Pet Hiking Backpack

Best Hiking Backpacks (Updated For 2021)

A backpack is the backbone of any hiking adventure. As there are many models in the market, it’s often difficult to find the right one for your hiking adventure. Fortunately, this post will cover what to look for in a suitable hiking backpack, and we’ll showcase our top 10 best hiking backpacks (that have been tried and tested by our team.

Hiker walking with red hiking backpack on

Choosing the Best Hiking Backpack: Buyer’s Guide

Having to compare several backpacks can be time-consuming and unstimulating. To save you the headache, we listed some of the most important factors to consider when buying a backpack:

1) MATERIAL – Backpacks are designed using different materials. Most modern backpacks are made of coated polyesters and nylons.  These materials are flexible, non-tearing, and weather resistant.

Those made from ripstop nylon are more durable than ones made from plain nylon. The best hiking backpacks are the ones that remain non-absorbent during hot and rainy weather. They should also remain starch-resistant to keep your belongings starch-free.

2) SIZE – The size of the backpack you choose will depend on your hiking needs.  The trip length and type of luggage are some of the main factors that affect the size of the backpack you buy.

On average, a 60L backpack is enough for a weekend of hiking. Ensure that your backpack has enough space for snacks after packing your hiking gear.  It is also recommended that you allow enough room for other items you might have to carry (without planning for them earlier).

3) POCKETS AND STORAGE – Every hiker appreciates those extra pockets where they can throw in more items they need during their hiking. Most of the backpacks on our list feature at least two side pockets for water and storing small items.

4) WEIGHT – Just like size, hiking backpacks come in different weights. Hiking backpacks are majorly classified into lightweight, standard, or travel packs.

The weight of your chosen backpack depends on how much load you intend to carry during your trip.  A backpack weighing ~2kg is ideal for a good number of hikers. A general rule of thumb is that your backpack should weigh less than 15% of your load, which makes it vital that you are keen when buying a backpack to avoid any inconveniences.

5) LIDS AND CLOSURES – You may be wondering why these are important, but if you want to keep your belongings secure, you need a backpack with lids and closures. Most backpacks on the market, including those reviewed below, feature closures usually fitted to a backpack using a drawstring. In case of bad weather, you can be assured that your items will be protected. A rain cover over the closure will provide maximum safeguarding for your belongings.

6) EASE OF USE AND ACCESS – The best hiking backpack for you should feature a simple design that is easy to use.  That being said, you should be aware that some backpacks have complicated strapping or suspension systems. These are harder to fit, especially for beginners.

Side pockets, hydration bladder, and cords should be strategically placed, not far off to the right or left, for easy accessibility while on the go. This is the only way to ensure convenience while hiking; otherwise, you might not have such a good experience using your new backpack.

7) PROPER FIT – Your backpack straps should remain fully adjustable to fit your body snuggly. Remember, you are unlikely to enjoy the hike when you are not comfortable. Proper fit ensures that you stay safe and at ease all day long.

A good number of backpacks are designed to be adjusted at the back, while the rest don’t. Aim to purchase hiking backpacks that include adjustable and padded shoulder straps.

Photographer with hiking backpack

At a Glance: Our Top 10 Hiking Backpacks

Backpack Capacity Weight Fabric Pockets Access
36L
1.47KG
Nylon Dobby
6 exterior
Side zip
85L
2.26KG
Nylon
Exterior and interior
Side zip
14L
3.1KG
Synthetic
4 exterior
Front
15L
1.5KG
Nylon (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate)
4 exterior
Top
16L
0.5KG
Nylon
5 exterior
Top and side
20L
0.54KG
210D Nylon Oxford
10 exterior
Top and front
75L
1.58KG
630HD Nylon-Eva Foam
6 exterior
Top
65L
1.62KG
Nylon
8 exterior
Top
60L
1.7KG
Nylon
7 exterior
Top and side
60L
1.4KG
Nylon
6 exterior
Top

10 Best Hiking Backpacks

The Osprey Women’s Kyte 36 offers both style and functionality. It’s a sleek hiking backpack designed with camouflaged zippers for an elegant look. Made from 210D ripstop nylon and a steel alloy frame, this backpack provides dedicated structural stability while being lightweight.

It comes with a wide hip belt and shoulder straps for that extra support you need. The backpack’s lightwire frame helps distribute your load’s weight evenly, while the two straightjacket at the top and bottom help with your load’s overall stability.

We love the pack’s tuckaway ice tool kit that lets you strap your walking poles to the shoulder straps for easier access. The several internal compartments ensure that all your belongings are organized and tucked away.

Interestingly, this women’s hiking backpack is designed with an external hydration sleeve to help you stay hydrated at all times. The front panel comes with dual stretch mesh pockets that offer adequate ventilation as you trek. Proper hydration and breathability ensure that you remain fit on the trails.

This hiking backpack has two sleeping compartments: one is zippered while the other is strapped. The strapped compartment provides more storage room at the bottom of the backpack. The zippered compartment can be accessed from the side and the top.

It also comes with a rain cover to offer extra protection in case of harsh weather conditions.

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Another gem that we’ve been fortunate enough to try out is the TERRA PEAK adjustable hiking backpack. It features a fully adjustable backpanel and internal frame system, that allows for getting a perfect fit whilst also reducing your fatigue – which is ideal for long hikes with lots of heavy gear. The mesh back panel is breathable and offers great comfort whilst using the backpack.

The capacity of this hiking and camping backpack is unmatched on this list, as it boasts 85L with an extra 20L of storage underneath the hood and inside pockets. We’ve found to pretty much be able to carry anything on our trips whilst using this backpack, and you shouldn’t find any issues at all carrying your belongings.

As well as being a waterproof hiking backpack, the nifty hydration system compatibility makes this pack perfect for all hiking occasions (as well as keeping your bladder under control).

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The Deuter Kid Comfort is the best baby hiking backpack that is designed with space, safety, and comfort in mind.

This is the best toddler hiking backpack, and it has exceeded all of the safety guidelines as tested by our team. The safety five-point harness easily adjusts to your baby’s height and size so as maximize safety. The soft chin pad cushions your baby against the carrier’s inner hard frame.  The pad is removable and machine washable.

The Deuter kid backpack ensures that your toddler will be nicely tucked in a highly breathable and comfortable carrier, thanks to their AirComfort system that reduces sweat and heat accumulation. The backpack’s adjustable child seat also promotes a healthy posture for your little one.

The aluminum frame and the adjustable hip belt ensure the comfortable and stable transfer of your baby. The step-in access technology also makes it incredibly easy for babies to step out of the carrier.

Its VariFit system seamlessly adjusts to the length of the wearer’s back. You can be rest assured that both mom and dad can use this toddler backpack to take their young ones with them.

The comfy handle lets you easily lift the backpack to your back, so you’re always ready for your hiking adventure.

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Pets are the perfect additions to bring on hiking adventures. This Petsfit Carrier Backpack lets you bring your trusty companion along to your hiking expeditions.

This pet backpack is lightweight, thus suitable for both hiking, shopping, and street walks. This is truly the best dog backpack for hiking and accommodates up to 15 pounds, which is ideal for carrying your small/medium-sized pet comfortably.

The pack’s cushioned back ensures that your muscles do not strain an inch throughout your journey. The waist strap is highly adjustable for that snug fit. You will also appreciate the padded shoulders that prevent nerve strains even during extended hiking trips.

The best dog backpacks for hiking capitalize on the safety of your pet, and that’s precisely what you get with Petsfit Dogs/Cat Carrier Backpack. Its built-in secure clip and self-locking zippers ensure that your pet stays in place at all times.

For added ventilation, the backpack is designed with mesh windows. These features also ensure visibility to the back.

The carrier has a top panel that opens out of the way, and it can also be adjusted for an additional headroom for the more curious pets such as cats.

This pet backpack is foldable for easy storage, which is one of the most important features to consider for hikers with limited space.

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The Tudequ sling backpack is all about lightweight, comfort, and versatility. It is ideal for several outdoor activities such as cycling, camping, shopping, school, and more. This is one of the best day hiking backpacks for minimalists.

The large padded shoulder straps do a great job of keeping your skin friction-free. You can switch the strap from left to right and vice versa for enhanced comfort. In addition to the padded shoulder, the waist belt features an anti-sway design that maximizes safety against any type of shock. The backpack’s multiple strap design lets you wear it on whichever shoulder you prefer.

With this light hiking backpack, you get several compartments to help you stay organized at all times. It features two zipper pockets, a small gadget pocket with headphone access, and an extra side pocket. This bag can also double as the best camera backpack for hiking thanks to its spacious main compartment that can hold your camera safely in place.

What is most unique about this backpack is its external charging port with a USB charger lets you charge your phone and use it as you wish. As if that’s not enough, the medium compartment comes with a key pocket and three other small pockets where you can keep any small items.  Its anti-theft pocket helps keep your valuables safe, too.

This lightweight design backpack is made of water-resistant material to provide your belongings with that extra protection during poor weather.  Together with its robust design, this feature makes it a backpack for several activities, including mountain climbing, outdoor gaming, shopping, and more.

The Tudequ crossbody sling chest bag can be used by both men and women of different age groups thanks to its modern unisex design.

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The Osprey Dalylite plus features an elegant aesthetic that you’ll instantly fall in love with. It has a modern design for a backpack that you can carry absolutely anywhere.

You’ll notice the backpack’s curved shoulder straps are adequately padded for comfort. The padding is stable and sits steadily on your back as you move around.

The hydration bladder sleeve lies behind the back panel, making it extremely accessible. The top layer of the shoulder straps has a hand that you can use to hold the bag in place when it is not resting on your back.

The pack’s harness has an adjustable sternum strap. The hip belt is wide and sturdy, and includes an integrated whistle for your outdoor activities.

The side pockets can fit three medium-sized water bottles. Additionally, when used in conjunction with the compression straps, it makes an ideal pocket to secure long accessories such as a camera tripod stand. This convenient feature makes it the best photo backpack for hiking, as the main compartment is large enough to safely store your camera.

Your camera can be stored in the padded laptop sleeve inside or in the main compartment. Whichever one you choose, your belongings will be kept secured. Based on our testing, a 15-inch laptop seamlessly fits into the laptop compartment.

The Osprey Daylite Plus backpack is extremely versatile, unique, and comfortable.

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The Gregory Men’s Baltoro 75L backpack is ideal for those looking for a spacious pack for a long hiking trip.

The pack’s response A3 suspension ensures that you have a perfect fit each time you wear it. You’ll love the enhanced 3D AIR hip belt and shoulder harness component to improve moisture management for increased comfort.  Additionally, the back panel matrix ventilation tech allows for maximum airflow and breathability.

This backpack was designed with long-distance hikers in mind.  Its large hip-belt pockets are perfect for storing essentials. The pack’s front pouch is stretchy mesh for fast access while on the go. It is important to mention that unlike other backpacks, the Gregory backpacks, including this Boltoro 75, features barrel front zippered pockets. This unique design sets it apart from other hiking backpacks.

This spacious best men’s hiking backpack lets you access your gear from the center point through the U zip. You can throw your small items into the zipped pockets on top of the lid or hip belt pockets. The backpack has a little rain cover that is perfectly fitted in the vertical zipper pockets. This ensures that you do not have to open yours from the pocket unnecessarily.

In case of rainy or stormy weather, the backpack’s TRU-coated and sealed hip belt compartment can be used to shelter gadgets such as mobile phones, power banks, and more delicate items.

The built-in removal hydration sleeve easily converts into a sidekick daypack; making this one of the best day hiking backpacks.

To ensure that the durability of this backpack, the brand uses 210D honeycomb Cryptorip HD Nylon, and 210D high tenacity nylon materials – providing you with excellent performance over a long period of time.

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The Osprey 65AG is yet another best day hiking backpack that users swear by. This backpack might not be the best option for those looking for a light hiking backpack, but there is no doubt it is made for maximum comfort.

The bag is effortless to wear. Its adjustable hip and torso belts ensure a perfect fit for any user. We love that this Osprey’s hip belt extends 5 inches to fit different body sizes.

The 65-liter capacity allows for enough storage while on the go. Its top-loading and bottom access zipper ensures that you have easy access to all of your items. The top lid is easy to open and close, and this is the backpack for you if you love spacious hip belt pockets.

The two mesh pockets come in handy when you need extra storage space. The exterior pockets can hold up to 30 Oz of liquid; amazingly, you get two access points to the bottles. The angled access makes it easier to access your items – compared to the vertical access.

The Osprey 65AG is extremely beginner-friendly. Unlike several other hiking backpacks in the market, this pack is comfortable to wear and adjust. Its load filters feature universal cams that are quite popular, hence making it easy for any hiker to use.

Need to carry your trekking poles with you? This best day hiking backpack comes with a Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment where you can keep your poles safe when not in use.

The interior hydration sleeve is large enough and works perfectly for holding your hydration bladder in place. It is only fair that we mention the robust looped zipper pulls for enhanced security.

For increased durability, this backpack is made of high-quality nylon material. The good news is that the brand offers a lifetime guarantee for all of their backpacks. Additionally, they can repair your gear for defects at any time.

The Osprey Atmos 65 Anti-gravity pack is the best hiking backpack for men that wish to spend most of their time hiking.

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The Osprey Aether is another top hiking backpack on our list. This backpack is perfect for those that capitalize on comfort and flexibility while on the move.

Like the rest of Osprey’s modern backpacks, this model features an Anti-Gravity suspension system that includes a mesh foam running from the hip belt to the back panel. This unique suspension system is designed for comfort, better ventilation, and proper weight distribution.

Speaking of weight distribution, Osprey added a fit-on-the-fly function for an extended hip belt that can be easily manipulated to fit the user. Amazingly, the pack allows for re-molds when body size changes.  It has a removable top-lid that seamlessly converts into a day lid daypack for enhanced convenience.

The Aether AG 60 allows users to carry heavy loads thanks to its wide and durable hip belt. Its convertible top lid is another add-on to the overall comfort. Its strong padded straps are simply unmatched. However, this should not come as a surprise as the pack is designed for heavy use.

The Aether AG 60 is a top-loading designed backpack with secondary access from behind. With this backpack, you will not have to disorganize your compartments to get to what you’re looking for. You can access whatever you need from the nearest access point.

The backpack’s internal hydration reservoir sleeve is spacious enough for up to a 3-liter reservoir, which is bought separately.

For wet or extra dirty items, the pack comes with a spacious mesh and stretchy compartment at the front.

There are different colors of this pack to choose from. Neptune blue, green, and orange are some of the more popular options in the market – yet our team absolutely love the Neptune blue color!

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The Granite Gear Crown 60 is arguably the best light hiking backpack. This roll-up backpack features a top lid pocket to give you the versatility you are looking for in a hiking backpack.

We love the pack’s lightweight design that comes with long front mesh pockets and side pockets for maximum storage during your adventures.  Additionally, the two deep side pockets that let you comfortably store your gadgets and other small items that you may need during your adventure.

There is no doubt that this is the backpack for those looking for a spacious and comfortable carry pack. Its main storage compartment is enormous and only accessible through the top. Though it lacks hydration pockets, the backpack quickly makes up for it by offering you a hook that can be used to hang a hydration port.

Depending on how full your main pocket is, the Granite Gear Crown’s top lid can be manipulated up and down. You can also hold additional gear on top of the compartment. The top cover can be removed in case you don’t need it for extra storage.

Love to carry several bottles of water? This best lightweight backpack comes with two substantial water bottle pockets that will last longer than other materials. The round elastic on top of the pockets allow for flexibility and convenience; it is easy to secure large bottles without fear of falls.

The side pockets’ cutouts let you effortlessly compress your luggage and also use the water pockets.

The front mesh pocket is tough and quite spacious compared to other backpacks on the market. The mesh is robust and can carry several items without sagging or getting ripped up. You can use the mesh front for your wet items for long adventures, such as damp socks and towels.

This incredible backpack’s hip belt is highly adjustable, and with the several size options on the market, you can be sure to get one that suits you. This granite Crown backpack is designed with gender in mind; the S-shaped shoulder pads and the adjustable belt are made for plus-sized women. The hip belt is made of soft foam for ultimate comfort; it closes to the central buckle for enhanced safety.

With a maximum of 60 liters recommended weight, you will comfortably carry your necessities during your hiking adventures.

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Honorable Mentions

The following hiking backpacks didn’t make it on our list, but they’re still great products that you should consider for your hiking adventures:

  • Berghaus Freeflow 20 Rucksack – features modern airflow technology (known as V fresh), which maximizes airflow between your back and the pack. It has a 20L capacity, making it decent for most hikers.
  • NOMATIC MCKinon Camera Travel backpack – capitalizes on weather resistance. This backpack is made of resistant kodra 500D tarpaulin fabric that keeps your belongings safe at all times. It’s a lightweight camera backpack for photographer hikers, and provides decent capacity which makes it ideal for short-distance hikes.
  • Osprey Exos 58 – exceptionally lightweight and offers up to 3 liters of hydration, making it the perfect backpack for long-distance hikes. With its comfortable design, the AirSpeed ventilated trampoline suspended mesh back panel ensures maximum comfort.
  • High Sierra HydraHike Hydration Pack – lightweight and highly padded backpack with 8L capacity. It’s perfect for hiking minimalists, and is extremely pocket-friendly.
  • Osprey Aura AG 65 – specifically designed for women with similar functionality as the Osprey Aether AG 70. It’s also available in a variety of colors.

Why trust us?

As avid adventurers, we know the importance of getting the right gear for your trip. Finding the right source to provide you with trustworthy information is crucial, which is why we built HelloHiking. Here’s why you should trust us:

  • The products we review have been tested by members of our team.
  • We don’t have any bias in terms of brands – if the product is great, it’ll be listed.
  • We update our guides each year so you have the latest information.
  • We’ve covered over 20,000 miles of trails – it’s in our blood.
  • We always consider feedback from our audience, so feel free to contact us at any time if you have any questions and/or complaints.
HelloHiking Team

Need more gear advice?

If you enjoyed this list, then you’ll love our other gear reviews on some of the most essential hiking equipment. We’ve listed some popular ones that you might enjoy here:

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