Best Hiking Backpack (2020): Reviews and Comparison

  • April 5, 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.

Best Overall: Osprey Atmos AG

The Osprey Atmos OG has been selected as the Best Overall when it comes to hiking backpacks. It has received great feedback when it comes to weight, durability, comfort, as well as organization. These are certainly big benefits for a backpack when you are out hiking. You do not want something that will weigh you down but you also require it to be spacious enough to fit in all your essentials.

The backpack also comes in two different sizes so you have a variety of choices to pick from - either 50 liters or 65 liters. The following are some of the features, pros, and cons of the hiking backpack that make it worthy of this list.

Osprey Packs Atmos AG



  • The backpack has an incredible anti-gravity suspension that allows you to carry weight as if there is no load on your back at all.
  • There is a stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment which allows you to stow the pools when you are navigating rough terrain.
  • The harness is adjustable and makes it easy to use. Each hiker gets a custom fit thanks to this adjustable harness. It has a removable floating top lid that has dual-zippered pockets as well as web attachment points.
  • There is an internal hydration reservoir sleeve that can make room for as much as a 3L reservoir. You should never have to go thirsty on a hike.


If you are looking for a bag with a great capacity and efficient anti-gravity suspension, this is a great bag that hardly makes you feel the weight on your back. It has a fly-on-the-flip hip belt that allows you to go hands-free at any time during the trek. There are also dual ice tool loops that come with bungee tie-offs, making it easy for you to embark on any adventure during your trek. 

If there are any additional gear you want to attach to your backpack, that is possible as well. Since you can never be too safe while going on a hike, the sternum strap has a safety whistle which ensures that you get as much added security as possible.


  • If you need to go hands-free at any point during your trek, you can deploy the trekking pole attachment in no time.
  • The two zippered front pockets provide room for additional storage. Anything that needs to be at hand and quick access can be placed in these pockets. 
  • There are three great colors you can pick from - Abyss Grey, Rigby Red and Unity Blue.
  • There are also two sizes you can pick from and both are spacious for a variety of different objectives.


  • The bag does not come with a bladder from Osprey which may seem like a drawback to some. It is invariably an additional expense.
  • The pack squeaks a little upon the first use, though most customers have reported that the squeaking eases out eventually.

Our Verdict

The Osprey Atmos AG has been picked as the ‘best overall’ as it offers a variety of different features that make this a great product for a hiker of every skill level. Whether you are an experienced hiker or a novice, this backpack has several possibilities for your hiking adventure - big or small. This is a safe and comfortable backpack that is definitely worth your money. A strong vote of recommendation.

Runnerup: Granite Gear Blaze 60L

The Runnerup in this coveted competition is the Granite Gear Blaze (60L). The backpack is an attractive, lightweight and comfortable buy that is great for long treks. It has a good compression system and has been praised for how easy it makes the hike for the wearer. It also comes with a new A.C. (Air Current) Frame that has a 50 lb (22.7 kg) load rating.

There are several features that the bag has to offer which make it a worthy buy. It is also more or less close to the previous backpack in terms of price, however, the Osprey does have many more features to offer. The following are some of the features, pros, and cons of the backpack that make it worthy of consideration.

Granite Gear Blaze 60L Backpack



  • The backpack has a dual-density shoulder harness that can withstand a lot more weight than regular backpacks. The harness can distribute the weight on the wearer’s bike evenly.
  • There is a cinch-and-roll closure feature that allows you to pack your backpack in and then compress the contents for greater security. This ensures the pack remains compact no matter how full it is.
  • There is a removable lid compartment that comes with a DWR treated zipper which allows you to convert the backpack into a chest pack.
  • It has a hydration port and an excellent internal hydration sleeve.
  • The removable sternum strap and whistle buckle add extra safety measures to the pack.


This is an easily compressible backpack that is great for a hike, whether you are a beginner or an experienced hiker. You can fill the backpack to optimum capacity and then compress it neatly so the weight is not uneven and the backpack does not seem unwieldy. There is also a chest pack that can be removed and used separately if you are only looking to go for a short hike from the hotel or campsite.

This is a great addition if you need to go for a quick hike and do not want to carry the entire backpack. This is also an extremely safe backpack and several provisions have been put in place to ensure that it is fastened securely at all times.


  • The load-lifter straps in the dual-density shoulder harness make your life much easier when you are carrying a slightly heavier weight during your trek.
  • The new A.C. frame allows you to lock the backpack in according to the perfect torso size. You can carry up to 50 lb with great ease.
  • There is a molded foam back panel that allows you to carry the load comfortably without straining your back.
  • The backpack comes in two neutral colors - Black Gingham and Brown Gingham.


  • There is scope for the compression straps to be slightly longer, some customers have reported.
  • If there were bottom straps for the tent or sleeping pad, that would make the backpack even more versatile.

Our Verdict

The Granite Gear Blaze backpack has been selected as the ‘runner up’ as it offers several of the benefits that the Osprey Atmos AG backpack offers, but falls short in some minute ways. But apart from the few shortcomings in comparison to the first backpack, the Granite Gear Blaze offers great color options, is comfortable and allows you to carry up to 50 lb with great ease. This is a bag worthy of your money too.

Best Budget Daypack: Marmot Unisex Kompressor Plus

The Marmot Unisex Kompressor Plus is a great budget daypack for several reasons. To begin with, it is comfortably under $100, yet it also provides the perks of a backpack that is of a higher range. It does not sell you short simply because you are paying less money. The backpack is lightweight and is perfect for a single-day hike. The design is compressible and can be packed down when it is not being used.

It has a single tool trekking pole attachment for when you want to go hands-free as well as a daisy chain from which you can hang any extra tools or gear. There are several features that make this a worthy buy for somebody looking for a comfortable pack on a budget. The following are some of the pack’s features, pros, and cons.

Marmot Kompressor Plus



  • The backpack is made with high-quality mesh, nylon, ripstop and polyester. The material lends pack durability and strength.
  • It has full-body lightweight compression straps as well as a back panel that is able to provide great support to the hiker.
  • There is a hydration port and a hanging reservoir clip that makes it easy to carry water on the trek.
  • The bag is made using imported, high-quality materials which certainly make it stand apart in terms of quality.
  • There are sternum straps that keep the back firmly in place and distribute the weight on your back.
  • You can attach extra tools with ease with the daisy chains.


This is a great budget backpack for a one-day hike. It does not offer too much space but certainly makes for a great backpack if you need to pack for a short hike during the day. You can easily fit small but necessary equipment, carry water and a windcheater in case it gets chilly, among other things.

The backpack only comes in one color, however, it is a fashionable and striking color. It is a comfortable backpack that does not put undue pressure on your back.


  • The compressible design allows you to pack the bag down and wear it with comfort without any of the contents of the pack making it unwieldy to carry.
  • The pack comes with a single tool or trekking pole attachments which keeps all the important gear at hand. You can attach any extra gear with ease.
  • There is a hanging reservoir clip that allows you to stay hydrated and keeps your water bottle and other liquids within arm’s distance.
  • The lightweight compression straps and back panel protects your back from injury.


  • Though blue is a great color, there is only one color option. This is certainly a limitation.
  • Unless the pack is packed full, the contents tend to jiggle inside or the pack tends to sway. Several customers have complained about this.

Our Verdict

The Marmot Unisex Kompressor Plus is a great choice for somebody on a budget. If you are looking to pack only for a day, this is a great option that will suffice in terms of storage space. You can fit the bare necessities that one might require for a day-long hike so the backpack does do what it promises but it does not go beyond that expectation. But if you are looking for a budget buy, this is the ideal pick.

Best Women’s Hiking Backpack: Osprey Packs Sirrus 24 Women's

The Osprey Packs Sirrus 24 is the best women’s hiking backpack. This is an extremely comfortable backpack that has a ventilated tensioned mesh in the back panel. There is also great adjustability that the pack offers for different torso lengths. One of the great things about the pack, apart from its adjustability, is the fact that it comes an integrated rain cover which ensures you are prepared for all kinds of wet weather. The pack is a highly versatile one which is one of the best options if you are a woman looking for the best hiking backpack. The following are some of the features, pros, and cons that the pack has to offer.

Osprey Packs Sirrus 24



  • The backpack, as has been mentioned in the introduction, has a ventilated tensioned mesh back panel.
  • The backpack is versatile and allows each hiker to adjust it according to the length of their torso.
  • There is an internal hydration reservoir sleeve that ensures water and other liquids are at close hand.
  • The zippered hip belt pockets also make the pack highly versatile and allow you to adjust it how you deem fit.
  • There is an integrated rain cover as well as an ice tool loop with a bungee tie-off. These provisions prepare your bag for any eventuality.
  • The main compartment can be accessed through the dual-zippered panel which lends it added protection but also makes it easy to access. 
  • Osprey also offers an "All Mighty Guarantee", which means that in case of any damage, the company will repair the pack free of charge, regardless of when the damage is from.


This is a great, comfortable and safe option for women. It offers great storage space, has several different provisions in place for increased security and also comes in several attractive colors like black, Oracle Grey, Ruska Purple, and Summit Blue. There is also an internal hydration reservoir sleeve that allows you to reach for your water bottle at any point during the trek. It comes with a great guarantee, security and is certainly a backpack that has been made keeping in mind a female hiker.


  • The All Mighty Guarantee is one of the best things about this backpack. If the company cannot fix the damaged pack, they guarantee a replacement.
  • The integrated rain cover will protect your bag as well as the contents of your bag in case of sudden changes in the weather.
  • The ice tool loop with bungee tie-off is a great addition to the bag and allows you to attach extra gear.
  • The zippered hip belt pockets are a great addition for extra storage. You can keep valuables like cash and phones also in this pocket, where you can reach them easily.


  • Several customers were surprised that the pack was smaller than expected.
  • The hip pads tend to be slightly short for most women.

Our Verdict

The Osprey Packs Sirrus 24 Women’s is a great backpack for women and is possibly the best in this list for a female body. It relieves pressure from the back and is fastened securely on the waist. The bungee tie-off allows you to attach additional gear and makes it an even better option for storage. If you are a female customer, this backpack is one to consider.

Best Ultralight Hiking Backpack: HikPro

The HikPro is the best ultralight hiking backpack and is one of the top-reviewed on Amazon. It is perfectly lightweight and foldable, yet there is plenty of room for all your belongings in the backpack. The backpack has a capacity of 2 liters, which is more than you would require for an overnight trip or a short hike for a single day.

Of course, if you are looking to pack for more days this pack may not be the best capacity. However, if you are looking for a light backpack for a single-day trek, the HikPro truly works like a pro. The backpack is water-resistant and keeps you prepared for several weather eventualities. It hardly takes up any space and the fact that it is foldable makes it an extremely efficient pack. There are several features that make it the best ultralight hiking backpack. 

Hikpro 20L Daypack



  • The backpack comes with a sleek, minimalist design and has a lightweight and foldable nature. The backpack itself weighs only 7.5 oz.
  • It has an internal space of 20 liters and three zippered compartments which help you keep the contents of your bag organized.
  • The shoulder straps are made with a wide breathable mesh.
  • The pack is meant to be tear-resistant thanks to the high-quality nylon that has been used to make it.
  • The shoulder straps can be adjusted and locked with ease.
  • The pack has double fabric at the bottom and is reinforced in over 14 places with the Bartack process.
  • The pack comes with a five-year warranty allowing you to make this purchase with greater confidence.


This is a great, light and comfortable backpack to carry on a hike that also happens to come at a great price. There are plenty of colors that the bag comes in, including Army Green, Gray, Pink, Black, Orange and more. Apart from that, the bag is light but also extremely spacious. It has three compartments - the main one is large enough for you to carry all the essentials, the outer smaller pocket is for things you require quick access to and the internal pocket is for valuables like cash, phone, etc.


  • There are also two mesh pockets on the side in case you want to keep water bottles or an umbrella.
  • The pack is made with high-quality water-resistant nylon material that has more textile threads per unit area, making it more durable.
  • The backpack is water-resistant and will keep the contents of your pack dry for 40 minutes to an hour of rain. Enough time for you to find shelter and wait for the rain to subside.
  • This is a great pack for day trips, travel day hikes, camping, shopping, etc.


  • Some of the colors tend to leak and fade away. There have been particular complaints about the orange and red shades.
  • The water bottle pocket is not as durable as advertised. Several customers have reported that the mesh pocket has given way by the end of their trek.

Our Verdict

The HikPro backpack has been selected as the best ‘ultralight hiking backpack’ as it seems light as air but is able to carry a fair few things that one might require on a hike. This is a backpack that is ideal for day trips, camping, shopping, etc. and allows you to carry all the necessary things you may require on such trips. So if you are looking for a bag that does not weigh you down, this is it.

Best 25L Hiking Backpack: Thule Alltrail

The Thule Alltrail is the best 25-liter hiking backpack. The backpack offers a variety of perks apart from being the perfect size for a short trip. To begin with, it is not a very expensive pack and costs just about $100. It has several compartments and zippers which allow you to organize the contents of your bag with ease and efficiency.

There are breathable shoulder straps, a hip belt that allows you to adjust the bag based on different torso lengths and a back panel that ensures the weight is distributed on your back. While the hydration bladder is sold separately, there is a reservoir sleeve that is a great addition to the pack.

Given the amount it costs, the pack has several things to offer for a lightweight backpack. The following are some of the features you can look forward to using.

Thule AllTrail



  • The backpack has compartment side zippers and shove-it pockets for easy access to things like guides and maps.It has a quick access top-opening lid that makes it easy for you to get to the essentials in the pack.
  • There are two side water bottle pockets as well as easy attachment loops that are great for attacking ice axes, hiking poles and other gear.
  • There is also a reservoir sleeve (as has been mentioned above), a drink tube exit port and pockets to keep water bottles - you will never be thirsty on your hike.
  • The shoulder straps are breathable so they will not make you sweat or tire you out.
  • The hip belt and back panel are meant to provide support to your back.
  • The pack also comes with a hidden rain cover that makes it usable for any weather eventuality.
  • There is a zippered entry near the bottom of the pack which allows you to access the content that has gone below.


This 25L hiking backpack is the perfect blend of a backpack that can carry some weight but is also not too large or cumbersome. The zippered entry at the bottom is something unique this pack has to offer and is certainly a great and valuable addition.

No matter how you pack your bag, you can easily get to important things in the backpack even if they are placed at the bottom of the pile. The compression and harness system works very well and does not throw the hiker off balance in rough terrain.


  • It comes in three vibrant colors — Garden Green, Mykonos, and Obsidian.
  • The rain cover allows you to protect the contents of your bag even through sudden rain.
  • The padding on the hip belt enhances comfort and allows you to push yourself through the hike without injuring your back or hip.
  • You can easily hang the gear that you may require through the 18-inch daisy chain.


  • The hydration bladder has to be bought separately which seems to be an unnecessary added expense.
  • This is a slightly larger pack than what an ultralight hiker may be looking for. It can certainly pack in a fair bit in 25 liters.

Our Verdict

If you are looking for a backpack that is not too heavy but still offers a fair amount of storage space and load-carrying capacity, the Thule Altrail backpack is a great product to invest in. It allows you to hike in all kinds of weather and has comfortable padding on the hip belt so that your back does not take the pressure of the load.

Best 50L Hiking Backpack: Kelty Redwing 50

The Kelty Redwing 50 is the best 50-liter hiking backpack. It has a hybrid U-loading zipper which makes it extremely easy to load the bag from the top or through the panels. The back panel is meant to keep the pack stable and protect your back from getting injured. The water bottle pockets on the side are great for keeping water at hand during the hike.

The pack has a removable hip belt which makes it easy to adjust according to the length of different torsos. This is a great investment that falls just under $150 and will last you a long time. The following are some of the features the backpack has to offer that makes it the best 50-liter hiking backpack.

Kelty Redwing 50



  • The backpack has a hybrid U-loading zipper for easy top and panel loading.
  • The back panel has a dynamic airflow that makes it breathable and allows the pack to remain stable on your back.
  • The pack also comes with a sternum and load lifter straps that allow it to carry a fair amount of weight while you are hiking without letting your back feel the weight.
  • The design is hydration compatible and there are two water bottle pockets on the side.
  • The shoulder straps have air mesh and the waist belt is built with dual-density foam for greater durability.
  • The LightBeam single aluminum stay of the back panel allows you to hike long distances without straining your back out.


If you are looking for a 50L backpack that is great for carrying heavy loads and is suitable for all kinds of terrain, this is a great backpack to consider. It has a hybrid-loading design of the backpack gives you easy access to all your gear and things.

The ventilated Dynamic Airflow back panel, the Air Mesh shoulder straps, the dual-density foam waist belt, and the lumbar pad will ensure that you stay cool through the hike. So while this is a backpack for a heavy load, it ensures you do not overexert or feel unnecessarily hot on the hike.


  • The back panel is extremely sturdy and is made using superior technology which allows you to protect your back from injury while carrying the load.
  • The hydration compatible design ensures that you do not remain thirsty during your hike.
  • There are several provisions that give this backpack a customizable fit - load lifters, removable hip belt stabilizer straps, sternum straps, waist buckle, stabilizers, etc.
  • The pack is available in three colors - Forest Nights, Black and Forest Green.


  • Some customers have complained of the straps digging into their shoulders and skin when the bag gets heavier.
  • While this is a 50-liter bag, it is not made for long-term travel and is not as durable as promised.

Our Verdict

No matter where you go - a city or to the Grand Canyon for a hike, the Kelty Redwing 50 has you covered. This is a great backpack that is suitable for a variety of different terrains. If you are going on a multi-day hike, this is certainly a great buy. 50L is more than enough for a hike worth a few days and this backpack will provide all those features.

Best for Heavy Loads: Gregory Baltoro 75L

The Gregory Baltoro 75-liter backpack is the best for heavy loads. It is a great bag for multi-day use and will serve you very well on a long hike or a trip planned for a few nights. The pack offers incredible suspension for heavy loads and ensures that you can pack comfortably for a long trip. The back panel is extremely sophisticated and supports your back when you are carrying the load.

It is also weather protected and comes with a rain cover that can be stored in one of its own zippered pockets. The following are some of the features of the backpack that you may look forward to using.

Gregory Baltoro 75L



  • The backpack has a vented back panel that has a LifeSpan foam and a silicone lumbar grip.
  • The pre-curved LifeSpan foam component of the back panel provides the wearer with the perfect fit.
  • The backpack comes with a removable rain cover which can be stowed away in one of its own zippered pockets when it is not in use.
  • It has a WeatherShield PU-coated hip belt that also has an accessory pocket, giving you even more options for storage.
  • It comes with a SideKick, which doubles up as a hydration sleeve and a daypack for shorter trips.
  • There is a front U-zip that provides easy access to the main compartment.
  • There is a swappable 3D hip belt and a shoulder harness that offers each wearer a custom fit.


If you are looking for a convenient backpack that can carry a fair amount of load with ease, this is a backpack you can certainly consider. It is great for multi-day use and allows you to carry a whole range of gear and personal items on your hike. While the backpack is meant to carry heavy loads, it ensures your back does not bear the brunt of it.

The LumbarTune can easily customize lower back support and ensure that your back is well protected when you are hiking with heavier loads. There are several other benefits that this heavy-duty backpack has to offer.


  • It has a response A3 suspension that gives a comfortable and balanced carry to the pack.
  • There are two side-mounted zippered gear pockets that allow you to add more gear to your backpack and have quick access to it as you hike.
  • The WeatherShield hip belt pocket is ideal for protecting valuables like your phone, money, etc.
  • The backpack is available in three exciting colors - Navy Blue, Shadow Black, and Sparky Red.


  • The backpack has a better fit for people who are tall and broad.
  • The shoulder strap can be attached better and should offer greater durability.

Our Verdict

If you are looking for a backpack that can take some weight and is equipped to handle some hardcore and professional hiking, the Gregory Baltoro 75L is a great backpack to invest in. It has several different pockets that allow you to store all the essentials for a successful hiking trip and more.

Apart from being a technically sound hiking backpack that can carry heavy loads, it does not fall behind on style and comes in three exciting colors. Certainly, a must buy.

Best for Kids: Osprey Packs Jet 12

The Osprey Pack Jet 12 is the best hiking backpack for kids. Coming in at a competitive price, the backpack is quite reasonably priced and allows kids to take care of their own belongings without feeling burdened by the weight.

The backpack has panel access which makes it easier for the wearer to load and unload the gear. There are also external pockets that help to keep the gear organized. The pack offers several perks but the biggest of all is the fact that it can make kids independent. The pack offers everything that kids may need from a pack on a hiking trip. 

With this pack, they can be responsible for their own belongings and carry their own gear and water bottle. This can be a great learning experience for the kids. The following are some of the features that the pack has to offer to kids.

Osprey Packs Jet 12



  • The backpack comes with panel access that makes it extremely easy to load and unload gear, even if the user is a child.
  • It comes with side pockets for water bottles and other items so the kid has easy access to important things.
  • It has an expandable front stash pocket, external pockets for organizing the gear and an exterior reservoir sleeve for increased storage of things that you may require quick access to.
  • It has one interior zipper pocket and one exterior zipper pocket.
  • The backpack is made with durable, imported and high-quality nylon that gives it a long life.
  • Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee also applies to this product, allowing you to make this purchase with greater confidence. No matter when you take the bag in, if it is damaged, the company guarantees a repair or a replacement, whichever is required.


This is a great and exciting hiking backpack for kids. If you are traveling with children, this is a great way to let them be responsible for their own things by providing them with an appropriate backpack that a child can carry with ease. The pack is available in two exciting colors - Real Teal and Strawberry Red. Both colors are great hits with children.

The backpack also provides plenty of storage so your child can pack not only hiking essentials but perhaps even a light book or sheets to color once you have settled into a campsite or hotel.


  • The pack has convenient lower web loop attachment points that allow you to latch extra gear for your child.
  • The stretch mesh side pockets are great for keeping water bottles and other energy drinks during the hike.
  • There is a sternum strap for added support to the child’s back during the hike.
  • This is a great quality backpack for a toddler and it is best to initiate them into learning some responsibility early on.


  • The pack does not work for children above the age of 5.
  • Some people complained that even $50 was too much to ask for this backpack.

Our Verdict

The way to get a child’s attention is to present them with something they will be attracted to, whether in terms of color, design or style. The Osprey Packs Jet 12 does precisely that and more. This is a secure, safe and colorful backpack that your kid is sure to enjoy. There are several attachments that allow you to take extra gear along for your child. If you want to enhance your child’s hiking experience, this is a good buy.

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.