Tested & Proven: Best Backpacks for Hiking Reviewed (2018)
Are you an adventurous hiker or someone who is always on the go? If yes, you will definitely need a dependable backpack to get you through all your daily ventures. Whether it be a three day hike or just a two hour trip, our selection of bags and backpacks will provide the perfect fit for your needs.
A sturdy hiking backpack is a necessity when heading out for a day trip. In fact, it is one of the most important things you can wear--aside from shoes and clothing as it holds your gear.
From a week long trek to a short day trip, a quality backpack is important for holding all of your supplies without putting too much strain on your body.
There are many factors to take into consideration when picking a backpack to ensure you have made the right decision. You have to keep in mind the length of the hike, how much stuff you plan to take, and the weather.
We have compiled a list of top rated hiking bags for you to consider purchasing before your next venture.
Our Top Picks At A Glance:
- Camden Gear Backpack
- Trespass Neroli Backpack
- Berghaus Twentyfourseven + 25 Rucksack
- The Friendly Swede 25L Ultralight Packable Backpack with Paracord Keychain
- Under Armour Men's Hustle II Backpack
- G4Free 20L Lightweight Packable Backpack
- Vango Pac Packable Rucksack
- Andes Camouflage Camping
- North Face Men’s Vault
- North Face Men’s Borealis
Your backpack is an essential component in an enjoyable and successful outdoor experience. But remember that not all bags are created equal. The perfect hiking bag can look, feel, and function differently for everyone. When selecting the one that is best for you, there are certain aspects that you should consider. See the following factors below:
Keep in mind when you plan on using your backpack. If it’s solely for hiking then you’ll probably need more specific compartments for your gear as opposed to someone also wearing this backpack for a commute.
Despite the purpose, reflective detail is always important at night to help you be seen and should be considered when selecting a backpack.
There is no such thing as the perfect size when it comes to your backpack.While it’s great to have unlimited space for your necessities, you have to remember that you will be the one lugging it all around. Know the length of your torso - not your height - and choose a backpack appropriate for your torso length.
Your backpack should also fit you. If your bag is too large or small, it won’t sit on your body properly and can cause you discomfort. Adjust the shoulder and hip straps to have an even and stable fit that is right for you.
Ideally, you want a light backpack, so that your gear will account for most of the weight. You may opt to get the one made from lightweight materials. To help you find the best ultralight backpack, Live Once Live Wild has compiled and reviewed all the best options available on the market today. You should definitely check it out.
The capacity is how much your backpack can hold measured in liters. It is an important factor because you want to have enough room to carry your supplies without sacrificing the overall weight of the backpack.
Accessibility is just as important as the other factors mentioned. When buying a backpack for hiking, choose the one that will give you great access to your most important stuff. You may look for backpacks with top load openings, hip belt pockets and front pockets for easy access.
Most hiking backpacks are hydration compatible, which means it has a built-in hydration system which allows the wearer to drink hands-free. When looking for a backpack to use for hiking, hydration packs are always a good option for a buyer.
If you are an avid hiker who will be spending most of your time outdoors, then your rucksack should be waterproof. Nobody wants to open their bag to find wet clothes or soggy food. If your bag isn’t waterproof initially, it should have the compatibility to attach a separate rain cover, protecting the contents inside.
While it is important for your backpack to be waterproof, you want to make sure that there is also proper ventilation. The diverted water can leave you feeling hot, damp, and uncomfortable. You want your bag to be made out of material that will dry quickly and leave you cool. The shoulder strap and back panel should have this feature to prevent water and sweat from leaving you soggy during a hike.
Padded straps and compression straps can make or break a backpack. They can help evenly distribute the weight and pressure you feel, so you can carry it easily and have a comfortable journey. Padded hip belts can prevent soreness in your lower back and hips since around 70% of the weight sits in this area.
You may also look for bags with chest straps or sternum straps which give additional stability and help reduce jarring or tumbling of your rucksack. Both of these straps can soften the stress and preserve stability for your body during hiking.
If you are looking for a cheap pack, we suggest checking out our article on how to find a pack for under 100 bucks. We think you'll love it.
Top 5 Backpacks for Hiking
Reliability and durability are important qualities in the best backpacks sought after by hikers. These features along with many others put these backpacks on the map as top selling and most liked by reviewers.
Camden Gear Backpack
Kicking off the top of our list is the Camden Gear Backpack, which is the most popular with the best bang for your buck--prices average around $30. This is quite large with 35L of available space and padding to keep everything safe inside--even a laptop!
With multiple pockets and compartments, you have ample room to carry your hiking gear such as a water bottle, camera, small sleeping bag, and other knick knacks without being bulky.
Each shoulder strap is sturdy and well padded complete with a front clip to evenly distribute the weight, making it a lightweight fit.It
Under its one year warranty, this is also covered by a 100% money back guarantee.
Trespass Neroli Backpack
Up next, the Tresspass Neroli - a slightly smaller hiking backpack, fitting up to 28L. Designed with activity in mind, its size makes it a practical piece for hiking, heading to the gym, or even a trip snowboarding.
The back portion and each shoulder strap are padded, so you feel comfortable during activity. Chest and waist straps are also attached, allowing the bag to give better support.
Two mesh side pockets can house water bottles, while another large mesh pocket is situated on the front for more storage.
A headphone access space is easily accessible for you to listen to music or make phone calls while on the go. The main compartment has additional internal pockets to fit your items and keep them organized. A secret pocket is also inside to secure your valuables such as a cellphone or wallet.
Berghaus Twentyfourseven + 25 Rucksack
The Berghaus Twentyfourseven + 25 Rucksack is a favorite among those who want a versatile bag for hiking trips and daily use. Not only is it practical, but it is stylish as well with its sleek and simple design.
Holding 25L, the Berghaus is one of five backpacks in the Twentyfourseven line, which all have similar features, but carrying capacities ranging from 10L to 30L.
Designed with organization and comfort in mind, the Berghaus features numerous internal pockets dedicated to your holding your essentials, and even another space for a water bottle. Walking pole attachments are included for your adventure as are external pockets to hold an additional water bottle.
Straps are adjustable and are built-in for extra support along with padded shoulder straps. Reflective detailing increases the bag's visibility and safety.
The vented air foam material creates a breathable flow back system, allowing for comfort during activity. It is also hydration system compatible.
The Friendly Swede 25L Ultralight Packable Backpack with Paracord Keychain
With it’s great name, highly rated customer reviews, and around $15 dollar price range, it’s no surprise that The Friendly Swede made the top list of best hiking backpacks.
The rucksack itself is exceptionally light, weighing only 240g, but has the ability to carry 25L and fold into a small pocket. This is an ultralight backpack that keeps its lightness without sacrificing on the capacity, quality, or comfort.
There are two mesh side pockets with enough room to fit a water bottle. A keychain is also included made of paracord with a 350lb carrying capacity.
Made of rip-stop 210D grade nylon, this ultralight pack is durable and high-quality. A thin coating of polyurethane makes the backpack resistant to water, further protecting your belongings during inclement weather.
A lifetime warranty is provided to cover it, which can be accessed on the company’s website.
Under Armour Men's Hustle II Backpack
Under Armour is a well-known sporting brand, but not one normally associated with hiking--the Hustle backpack changes all of that. It made the list for being tough against the elements and long lasting, while holding up to 31L, and maintaining style.
At an average price of $30, the UA storm technology combats water, while keeping your stuff safe. The bottom is lined with abrasion resistant material to prevent wear and tear,increasing the bag’s lifetime.
Similar to a internal frame, Cushioned Heat Gear straps provide comfort to the shoulders and stay dry with the breathable material. This is also lined with padding to prevent items from jabbing into your back during activity, while also protecting them from breaking.
There are internal multipurpose pockets to keep you organized. A separate compartment was created to house a pair of muddy shoes or dirty clothing while the connecting waterproof side stores your water bottles.
Other Quality Hiking Backpacks
G4Free 20L Lightweight Packable Backpack
This ultralight backpack is made with top notch nylon, with an abrasion resistant SBS metal zipper and is water resistant. It has a capacity of 20 liters, which is fantastic for your day trip or for an outdoor trip.
This day pack has padded shoulder straps for more comfort. Because of it's lightweight material, you can easily fold it to a size as small as a sandwich. Thus, it comes with an ultra-compact pouch which you can use to fit in the folded bag when not in use, or when you want to bring an extra bag for your trip.
Vango Pac Packable Rucksack
This bag only weighs 190g, helping you reduce pack weight. But it doesn't mean that it has thin and weak material. This is made from a robust 200D ripstop nylon which is highly durable, and will surely not let you down.
Its wide and padded AirMesh shoulder straps provide more comfort and airflow between your body and the bag. The main compartment has a capacity of 15 liters, and it also has a front pocket as additional storage for your needs.
Andes Camouflage Camping
This ultimate backpack is ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities - hiking, camping, and many more. It has an overall capacity of 120 liters which is perfect to store all your needs and camping gear.
No need to worry about backpacking or organizing your stuff - this bag has a lot of compartments to help you. It has a main compartment, three front pockets, side zip and side mesh pockets, and a small top pocket for easy access to some smaller yet important items. Compression straps are included to keep everything together and secure.
The bag is made of tough polyester, making it durable for all types of weather conditions.
North Face Men’s Vault
The North Face Vault Backpack is a 26 liter edc day pack. The bag features a main large main compartment where you can keep all your necessities safe and secure, and a secondary compartment with an organizer for all of your gear.
Like most EDCs, it features include airmesh padded shoulder straps and back panel. It also has side stretch pockets for your water bottles. We are thinking of adding it to our best edc backpacks list.
North Face Men’s Borealis
This comfortable, 29L capacity rucksack might be the one you've been looking for. This has a padded airmesh back panel and an adjustable shoulder strap to provide a snug fit.
It's complete of all the storage area you may need for your things - a roomy main compartment and a laptop sleeve for your gadget, a front stash pocket, and mesh side water bottle pockets.
Choosing a backpack can be a daunting task with all the different bags and options out there. Reading reviews are helpful to determine which brands and styles are high-quality or popular, but remember - what’s right for some may not be for you. So always put your own preferences first of what you want in a hiking backpack.
When buying a backpack, always keep in mind the purpose your backpack will serve you and all the other factors mentioned in this post. That way you will be able to find exactly the right fit for you and your hiking needs.