5 Best Hiking Backpacks in 2021

man hiking on brown mountain while carrying blue hiking bag

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

Osprey Packs Stratos 36

Stratos keeps your gear and pack protected with an integrated raincover. Smartly organized pocketing keeps all your equipment where you need it, when you need.

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.

Best features

Osprey Stratos is known for its great ventilation. This is especially helpful for hiking in warmer conditions. It comes with handles 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. 

Positive points

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.

Negative points

This backpack, as it houses all its features, is quite heavy. That’s a drawback that may affect your decision-making.

Pros

  • Versatile 
  • Comes with a rain cover
  • Integrated hip belt adds comfort
  • Well-ventilated
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Design can be improved
  • Capacity lies between a daypack and a weekend backpack
Osprey Packs Stratos 36

Osprey Packs Atmos AG 65

Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment, and FlapJacket for lidless use, the Atmos AG 65 is still the top contender. Backed by our All Mighty Guarantee, forever.

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.

Best features

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.

Positive points

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.

Negative points

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.

Pros

  • High-quality build
  • Provides comfort
  • Well-ventilated
  • Breathable
  • Adaptable hip, belt, and shoulder straps

Cons

  • Rain cover can only survive for so long
  • May be uncomfortable when overloaded
Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Backpack

Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Backpack

Venture Pal offers kaleidoscopic colors and patterns for this packable hiking backpack that range from classic Black to stylish camouflage to colorful leaf pattern. Whether you are passionate about basic fit or pursue the trend. There is always a style that suits your taste.

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.

Best features

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. 

Positive points

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.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Tightly packed
  • Waterproof
  • Comes in different designs
  • Comes with a water pocket inside

Cons

  • Short strap padding
  • Some components are not that sturdy
Kelty Red Cloud 90 Backpack

Kelty Red Cloud 90 Backpack

PerfectFIT suspension is designed to be fully adjustable to fit your torso length and carry a heavy load, providing unmatched stability and comfort on the trail.

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.

Best 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.

Positive points

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! 

Negative points

The design and the selection can be improved so people can choose based on their styles. 

Pros

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Enough storage space
  • Adapts to the user’s size through its PerfectFIT feature
  • Comfortable even in longer hikes

Cons

  • No rain cover
  • Some problems with the lower compartments
High Sierra Summit 40 Internal Frame Pack

High Sierra Summit 40 Internal Frame Pack

Since our founding in 1978, we’ve committed ourselves to creating durable, affordable product with distinctive details, delivering the freedom to go anywhere-near or far, on roads or trails, on mountain ridges or snowy slopes.

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!

Best features

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.

Positive points

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. 

Negative points

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. 

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Easy to use
  • Fantastic compression straps
  • Comes with a rain cover
  • Durable

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • Top-load style opening

Buyer’s guide

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.

Backpack types

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. 

Load capacity

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.

Materials used

When it comes to materials, look for nylon, canvas, cordura, and polyester. These make durable backpacks without making them heavy. 

Weight

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.

Price point

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

  1. 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.

  1. What materials are backpacks made of?

The materials typically used in creating backpacks are:

  • Canvas
  • Cotton
  • Packcloth nylon
  • Polyester packcloth nylon
  • Cordura nylon
  • Ripstop nylon
  • PVC fabric
  • Leather
  1. 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.

  1. 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
  • Weight
  • Materials used
  • Load capacity
  1. 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.

Verdict

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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