When you’re trekking through the wilderness, you want to be completely focused on soaking up the stunning views around you — not adjusting your backpack or pausing to massage your achy shoulders. That’s why you need one of the best hiking backpacks. But what exactly should you look for?
Hiking can be a rough-and-tumble activity, so first and foremost you should make sure that your backpack is made with extremely durable, high-grade material. When you’re out in the forest, you may trek through thick bushes, branches, or brambles. You might splash mud up from the ground or cake your pack in dirt. You might spend miles kicking dust up or walk for three hours straight through a windy rainstorm. For all of these reasons, you need a backpack that will last.
It should also feature soft, comfortable straps that fit your body properly and won’t rub or chafe while you walk. They should be fully adjustable and capable of being customized to your shape and size. The pack should be suited to your specific adventures, too. Will you be hiking through the desert, or out in the rain? Will you be carrying lots of supplies, or just a sandwich and some sunscreen? Whatever the case, here are the best backpacks for all of sorts of occasions.
1. A Big, Lightweight Backpack That Folds Into A Tiny Pouch
G4Free, Lightweight Hiking Backpack
When you're hiking through gorgeous natural scenery, the last thing you want is to be thinking about is how heavy your backpack is. This super lightweight hiking pack, which comes in seven colors, is large enough to hold everything you need for your excursion, yet weighs less than 13 ounces. Made of premium nylon, the fabric is highly breathable so you won't get sweaty around the armpits where the straps meet your skin. It has 40 liters of carrying volume to hold all of your belongings, including a roomy main compartment, two top pouches, a front spandex pouch, and two water bottle holders. Best of all, the whole thing stuffs into a tiny pocket, so when you're not hiking, you can throw it into your purse or suitcase and have a spare bag without taking up any space.
2. Another Lightweight Backpack That Folds Into A Pouch, But Has A Cross-Body Design And Costs Just $10
WATERFLY, Packable Shoulder Backpack Sling Chest
Just because you love nature doesn't mean you love spending a small fortune on a backpack. This awesomely affordable hiking backpack comes with a host of impressive features for less than $20. Although not a bag you can fully submerse, it is nevertheless waterproof and resistant to wind and other elements. The pack, which comes in seven color choices, is built with high-quality nylon and reinforced with durable bar tack seams. On top of that, it's super comfy to carry with a sleek cross-body shoulder strap. It can be kept loose when hiking or tightened snugly against your body if you want to run with it. The pack also features a main compartment and four smaller pouches with a custom slot for a phone or tablet.
3. A Fully Waterproof Backpack That's So Aqua-Friendly, It Floats
Chaos Ready, Waterproof Backpack
If you live is a wet climate or just love hiking around in the rain, this waterproof hiking backpack will be the perfect trail companion. Constructed with heavy-duty 500 PVC tarpaulin and high-frequency welded seams, the material blocks rain and other moisture from getting inside while remaining soft and flexible. The material also makes it especially easy to clean — you can simply wipe it down when you get back from your trek. What's more, not only is the pack waterproof, but it floats, too. That means if you happen to drop it while crossing little creeks hiking or bringing it on a a standup paddle board, you know your things will be safe.
4. A Super Organized Survival Backpack That Unzips To Lay Flat For Easy Access
5.11, Rapid Quad Zip Pack
If you're the super organized type who wants a pocket for everything, this multi-pouched hiking pack will fill you with joy. The high-quality backpack, which is built with strong 600D polyester, is designed to be a survivalist pack, making it a fantastic choice for everyday hiking. It features a full 270-degree U-zip on the main compartment, which means that it opens completely so you never have to dig for anything. Just unzip it, lay it flat, and scan the many pockets to find what you're searching for. There's an exterior admin pocket, inner mesh pouches, a padded laptop sleeve, several quick-release buckles, and even a built-in bottle holder inside. Best of all, the outside fabric and straps are covered in small loops you can use to clip carabiners, hooks, buckles, and other hanging items.
5. A Genius Backpack That Morphs Into A Resting Chair
Annstory, Backpack and Stool Chair Combo
Whoever came up with the idea of a hiking backpack that converts into a chair should be given some sort of award. This innovative bag features a foldable steel frame that fits behind the pack and morphs into a comfy camp chair when you want to take a break or arrive at your destination. It has a roomy 47-liter carrying capacity that lets you stow tons of stuff and the padding makes it comfy to walk in. Go ahead and hike up to majestic waterfalls or a beautiful mountaintop and know that when you get there, you'll have a seat to relax in and enjoy the view.
6. A Picnic-Ready Hiking Backpack That Comes With Cutlery, A Wine Pocket, And More
TAWA 2 Person Red Picnic Backpack (red)
If you plan to eat lunch along your hike or at your final destination, this brilliant hiking backpack will take your picnic game to a new level. Made with high-quality 600D Oxford fabric and comfy padded shoulder straps, the pack comes with everything you could possibly need for the perfect picnic, along with custom pockets to fit each one. The kit includes two stainless steel knives, forks, and spoons; two washable napkins; two plastic wine glasses; two plastic dinner plates; two plastic salt and pepper shakers; a stainless steel corkscrew with a bottle opener; a cheese and butter knife; a plastic cutting board; and even a waterproof fleece blanket. It features a cold storage compartment with thermal aluminum foil and PEVA, as well as a detachable insulated side closure to carry wine. All of that for $30.
7. A Stylish And Durable Fold-Up Backpack That's Tough Without Being Bulky
Fjallraven, High Coast 24
Featuring a simple drawstring design, this minimalist day hiking bag is made of G-1000 Lite and G-1000 HeavyDuty materials, making it incredibly durable without adding extra bulk. The sleek, high-end pack has compression straps on each side to offer stability and packability, while the shoulder straps deliver ultra-soft padding so your shoulders don't get sore and chafed while you trek. The chest and shoulder straps, along with the foam frame, can all be removed to make it even more compact, and the backpack itself can be compressed to fold into its front pocket if you need to travel with it. The majority of the space is in the main drawcord compartment with a steel hook to give you quick access, and it also has a zippered front pocket, two side pockets, and a pocket inside with a clip to hold your keys securely.
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