Whether it’s just for a day in your local park or a week of camping, a good hiking backpack is a must. You need pockets, pouches and compartments for essentials such as your water bottles or reservoir, plus all of your other gear. And you need it to be comfortable while on your back. These are the best hiking backpacks in a variety of categories, from the best hiking backpack under $100 to the best hiking backpack for kids.
Best Hiking Backpack Under $100: TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration 18L Backpack with Free 2-Liter Bladder
This reliable, budget-friendly 18L TETON Sports Oasis hiking backpack is ideal for day hikes, climbs, biking, and for short travel on and off the trails. A BPA-free hydration bladder with a kink-free tube for sipping H20 on the go is included and has an opening large enough to squeeze down some ice cubes to keep your precious water colder for longer. Thanks to a notched foam stabilizer and comfortable mesh material, the backpack will feel great to wear all day long and because it’s fully adjustable, it’ll fit all frames of people, from kids to adults.
Best Waterproof Backpack for Hiking: Sea to Summit Hydraulic Day Bag
Most hiking backpacks come with rain covers, but if you’re looking for something heavy duty to protect your gear from the rain, check out the Sea to Summit Hydraulic Day Bag. Designed for extreme conditions—from Class VI rapids to an unexpected downpour on your camping trip with the kids—this bag has your precious belongings covered thanks to a durable laminated fabric and welded construction that permanently seals waterproof seams.
Best Hiking Backpack for Women: High Sierra Womens Explore 50L Internal Frame Pack
Designed especially for women hikers, this remarkable High Sierra Explore 50L internal frame backpack is made of a mix of materials, nylon mini-diamond ripstop and a mini weave Duralite, that work together to provide both stain and water resistance; the included tuck-away rain cover helps too! The contoured aluminum internal frame will fit your back beautifully and keep it dry thanks to a molded foam panel and Airflow channels, while the foam padding and ERGO-FIT shoulder harness will keep you comfortable during your hikes. Having a 50L capacity means you’ll be able to hike with nearly everything but the kitchen sink and tore it all away in an organized manner. The backpack has a multi-compartment design featuring a top-load section, front-load sleeping bag area with a divider and mesh pockets for water bottles, as well as a special hydration reservoir sleeve and soft lashing hardware to hold hiking poles or ice axes. The stunning Boysenberry/Ash color palette means your unique sense of style will be along for the hiking trip, too.
Related: Best Hiking Shoes for Kids
Best Hiking Backpack for Men: TETON Sports Scout 3400 High Performance Internal Frame Backpack
This versatile, attractive hiking backpack from TETON has a 55-liter capacity, weighs just 4.5 pounds and is a perfect fit for every body size, from youth to adult, thanks to a multi-position torso adjustment. It’s the top selling internal frame backpack on Amazon and will serve you well for a long-weekend hiking adventure. The Scout 3400 can hold up to a 3-liter hydration bladder, has comfortable ergonomic straps, waist belt, gear loops and a separate compartment for a sleeping bag. An included rain cover will keep the backpack’s Oxford canvas dry in any weather and quick access pockets with weather guard zippers will come in handy while out on the trail.
Best Day Hiking Backpack: Covacure Camping and Hiking Lightweight Travel 35L Backpack
When you’re going out for a one or two day hike, you want something lightweight that can also hold all of your gear. With this Covacure 35L backpack, there’s a front pocket, a head zipper compartment and two side pockets making this neat and tidy hiking pack act bigger than it is. You can fit extra shoes, hiking poles, water bottles and more with ease. The Covacure budget hiking backpack is made of water and tear resistant nylon that prevents scratches from rocks and tree branches, too. A clever adjustable length system ensures that no matter your shape and height, this backpack will fit perfectly on your back. Add in a life-saving whistle in case of an emergency in the wild and a great price, and you’ve got a fabulous backpack option for casual and short hikes.
Best Baby Hiking Backpack: Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Signature Series Child Carrier
This affordable Kelty Journey baby carrier hiking backpack has everything you need and want for a day hike with your mini me! There’s an integrated sunshade to keep harmful UV rays off your baby, multiple zippered compartments to stash toys, wipes, diapers, and those all-important Cheerios to keep your baby happy out on the trail, and a comfortable five-point harness system with padded aluminum roll-cage for hiking. Kelty Journey PerfectFIT is as advertised with easy adjustments between a men’s and women’s fit for seamless transition, and with padded shoulder pads and an adjustable belt to help stabilize weight, making this 7-pound baby hiking backpack feel nearly weightless. It’s a perfect fit for baby, too, with a wide seat and adjustable foot stirrups.
Best Small Hiking Backpack: Venture Pal 40L Lightweight and Packable Hiking Backpack with Wet Pocket
Fully packable, this high capacity 40L hiking backpack is like magic in that it weighs less than a pound and folds into its own pocket to stash it away in a bigger suitcase or your carry-on bag. The Venture Pal’s multi-compartment storage system includes a large main zipper section with a separator and a small pocket inside, zippered front pocket, and two side pockets. Because this small, but mighty pack is made from tear- and water-resistant nylon and features heavy duty metal zippers and bar-tacks for supreme durability, the Venture Pal 40L can go everywhere with you. It also provides provide ample storage for your two- to four-day hikes.
Best Osprey Hiking Backpack: Osprey Aether
Osprey’s Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment system is designed to quickly attach and carry your hiking poles, and the integrated and removable rain cover that stows in its own pocket will ensure that your gear won’t get soaked on the trail even if you end up drenched. Two zippered hipbelt pockets keep your vital proteins, dried fruits, nuts and other snacks handy while hiking, and the internal hydration sleeve in this Osprey pack is the perfect pocket for your favorite personal water reservoir. Supremely comfortable with adjustability for all lengths of torsos, the Osprey Aether proves a smart choice for serious day hikers.
Best Kids Hiking Backpack: Osprey Packs Jet 12L Kid’s Hiking Backpack
Available in stylish, kid-friendly colors (Real Teal or Strawberry Red), this 12L kids hiking backpack by Osprey is ideal for a day hike thanks to easily accessible and stretchy mesh side pockets to store a small water bottle, external pockets to stash snacks, and a top attachment for connecting extra gear as needed. The main compartment’s front panel access makes packing and unpacking a breeze, allowing your kid to spend more time having fun and less time organizing their stuff while out for a hike with mom and dad.
OUTLIFE Lightweight Waterproof Hiking Backpack
Ultralight at just 2.2 pounds, this hiking backpack will add next to nothing to your load while carrying all of it in a durable, high quality water resistant nylon that features a double-layer bottom for extra security while on the trail. NOTHING will escape this backpack! Excellent breathability through a fine back ventilation system makes this OUTLIFE 60L hiking backpack a handsome winner because few things are more annoying while hiking than a back soaked with sweat by the time you reach the night’s campsite. This pack has pockets for days, including a protective one for your valuables. Whether you’re going out for the day or the week, this hiking backpack will serve you well in all weather and all seasons.
Clevr Urban Explorer Hiking Backpack
A handsome removable separate backpack on this hiking backpack makes for a tidy switch from trail trekking to city walking as a parent of a baby or toddler up to age 4. The clever hideaway storage compartment for a hydration pack, along with a sun and rain canopy will keep you on the go for longer, enjoying the great outdoors with your child. The Clevr Urban Explorer toddler hiking backpack blends sophisticated style with the performance and comfortablity a parent needs to carry their kiddo around for a day hike in the wilds of a national park or the concrete jungle. This lightweight baby hiking backpack allows parents to carry their child and their most needed gear (change of clothes, diapers, snacks, water and more) without carrying much extra heft; the feather-light aluminum frame weighs only 7 pounds, yet it’s extremely sturdy. The clever metal stand allows this pack to stand up straight for easy load-in while keeping the bottom clean at the campsite.
Loowoko Hiking Backpack
For your three- to five-day camping trips, this robust 50L hiking backpack feels like a dream to wear while trodding along trails and climbing up and down the side of mountains, thanks in large part to breathable mesh shoulder straps and sponge padding. A total of eight adjustable straps make it easy to tie up a sleeping bag, yoga mat, hammock, tripod or any other essential gear you brought along for your hiking vacation. Made for all genders, this adjustable Loowoko hiking backpack suits everyone from 5-feet flat to 6-feet 5-inches tall, and from 90 to 250 pounds. Mesh side pockets will help you to keep all your stuff organized and using the included waterproof rain cover means your hiking backpack will stay dry when the sky opens up.
Best Hiking Backpack With Large Capacity: TETON Sports Hiker 3700 Ultralight Internal Frame 60L Backpack
This clever and capable 60L TETON Sports Ultralight Backpack features a sleeping bag compartment, multi-directional compression straps, and so many compartments and pockets for strategic packing to keep you organized while hiking for just a day, heading out for a weekend trip, or an extended long-distance hike. You’ll stay comfortable and cool with the TETON 3700 backpack on your shoulders too thanks to a padded back panel with molded channels delivering ideal airflow, padded lumbar, and thickly-padded waist and shoulder straps that make carrying any size load manageable and dare we say even pleasant. No matter your gender, age or hiking experience, this lightweight TETON backpack is adjustable to you and your needs. It’s the best large capacity hiking backpack of the bunch.
Best Hiking Backpack for Electronics: MOUNTAINTOP 40L Hiking Backpack for Outdoor Camping
The best hiking backpack for electronics is this handsome Mountaintop 40L camping backpack that includes a dedicated space for your up to 17-inch laptop and comes in 13 sharp colors. While lacking a specific bladder space, there is a pouch ideal for sliding in your favorite reusable water bottle. Even better, this large 40L Mountaintop hiking backpack is great for the trail and for airplane carry-on requirements, meaning you can travel with it and head straight for the trail. Weighing only two pounds, you’ll be able to carry your sleeping bag, tripod, hiking poles, hammock and all of your other hiking essentials using the six adjustable straps without extra heft from the backpack—and look good doing it!
Jeff Bogle lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with his wife, two daughters, and three cats. He is an award-winning photographer and respected travel journalist with bylines on Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, PBS, Esquire and more. Jeff (probably) spends too much time in England watching football and far too many hours plotting his family’s future travel adventures. Find Jeff on his own site, Out With the Kids.