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Hiking backpacks Reviews and Buyer's Guide (Feb 2019)

Few things feel worse than carrying a hiking backpack that doesn't fit properly. Some hiking backpacks are just not good to walk with, even if the brands call them hiking packs, expedition packs and so on.

It's super important that you spend some time finding a hiking backpack that suits you, so you will enjoy your adventures instead of cursing about your pack the whole time.

You need to make sure the backpack you choose is comfortable to carry over long distances and at the same time, you need to chose the right size and also make sure quality of the pack is good enough.

The 176 Best Hiking Backpacks

RankHiking BackpackRating
1Ethnotek RajaEthnotek Raja
Available on Amazon
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4.8022 reviews
2Gregory BaltoroGregory Baltoro
Available on Amazon
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4.77958 reviews
3Osprey EscapistOsprey Escapist
Available on Amazon
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4.731,833 reviews
4Osprey AtmosOsprey Atmos4.732,529 reviews
5Osprey AetherOsprey Aether4.701,021 reviews
6Montane FeatherliteMontane Featherlite4.7034 reviews
7Gregory DenaliGregory Denali4.6739 reviews
8Osprey RavenOsprey Raven4.64213 reviews
9Osprey ArielOsprey Ariel4.62520 reviews
10Osprey TalonOsprey Talon4.581,636 reviews
11Osprey AuraOsprey Aura4.58871 reviews
12Deuter ACTDeuter ACT4.57429 reviews
13Deuter FuturaDeuter Futura4.57150 reviews
14Osprey ExosOsprey Exos4.561,149 reviews
15Osprey FarpointOsprey Farpoint4.541,512 reviews
16Osprey XenithOsprey Xenith4.54191 reviews
17Gregory JadeGregory Jade4.54167 reviews
18Maxpedition JumboMaxpedition Jumbo4.521,193 reviews
195.11 Tactical Rush5.11 Tactical Rush4.508,731 reviews
20Gregory AmberGregory Amber4.48129 reviews
21Deuter AircontactDeuter Aircontact4.4861 reviews
22Osprey KestrelOsprey Kestrel4.471,013 reviews
23Osprey SkarabOsprey Skarab4.4769 reviews
24Deuter PaceDeuter Pace4.4719 reviews
25Vaude AsymmetricVaude Asymmetric4.4723 reviews
26Gregory WanderGregory Wander4.4538 reviews
27Sierra Designs Flex CapacitorSierra Designs Flex Capacitor4.4511 reviews
28Osprey XenaOsprey Xena4.4456 reviews
29Osprey TempestOsprey Tempest4.42458 reviews
30Exped LightningExped Lightning4.4247 reviews
31The North Face ReconThe North Face Recon4.4014,691 reviews
32Granite Gear AthabascaGranite Gear Athabasca4.4015 reviews
33Patagonia Nine TrailsPatagonia Nine Trails4.4041 reviews
34Deuter FoxDeuter Fox4.40160 reviews
35Vaude AstrumVaude Astrum4.4032 reviews
36Osprey StratosOsprey Stratos4.391,310 reviews
37Osprey MantaOsprey Manta4.39363 reviews
38Osprey QuasarOsprey Quasar4.39475 reviews
39Dakine EveDakine Eve4.39424 reviews
40Dakine PromDakine Prom4.387,456 reviews
41Thule VersantThule Versant4.38110 reviews
42Osprey KyteOsprey Kyte4.37327 reviews
43Osprey RaptorOsprey Raptor4.36729 reviews
44Deuter Speed LiteDeuter Speed Lite4.36835 reviews
45Deuter GroedenDeuter Groeden4.3519 reviews
46Slumberjack CarbineSlumberjack Carbine4.3565 reviews
47Osprey SkimmerOsprey Skimmer4.34164 reviews
48Granite Gear VirgaGranite Gear Virga4.3457 reviews
49Deuter ClimberDeuter Climber4.3415 reviews
50The North Face BorealisThe North Face Borealis4.3318,250 reviews
51Gregory TempoGregory Tempo4.3311 reviews
52Deuter GigaDeuter Giga4.3346 reviews
53Maxpedition FatboyMaxpedition Fatboy4.331,763 reviews
54Slumberjack Rail HaulerSlumberjack Rail Hauler4.3315 reviews
55Mammut LithiumMammut Lithium4.3010 reviews
56Maxpedition SitkaMaxpedition Sitka4.301,023 reviews
57Osprey JetOsprey Jet4.29150 reviews
58The North Face FlyweightThe North Face Flyweight4.2994 reviews
59Marmot KompressorMarmot Kompressor4.28244 reviews
60Jack Wolfskin MoabJack Wolfskin Moab4.2833 reviews
61Maxpedition LunadaMaxpedition Lunada4.28203 reviews
62The North Face TerraThe North Face Terra4.27317 reviews
63Osprey VivaOsprey Viva4.2678 reviews
64Osprey DayliteOsprey Daylite4.251,085 reviews
65Dakine MissionDakine Mission4.251,360 reviews
66Mountainsmith ApexMountainsmith Apex4.2585 reviews
67Salomon TrailSalomon Trail4.2540,197 reviews
68Maxpedition KodiakMaxpedition Kodiak4.25343 reviews
69Teton Sports TalusTeton Sports Talus4.2530 reviews
70Zomake UltraZomake Ultra4.255,187 reviews
71Dakine NoraDakine Nora4.24112 reviews
72Lowe Alpine EclipseLowe Alpine Eclipse4.2431 reviews
73Mountainsmith DayMountainsmith Day4.24472 reviews
74Deuter ZugspitzeDeuter Zugspitze4.2313 reviews
75Osprey SirrusOsprey Sirrus4.22499 reviews
76Fjallraven KaipakFjallraven Kaipak4.2212 reviews
77Thule UpslopeThule Upslope4.2249 reviews
78Dakine CapitolDakine Capitol4.21789 reviews
79Gregory JunoGregory Juno4.2126 reviews
80Jansport HatchetJansport Hatchet4.21815 reviews
81Gregory MatiaGregory Matia4.2072 reviews
82Kelty RedcloudKelty Redcloud4.2011 reviews
83Patagonia LightweightPatagonia Lightweight4.201,752 reviews
84Outdoor Research IsolationOutdoor Research Isolation4.2031 reviews
85Deuter KikkiDeuter Kikki4.19117 reviews
86Gregory DevaGregory Deva4.18381 reviews
87Lowe Alpine Cerro TorreLowe Alpine Cerro Torre4.1823 reviews
88Dakine GardenDakine Garden4.171,316 reviews
89Granite Gear LutsenGranite Gear Lutsen4.1766 reviews
90Patagonia Storm FrontPatagonia Storm Front4.1713 reviews
91Deuter PicoDeuter Pico4.1795 reviews
92Deuter GigantDeuter Gigant4.1746 reviews
93Marmot GravitonMarmot Graviton4.1511 reviews
94Maxpedition CondorMaxpedition Condor4.15495 reviews
95Osprey VoltOsprey Volt4.14142 reviews
96Gregory ZuluGregory Zulu4.14434 reviews
97Gregory JGregory J4.1468 reviews
98The North Face VaultThe North Face Vault4.134,955 reviews
99Dakine DuelDakine Duel4.13779 reviews
100Maxpedition MalagaMaxpedition Malaga4.13186 reviews
101Quechua ForclazQuechua Forclaz4.126,299 reviews
102Osprey MiraOsprey Mira4.11176 reviews
103Thule StirThule Stir4.11136 reviews
104Patagonia LinkedPatagonia Linked4.1023 reviews
105Maxpedition MonsoonMaxpedition Monsoon4.10133 reviews
106Dakine GromDakine Grom4.09758 reviews
107Gregory TargheeGregory Targhee4.0971 reviews
108Gregory AlpinistoGregory Alpinisto4.0942 reviews
109Kelty RedwingKelty Redwing4.091,910 reviews
110Gregory DriftGregory Drift4.0810 reviews
111High Sierra SummitHigh Sierra Summit4.07337 reviews
112Gregory MavenGregory Maven4.0617 reviews
113Kelty TrekkerKelty Trekker4.0621 reviews
114High Sierra RappelHigh Sierra Rappel4.06180 reviews
115Lowe Alpine AirZoneLowe Alpine AirZone4.0565 reviews
116Orange Mud EnduranceOrange Mud Endurance4.0511 reviews
117Gregory SalvoGregory Salvo4.0442 reviews
118Kelty RedtailKelty Redtail4.0414 reviews
119Sherpani IndieSherpani Indie4.0419 reviews
120High Sierra TitanHigh Sierra Titan4.031,269 reviews
121Thule GuidepostThule Guidepost4.0231 reviews
122Gregory ParagonGregory Paragon4.0061 reviews
123Gregory MiwokGregory Miwok4.00106 reviews
124Kelty CoyoteKelty Coyote4.00216 reviews
125High Sierra PathwayHigh Sierra Pathway4.00279 reviews
126Deuter QuantumDeuter Quantum4.0025 reviews
127Teton Sports Mountain AdventurerTeton Sports Mountain Adventurer4.0067 reviews
128Patagonia CragsmithPatagonia Cragsmith3.9811 reviews
129Vaude BrentaVaude Brenta3.9818 reviews
130Exped SummitExped Summit3.9815 reviews
131Venture Pal LightweightVenture Pal Lightweight3.984,925 reviews
132Deuter Trans AlpineDeuter Trans Alpine3.9721 reviews
133Quechua ArpenazQuechua Arpenaz3.9717,201 reviews
134Gregory StoutGregory Stout3.96154 reviews
135The North Face FoveroThe North Face Fovero3.9211 reviews
136High Sierra CirqueHigh Sierra Cirque3.92254 reviews
137Deuter PulseDeuter Pulse3.9212 reviews
138Dakine GretaDakine Greta3.9114 reviews
139Mountain Hardwear ScramblerMountain Hardwear Scrambler3.91154 reviews
140Gregory SulaGregory Sula3.8815 reviews
141Oakley IconOakley Icon3.87738 reviews
142Vaude JuraVaude Jura3.8510 reviews
143Maxpedition RemoraMaxpedition Remora3.85290 reviews
144Deuter HelionDeuter Helion3.8418 reviews
145Fjallraven KankenFjallraven Kanken3.8411,270 reviews
146High Sierra AppalachianHigh Sierra Appalachian3.83867 reviews
147Gregory BorderGregory Border3.8127 reviews
148Kelty RiotKelty Riot3.8117 reviews
149High Sierra Long TrailHigh Sierra Long Trail3.81596 reviews
150Arcteryx CierzoArcteryx Cierzo3.8156 reviews
151Thule CapstoneThule Capstone3.81126 reviews
152Gregory MayaGregory Maya3.80107 reviews
153Gregory SuciaGregory Sucia3.8012 reviews
154High Sierra ExplorerHigh Sierra Explorer3.74648 reviews
155Gregory PatosGregory Patos3.7316 reviews
156Kelty LakotaKelty Lakota3.7264 reviews
157Deuter AirliteDeuter Airlite3.7198 reviews
158OXA UltralightOXA Ultralight3.70541 reviews
159Berghaus TrailheadBerghaus Trailhead3.6914 reviews
160High Sierra SentinelHigh Sierra Sentinel3.67508 reviews
161Mountain Hardwear HuecoMountain Hardwear Hueco3.6636 reviews
162Fjallraven High CoastFjallraven High Coast3.6637 reviews
163Dakine AtlasDakine Atlas3.62115 reviews
164Deuter GrodenDeuter Groden3.6120 reviews
165Salomon SkinSalomon Skin3.60249 reviews
166Nike CheyenneNike Cheyenne3.5916 reviews
167High Sierra HawkHigh Sierra Hawk3.5846 reviews
168Gregory SketchGregory Sketch3.5793 reviews
169Red Rock AssaultRed Rock Assault3.554,151 reviews
170Timbuk2 HitchTimbuk2 Hitch3.5020 reviews
171The North Face ShadowThe North Face Shadow3.4743 reviews
172Fox Outdoor Rio GrandeFox Outdoor Rio Grande3.34238 reviews
173Dakine IntervalDakine Interval3.2729 reviews
174Kelty RuckusKelty Ruckus3.2436 reviews
175High Sierra QuickshotHigh Sierra Quickshot3.23802 reviews
176Fox Outdoor Tactical DutyFox Outdoor Tactical Duty3.21223 reviews
How we rate the bags

We have checked 194,209 Hiking backpack reviews, so we can show you the weighted average rating of all the bags.

Using the average ratings, you can check what all the reviewers think instead of just viewing the subjective opinion of one specific reviewer.

It's much simplier to find the best bags that way.

Buyers Guide to Hiking Backpacks

Woman with hiking backpackWhen it comes to hiking, no trip – however short – is complete without a hiking backpack. Since there is always something for you to carry, you need a bag to contain it all. Now, there are a great number of backpacks available on the market. This can lead to the question of which one is best for your particular trip?

A Guide to Choosing the Best Hiking Backpack

While it may seem easy enough to choose, there are actually a lot of features to consider when choosing your backpack. This includes carrying capacity, materials, weight, durability, suspension systems, and much more. This is why, in this article, we have broken down the various elements for you. Here, you will be able to see what makes the best backpack and find some tips on how to choose the finest one for you. We have also chosen some backpacks that meet all of your needs and expectations when on a hiking trip.

How Long is Your Trip?

Hiking backpacks typically fall under the category of daypacks. As the name suggests, these are backpacks that are medium-sized. They are able to carry all of the items that you will need within a day. This is why, when choosing a backpack, you will first need to determine how long the majority of your hikes. Do they last a day or less? Or, do they extend for about two days at a time? By making the necessary calculations, you can figure out just how small or large your bag needs to be.

Now, it is quite common to reach for a larger bag as you may feel as though it will suit a variety of situations. The downside to choosing a bigger backpack, however, is that it will weigh more. It can be tiresome to carry more weight strictly than necessary, especially over rough terrain. If there tends to be a lot of discrepancy in the duration of your hikes, it is best to buy at least two bags for separate occasions.

The Carrying Capacity of the Bag

When you want to determine how much a particular backpack can carry, you don’t look at the size. Instead, you will need to focus on the carrying capacity or the volume of the bag. It is more common to find the volume of the backpacks to be displayed in liters. However, those that are offered in cubic centimeters tend to be a little more accurate.

Hike Length

Following the point made above, to figure out what capacity is right for you, you will to consider the length of the trip. If you are just planning on spending a day outdoors, then you should opt for a bag that is between 20 and 30 liters. This will be enough for you to put all of the food and water that you will need. There should be enough space for a light jacket as well.

If you will be spending at least one night in the wilderness, you may want a backpack that can hold around 35 to 50 liters. If you plan on spending upwards of three nights, then a backpack between 50 and 80 liters will be a better match.


Another thing to take into consideration is the weather that you will encounter. If you are hiking in the summer, you will need a minimal number of layers and therefore will not require an overly large backpack. In the winter, however, you will need to take a couple of warm, thick layers. You will need a greater amount of space in the backpack.

The Length of the Bag

While you may not need to look at the size of a bag, you will need to examine the length of it. The length of the backpack will determine where it will sit when it is strapped to you. Ideally, the top of the backpack should not be loom over your head. Similarly, it should end just below your hips so that your walking will not be impaired in any way.

Of course, it is not just the length of the bag that you will need to gauge. You will also have to measure your torso. When taking the measurements, you will need to start from the base of your neck. There is a bony protrusion where your neck and shoulders meet. This is where you should place the top of the measuring tape. Then, place each hand around your hip so that each thumb is resting on your back. Make sure that this is being done at the spot just above your hip bones. Your thumbs will mark the spot where you should end measuring your torso.

Now it is simply a matter of finding the backpack that is this long. Extra small backpacks are usually about 15.5 inches long while the slightly longer options are between 16 and 17.5 inches. A regular hiking backpack also considered to be medium sized will be around 18 or 19.5 inches. The backpacks designed for the very tall measure about 20 or more inches.

The Suspension System

The suspension system refers to the way that the weight of the pack is distributed by the various straps on the backpack. Usually smaller packs only have shoulder straps while the more heavy duty ones may have hip belts and even sternum straps. The reason that the suspension system is important is because it avoids putting too much weight on your pressure points. This way, rather than making your shoulders take the brunt of the weight, it can be dispersed, settling it around your hips. This is a much more natural method for your body.

Shoulder Straps

With shoulder straps, the main focus is comfort. So, you should look for shoulder straps that are wide so that the weight will be distributed across your shoulders evenly. Another point to look at is padding. Well-padded straps will not dig into your shoulders while walking.

Hip Belts

Hip belts can be considered the main point on the suspension system. The two things to be concerned with hip belts is where they sit and the amount of padding involved. As with the shoulder straps, more padding means less discomfort. This is particularly important as the belt will be sitting where your hip bones protrude. The hip belts should encircle the top of your hip bones. The placement of the hip belt can be remedied by adjusting the shoulder straps.

Sternum Straps

Typically, women can find the placement of sternum straps most disconcerting. To remain comfortable, it needs to sit a couple of inches below your collarbones so that it will not chafe your chest while walking.

Women Specific vs. Regular Backpacks

There are backpacks that cater specifically to the height and dimensions of a female body. Female oriented backpacks are actually some of the few women specific items that are useful. This is because most traditional hiking backpacks are tailored to the average male height. Therefore, women who are shorter than most men might find such backpacks too long for them.

The same argument can be made for women who don’t have a straight-shaped body. Here, the women specific backpacks have sternum straps and hip belts that are made especially for wider hips and chests. As mentioned, these backpacks are usually only helpful for those on the smaller side.

For the truly petite individual, youth backpacks or those that are meant for children may be just as useful.

The Weight of the Pack

There is no fun in dragging a heavy hiking backpack around. This is why there are many companies that cater to light or ultra-light hikers. These backpacks weigh as little as possible so that you can keep the overall weight of your burden down. This is particularly important for those looking to cover the greatest amount of distance, in the shortest amount of time possible.

Of course, these light or ultra-light backpacks aren’t suitable for everyone. These should be avoided if you want to take a lot of equipment with you or if your main concern is comfort.

The Durability of the Bag

Each hiker requires their backpack to withstand different types of abuse. Some hike over mild terrain and with a light load and thus don’t require too much durability. Others, however, hike with a lot of brush or abrasive surfaces and do so with a lot of equipment. Here, the backpack will need to be a lot tougher.

When speaking of backpack durability, there are two important focal points. The first is the type of material that has been used to construct the backpack. For a less durable backpack, you can use one that is made from polyester. For something that is tougher, you can opt for either nylon or Cordura. If you are really concerned with rips or tears, you can even invest in rip-stop material – the same material used for parachutes.

The other thing to look for is how the bag is being held together. Usually, the toughest seams are the ones that have been tightly stitched together. It is preferable to look for a backpack that contains double-stitching that will withstand pressure even more.

Waterproof Features

This is not a feature that every hiker needs. However, if you hike in bad weather or have to cross bodies of water, a waterproof or water resistant backpack will be handy. The first step to choosing this type of backpack is to understand that backpacks aren’t a 100 percent waterproof. At some point, even the most well insulated pack will let water through.

Another important distinction to make is the difference between waterproof and water resistant. Bags that are waterproof can be submerged in water for brief periods of time. Water resistant bags though, will simply keep rain at bay and can’t be placed in water. If you want a backpack that is either water resistant or waterproof, you should choose ones where the pocket openings and seams have been reinforced as well. This is the only way to be sure that the water will not seep inside.

Top Loader vs. Panel Loader

If you are choosing a smaller hiking backpack that will serve you well for shorter trips, the way that you load the bag isn’t important. Nonetheless, if you are going on a multi-day hike, organization becomes a lot more significant.

The panel loaders zip up around the sides. This makes it simpler to organize all of your items as well as retrieve them later on. Nonetheless, it can be a bit cumbersome to open up this type of backpack. Top loaders are those that open up from the top. While these are simple to pack, it can be difficult to pack or unpack your things in any discernible order.

This are the things you will need to consider if you are attempting to choose the best hiking backpack.

51 More Hiking Backpacks

Classic hiking backpacks and models that haven't yet got enough reviews to be ranked.

RankHiking BackpackRating
The North Face Ice ProjectThe North Face Ice Project
The North Face AleiaThe North Face Aleia
The North Face LitusThe North Face Litus
The North Face AngstromThe North Face Angstrom
Gregory TahquitzGregory Tahquitz
Gregory PierpontGregory Pierpont
Gregory VelataGregory Velata
Gregory SatumaGregory Satuma
Gregory AmasaGregory Amasa
Kelty SiroKelty Siro
Kelty RevolKelty Revol
Kelty RevaKelty Reva
Kelty SiraKelty Sira
Kelty SanitasKelty Sanitas
Kelty YukonKelty Yukon
Mountainsmith RockitMountainsmith Rockit
Mountainsmith PursuitMountainsmith Pursuit
Lowe Alpine VectorLowe Alpine Vector
Lowe Alpine CholatseLowe Alpine Cholatse
Lowe Alpine ZephyrLowe Alpine Zephyr
High Sierra LightningHigh Sierra Lightning
High Sierra SymmetryHigh Sierra Symmetry
Mountain Hardwear DirettissimaMountain Hardwear Direttissima
Mountain Hardwear RainshadowMountain Hardwear Rainshadow
Burton Kettle Pack
Mammut CreonMammut Creon
Mammut LithiaMammut Lithia
Mammut RideMammut Ride
Patagonia Crag DaddyPatagonia Crag Daddy
Patagonia AscensionistPatagonia Ascensionist
Deuter AttackDeuter Attack
Deuter TravellerDeuter Traveller
Vaude SimonyVaude Simony
Exped TyphoonExped Typhoon
Exped CoreExped Core
Exped ThunderExped Thunder
Montane AnacondaMontane Anaconda
Montane CobraMontane Cobra
Montane MedusaMontane Medusa
Montane Grand TourMontane Grand Tour
Montane UltraMontane Ultra
Salomon PeakSalomon Peak
Berghaus TwentyFourSevenBerghaus TwentyFourSeven
Ferrino TransalpFerrino Transalp
Ortovox TradOrtovox Trad
Ortovox PeakOrtovox Peak
Slumberjack SpoorSlumberjack Spoor
Slumberjack StriderSlumberjack Strider
Watershed WestwaterWatershed Westwater
Deuter RiseDeuter Rise
Karrimor Hot RockKarrimor Hot Rock

Last updated on February 09, 2019