Top best 10 Hiking backpack reviews & buying guides

For travel addicts, a good backpack is a companion that allows you to get the most comfort and convenience of your adventurous life. Among thousands of models and brands in today’s market, how can you pick up a good backpack for your trips? In this article, I will show you my 10 best hiking backpack reviews from my real-life experience in traveling for 5 years. And before we get started, please note that this article is only for your reference. You should also check your conditions based on my below buyer’s guide to get the most suitable backpack on your own.

My reviews for the best hiking backpack

First, here is an overview of my best hiking backpacks.

Top best 10 recommended Hiking backpack reviews

#1TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack - High-Performance Backpack for Backpacking, Hiking, Camping review

TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack - High-Performance Backpack for Backpacking, Hiking, Camping review detail
TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack - High-Performance Backpack for Backpacking, Hiking, Camping

  • NOT YOUR BASIC BACKPACK: Continues to be the top-selling internal frame backpack on Amazon at a great price for all the included features; Backpack for men and women
  • VERSATILE QUICK TRIP PACK: Just right for youth and adults for light backpacking trips; best for 2-4-day adventures; 3400 cubic inches (55 L) capacity; weighs 4.5 pounds (2 kg)
  • COMFORT YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE: Multi-position torso adjustment fits a wide range of body sizes; Durable open-cell foam lumbar pad and molded channels provide maximum comfort and airflow
  • TRUSTED QUALITY: Hiking backpack with hundreds of verified 5-star reviews testifying to the quality and design; sleeping bag compartment, compression straps, and exterior pockets for strategic packing
  • TETON SPORTS PROMISE: Reach out to our AMAZING product support team if you have any questions or concerns; YOU CAN COUNT ON US to get you taken care of and back OUTDOORS with TETON Sports

#2ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag review

ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag review detail
ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag

  • Made of durable Nylon Ripstop fabric, giving you a long-lasting use in the harshest weather environments
  • Organize your gear in one of the many pockets: two side accessory hinged pockets, main, front and spotting scope pocket
  • Keep your essentials close with accommodation for the clip-style holster, drop-down rifle pocket and hydration pocket and port
  • Detach your bag and use the frame to haul out meat with a unique, secure lashing system
  • Total Weight: 7 lbs. 5 oz. , Bag Weight: 2 lbs. 3 oz. , Size: 5250³

#3Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack review

Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack review detail
Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack

  • Zipper closure
  • 8.5" high
  • 2.2" wide
  • DURABLE. This Venture Pal Backpack is made with high-quality tear and water-resistant material provides extra strength and long-lasting performance with the lightest weight possible. The extra strength provided by the double-layer bottom piece makes it very convenient to carry more load on your journeys. Heavy-duty two-way SBS metal zippers across the backpack are convenient for operation on whichever side you prefer. Longevity is further enhanced by bar-tacks at major stress points.
  • COMFORTABLE. Breathable mesh shoulder straps with plentiful sponge padding help relieve the stress from your shoulder. The length of the shoulder straps is adjustable. The chest strap with a whistle buckle helps you lock your backpack in place securely.
  • MULTI COMPARTMENTS and KEEP THINGS ORGANIZED. This backpack features one main zipped compartment, two zipped front pockets, and two side pockets. The main compartment provides enough room (35 liters) no matter if it's a day trip or a week-long journey. Two separators in the main compartment are convenient enough to help you further organize things. The two front pockets are good for holding small accessories and for easy access. Two side pockets are good for holding water bottles and umbrellas.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT(0.7LB) and ROOMY(35Liters).A true space saver. Fold the backpack into its own pocket for storage(no more excess baggage fees), and unfold it when you reach your destination. To avoid overweight charges, simply unfold from your checked bags and use it as a carry on for your excess baggage.
  • COMPACT. Folds into a zipped inner pocket to fit anywhere, and unfolds from pocket to backpack in seconds. A must-have for every trip.
 

#4TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack review

TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack review detail
TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack

  • NOT YOUR BASIC BACKPACK Continues to be the top-selling internal frame backpack on at a great price for all the included features
  • VERSATILE QUICK TRIP PACK Perfect backpack for men woman and youth best for 3-5-day backpacking trips 3400 cubic inches (65 L) capacity weighs 5 pounds (2 3 kg)
  • COMFORT YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE Multi-position torso adjustment fits a wide range of body sizes Durable open-cell foam lumbar pad and molded channels provide maximum airflow and balance
  • TRUSTED QUALITY Hiking backpack with hundreds of verified 5-star reviews testifying to the quality and design sleeping bag compartment compression straps and exterior pockets for strategic packing
  • TETON SPORTS PROMISE Reach out to our AMAZING product support team if you have any questions or concerns YOU CAN COUNT ON US to get you taken care of and back OUTDOORS with TETON Sports

#5G4Free Lightweight Packable Hiking Backpack review

G4Free Lightweight Packable Hiking Backpack review detail
G4Free Lightweight Packable Hiking Backpack

  • 13.4" high
  • 22.8" wide
  • High Capacity 40L; Unfold size: 22.8 x 13.4 x 7.9 inches (H x W x D); Roomy enough to carry what you need in the trip like the hammock, clothes, towel, food, and a couple of beers if needed. NOTE: the backpack is 40L+ when it is fully packed. 1 Main Compartment, 2 Top Pouch (Interior Exterior), 1 Front Spandex Pouch, 2 Sports Bottle Holder, and Padded Backpack Strap with Chest Clip
  • Practical Design; This hiking backpack has bungee elastic ropes and straps for hanging the trekking poles, fishing rods, sleeping bag, or the camping accessories for extra space. Chest strap for secure lock firmly and has the whistle wildlife essentials helping you to find your companion when in need. Large side mesh pocket to hold the big bottle
  • Lightweight yet Durable; The backpack is made from High-Quality Water and Tear Resistant Nylon fabric, provide strengthen and long-lasting performance with minimal weight; Adjustable and breathable padded shoulder and strap to meet different requirements for both men and women
  • Packable Handy Size; It fits into an ultra-compact pouch. Easy to folds up into small pocket: 9.85x 9.06 inches (H x W). Weight: 12.7 ounces. So you can easily pack it in your suitcase or car and have an extra bag without taking up too much space
  • Versatile; Ultra-light, Ultra-durable, Ultra-awesome daypack. Perfect for hiking, occasional travel, day-to-day use, pack beach accessories, suitcase alternative, storing diapers, college, camera compartment, camping and more, and a great gift for everyone

#6WASING 55L Internal Frame Backpack review

WASING 55L Internal Frame Backpack review detail
WASING 55L Internal Frame Backpack

  • 1. Man-Made Materials, BOTTOM COMPARTMENT- Zippered Access. It Comes With An Internal Zippered Divider.
  • 2. WATER-RESISTANT- Water-Resistant Rip-Stop Polyester As The Fabric Can Quickly Slide Water Aside Before Water Has A Chance To Penetrate It.
  • 3. Molded Foam Back Panel With Airflow Channels To Keep Your Back Cool And Dry. Single Contoured Aluminum Frame Bar Can Be Adjusted To Fit The Shape Of Your Back.
  • 4. Size: (H)* (W)* (L) (27.1*12.5*9.8inch)Volume: 55L
  • 5. We are always here to help - If you find any quality problems on our backpack, please feel free to contact us by e-mail!

#7MOUNTAINTOP 70L/75L Internal Frame Hiking Backpack review

MOUNTAINTOP 70L/75L Internal Frame Hiking Backpack review detail
MOUNTAINTOP 70L/75L Internal Frame Hiking Backpack

  • SIDE ZIPPERED POCKET & ZIPPERED ACCESS- One side of the pack has a side pocket, big enough for your jacket or umbrella. The other side has zippered access which can easily access to the main compartment.
  • Hip-belt adjustable length:79-155cm/31.1-61.0in. It's not typically worn at the waist, but somewhat lower, on the hips. It's often beneficial to comfort and balance to adjust belt position while hiking, so plans to occasionally use less than the full 61" as you reposition.
  • Hydration Compartment: Separate bladder sleeve in the main compartment.Big enough or a 3 liters hydration bladder.
  • The best way to carry a sleeping bag: You could use the front straps, or the top straps and secure the sleeping bag to the outside.
  • Bottom Access: There is a divider between the sleeping bag compartment (at the bottom) and the main compartment at the top. You can access the main compartment from the bottom if needed.

#8Outlander Ultra Lightweight Packable Water Resistant Travel Hiking Backpack review

Outlander Ultra Lightweight Packable Water Resistant Travel Hiking Backpack review detail
Outlander Ultra Lightweight Packable Water Resistant Travel Hiking Backpack

  • Zipper closure
  • 17.5" shoulder drop
  • 22 centimeters high
  • 22 centimeters wide
  • Water-resistant and DURABLE. The backpack is made from high rip and water-resistant nylon fabric, which provides strength and long-lasting performance, with minimal weight. Stress points are reinforced with bar tacking for increased longevity. We use durable 2-way Abrasion Resistant SBS Metal Zippers across the backpack.
  • COMPACT. Folds into a zippered inner pocket to fit anywhere. Unfolds from pocket to backpack. A must-have on any trip.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT(0.46 Pounds) and ROOMY(20 Liters). A true space saver. Stuff the bag into its own pocket for storage and unzip it when you reach your destination. Avoid overweight baggage charges by simply unfolding it from your luggage and using it as a carry on for your excess baggage.
  • MULTIPLE COMPARTMENTS. It features a classic shape with several pockets for storage and organization. This backpack has a roomy main compartment, two front zipper pockets to hold small accessories, one internal zippered security pocket for valuable items, and two side pockets for water bottles or umbrellas.
  • NEW VERSION Includes a carabiner clip so you attach things or clip it to things. Ultra-light. Ultra-durable. Ultra-awesome.

#9Osprey Women's Aura 65 AG Backpacks review

Osprey Women's Aura 65 AG Backpacks review detail
Osprey Women's Aura 65 AG Backpacks

  • The adjustable harness allows the user to easily adjust the torso length of the pack by using the easy release cams behind the harness yoke
  • The Fit-on-the-Fly hip belt pads extend 5"/15cm to accommodate different hip sizes providing a custom fit
  • The floating top lid can extend to accept oversized loads or can be removed from the pack body for weight saving lidless use
  • An internal reservoir sleeve is located in the main body of the pack allowing easy loading/unloading of a hydration reservoir
  • Osprey's Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment is designed to quickly attach and carry trekking poles while wearing a pack

#10G4Free 20L Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack review

G4Free 20L Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack review detail
G4Free 20L Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack

  • Zipper closure
  • 16.53" high
  • 7.08" wide
  • Foldable & Lightweight-- Minimalist Designed. The ultra-lightweight shoulder bag. It also can be easily folded into a small handy sandwich size for easy travel. (Note: No extra pouch carry with, just a built-in pocket for storage). Easily pack it in your suitcase, purse, and save your space.
  • Roomy 20L Capacity--Keep things organized. Unfold size : 16.5*11.8*6.3inch(L*W*H). Save your space to fold into its built-in pouch as a Sandwich size easily. Three zippered compartments. The main pocket is Large enough to hold the computer and clothes. Outer smaller pocket is great for quick access such as guide books and a camera. An inner zippered pocket is a perfect place for valuables such as cash, credit cards, and passport. Two large sides mesh pockets for water bottles or umbrella
  • Durable & Tear Resistant-- Made with high-quality water and tear abrasion-resistant water-resistant coated Nylon material with SBS metal zipper. Update version without zipper flap and no struggle to get stuck in a zipper. Reinforced more than 14 places with the Bar-tack process for extra strength.
  • Comfortable--This is a perfect travel backpack for everyday use. Conformable to wear on you back or carry with wide S-shape breathable Mesh Shoulder strap. Easy to adjust the length and lock firmly.
  • Versatile for the Trips--Ultra-lightweight. Ultra-durable. This compact backpack is the perfect companion for Disney trips, day trips, vacation, travel, day hikes, school, carry on, camping, and shopping. This backpack obeys the spiritual airline rules limited and is suitable to take as personal items. It will be a fantastic necessity for no matter outdoor sports or leisure activities in or out of the city.
 

Buyer’s guide to getting the best hiking backpack

First of all, there is no perfect backpack for everyone. Each backpack is designed to support a particular body fit type. To purchase the best hiking backpack on your own, you should define what you need in an ideal backpack, based on your body shape and travel conditions.

Volume

Volume is the capacity of a backpack. The higher the volume, the more stuff a backpack can carry. If you have a short day trip with your friends at school, choose a minimal one that carries your most essential stuff. But if you take on a long trip which can be extended to more than 3 nights, pick up a bigger one to carry your belongings for 3 days and nights. You should acknowledge that although a 40-liter backpack can store more stuff than a minimal 30-liter one, it can sometimes bring discomfort for you when you have to carry it for long hours.

Here are some average backpack volume based on the trip length. The volume is calculated by liters:

  • 15-30 liters: school day hiking trip
  • 30-50 liters: 1-2 nights
  • 45-55 liters: 2-3 nights
  • More than 55 liters: long trips (usually more than 3 nights)

If you are too lazy to calculate, the most common volume for a hiking backpack is 30 liters. Based on this volume standard, you can count extra space in some individual cases. For example, if you are a trip lead (in a hiking club or a family), you may have to get a bigger volume to carry extra gear and clothes for other members of your team or your kids. You should choose a backpack with a volume of around 40 liters.

Activities

An important criterion when considering to buy a hiking backpack is your activities. Note down the activities that you can do when on the trips when picking up a backpack that most fits with that list.

For a day hiking trip, you should choose a backpack around 30 liters in volume. This backpack is appropriate for you to carry essential belongings for a day. This backpack should have small side pockets to store handy stuff (mobile phone, map, sunglasses, candies if you need sugar for your blood flow. My current day hiking backpack has side pockets that are flat or stick to the backpack, and only seize up when I wedge them into place. I guess there should be more similar models with this pocket style! Choose a backpack with compartments (either slots or pockets) to store small items. This backpack should be able to carry a small water bottle).

If you go on mountain climbing, a 40-liter backpack is your best choice. To support long and rough terrain, this backpack should have a narrow profile. Since you will have to carry this backpack for at least a few hours, only choose those with paddle backs or frame sheets for your comfort with heavy stuff.

A long run needs a small yet compacted backpack. The volume size of this backpack type is only around 25 liters. It should have a hydration system to carry a water bottle and some snacks to maintain your energy while on the run. I highly recommend you to pick up a waist pack, because it is not easy to shift. Furthermore, this backpack type allows your perspiration to dry out quicker than any other backpacks.

For an overnight trip, choose a backpack with minimal style (around 30 liters). This backpack should have paddles or frame sheet to support your load. If possible, choose one with 1 to 2 aluminum stays for comfort when you have to carry a heavy burden.

Material

Material differentiates a backpack. So what to consider about a backpack’s material? Fabrics and coatings.

Fabrics

There are many types of fabrics. Below are some common ones that I have used in over 5 years of traveling.

Nylon (or nylon twill) is the most common material for many backpacks on the market. It is waterproof and sweat-persistent. You can easily recognize a nylon backpack through the sturdy diagonal weave. A combination of nylon and polyester is for backpacks with various colors. It is only for fashion purposes, so you can choose a functional one from nylon or go for nylon/polyester mix.

Ripstop nylon brings extra protection to your belongings for at least 10 miles of hiking. This fabric holds your stuff in one single shape. But what keeps this fabric apart from others is its waterproofness. You can put a ripstop nylon backpack into the water without worrying about getting wet.

PVC is also a widely used fabric in the backpack world. I rate PVC as the best fabric for backpacks. It is far more water-resistant than nylon or silicone, and it can be used for years without tearing. Some PVC hiking backpacks are even fire-resistant!

Hypalon is used like flexible rubber for high abrasion areas of a backpack, like edges or touchpoints. But it is rarely used as a whole fabric due to its weight.

Silicone is often used to make lightweight or super lightweight hiking backpacks to reduce weight. But this material is not as durable as nylon. It is easy to break and not water-resistant.

Coatings

Coatings are the internal walls of the backpack. You can see your backpack’s coatings by looking on the inside. There are 2 materials for coatings: Polyurethane (PU) and Silicone.

Polyurethane (PU)

PU is the most popular coating material when it comes to hiking backpacks. A PU coated backpack is water-resistant, that is why it is commonly used for travel addicts worldwide. But this coating is not waterproof at all! That says, if you put this backpack into the water, your clothes and digital gears inside can get wet.

Silicone

Although this fabric has higher tear strength than a nylon one, it is easier to break and less water-resistant than a PU coating.

Loading

Loading determines how you pack your stuff in a backpack. There are two types of loading for hiking backpacks: top-loading and panel loading.

Top loading

Almost all camping or hiking backpacks are designed with top-loading. A top-loading backpack has a funnel weight. That says, all the heaviest pieces of stuff are below, and the lightest ones are on the top. Sometimes everything got mixed up without any rules. The weight is not well-balanced, and it can cause back pains for you in the long run.

Top loading makes it hard to take stuff out of the backpack. If you need to take your phone charger out, but it lays down at the bottom of your backpack, then you have to unpack to take the charger out, then pack your stuff back again. This wastes your time and not convenient if you have to pack and unpack multiple times in public places.

Panel loading

Panel loading is more back-friendly than top-loading. This loading type allows you to pack your stuff just like a suitcase, while you still have the flexibility of a backpack. When you can see the overview of the inside, you have more convenience to arrange your stuff and calculate the weight. A panel-loading backpack provides more for balancing stuff’s weight, thus reduce the suffering from back pains. A second strong plus of panel loading is that you can quickly access your stuff without digging to the bottom of the backpack, or unpack everything out to get a small object.

Body fit

A good hiking backpack must be proportional to your body. If you have to carry a backpack that is too big, then you can suffer from back pain in the long run. And you don either want to wear on a small backpack that is not enough to carry your stuff.

So it sounds complicated to know what is the perfect body fit, doesn’t it? A personal tip of mine is that you should calculate the average amount and sizes of stuff that you plan to carry with you on trips. A suitable backpack should be able to store enough or a little bigger than your total stuff’s size, but not too big.

Second, make sure that your backpack is well-matched with your torso length. The backpack’s length should below your C7 vertebra bone and above hips’ iliac crest. Use your hand to check your 2 bones on the back, then use a measuring tape, or mark points on the wall to know the right length for your backpack.

Please notice that torso is not related to your height. A tall person can still have a short torso. When you pick up a backpack that matches with your torso length, you will avoid back pain problems. In the backpack market, there are some pack models with a fixed length, and others with flexible lengths. That means you can adjust the backpack length as you want.

Shoulder straps

The best shoulder straps should be comfortable for your body shape. They do not need to be so thick since most of the weight should be transferred to the hip belt. These straps should have soft paddles to support heavy loads. And the strap’s wide should not be too thin. Because a thin strap will hurt your shoulders if you carry it for a long time.

Hip belt

Hip belt and shoulder straps work together to balance the weight and avoid back pain problems. Please double check to make sure that the belt is long enough to fit around your tummy. And a top important note: don’t buy a fixed length hip belt! You should choose a hip belt with adjustable length.

Conclusion

With the above detailed 10 best hiking backpack reviews, I hope that you have already picked up your ideal backpack in your mind. When reading the buyer’s guide, you should also consider your travel conditions and choose the requirements that will match with you. Remember that a great hiking backpack is not cheap at all. But invest in a high-quality one is a long-term investment for your health and comfort.

 

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