Best Hiking Backpacks for Adventure Seekers

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 12, 2017
Are you an outdoor enthusiast or just new to hiking? No matter what your goals are, a quality backpack is a must-have on the trail! A hiking pack is more than just a comfortable way to carry your gear, it’s also a secure means to do it. And to make your treks easier and safer, get a professional-grade backpack from our fresh survey! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Material
Capacity
Features
Protection
Warranty
 
PROS

Durable polyester makes the pack suitable even for the most rugged adventures. Two barrel lock drawstrings securely close the main compartment. 

CONS

Might be too bulky for petite people.

OUR VERDICT

If you head out on a 2-3 day trek, TETON roomy backpack is a must! Combining comfort, large capacity, and durability, it will serve the purpose for years to come.

detailed parameters
Material

600D Diamond Ripstop, 600D Polyester

Capacity

3400 cu in

Roomy main compartment, Side quick-access pockets, Front pocket, Side mesh pockets for bottles

Features

Multi-position torso adjustment, Side and front compression straps, Top and bottom compression straps, Hip padding, Dual aluminum stays, Top carry loop, Hydration sleeve

Protection

Integrated bright yellow water-resistant rainfly

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

PROS

Web haul handle ensures comfortable and easy carrying. The pack is available in more than 30 designs.

CONS

Rather small for overnight hikes.

OUR VERDICT

It's a super-versatile backpack that is great for short hikes, jaunts in the woods, business trips, and just day-to-day use!

detailed parameters
Material

600D Polyester

Capacity

1550 cu in

Main compartment, Front pocket

Features

2/3" padded back panel, Web haul handle

Protection

Water resistant material

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

PROS

The double-layer bottom will absorb shocks in case of falls. The whistle on the chest strap is great for an emergency situation.

CONS

If not folded back before closing, the cover flap might get caught in the zipper. 

OUR VERDICT

This comfy lightweight pack boasts an affordable price for the volume sufficient for an overnight trip!

detailed parameters
Material

Polyester, Nylon

Capacity

2135 cu in

Large main compartment, Two zipped front pockets, Two side mesh pockets

Features

Folds into zipped inner pocket;
Double-layer bottom piece, Additional chest strap with a whistle buckle, Gear loops

Protection

Water resistant material

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

PROS

Owing to PerfectFIT ™ suspension and adjustable straps, the pack has superior fit.

CONS

The plastic buckles are lacking in quality.

OUR VERDICT

Kelty backpack is an extremely functional and comfortable hiking gear. Thanks to its smart design, you can neatly organize all your stuff!

detailed parameters
Material

420D Polyester 

Capacity

3100 cu in

Roomy main compartment, Zippered side pockets, Zippered stash pocket, Large front pocket, Side pockets for bottles

Features

Side compression straps, Gear loops, Chest and waist belts, Hydration sleeve, Single LightBeam aluminum stay

Protection

Water resistant material

Warranty

1 year

PROS

You can easily fold it into a zippered inner pocket and put it in your suitcase. The backpack is washable.

CONS

Since it has no back padding, it won't keep its shape well.

OUR VERDICT

Outlander ultralight backpack is a lifesaver for every tourist. You can unfold it whenever you need and stuff with all essentials for a country walk or a city tour!

detailed parameters
Material

Nylon

Capacity

1220/2000 cu in

Main compartment, Front pocket, Side mesh pockets for bottles

Features

Folds into zippered inner pocket


Protection

Water resistant material

Warranty

Lifetime warranty

What is a Hiking Backpack

No trek in the mountains, thru-hike, no weekend jaunt in the woods or camping can do without some necessary gear. And perhaps a backpack is one of the most important things you’ll need for hiking. With it, you can carry all the most necessary things like your camping gear, clothes, fuel, cell phone, and GPS. A quality backpack will evenly distribute the load weight, making your hiking adventures as comfortable as possible. Whatever your trekking goals are, we hope our survey of the best packs will help you find the one that will serve you on the trail for many years to come! Also, we recommend you to look through our review of trekking poles, camping tents, and sleeping bags.

What Features to Compare

Volume
The outdoor industry is going light as lightweight backpacking is more comfortable, and most experienced ultralight backpackers can easily fit all their gear in a 35-50L pack, even for a thru-hike. However, if you’re a hiking newbie, you might need a pack with a larger volume. A lot depends on your experience, trip duration, comfort level, and weather considerations. For example, most people choose 55-75L backpacks for trips from two to eight days and 35-55L models for overnight trips. Just make sure that your pack's capacity matches the gear you're going to carry.

Material
Pay attention to the material your future hiking backpack is made of. Today, manufacturers use high-quality Oxford, Cordura, and other synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon. All these materials are durable and can withstand heavy loads. Most lightweight backpacks are produced from Ripstop Nylon, light water-resistant material. Packs have lots of zipped pockets, side compartments, hooks, and other frills to help you stay organized on the trail. 

Protection
Look for water-resistant rucksacks with waterproof zippers and pockets. Some manufacturers use completely waterproof materials, but seams sewn into a sack are still likely to keep it from being 100% waterproof. Therefore, we recommend you to choose models with a protective rainfly or buy one additionally.

Extras
Many manufacturers equip their backpacks with various accessories to provide you with the maximum comfort during hikes. For example, trekking pole and ice axe loops will make it easy for you to stow the said items when you’re not using them. Also, mind that hydration is crucial for every tourist, and a hydration port for a water bladder would be a great bonus.

Backpack shoulder straps will hold a significant amount of your pack weight, hence, they should be tight, breathable and well-padded so that you don't experience chafing and odd pressure points. Almost all packs come with wide hip belts to keep your shoulders from getting tired, and additional load lifter straps to ensure a reliable fixation.

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TETON Sports Internal Frame Hiking Backpack

For 2-3 Night Trips

This burly hiking backpack is one of the best options for thru-hikes, trekking in the mountains, and for camping. It has a very sturdy frame and will help you carry heavy loads comfortably. At 4.5 pounds, the pack has a large volume (3400 cubic inches/55 liters) and is perfect for multi-day trips or weekend hikes. When not fully loaded, it compresses nicely.

Additional loops will allow you to hang even such bulky gear as trekking poles, tents, large sleeping bags, and mats, while exterior pockets will be a great place to keep small gear and trail food. The backpack is made of highly abrasion-resistant materials, so you can take it even on the most rugged adventures time and time again!

Review of TETON Sports Internal Frame Hiking Backpack

High-quality Materials

To be specific, the TETON Sports Scout backpack is manufactured with a 600D diamond ripstop and 600D Oxford canvas that make it durable and weatherproof. The pack resists moisture to an impressive degree and provides great ventilation, keeping your personal stuff and gear dry and safe. All buckles, latches, and zippers are made of high-quality plastic, and they are also waterproof and highly resistant to temperature drops.

TETON Sports Internal Frame Hiking Backpack in the use

Hard to Beat

This multifunctional hiking backpack is incredibly convenient. Thanks to firm but supportive foam padding that contours the back, you will not experience back discomfort even when the pack is fully loaded. The pack has a strong suspension and is intended for heavy loads. Owing to a solid hip belt, it distributes the weight evenly and gives hikers a really comfortable ride. Wide padded shoulder straps won’t chafe your shoulders, and additional sternum strap will fit literally any body size. With a capacious main compartment, side pockets, and gear loops, the backpack boasts an excellent organization. So, if you would like to pack in some extra luxuries, Sports Scout 3400 is a dream!

Detailed review of TETON Sports Internal Frame Hiking Backpack

Protection

As we’ve already mentioned, a dense polyester fabric is water-resistant, yet it doesn’t make the backpack fully waterproof. That’s why it comes with a detachable yellow rainfly which is great for keeping you and your gear dry while hiking in extremely bad weather.

TETON Sports Internal Frame Hiking Backpack application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


TETON Sports Internal Frame Hiking Backpack
TETON Sports Internal Frame Hiking Backpack
 

JanSport Superbreak Hiking Backpack

All-Purpose Pack

The JanSport hiking backpack is a versatile bag that will come in handy in lots of situations! Being pretty compact and light, it’s ideal for short trips, cycling races, walks in the woods, and small business trips. Designed in a classic style, it’s also great for students to pack their textbooks, notebooks, and stationery. Since this daypack doesn't have tons of extra pockets or pouches, it will also appeal to people who appreciate simplicity, lightness, and convenience. Of course, this model isn’t suitable for long hikes but it’s one of the best options for a one-day trek.

Review of JanSport Superbreak Hiking Backpack

Simple Design

Like many hiking backpacks, this one is made of durable 600 Denier Polyester. It’s strong and highly abrasion-resistant, so it won’t wear out and fade even if used extensively. Also, polyester is a water-resistant material, meaning that in a light rain, your packed gear won’t get wet. 2/3" padded back panel is quite soft and it lets air through, which is great for warm weather.

The total volume of the backpack makes 1550 cu in / 25 L, and this is the capacity people usually choose for short day trips. This small hiking backpack can easily hold your personal belongings, several bottles of water, snacks, gels, and similar stuff. 

Wide soft straps can be tailored exactly to your body to keep your loaded weight to a minimum. The backpack has one roomy compartment for bulky things and a front organizer pocket for gadgets, maps, and other small items.

JanSport Superbreak Hiking Backpack in the use

For True Phorographers

For everyone who is fond of shooting and always takes photos during walks, trips, and hikes, we would like to suggest buying a convenient backpack for a camera. Thanks to the well-organised interior, your camera and accessories will be securely protected from the elements, scratches, and accidental impacts. Of course, such backpacks are capacious enough to hold your personal items as well.

Detailed review of JanSport Superbreak Hiking Backpack

Emphasize Your Individuality

The JanSport pack has a flashier design than most other hiking packs on the market. The variety of color options makes it so that virtually anyone will find one to their liking; the manufacturer offers more than 30 different designs to suit every taste. An adult, a schoolchild, a teenager, a new mom — everyone will be able to express themselves with such a fashionable accessory.

JanSport Superbreak Hiking Backpack application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


JanSport Superbreak Hiking Backpack
JanSport Superbreak Hiking Backpack
 

Venture Pal Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack

Ultralight and Capacious

The Venture Pal stands out from other backpacks with its ultra-light weight and compact design. You can fold it into a zipped pocket to incredibly small size (9" x 8.5") and put it in your suitcase if you’re planning a trip. Once you unfold it, you’ll get a fully functional camping backpack with the capacity to take on seriously long trips (2135 cu in / 35 L).

At 0.7 lbs only, the bag is very durable and weather-resistant. A waterproof nylon protects your gear from moisture and, consequently, from dampness and unpleasant odors. So, if you need a durable and light backpack that won’t break the bank, the Venture Pal is a good choice.

Review of Venture Pal Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack

Attantion to Compartments

In no way is the functionality of this backpack compromised by its low weight. As we have already said, the capacity of the pack makes as many as 35 liters. The spacious inner compartment is great for storing the majority of your gear, you can easily accommodate there some camping stuff, clothes, and food. More so, it has two separators to help you organize all that things conveniently. The best option for those who do not tend to carry a variety of bits-and-pieces around and who wish to get rid of unnecessary weight and complexity caused by tons of extra inner compartments.

At the same time, the pack does have an exterior zippered pocket for your purse, cell phone, keys, credit cards, or other small accessories, and two easily accessible side pockets that are great for getting to snacks, a bottle of water, and sunscreen while on the trail.

Venture Pal Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack in the use

Excellent Fit

This featherweight backpack has adjustable straps providing both superior fit and even weight distribution so that you always feel stable during your hikes. Their soft and breathable structure will relieve stress from your shoulders and make you comfortable even on a warm day.

There is an additional chest strap for a better fit. We would like to point out that this strap is equipped with an orange whistle which you can blow in case of emergency. As you see, it really has almost all the bells and whistles you’d expect from expensive hiking equipment. Quite literally.

Detailed review of Venture Pal Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack

Sturdy Bottom

We would like to invite your attention to the solid double-layer bottom of this rucksack. Even when fully loaded, it won’t tear or rip. Additionally, the thick bottom can absorb shocks and protect the contents in case of falls.

Venture Pal Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack application

Venture Pal Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack
Venture Pal Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack
 

Kelty Hiking Backpacks

Fits Everything You Might Need

Preparing to set off for a hike? Take the Kelty Redwing 50 with you! It deftly balances comfort, lightweight, organization, durability, and large volume. Each hiker will be able to haul serious loads in the main large compartment with multiple dividers ensuring a good load distribution, while zippered side pockets will allow you to keep some essentials within easy reach. A convenient large front pocket organizer for small travel essentials is also accessible when the pack is on. 

To keep travelers hydrated, the manufacturer has equipped the pack with the water bottle pockets on the side. Yet, if two bottles aren’t enough for you, you can use a water bladder, as the model does have a hydration sleeve and a port. This way, you can always refresh yourself with water on-the-go. The backpack is fitted with side compression straps and loops for ice axes, trekking poles, sleeping bags, and other camping equipment. With this, you will definitely have everything to crush long miles comfortably!

Review of Kelty Hiking Backpacks

Year-Round Rucksack

This wonderful multifunctional backpack really lives up its claim! It boasts unique suspension that allows you to carry heavy loads more comfortably than ever before! With a pack like this one, you can travel in any weather and during any season, be it a rainy fall, hot summer, windy spring, or even freezing winter. The pack is moisture resistant, and it has Dynamic AirFlow back panel with the breathable hip belt to ensure a bit of luxury on the trail.

Kelty Hiking Backpacks in the use

So Comfortable!

This is one of the most comfortable backpacks on the market. Due to its easily adjustable shoulder straps, additional chest straps, and wide removable waist belt, the pack provides superior fit.

To fit the backpack correctly, adjust the suspension and fix the pack itself tightly on your shoulders. Then, tailor all the extra straps to your body in order to distribute the load evenly. A properly set up pack will transfer the weight to your hips while its shoulder straps will take less weight. If you do everything right, you’ll feel comfortable and the pack won’t chafe or bounce while you walk.

Detailed review of Kelty Hiking Backpacks

PerfectFIT™

Year after year, Kelty ramps up quality and integrated technology, and Redwing 50 is another step in that direction. It features exclusive PerfectFIT™ suspension that can be adjusted to your body in seconds. Dual density foam waist belt along with load lifters, hip belt stabilizer straps, and sternum straps will help transfer the load closer to your center of gravity, turning a long trip into an enjoyable and exciting experience!

Kelty Hiking Backpacks application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Kelty Hiking Backpacks
Kelty Hiking Backpacks
 

Outlander Travel Hiking Backpack

Travel Light!

A lot of good things can be said about this backpack. It's light, pretty spacious, durable, foldable, and easy to use. The New Outlander pack features a classic shape and is suitable for a variety of situations.

It can be easily folded and transformed into a small purse for comfortable storage or transportation. Hence, planning a trip, you can put it in your suitcase to travel around the foreign city, hike or cycle in the countryside, or just go sightseeing during your journeys. Moreover, this roomy backpack can even substitute for your bulky suitcase if you're going on a short business trip. It's available in 33L and 20L capacities, so you can choose the one to suit your needs. The New Outlander can really become the best companion for occasional travelers.

Review of Outlander Travel Hiking Backpack

Well-made!

The pack is manufactured of high tenacity nylon praised for its strength and durability, you won't need to worry about abrasion or rips. The material is also moisture resistant and can protect your gear from a mild rain and dust. Reliable 2-way metal zippers and plastic buckles are big and strong enough to withstand heavy loads. Breathable wide straps can be easily adjusted to your body and won't put too much pressure on your shoulders. The backpack has a large main compartment for your bulky gear, two front zipper pockets for small accessories, and two side mesh pockets for bottles of water, energy bars, and other travel essentials. In a word, this is one of the best day hike backpacks!

Outlander Travel Hiking Backpack in the use

For Business People!

If you're one of those business people who always need a laptop, a tablet, or other gadgets at hand, we recommend you to look through our review of laptop backpacks. We have picked only the best models that will ensure comfortable and safe transportation of your gadgets, documents, books, and other belongings.

Detailed review of Outlander Travel Hiking Backpack

Slides into a Pocket

Due to ultra-thin fabric and frameless design, the backpack easily folds into a zippered inner pocket to fit literally anywhere! Therefore, you can easily put it in the suitcase, on a shelf for comfortable storage, or even in a large pocket of your coat! This go-anywhere backpack is a real lifesaver for every adventure seeker! Who knows, what's gonna happen tomorrow.

Outlander Travel Hiking Backpack application

Outlander Travel Hiking Backpack
Outlander Travel Hiking Backpack
 

FAQ:

Q: What is the right volume for me?
A: When it comes to hiking, the rule is quite simple. The more time you are going to spend on the trail, the bigger backpack you’ll need. The majority of trekkers take short overnight trips and generally need 35-55L models. For weekend trips (2-3 nights), we would recommend 45-70L packs and 60+ L options for extended trips. With 60 liters and more, you’ll have extra room for more hiking items. And it goes without saying that if you travel with kids in tow, you should opt for high-volume backpacks, even if you plan a short weekend trip. 

Q: What is the optimal load range for packs?

A: Depending on how much space your gear takes up, it’s important to get the right model. For example, if you head out on a long trip and your gear is pretty heavy, you should get a 5+ lbs rucksack that can handle extra weight (~40-70 lbs of gear). Alternatively, if you need a pack for a day trip, it’s a good idea to get 2-3 lbs pack for your essentials and ultra-light gear (15-30 lbs). Typically, 3-5 lbs backpacks can usually handle 30-50 lbs. 

Q: What else should I consider when choosing a backpack?
A: Aside from choosing the right capacity, you should pick the optimal size. And here, torso length matters more than your weight or height. Just measure your torso, and then check this guide: 

Extra Small: up to 15 ½"
Small: 16" to 17 ½"
Medium/Regular: 18" to 19 ½"
Large/Tall: 20" and up

Q: How to fit a backpack?
A: Before adjusting the straps, put some weight in your backpack. It doesn’t matter what you’re going to put in your backpack, try to put the same amount of weight you’ll carry on your hikes. Next, loosen all straps and belts. And then hoist the rucksack on your back. After that, secure it snugly and comfortably to your body. Don’t overtighten the hip belt, all your movements should be comfortable. Once the hip belt is adjusted, tailor the shoulder straps to your body. Finally, tighten the load lifters (short straps on top of the shoulder straps) and fasten the sternum strap. Bear in mind that you’ll need to keep adjusting on the trail since it’s likely that after a number of miles, you’ll experience some discomfort and discover pressure points. When it happens, loosen the hip belt or play with other adjustments. Also, don’t forget to give your back and body some rest and take the backpack off whenever you stop for a break. 

Q: How to smartly organize things in my backpack?
A: First of all, lay everything you’re going to carry out in front of you. This way, you can visualize where you’ll put all your gear and come up with an optimal packing strategy. Start from the bottom and pack there the things you won’t need during the day. Typically, it’s camping gear packed into dry bags. Then, load the middle with heavy gear (right on top of your camping stuff). It might be cooking stoves, pots, pans, food, etc. You can fill up leftover space with light items such as a tent, a rainfly, and clothes. If your backpack is equipped with side pockets, you can pack some small items in them for better balance. One you’ve filled the bottom and middle section, move on to the top section. Put there some small necessities that you might need throughout a trip. Sunglasses, a rain jacket, a GPS, a first-aid kit, a compass, and snacks should always be within easy reach.


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