep you from straining yourself just to reach anything, however some other ergonomic features would have been handy.

The zippers used in the TOPQSC Backpack are made to a military standard which means they’re slip resistant. This can be a huge bonus when you’re out hiking and especially if you’ve experienced some rain, so don’t discount how a small feature like this can have a big impact.

Overall, the TOPQSC Outdoor Backpack is the better of the affordable styles on offer, so it’s perfect for those with a limited budget.

Alternative: Deuter Groden Hiking Backpack

When money is no option and you can afford to spend quite a bit on your backpack, the Deuter Groden Hiking Backpack is your best choice. Priced well above the rest but made with the quality and style you can expect from this famous brand, the Groden has everything you could ever ask for in a hiking companion.

This bag has been made for over 20 years by Deuter and it remains one of their most popular, so you know it won’t disappoint. The design of this backpack is quite soft though, and some hikers prefer the rugged and durable feel to their bags. If this is you, you probably won’t be impressed by the flimsy feel of this bag.

The softness aside, there are plenty of positive things about this backpack. It uses a specialized Aircomfort System that is fully ventilated so it will keep you cool on the trails. For those who hike in especially warm climates, this will be a benefit you won’t want to live without.

Deuter Groden hiking backpack.

Features like a rain cover will keep it dry and a wet pocket just for storing damp clothes, both making life a little easier in the outdoors.

With 32L capacity, it’s about mid-range in terms of size and if you’re an efficient packer it should be enough room to last you for a few days in the great outdoors. For day trips there will be plenty of space and the design of its compartments means less straining to find the piece of gear you’re looking for on your journey.

The stylish design of the Deuter Groden is almost a throwback to old backpack styles of the past, but with a modern twist. If you prefer a bag with a bit more personality than most hiking bags offer then you’ll love this one, with hues of green and grey to give it an earthy look. For the serious hiker with serious cash to spend, you won’t be disappointed with the Deuter Groden.

Alternative: Freeknight Trekking 60L Backpack

Hikers who like to spend a little longer than usual in the outdoors will want a bag that can carry all of their essential gear, which is why the massive Freeknight Backpack is a great choice. With a huge 60L capacity this is one of the biggest on the market and the perfect construction to take outdoors.

Made from nylon fabric you might feel that this bag is a little lightweight when you try it on, and for the low price, you’d be right in assuming this. While this would be good for a weekend trip away it’s probably not wise to pack it full of gear and hike for 12 months with it otherwise it might not stand up to the test.

The bag claims to be water resistant, tear resistant, and lightweight so it ticks all the right boxes. At such a low cost it actually performs a lot better than you’d imagine and is perfect for taking all types of gear along on your hike.

FREEKNIGHT FK0395 60L Water Resistant Climbing Hiking Backpack with Rain Cover

With special compartments including a shoe storage pouch and a rain cover pouch, it seems that Freeknight has really thought of everything and packed it into a budget-friendly backpack.

This is considered an ultralight backpack weighing less than 2lbs which means it frees up room for other gear.

Using one backpack like this would even work for small groups or couples going hiking as they could share the load and have enough room for everyone’s gear inside.

Otherwise, a solo traveler would have ample room to bring everything including camping supplies within.

Freeknight is known for making quality bags that cost a fraction of the price of other brands and they’ve delivered on their reputation with this backpack. If you’re looking for a large but affordable lightweight backpack to take on your next camping trip, the Freeknight Outdoor Backpack is it.

Alternative: Lixada 50L Hiking Backpack

If you need a spacious bag for hiking but don’t want to spend too much money, the Lixada 50L Hiking Backpack is one of the best in the market. It’s inexpensive but it comes with generous space; more than enough to fit a week’s worth of clothes or a few days’ worth of hiking gear. Whether you’re traveling or in the great outdoors, this bag is equipped with several compartments and all the space you need to make sure you have the essentials with you.

Although the bag is simple, it’s big on useful features. One of them is the handy rain cover that’s conveniently stored at the bag’s bottom pocket. This bag is ideal for people who need space but want to keep their things organized, because its several compartments and pouches make it easy to stash away your things.

Whether you’re packing sleeping gear, clothing, food, cooking utensils, or all at the same time, this bag makes it easy. It will have enough space to ensure you don’t need to bring another bag with you.

Lixada 50L Hiking Backpack Front

However, it’s worth noting that this bag stands out for the superior comfort it offers. It can be hard to enjoy traveling or hiking if your gear is weighing you down. But that won’t happen with this backpack, thanks to its ergonomic and padded shoulder straps. The bag’s back support is a bonus especially for those who intend to maximize its carrying capacity. It also comes with an adjustable waist and chest belt which efficiently helps minimize the burden of carrying a big load on your back. This backpack also has a versatile design that suits both men and women. There are several colors to choose from, too.

Considering its price points, this bag is a steal! It’s made from high-quality and durable nylon. The features may be simple, but it’s perfect for people who prioritize spaciousness and comfort on the go. Other backpacks in the market will easy cost several hundred dollars for a product that has this much space, but Lixada has been successful in offering budget-conscious consumers with a high-quality product that exceeds expectations.

Why A Hiking Backpack Is A Must For The Outdoors

For those who have never hiked before it’s a common misconception that you can just use any old backpack or bag to take along on a hiking trip. While backpacks certainly can be versatile, when you’re getting into such a diverse and unknown location as the great outdoors you really only want to rely on something that has been designed for the task.

Standard backpacks are usually quite simple in their design and they don’t feature many compartments or pockets. When you’re hiking it’s essential to have these compartments to keep your gear stored away in order of how often you’ll use it to save yourself from unpacking an entire bag right there on the walking trail.

Another key difference between the best hiking backpack and an average backpack is that they’re designed to handle outdoor conditions like rain. They might be made from waterproof materials that keep the rain out so that your hiking gear doesn’t get ruined, or could be extra durable to prevent them from the regular wear and tear that these bags endure.

Hiking backpacks on a hill.

A common misconception is that a hiking backpack has to be expensive and will usually cost a few times more than a regular one, which is one reason that puts people off from investing in one.

However, there are plenty of great brands around that make affordable hiking backpacks that are surprisingly well made, and when it comes time to upgrade there are plenty of options out there.

The Features To Look For When Choosing Your Hiking Backpack

When you’re looking for the best hiking backpack there are some things to look for that indicate you’re choosing the right accessory. Here are just a few features to consider before you settle on the final backpack for your next hiking adventure.


There are two things to consider when choosing a size; the capacity and the measurements. The measurements refer to the length, width, and diameter of the, with different shapes and sizes available. The capacity is always shown in liters and refers to how much space is within the bag.

Depending on how long you’re hiking for and how much gear you need, this should be compatible with the hiking backpack volume.


Hiking backpacks are almost always made of durable but lightweight materials. This means they won’t weigh the hiker down and will give you more weight to be used for your gear.

The durability is important because it has to last outside and in harsher conditions than usual. Commonly, these bags are made of nylon, polyester, Cordura, and canvas, all offering a lightweight but tough approach.

Number Of Compartments

This might not appeal to all hikers but if you’re someone who likes to keep your gear organized it’s an essential feature. There are many different compartments to a hiking bag or you can go for a simple approach, depending on your personal preference. Cell phone holders, shoe storage pockets, water bottle holders, and various compartments are available on these bags.

Extra Features

There are a number of additional features that can make your hiking experience more enjoyable but if you prefer a simple approach you’ll probably want your backpack to reflect that. Rain pouches, built in navigational compasses, emergency whistle, and water filters are just some of the impressive feature you can find on a hiking backpack.


When you’re traveling long distances you want a bag that’s comfortable and supportive so you should find one with ergonomic features. These can include padded shoulder straps, contoured back, a weighted construction to keep you balanced, and efficiently placed compartments that allow for minimal strain as you reach for things.


Although not important to everyone, there are some that like to look the part when outdoors and want a hiking backpack that’s stylish as well as practical. There are various colors including those closely matched to nature like green and brown, otherwise a sleek, all black approach might be better suited to your taste.

Three different backpacks.

The backpack is the quintessential hiking accessory as it gives you somewhere to keep all of your belongings but leave your hands free to explore your surroundings. Whether you’re checking out the local wildlife or taking a well-deserved sip of water, you’ll be glad you had your hands free while all of your gear is kept safely on your back.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a good hiking backpack? 

A good hiking backpack should meet certain criteria. The capacity of the backpack should be able to accommodate the amount of gear you intend on carrying; base this on the length of your trip and how much you plan on packing; you should avoid carrying more than necessary.

The back should properly fit your body; the length of your torso, not your height, is what matters most. There are three main types of backpacks; internal-frame, external-frame, and frameless. The best option depends on your specific needs.

A good backpack will offer effective ventilation to prevent overheating, will be easily accessible, and offer enough compartments to stow all of your essentials. Padding is also important; a good back will feature padding along the back, as well as on the handles. It should also contain straps along the chest and waist that can secure the backpack in place.

Do I need a hiking backpack?

If you intend on taking a hike that will last a period of several hours or longer over moderate to intense terrain, you should definitely consider investing in a hiking backpack. These backpacks are specifically designed to accommodate the essential gear that you will need while you are hiking. They are also designed to offer the maximum amount of comfort while it is strapped to your back and you are walking.

Make sure to select a backpack that properly fits your torso, is lightweight, breathable, and is the right size to hold your gear.

How do I choose a hiking backpack?

It’s important to pick a backpack that fits the size of your torso. Measure along your spine from the top of your hips to the base of your neck and select a backpack that matches these dimensions.

You should also consider the capacity of the pack. A 20 to 50 liter pack is ideal for a 1 to 2 night trip; a 50 to 60 liter pack is suitable for a weekend excursion; a 60 to 80 liter back is ideal for multi-day trip, and a pack that is 80 liters or more is suitable for an extended excursion.

The pack should also feature padded straps that can be adjusted, offer support, is breathable, and offer easily accessible compartments.

What is the best day pack for hiking?

The best day pack for hiking measures 20 liters or less in size. It should be sized to fit your torso appropriately. The shoulder straps should be padded and adjustable. It should be made of durable, yet lightweight, breathable material. It should also offer pockets that are easily accessible, yet close securely.

Can a hiking backpack also be used as a carry on?

Hiking backpacks can be used as a carry on, as long as they meet the requirements that are set forth by the TSA, as well as the requirements of the airline for carry-on luggage. Backpacks that feature internal frames are ideal for carry-on use.

What do hikers carry in their backpacks?

Hikers back the essentials that they will need to ensure their safety and comfort. The specific items will vary, depending on the length and extent of the excursion, as well as personal preference. However, there are some basic essentials that should be packed.

Food, water, bug repellent, sunscreen, a first aid kit, navigational tools, clothing, extra footwear, toiletries, trash bags, and a pocket knife should all be packed. For hikers who are camping, a backpack and tent should also be stowed in a pack.

The Most Important Piece Of Hiking Gear

Regardless of your hiking skills, you’ll no doubt understand that the gear you take along with you on the trails can mean the matter of a good or bad experience. In some cases, it can be even more serious and mean a matter of life or death, so choosing the best hiking backpack is about more than just finding something stylish.

These bags might look simple on the outside but they are responsible for holding our gear, keeping us safe and balanced, and being the one reliable thing we can count on in the great outdoors. With the job of holding important supplies like food and shelter you really don’t want to trust any old backpack to take hiking which is why you need to make the right choice.

Too many people focus on the stuff inside their bags while leaving the choice of the backpack to the last moment. However, your hiking backpack should actually be considered the most important piece of hiking gear you own and be given even more thought than the others.

With the best hiking backpack in your possession, you won’t have to give a second thought to the safety or condition of your gear. No matter if it’s raining or sunny, through rugged conditions or smooth ones, having the perfect hiking backpack for your adventure is the smartest investment you’ll ever make.