The best hiking packs on the market are much more than just a simple camping backpack. They are loaded with lots of handy design features, meaning that you can go out for a long hike and be assured that you don’t have to leave any of your equipment or supplies behind.
They will also be extremely comfortable to wear so that you don’t have any backache, and they will also be either waterproof or have a rain cover. Of course, capacity matters too, but it’s up to you to decide how big you need your hiking pack to be.
With such a huge range of excellent hiking packs available, it can be difficult to choose which one to buy. This list of the best hiking packs, as well as the buying guide and breakdown, will help you make a decision.
View The Best Hiking Packs Below
1. TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack
This versatile hiking pack from Teton offers a capacity of 3,400 cubic inches and weighs only 4.5 lbs, and is our top pick of this hiking gear guide. The shell is sturdy and durable thanks to the 600D ripstop and 600D Oxford canvas. It has a lot of great design features, such as a rain cover, gear loops for storing long items, storage for your sleeping pad, and compression straps for securing your equipment.
The best hiking packs are comfortable, and this one has been ergonomically designed to improve comfort. It also has a multi-position torso adjustment, so it should fit all body types, and the waist belt is also padded.
+ Hard-wearing, sturdy shell – suitable for heavy load hiking
+ 3,400 cubic inches capacity
+ Very comfortable to wear
+ Lots of external storage capabilities
+ Sewn-in rainfly
Why We Liked It – Our top pick is an affordable and extremely comfortable pack that has all the extras you need while also being sturdy.
2. Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack Pack
This little hiking pack comes with a 70-ounce, food-grade hydration bladder, that has been approved by the FDA, and also is BPA free. As our editors choice of this buyer’s guide, the hydration bladder fits perfectly inside the hiking pack’s insulated compartment specifically designed for the bladder, which ensures the water inside it will still be cool up to 5 hours later.
You can sip on the bladder easily thanks to an extendable bite valve, which is easily reachable. There are also three storage pockets in the hiking pack that you can use for keeping small items in. Your back and shoulders shouldn’t get overheated because of the breathable mesh that the padding is made from.
+ Includes an excellent, 70-ounce hydration bladder
+ Thermal insulated bladder compartment
+ Three storage pockets
+ Breathable Padding
+ Suitable for adults and children
Why We Liked It – The bladder and its insulated compartment really make this an excellent little pack for a hiker who doesn’t need a lot of equipment but wants to keep hydrated.
3. TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack
This is one of the bestselling backpacking backpack with an internal frame for good reason. The quality of the construction and the number of extra features is what you would expect on a much more expensive backpack for backpacking and hiking. It has a huge capacity of 4,000 cubic inches.
There are loads of storage opportunities, as it has daisy-chain gear ties, pass-through pockets that double as gear loops for longer items, a compartment specifically for a sleeping pad, and also compression straps for securing everything. It fits comfortably thanks to an adjustable torso system, a padded waist belt, and locking hip belt straps.
+ Huge capacity of 4,000 cubic inches
+ Lots of external storage opportunities
+ Lightweight aluminum frame
+ Suitable for hiking trips that last five days
+ Weighs 5 lbs. empty
Why We Liked It – The combination of huge capacity and numerous options for securing your backpacking gear to it makes this ultralight backpacking product one of the best hiking packs around.
4. Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable
At only 0.7 lbs. this is one of the most ultralight backpacks around. It is made from tear-resistant nylon that is also water-resistant. The zippered pocket compartments are also hard-wearing and heavy-duty as they are constructed from SBS metal. This comfortable pack can be folded into itself so that it takes up less storage space.
It has a reinforced, double-layer bottom piece so that heavier outdoor gear can be carried comfortably too. There is one main storage compartment, as well as two side pockets, and two front zippered pocket areas. It comes in a range of colors too.
+ Extremely light
+ Can be packed into itself
+ Tear and Water Resistance features
+ Breathable, padded straps
+ Whistle on the buckle for emergencies
+ Suitable for heavy load
Why We Liked It – It’s an affordable, ultralight backpacking bag that can be packed into itself, so is perfect for taking away on trips, as it won’t take up much room in your carry on or suitcase.
5. Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Backpack
This is a great day pack that offers 2,440 cubic inches of capacity. Like the previous pack on this list by Venture, it can also be packed into itself. This one has a great wet pocket inside the main compartment, which is perfect for storing damp towels, sweat-drenched clothes, and other sodden items.
It is made from tear-resistant and water-resistant nylon, and it also has bar tacks at all major stress points to reinforce its durability. Whatever your personality or style, you’ll find a color or pattern to suit you.
+ Only weighs 0.7 lbs.
+ Durable nylon shell that shouldn’t tear or leak water
+ Folds into itself
+ Very handy wet pocket
+ Chest clip for even weight distribution
Why We Liked It – Not only does this ultralight backpacking and hiking pack fold into itself, but it also has 2,440 cubic inches of storage, and, on top of the large capacity, it has a special pocket for storing wet and damp outdoor gear.
6. MOUNTAINTOP 40L Hiking Backpack for Outdoor
If you’re planning on taking valuables with you on your hiking trip, then this could be one of the best travel backpacks for hiking available to you. It has a special compartment for laptops up to 17 inches in size. And it also has a secret Velcro pocket when you can store valuable items like your smartphone, keys, and passport.
There are multiple attachment points on the compression straps and shoulder straps, which have also been reinforced stress points thanks to the bartack technology. There are also stretchy mesh pockets at the sides for keeping your water bottles in.
+ Storage for laptops and valuable items
+ Lots of attachment points
+ Breathable back panel
+ Adjustable sternum strap
+ Water-resistant coated fabric
+ Side mesh pockets
Why We Liked It – This is a high-quality and comfortable pack that offers a huge amount of storage opportunities for a bag of its size, and the hidden, Velcro pouch for valuables is a great addition.
7. TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration
This easily adjustable, unisex hiking pack comes with a BPA-free, 70-ounce hydration bladder, which has a bite valve that uses a push-lock system that can be easily removed when you want to clean it. The 1,100 cubic inches pack has been ergonomically designed, so you can be sure that the pack will comfortably fit you regardless of your body shape or frame.
This TETON comfortable pack has an anti-shock chest strap, which further ensures comfort, and it has a safety whistle built into the buckle. If the rain starts falling, then you can pull out the sewn-in rain cover to keep the pack dry.
+ Sewn-in rain cover
+ 70-ounce hydration bladder
+ Ergonomic, comfortable design
+ Fits all frames
+ Durable, long-lasting zippers
Why We Liked It – It’s one of the best hiking packs because it is affordable, includes a hydration bladder, and offers all the storage you should require on a day of hiking.
8. WASING 55L Internal Frame Backpack
This hiking pack has a full capacity of 3,356 cubic inches when the top drawstrings are enabled to expand the capacity of the pack, without them then the capacity is 3,051 cubic inches. It is completely constructed out of man-made materials. It only weighs 3 lbs. when it is empty.
The shoulder straps have deep, durable pads, and they are covered with breathable meshing. The back panel has been designed to allow for increased airflow. The sternum strap is elasticated, so it adapts to your movement, and its buckle has an integrated whistle that is very loud.
+ Huge top pocket storage
+ Very light when empty
+ Breathable, airflow enhanced padding
+ Two deep, zippered pocket design features
+ Waterproof and rip-resistant polyester shell
Why We Liked It – This is a high-quality, affordable hiking pack that is made from high-grade materials, which makes it durable, hard-wearing, all while it only weighs 3lbs. With added rip and water resistance, it’s easy to see why this pack is popular.
9. Sunhiker Small Cycling Hiking Backpack
This pack can be used for camping trips, cycling rides, and, most importantly, for hiking. The padded mesh back panel offers great comfort and breathability, while the shoulder straps have been designed so that they reduce strain. Sunhiker has an excellent reputation for producing high-quality hiking gear, and you can be assured that the zippers won’t break any time soon.
There’s no need to fiddle around with a cover if you notice ominous, dark clouds starting to cover the sky, as the shell is completely waterproof. You can store your drinks in the two meshed outer pouches.
+ Reliable, long-lasting zippers
+ Suited to a range of activities
+ Comfy back panel
+ Reflective stripe
+ Mesh pockets/pouches
Why We Liked It – It’s a great little hiking pack, in fact, it’s one of the best small hiking packs around that’s light and waterproof too. As far as women’s backpacks and ultralight packs for kids go, this product is a real winner in our books.
10. MOUNTAINTOP 50L Internal Frame
This hiking pack from Mountaintop has some brilliant design features. For example, there is an attachment for your trekking poles, as well as another inside compartment for your hydration bladder. Besides the roomy main compartment, there are several other opportunities for storage, such as the large, zippered front belt pocket, as well as lid pockets, and another at the bottom for your backpacking sleeping pad.
There are lots of external hooks, snap loops and keyrings for you to hang your equipment onto. The zippers and buckles have been made by YKK, one of the most respected manufacturers of hiking and mountain gear in the world.
+ YKK zips and buckles
+ Water-resistant polyester fabric
+ Integrated rain cover
+ Air comfort system on the back to keep you cool
+ Four adjustable straps for a perfect fit
+ Front and Lid pockets
Why We Liked It – This is hands-down one of the best packs for hiking on the market. It has everything you need and has been designed to a high-level and constructed from high-quality materials.
Alternative: If frames aren’t your thing, you can also find frameless pack options on Amazon.
Hiking Pack Buyers Guide
Before you spend your money on a hiking pack, then there are several things that you must consider first. The best packs for hiking come in all different sizes, offering very different capacities, and they also give different levels of comfort, which will depend on the type and length of hiking you intend to do with the pack strapped to you. This buying guide and breakdown will enlighten you and help you choose the best pack for you.
The most important consideration before picking a hiking pack is deciding what capacity it is that you require. The capacity will be dependent on the length of the hiking trip that you are planning to use the pack for. Capacity is measured in either cubic inches or liters, both these numbers are used in this section, as some travel backpacks for hiking may only advertise the capacity using one of the units of measurement.
If you are seeking a hiking pack for day treks, then you should aim for a pack that has a capacity of 1,200 cubic inches/20 liters should be enough, but that is the minimum. If you want to be assured of enough storage, then go for a slightly larger capacity that is approximately 1,800 cubic inches/30 liters.
For trips that will include at least one overnight stay and up to three nights, then you will need a slightly larger pack, as you will now need to have storage for your backpacking sleeping bag, as well as other attachments for other pieces of kit, like camping tents and backpacking tents. And you will, obviously, need room for more of your belongings.
The minimum this time should be 1,800 cubic inches/30 liters, but you should be aiming for something closer to 3051 cubic inches/50 liters to ensure you have enough space for everything.
Slightly longer trips, perhaps between three to five nights will require a pack of at least 3,051 cubics inches/50 liters and 4272 cubic inches/70 liters. This will depend on how much to need to take with you during your trip and whether you’d like to keep your weight down. Some hikers prefer to pack lightly, whereas others will want to have a lot of things with them when out hiking for five nights.
If you’re away for longer than five nights, then you’ll most likely want to consider choosing hiking packs that offer the largest capacities available. That means anything over 4,272 cubic inches/70 liters. If you’re planning a long backpacking trip, then you’ll want to go for 4,882 cubic inches/80 liters.
Comfort and Fit
The comfort of the hiking pack will be dependent on the material of the back panel and straps, as well as the adjustability of the fit, which is reliant upon a number of different straps.
The best hiking packs will have a padded, sponge back panel that also has a breathable mesh – perhaps made from trampoline mesh – that enhances breathability. Some of the very best packs for hiking will have been designed so that this meshing increases airflow and circulation, which further minimizes the chance of overheating.
This is, of course, especially important when hiking in temperate or tropical climates. The over-shoulder straps should also be padded and preferably have a mesh over the padding to help with breathability too.
To ensure a comfortable fit, then the pack should have a hip or waist strap that is easily adjustable and is also padded. A sternum strap is also very useful for ensuring a snug fit that won’t cause any backache. On very small daypacks, then these straps are not necessary, instead, it is just the padded shoulder straps that matter.
Another thing to consider is your own torso length and your waist size. People with small waists sometimes struggle to make the hip belt fit tight enough around them to ensure comfort and to guard against lower back pain. If you do have a small waist or your torso isn’t long, then look for a pack that comes in your size. Women and children also have the option to choose ultralight packs or women’s backpacks for hiking that have been designed to fit smaller frames.
There is an enormous range of different storage options which differ on each hiking pack. Your storage requirements will depend on the size of the pack you are purchasing and your needs.
A small daypack should offer enough storage in the main compartment for your supplies for the hike. A hidden hip belt pocket for valuables is a handy feature on these ultralight packs. Of course, if you want to take your laptop, then you need a compartment for it too. Hydration bladders are another piece of equipment you may take on a day hike. Choose a pack that has an insulated compartment to keep your water cool. And a hydration reservoir is also necessary too.
Larger hiking packs have an abundance of storage facilities, including everything from hip-belt pockets to snap loops and keyrings. Think carefully about what you will be attaching to your pack, as well as what you want to pack inside it, and then find a pack that offers you the opportunity to do so. Remember, your backpacking sleeping bag, camping tents, backpacking tents, and trekking poles have to go somewhere.
Are hiking packs waterproof?
No. Not all hiking packs are made from a waterproof material. Some may be water-resistant up to a point, but the most reliable and common form of waterproofing for a pack is via a rainproof sheet that is often integrated into the pack, but you have to remove and wrap around the pack. Some rain sheets might be a separate object, so will need to be stored in the pack, but it should come with the pack when you purchase it.
What is a daisy chain on a hiking pack?
A daisy chain is a series of webbed loops that will run down the back or sides of your pack. They offer the ability to attach outdoor gear to them via the use of clips, carabiners, or webbing straps.
When you’re choosing your next hiking pack, think carefully about capacity, as this is the most important element to consider before purchasing a new hiking pack. If you choose one that is too small, then it is useless, and if it is too big, then you’ll have a lot of redundant space, and it will only reach its full potential on longer trips.
Remember, though, that capacity only tells part of the story, as many packs include a number of excellent storage facilities for attaching your equipment to.
Did you know?
The Appalachian Trail is one of the world’s most popular hiking trails. Every single year it attracts a remarkable 2,000,000 hikers to its breathtaking landscape.
The very best packs offer a wealth of opportunities to store all your kit and equipment, but the capacity that you choose will depend on the length and type of your hiking trip. A small-capacity hiking pack will be perfect for day trips or overnight trips, and it will have enough space for your bare necessities and somewhere for your valuables.
Larger capacity hiking packs will suit longer trips, with the biggest being chosen by backpackers setting out on trips that might go on for weeks or months. Lightweight backpackers usually opt for small-capacity packs. Whatever backpacking backpack option you choose, just make sure the back is padded and offers good ventilation, and also make sure that it is adjustable so you can get the best fit. The last thing you want your hiking pack to give you is backache.
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- Adjustable shoulder harness to dial in perfect fit
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