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Hiking & Trail Running

Hiking Backpacks: 10 Of The Best

What are the best hiking backpacks for both day hikes and multi-day hikes? What is the best hiking backpack brand? We have the answers...

Shot of various tools and equipment for a hiker laid out on a table

If you’re serious about hiking, you’re going to want to get yourself a hiking backpack. “Why do you need a hiking backpack,” we hear you cry. Because without a hiking backpack, you’re going to have to carry your hiking gear around in a plastic shopping bag (which is neither a practical or stylish solution to your hiking backpack problem). We’re going to talk you through some hiking backpack basics in a bit but, if you’re in a hurry, please feel free to start scrolling through our ’10 of the best’ list…now.

Purchasing the right pair of hiking boots is probably your main priority when getting your hiking gear together, but getting yourself a good backpack should definitely be on your to-do list. If you’ve got this far through the post, it’s safe to assume that you’re not averse to the idea of purchasing a hiking backpack. Either that, or you just like clicking on things that start with the letter ‘H’ (like ‘Hiking backpacks: 10 of the best’, for example).

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When buying a hiking backpack, it’s important to consider things like weight distribution, storage volume, hydration systems, and how waterproof they are. Most hikers usually have two backpacks, one for day trips and one for a multi-day hike. There’s so many backpack options out there, in the camping shops and on the hiking gear websites, that it can all seem a little daunting initially. But fear not, you really have no reason to be frightened.

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Hiking Backpack Technical Features

Frames

Hiking backpacks have frames in order to help hikers carry loads comfortably, and handle shifts in weight distribution. Most good hiking backpacks have a hidden internal frame.

Shoulder Harness And Straps

Padded shoulder straps are important, especially if you’re going to be carrying heavy loads around in your hiking backpack. For extremely heavy loads, you’ll want a backpack with a chest strap. This will reduce stress on your shoulders, and help to distribute things evenly.

Pockets And Compartments

It should go without saying, but pockets and compartments are an extremely useful future on hiking backpacks. Inner pockets are great for storing valuables, whereas external pockets are excellent for keeping your water bottles accessible.

 

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Types Of Hiking Backpacks

 

Waist Packs

No more than 10L storage, located on the hip.

Hydration Packs

Capacity of up to 10L, they typically consist of a removable water bladder, and some pockets for storing small items.

Day Packs

These usually have a capacity somewhere between 15L and 30L. The majority of day packs are small hiking backpacks, with no hip belt and simple shoulder straps.

Midsize Packs

Midsize packs have a capacity somewhere between 35L and 70L. They are good for multi-day hikes that require relatively few pieces of equipment. They are also suitable for day hikers, who want to bring large quantities of equipment out with them (for example, professional camera gear).

Expedition Packs

Expedition packs often have a load capacity greater than 60L. The big ones can hold several weeks worth of stuff. They often have wide hip belts to alleviate pressure on the user’s spine and prevent shoulder fatigue.

 

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The North Face Borealis Backpack £49-£95

The North Face Borealis Hiking Backpack

 

The North Face Borealis is a really great hiking backpack. It’s a got scary-sounding FlexVent injection-moulded shoulder strap technology, with extra foam for further comfort. It’s also got a winged, stowable, hip-belt  meaning it can be used effectively on a variety of different hiking terrains. These backpacks are also really nice to look at, if that’s what you’re into.

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Berghaus Freeflow II 30 Backpack £50-£76

Berghaus Freeflow II 30 Hiking Backpack

The Berghaus Freeflow II 30 Backpack is a really nifty piece of hiking gear. An ergonomically shaped back-panel and vented shoulder straps make this one exceedingly comfy backpack . Not only this, but there’s also a rain cover, a height adjustable chest strap, and attachments for your walking poles. Excellent backpack.

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Osprey Kestrel 48 £93-£207

 

Osprey Kestrel 48 Hiking Backpack

Depending on where you shop, the Osprey Kestrel can be one of the more expensive hiking backpacks on the market. That being said, it has a unique “stow-on-the-go” trekking pole attachment, an integrated rain cover, and stretch lycra mesh front and side pockets.

Vango Contour 60+10 Rucksack £68

Vango Contour 60+10 Hiking Rucksack

The Vango Contour 60+10 is pretty hefty for a hiker’s day bag, but if you’re going on a proper hiking adventurer it might just be the backpack you’ve been looking for. It’s got the seal of approval from the Duke Of Edinburgh Award Scheme people, effectively making this the royalty’s choice of hiking backpack.

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Everest 24″ Hiking Backpack Color £74

Everest 24″ Hiking Backpack Color

 

Everest by name, Everest by nature; this hiking backpack is a real gem. Those zipped up side compartments, for example offer great security for your possessions.

QUECHUA ARPENAZ 10L HIKING BACKPACK £2.49

QUECHUA ARPENAZ 10L HIKING BACKPACK

 

At the lowly sum of £2.49, yes £2.49, the Quechua Arpenaz 10L Hiking Backpack has to be some of the best value for money we’ve ever seen. It’s not the biggest, it’s not the best, but it is only £2.49 on the Decathlon website. What an absolute bargain.

Arc’teryx Altra 65 Trekking Backpack £265

Arc’teryx Altra 65 Hiking Backpack

 

At the other end of the price scale, the expensive end, comes the Arc’teryx Altra 65 trekking backpack. £265 might seem like a lot of money to spend on a backpack but, then again, some people would argue that you can’t put a price on quality.

There’s so much fancy technological stuff in this backpack, that if we wrote it all out in this paragraph you’d end up with one extremely long paragraph on your plate. Click on this link if you’d like to read more about all the stuff the Arc’teryx Altra 65 has to offer.

Kelty Redtail Backpack 27L £58

Kelty Redtail Hiking Backpack

 

 

The Kelty Redtail is perfect the backpack for day hikes. It’s light, compact, and possesses a simple design. It’s hydration compatible, with two water bottle pockets allowing you take a bottle of water…and a Panda Pop on your adventures.

 

Camelbak Mule Hydration Backpack £53-£85

Camelbak Mule Hydration Hiking Backpack

 

For the money, and what this offers, the Camelbak Mule Hydration might just be the best hiking backpack on the market. It comes with its own reservoir, and a long blue drinking hose to keep you hydrated when the going gets tough.

 

Doleesune 40L Hiking Pack £42-£125

Doleesune 40L Hiking Pack

 

The Dolesune 40L is a hiking backpack designed to minimise discomfort from the dreaded ‘sweaty back’ syndrome. It’s breathable design means heat spreads quickly, and doesn’t get trapped in awkward places. A very comfortable backpack, this one.

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