For nature lovers who find their happiness and joy enjoying adventures out of their home, hiking may be one of their most sought-after activities. Some hikers strongly point out how hiking improves their total well-being.
Now, if you’re a hiker, or planning to go on your first hike, one of the things you should be equipped with is a hiking backpack. Finding the best hiking backpack for you will provide you a smoother and a more enjoyable hiking experience.
In this article, we break down our best hiking backpacks to date. Read on to find out!
Best hiking backpack
Osprey Packs Stratos 36
- Internal hydration sleeve accommodates up to a 3L reservoir (sold separately)
- Ventilated backpanel with adjustable shoulder harness to dial in perfect fit
- Stretch mesh pockets on both sides of pack provide convenient storage for bottles and smaller items
- Two zippered hipbelt pockets
- Stow-On-The-Go Trekking pole attachment allows you to quickly attach and carry trekking poles while wearing the pack.Integrated and removable raincover
The brand Osprey is a trusted brand when it comes to hiking equipment and their main product in the market are backpacks. The Osprey Packs Stratos 36 gives a balance between a daypack and a weekend backpack, thus, its size is just right.
Osprey Stratos is known for its great ventilation. This is especially helpful for hiking in warmer conditions. It comes with hndles that are size-adjustable to make sure that it fits snugly and comfortably on your body. You’re also in for a treat because there are four different size capacities to choose from.
This backpack boasts of an airspeed suspension system that provides breathability and comfort even when the sun is up and hot. Its hip belt interface helps in the prevention of chafing and discomfort.
The product comes with a rain cover for wet conditions to ensure protection of the backpack.
Whatever time you hike or no matter how long it is, be it a day trip or an overnight one, this backpack will serve you just right. Given its size and features, it sure is a great product to house all your hiking needs.
Even if you have to stay the night, trust that this backpack will give you enough space for your necessities because it has a capacity of 36 liters. A lot of its competitors cannot incorporate durability with breathability. The formula to have the two features together is apparently not easy to crack. However, Osprey really did nail it with this one.
This backpack, as it houses all its features, is quite heavy. That’s a drawback that may affect your decision-making.
- Comes with a rain cover
- Integrated hip belt adds comfort
- Design can be improved
- Capacity lies between a daypack and a weekend backpack
Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65
- Anti-Gravity suspension - feels like you are carrying less weight than is in your pack
- Adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt to dial in perfect fit
- Front stretch mesh pocket for quick storage of rain gear or extra layers
- Removable floating top lid with dual zippered pockets and web attachment points
- Internal hydration reservoir sleeve accommodates up to a 3L reservoir (sold separately)
Another Osprey backpack worth looking into is the Atmos AG 65. It is a famous variant for both hikers and outdoor enthusiasts so you can trust that this product does its job pretty well. It’s known to be breathable with features that are easy to utilize.
This backpack comes with numerous big pockets which are perfect for storing smaller objects such as phones, a GPS, cameras, etc. The pockets are also easy to open and close so you won’t have to stop midway just to access something. Additionally, it also has dual mesh pockets to hold your water tumblers or bottles vertically so as to avoid spillage and wasted water. For items that are irregular, lumpy, and rugged, the stretch mesh pockets are the best in storing these. The backpack also has a couple of zipped pockets behind these pockets for a more versatile storing system.
The zippered lid pockets are double-strapped to easily store tinier items. You also have the option to tuck these straps in if that works better for you. Plus, there are a couple of ice ax attachments found at the bottom of the bag.
There is also a pocket in front that is relatively large. This pocket is where rain covers and other wet equipment are best stored. Take note, however, that the rain cover can only survive one or two rain showers, after which, such as that in stormy weathers, water may gradually start to flow through your backpack.
Additionally, the product comes with a sternum strap and an emergency whistle for your disposal. Plus, there are top and lower side compression braces to allow you to adjust the load depending on how you want it.
With a great suspension and a lot of useful features, this backpack is a favorite of many. It houses comfortable straps that are anti-gravity to provide you that stress-free and pain-free hiking experience. Furthermore, the straps have the capacity to distribute the weight evenly.
The backpack was built trampoline-style incorporating the whole back plus the waistband. It can carry up to 40 pounds of weight with no problem.
It is not waterproof, therefore, it may not work well in wet and rainy conditions. It also is not the best for rather longer trips.
- High-quality build
- Provides comfort
- Adaptable hip, belt, and shoulder straps
- Rain cover can only survive for so long
- May be uncomfortable when overloaded
Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Backpack
- 【Upgraded Wet Pocket Design】Venture Pal backpack stands out with more humane design for easy and convenient use. One waterproof wet pocket is added to the main compartment, a zipper on the back of this backpack which led to the internal wet pocket, to better separate sweaty clothes, towels or other personal things after swimming or taking exercise.
- 【Durable Material】This backpack is made of high quality tear and water resistant nylon fabric,heavy duty metal zippers and enhanced by bar-tacks at major stress points provide long-lasting durability against daily activities.The extra strength provided by the double-layer bottom piece makes it possible to carry more stuff.
- 【Compact & Comfortable】It weighs only 1 pounds, can easily fold into its own pocket for storage,and unfold it when you need it. Breathable mesh shoulder straps with plentiful sponge padding help relieve the stress from your shoulder. The chest clip with a whistle buckle work perfectly to distribute the pack’s weight and keep it steady and centered. A must have for sports , hiking, camping and traveling.
- 【Large Capacity & Multi Compartment】With 40L storage space, this backpack features with multi-compartment design includes one main zipped compartment, one zipped front pockets and two side pockets. One separator and one small zippered pocket in the main compartment are convenient enough to help you further organize things.Large capacity helps you easily organize all your essential items.
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One of the main selling points of the Venture Pal lightweight backpack is its versatility because it’s waterproof, durable, and it comes in a lot of color options.
If you want to be stylish and prefer to have a lot of choices, this one may be for you. It has some vibrant colors and styles you can choose from.
With its large storage capacity, this backpack is one of the great backpacks in the market today and is perfect for anyone who’s always up for adventures such as hiking.
Its lightweight design together with its cushioned shoulder straps and adjustable chest straps provided maximum comfort for the user. With a large selection, there must be one Venture Pal model that will suit you best.
This backpack is aesthetically pleasing as compared to its competitors in the market. Add to that all the nice features it comes with. One of these is an additional pocket that fares well in storing wet and dirty clothes separately from the rest of your stuff.
Take note that this product is extremely comfortable without sacrificing durability. You can trust this to last you a long time.
- Tightly packed
- Comes in different designs
- Comes with a water pocket inside
- Short strap padding
- Some components are not that sturdy
Kelty Red Cloud 90 Backpack
- Capacity, suspension, custom fit, simplified organization, the only pack you'll need for your adventures features our Perfect Fit suspension system
- Perfect Fit Suspension supplies you w/ customized comfort without the hassle
- Features: Top Loading, Top Lid converts to Sling Pack, Zippered side pockets, front pocket w/ organization, Stretch front pouch, Hydration Compatible
- Suspension: PerfectFIT suspension, HDPE frame sheet & waist belt, mesh back panel, waist belt, Sternum strap, Dual light beam aluminum stays
- Dimensions: Size (L x W x D) 34 x 19 x 15 in, Weight 5lbs 6 oz, Volume 90 L, Optimal Carry Weight: 20-60 lbs
The Kelty Red Cloud 90 backpack is known to be sturdy yet practical. Many outdoor enthusiasts are geared to this product for its exceptional features.
The best feature of this back is easily its suspension design. Basically, the backpack adapts to anything you put into it. It is also lightweight and durable.
This Kelty backpack has an HDPE frame sheet which works to absorb shock as it provides bearing for high-capacity load.
It is built with fabrics that are made to survive a lengthy period of time sweat-free. It is breathable and well-ventilated that way. Thus, it works well in hot weather conditions.
Versatility is one of the highlights of this backpack. With it, you are rest assured of a high storage capacity that is packed with other features. The front pocket utilizes a large zipper. Additionally, it also has a couple of zippered side pockets and a double mesh water bottle container to keep you feeling fresh all day. A removable lid is also available for you to use.
Because of its design, this backpack is great for any hiking situations you’re about to embark in. With its high-capacity load-bearing and its suspension design, you’re sure to enjoy its comfort and functionality.
It is sturdily built so you are sure to have this as your hiking companion for a long time. And the best thing? Its ventilation capacity keeps you sweat-free!
The design and the selection can be improved so people can choose based on their styles.
- Sturdy and durable
- Enough storage space
- Adapts to the user’s size through its PerfectFIT feature
- Comfortable even in longer hikes
- No rain cover
- Some problems with the lower compartments
High Sierra Summit 40 Internal Frame Pack
- Versatile overnight pack. Top-load main compartment with gusseted drawstring closure and adjustable top lid
- Front-load sleeping bag compartment with divider. Padded backpack straps, with adjustable load-lifters, is constructed with Hex-Vent mesh
- Adjustable sternum strap stabilizes pack. Single, contoured aluminum frame bar can be adjusted to fit the shape of your back. Molded foam back panel with airflow channels to keep your back cool and dry. Adjustable waist belt, with Hex-Vent mesh padding, wicks moisture
- Side compression straps help secure gear and stabilize the load. Bottom compression straps can be extended to allow for additional storage. Webbing daisy chain on both sides to attach carabiners and other gear.
This is a popular choice mainly for its durability and practicality. If you want a backpack that will surely last you a long time, make sure to put this on your list!
The High Sierra Summit 40 Internal Frame pack is best for you if you need one for your overnight trips since this can carry all your things with ease.
The lower part is designed with the sturdy 1680D Ballistic while the torso straps have the capacity to adjust from 14 to 18 inches. Additionally, the kit itself is built with mini-hex ripstop and mini-weave Duralite fabric. Overall, this has a weight of 4.5 pounds and will be great for you if you have a waist measurement of 26 inches and up.
Because of its adjustable lid and drawstring features, you can maximize the space this backpack offers. One of the reasons why it’s perfect for overnight trips is because the front compartment can easily house a sleeping bag. There are also divided components for easy storing. For your water bottles, you can easily store them through the two mesh pockets.
The backpack’s padding is made of Hex-Vent fabric which promotes comfort. To ensure a less tiring experience despite some heavy load, the adjustable load lifts ensure that for you. Additionally, the sternum strap comes in an adjustable form to give you more balance, thus, more ease.
Its ventilation is also another positive feature and it uses an airflow channel. If you have excess stuff you need to store, there are compression bands on the side that are available to help you.
The shoulder straps provide enough comfort and support because of its Hex-Vent mesh padding. Moreover, this feature lets the pads distribute the weight evenly.
This backpack can survive different weather conditions. It even comes with a rain cover for protection during rainy hikes. To say that it is durable is an understatement. The compression braces found at the bottom of the pack are transposable as well.
For your weekend overnight trips, this will surely be of great help since it can carry a great amount of load. But, with any excess load, discomfort will come one time or another. It is just inevitable.
- Easy to use
- Fantastic compression straps
- Comes with a rain cover
- On the expensive side
- Top-load style opening
Now that we’re done talking about the best hiking backpacks, let’s now dive into the things that you should best consider before deciding on your purchase.
Backpacks come in different types and it’s usually based on what you need it for:
- Daypacks: With a 15L to 35L usual capacity, this type is used for day trips or overnight ones.
- Internal frame packs: As the name implies, this type of backpack comes with an internal frame that functions to increase the durability as it protects your stuff. This is stronger and is recommended for longer trips.
- External frame packs: This has the highest capacity and is one sturdy type. It’s also best used in trips that run even up to a couple of weeks or more.
If you plan to use your backpack on an activity such as hiking, it is best to consider the load capacity. Remember, it will house everything you need, so contemplate on how much you need to pack.
Backpack capacity is typically expressed in liters. But there are also brands that identify their products’ capacity by stating many items they can possibly carry.
Generally, for single-day trips, a backpack capacity of 10L to 25L should suffice. Moreover, backpack capacities of 20L to 40L and 30L to 50Lare advisable for overnight trips and longer journeys, respectively.
When it comes to materials, look for nylon, canvas, cordura, and polyester. These make durable backpacks without making them heavy.
Considering the weight is a must when it comes to looking for your hiking backpack. Hiking is already a tiring activity, so your backpack shouldn’t be holding you back. As a general rule, backpacks should not go beyond 5 pounds for a balanced weight-to-capacity ratio.
The first thing to do when it comes to the price department is to determine how much your budget is. Of course the more features there are, the more expensive the backpack will be. However, keep in mind that you don’t have to break the bank to find a bag that’s perfect for you.
Frequently asked questions
- How to pack for my hiking trip?
Packing is like wine, it gets better in time! If you’re a newbie, the best way is to list down everything you need and cross things out as you go. In time, you won’t need a list because it will come naturally.
- What materials are backpacks made of?
The materials typically used in creating backpacks are:
- Packcloth nylon
- Polyester packcloth nylon
- Cordura nylon
- Ripstop nylon
- PVC fabric
- What is the best size for hiking backpack?
Height, weight, strength, and capacity make up the size of the backpack. To know what size is best for you largely depends on you: your body type, trip length, and other specific needs.
Generally though, an ideal backpack is one that is tight on the hips with the perfect height for your sternum.
- How to choose a hiking backpack for me?
There are various backpacks for hiking in the market. They all differ in features, sizes, and uses. Essentially, you just have to find what suits your needs.
Things to consider, as written as well above, are as follows:
- Backpack types
- Price point
- Materials used
- Load capacity
- How should a backpack fit me?
Since the purpose you’re buying a backpack is for hiking, how it fits is of vital importance. It should fit you well with as much comfort as possible. But thankfully, the majority of backpacks come with several straps that you can adjust accordingly.
Although we adore all five backpacks in this article, #1 on our list is Osprey Packs Stratos 36. Whether it’s a daytrip or a weekend overnight hike, this will surely serve you well. On top of that, it’s comfortable, durable, and functional.
But then again, your backpack, your choice!
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