Are you looking for the best backpack to take on your next hiking trip?
Choosing a good quality backpack is essential to ensure your hiking experience is comfortable and enjoyable, but it can be difficult to know which one to go for.
If you’re finding the huge choice of hiking backpacks overwhelming, you’ve come to the right place because we’ve studied all there is to know about hiking backpacks and here we will impart our hiking wisdom to help you make the best choice.
We’ve rounded up five of the best hiking backpacks on the market that score points on comfort, price and durability.
As with much hiking gear, there are a few important considerations to think about when deciding on the best hiking backpack for you. You’ll need to think about practical factors such as shoulder straps, capacity, pockets, material, fit and any additional features that may be beneficial to you. You’ll want something weather-resistant and durable so that your belongings can be stored safely and securely while you travel.
It’s also a good idea to think about the duration of your hiking trip and what sort of weight you’d prefer it to be (some backpacks can be quite heavy!). Other considerations include cost, durability and security.
We will explore all of these factors and more in our handy buyer’s guide which will give you an insight into all the things you should look out for when choosing a hiking backpack.
In a hurry to find the best hiking backpack?
We recommend the Teton Sports Oasis 1100 hiking backpack. Lightweight and comfortable, this 18-liter backpack has several useful design features to maximize comfort including a 2-liter hydration bladder, air mesh, sewn-in rain cover and shock absorbing chest strap.
Available in 5 attractive colors, this backpack is both practical and stylish and has everything you could need for your next hiking adventure.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
Our top pick is the Teton Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Backpack.
Lightweight and comfortable, this hiking backpack is a great all-rounder that is customizable to your frame. The shoulder, chest and waist bands can all be adjusted to fit all frames comfortably, meaning it is suitable for both men and women. The notched foam stabilizer and mesh covering means you can wear this pack for hours and it should continue to be comfortable throughout the day.
It features an air mesh on the back panel that allows for airflow to keep you cool while hiking, and a sewn-in rain cover to keep your belongings dry when it rains. The fact that the rain cover is sewn in is also really handy as you won’t have to worry about losing it! In terms of size, you can get quite a lot into this bag thanks to its 18-liter capacity.
It also features a useful 2-liter hydration bladder which has a large 2-inch mouth opening for ice so you can keep cool and hydrated as you hike. This is a versatile backpack that would be ideal for hiking, cycling, and backpacking.
Several features have been incorporated into the design to maximize comfort and ensure hikers have everything they need. The ergonomic design also features a shock-absorbing chest strap that works with the rest of the harness to reduce bounce as you move.
The Teton Sports 1100 backpack is available in 5 stylish colors which should brighten up your hike regardless of the unpredictable weather.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Adjustable fit
- Well-ventilated to maximize airflow while hiking
- Includes several additional features including rain cover and 2-liter hydration bladder
- 18-liter capacity means there is plenty of room for belongings
- Shock absorbing chest strap
- Ergonomic design
- Available in 5 attractive colors
- Ideal for hiking and backpacking
- Popular choice
- Some customers commented that they had experienced issues with the hydration bladder and reported some leaking
Our next choice is another hiking backpack from the popular outdoor brand Teton.
This hiking backpack has a larger capacity, 70 liters in total, which could accommodate a multiday hike of three days or more comfortably. This is a great, all-purpose ultralight backpack that has more than enough room for all the gear you would need for a fun extended outdoor adventure.
The vertical side pockets open up with butterfly expansion so you can pack in even more, and you’ll also find a Separate sleeping bag compartment that will allow you to have quick access to your sleeping bag without having to empty out all your belongings.
The backpack is high-quality and has many useful design features including multi-directional compression straps for adding extra gear, seven pockets, two pouches, and daisy chain loops for external gear attachment.
The backpack is ergonomically designed and features a concave head space that offers head comfort even when the backpack is full to capacity. The heavy-duty waist buckle system makes it suitable for big loads and is easy to tighten to achieve a more custom fit.
- Large capacity - 70 liters
- All-purpose, ultralight backpack
- Separate sleeping bag compartment
- Ergonomically designed
- Several pockets and pouches for belongings
- Easy to adjust for a custom fit
- Limited Teton lifetime warranty
- A couple of customers commented that they would have preferred to have more external pockets
Our next choice would be a great option for anyone looking for a lightweight and durable hiking backpack that is available at an affordable price. The Outlander packable hiking backpack is a very popular choice with numerous glowing reviews online.
Available in several bright colors, the backpack has a 33-liter capacity and is made from high-quality and water-resistant nylon fabric, which should offer long-lasting performance with minimal weight. One of the best features of this one is how compact and portable it is; it can be packed and folded into the zippered inner pocket to fit anywhere when traveling.
It’s super easy to unfold it from the pocket when you need it again. This is a really convenient feature and is a great space-saver. There are several pockets within the bag for easy storage and organization, including one internal zippered security pocket for valuable items such as cell phones or iPods, and two side pockets that are ideal for water bottles or umbrellas.
This hiking backpack also includes a carabiner clip so you can attach extra gear to it if needed. It should be comfortable to wear as well, thanks to the reinforced stress points.
- Very affordable price
- 33-liter capacity
- High-quality and water-resistant nylon fabric
- Minimal weight
- Can be folded into the inner pocket when not needed
- Several pockets for storage and organization
- Carabiner clip to attach extra gear
- May be less suitable for longer hiking trips
Our next choice is this great 40L hiking backpack from the MountainTop store.
This is a really practical option for shorter treks and has been designed for maximum comfort. It’s easy to adjust the bag according to the kind of fit you want thanks to the adjustable hip belt and sternum strap. The S-shoulder straps help to ensure weight is distributed evenly over the body, and the breathable molded foam back panel should keep you as cool as possible as you hike.
Available in a selection of vibrant colors, the backpack features a useful compartment that can be used for a bladder or a holding place for the tube. This backpack would also be a good choice for travel as its size is the perfect fit to use as carry-on luggage for many airlines.
You will also find a small hidden pocket behind a Velcro to store any valuable items, mesh pockets for any water bottles, and secure zip and buckle fastenings for safety.
The MountainTop hiking backpack also has a D-shape attachment on the shoulder strap for hanging any small additional items, as well as compression straps along the sides of the bag for hanging a tent, hammock or trekking pole, making it an ideal choice for any outdoor adventures.
Keep in mind, however, that if your torso measures more than 52 cm in length, this pack may not be the best fit for you according to the MountainTop sizing guidelines.
- Offers a high level of comfort
- Easily adjustable for best fit
- Size compatible with many airlines to use as carry-on luggage
- Hidden pocket for any valuable items
- Mesh pockets for water bottles
- Available in several colors
- Attachments to hang additional items on if needed
- Sizing may not be appropriate if the torso measures more than 52cm in length
Our final choice is the ultra-light Deuter Speed Athletic Daypack.
This is a new streamlined design that has been built for fast-paced endurance sports, alpine day hikes, or as a summit backpack for both hiking and mountaineering. Hikers will find that the backpack should be comfortable thanks to its ergonomic design features, such as the flexible Delrin U-frame which effectively stabilizes and distributes weight evenly for comfort on the trail.
Other handy features include the stabilizing hip wings, chest strap, and waist belt; all of which are fully adjustable to achieve the best fit. There are also specialized compartments that would be ideal for your hydration system, valuables, clothing or any other hiking essentials that you couldn’t be without.
There are also mesh side pockets for any snacks and drinks and 3M reflectors which provide visibility in difficult weather conditions. The Deuter brand is a leader in the ‘Fair Wear Foundation’, which aims to manufacture durable backpacks with a focus on proper labor conditions and materials, which is good to know.
The Speed Lite backpack also includes a limited lifetime warranty so you can buy with confidence.
- Streamlined design
- Great for sports, hikes and mountaineering
- Comfortable ergonomic design
- Several specialized compartments for hiking gear
- Brand part of ‘Fair Wear Foundation’
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- A couple of reviewers commented that they had some issues with the fit of the backpack
Best Hiking Backpack Buying Guide
Size and capacity
Hiking backpacks are often available in a wide variety of sizes and capacities.
If you’re planning to use the backpack primarily for day hikes a capacity of between 25-40 L should work well for you. If you need a backpack that will accommodate longer trips, it may be best to look for a larger capacity.
If your hiking trip will be between 1-3 nights, for example, a 30-50 L capacity backpack should suit you, while a capacity of between 50-80 L should be more than enough for a trip of between 3-5 nights.
It’s especially important to find a comfortable fit if you plan to hike for long periods. Look for a backpack with adjustable chest or shoulder straps so you can get the best fit for your frame.
Many backpacks are available in different sizes according to the length of your torso, and this is something to keep in mind as if a backpack is too long you may find it uncomfortable to hike with.
Comfort is a very important factor to consider when looking at hiking backpacks. It is best to go for a backpack that can ensure weight is distributed evenly in order to avoid any aches or pains.
Some backpacks feature padded or reinforced ‘stress points’ which offer additional support and can make a big difference to your level of comfort.
Hiking backpacks often feature a number of additional features that may be beneficial to you, such as a water bladder for hydration, inner compartments for valuables, rain cover and attachment loops. It’s worth thinking about how you plan to use the backpack and what kind of features might work for you.
Attachment loops are often a very helpful feature as you can clip any additional items to the bag securely for easy access, which is ideal for hiking essentials such as sleeping bags or rain jackets.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a good hiking backpack?
A good hiking backpack should be sturdy, durable and weather resistant.
Ideally, a hiking backpack will feature secure inner compartments or pockets for valuables, a water bladder for hydration, and attachment loops for any additional luggage such as a sleeping bag or jacket. It should also have reinforced straps for comfort that can be easily adjusted to achieve the best fit.