3 Best Backpacks for Hiking

Hey there my fellow hikers and welcome to my post where we will check out my three best backpacks for hiking this year.  Embarking on a hiking adventure amidst picturesque landscapes, breathtaking views and invigorating trails can be an exhilarating experience.

However, to truly take in the joys of hiking and ensure a successful excursion, you should not overlook the importance of selecting the right backpack. A well-designed backpack can significantly enhance your hiking experience as well.

So for those of you about to hit that trails and are in the market for a good backpack to meet your hiking needs, I have had a good look around and come up with three decent options below. Let’s check them out.

My Three Recommended Backpacks for Hiking

I will review these in more detail below however if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience: 

11/27/2023 08:50 pm GMT

What are hiking backpacks? 

Backpacks for hiking, also known as hiking backpacks or hiking packs, are designed specifically to make carrying heavy loads more comfortable and efficient while you’re trekking on trails, mountaineering or doing any form of long-distance walking. They are typically crafted from durable, lightweight materials that can withstand harsh outdoor conditions and may also have waterproof or water-resistant features to protect your gear from the elements.

Many models focus on enhancing user comfort with features like a suspended mesh back panel for better ventilation and reduced sweating. Additionally, hiking backpacks often come with built-in hydration reservoirs or specialized pockets for holding a hydration bladder.

Lastly, these backpacks are equipped with multiple attachment points in the form of loops, clips, or webbing that allow hikers to attach additional gear, such as trekking poles, ice axes or a sleeping pad.

Check out these: 3 Best Waterproof Backpacks

backpacks for hiking - hiker on coastal clifftop

What Should You Be Looking For?

  1. Size and Capacity
  2. Fit and Comfort
  3. Durability
  4. Accessibility and Organization
  5. Ventilation
  6. Weather Resistance
  7. Hydration Compatibility
  8. Additions

Check out these: Backpacks for Emergencies

Size and Capacity

The size of the backpack determines how much gear you can carry, while the capacity determines the volume of storage space available. Consider your hiking plans, duration and the type of gear you typically carry.

For shorter day hikes, a smaller backpack with a capacity of 20-30 liters may suffice, while multi-day trips or carrying bulkier items may require a larger backpack with a capacity of 40 liters or more. It is important to find a backpack that fits your body properly, taking into account factors such as torso length and hip belt size. 

Fit and Comfort

When purchasing a hiking backpack, achieving a proper fit and ensuring optimal comfort is paramount. The fit of the backpack directly impacts your comfort level and ability to navigate trails with ease. Look for backpacks with adjustable shoulder straps and hip belts to customize the fit according to your body shape and size. These features allow for a snug yet comfortable fit, promoting weight distribution and stability while minimizing strain on your shoulders.

Additionally, consider the suspension system of the backpack. Features such as load lifters, sternum straps, and back panel padding contribute to overall comfort as they help adjust the position of the backpack’s load, optimizing balance and distribution. Sternum straps offer added stability and prevent the shoulder straps from slipping during hikes and back panel padding enhances comfort and airflow, reducing sweat and discomfort, particularly during long treks.

The weight of a hiking backpack plays a significant role in your overall hiking experience as well. Look for lightweight materials and consider the weight of hardware components. Striking a balance between capacity and weight is essential to ensure that your backpack remains manageable and comfortable throughout your hikes.


Durability is a crucial factor when purchasing a hiking backpack as it ensures its ability to withstand the demands of the outdoors and provides long-lasting reliability. To assess durability, examine the quality of construction materials such as fabrics like nylon or polyester, and look for reinforced stitching in high-stress areas.

Strong and reliable zippers, as well as sturdy buckles and clips contribute to the overall durability of the backpack as well.

Accessibility and Organization

Accessibility and organization are vital features to consider when choosing a hiking backpack. Look for backpacks that offer multiple compartments, pockets and attachment points to facilitate efficient organization and easy access to your gear.

Logical and intuitive organization systems can further enhance convenience. By selecting a backpack that prioritizes accessibility and organization, you can ensure that your essentials are easily accessible and well-managed throughout your hiking journey.

backpacks for hiking - hikers with backpacks


Ventilation is another key aspect to keep in mind when purchasing a hiking backpack as it directly affects your comfort during long hikes, especially in warmer conditions. Look for backpacks that incorporate features to promote airflow and reduce heat buildup. Backpacks with mesh back panels allow air to circulate between your back and the backpack, keeping you cooler and minimizing sweat accumulation.

Additionally, consider backpacks with raised or contoured back panels that provide space for air to flow more freely, reducing direct contact and potential discomfort.

Weather Resistance

Backpacks made with weatherproof or water-resistant materials assist in keeping your items dry and shielded from rain, snow, or other unexpected weather conditions. Durable fabrics such as waterproof nylon or polyester blends can help repel water, while features such as sealed seams and water-resistant zippers further enhance weather resistance.

Additionally, consider backpacks that come with a detachable rain cover which provides an extra layer of protection during heavy downpours or snowfall. By selecting a weather-resistant backpack, you can hike with peace of mind, knowing that your gear will remain protected and your belongings will stay dry, no matter the weather conditions you encounter.

Hydration Compatibility

Backpacks that feature dedicated compartments or hydration bladder sleeves designed to securely hold a hydration system provide a convenient and easily accessible space to carry a water reservoir, also known as a hydration bladder, ensuring you have a readily available water source while hiking.

In addition to dedicated compartments, consider backpacks that offer tube ports and clips for the hydration system. Tube ports are openings in the backpack that allow the drinking tube of the hydration bladder to pass through, enabling you to sip water without having to remove the backpack. Clips help to secure the tube to the shoulder straps, ensuring it stays in place and within easy reach during your hike.

Check out my: 3 Best Hydration Backpacks


Other potential additions include:

  1. Colors: Choosing a backpack in a color that you like and find visually appealing can enhance your enjoyment on the trails. Additionally, some colors may offer better visibility in certain environments or weather conditions, providing increased safety during hikes.
  2. Rain cover: A built-in rain cover ensures that your backpack remains weatherproof, allowing you to continue your outdoor adventure even in wet conditions without worrying about water seeping into the main compartment or side pockets. 

My Three Recommendations Broken Down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. Maelstrom Hiking 40L Waterproof Hiking Backpack

This first option offers lightweight construction and breathable mesh shoulder straps with sponge padding that relieves stress from your shoulders. The 40L capacity provides ample space for outdoor travel, camping, hiking and fishing whilst still meeting size requirements for most airlines. With its reliable build, convenient feature, and comfortable design, this is a reliable choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a durable and practical backpack. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Maelstrom
  • Material: High-quality rip-stop 210d nylon fabric
  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Weight: 2.18 pounds
  • Dimensions: 8.86 x 12.99 x 23.62 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Rain cover
  • Available in several colors

Why have I chosen it?

Crafted with high-quality rip-stop 210d nylon fabric, this backpack is designed to be water-resistant, tear-resistant, anti-scratch and wear-resistant and also comes with a bonus rain cover featuring a clear silver reflective logo to ensure that your belongings stay dry during rainy weather.

The ergonomic and comfortable design contains a thicker padded back paired with adjustable and padded shoulder straps to reduce fatigue during long hikes. It also features an ergonomic ring handle that is not only durable but also labor-saving with an adjustable chest buckle that helps distribute the weight evenly and keeps the backpack steady and centered as well.

And finally, with its large capacity and multiple compartments, it also provides generous storage and convenient organization options including one top pocket, three front zipper pockets, two waist zipper pockets and two mesh side pockets as well.

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11/27/2023 08:50 pm GMT

2. Mammut Lithium 20 Hiking Backpack

This next option is a high-quality backpack that excels in both performance and sustainability. Crafted with precision and attention to detail, it offers excellent durability and functionality for outdoor enthusiasts and the use of over 89% recycled materials demonstrates Mammut’s commitment to reducing environmental impact while maintaining top-notch quality. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Mammut
  • Material: Durable recycled materials, PFC-free
  • Capacity: 20 liters
  • Weight: 1.61 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎7.48 x 9.84 x 19.69 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Rain cover
  • Available in several colors
  • Hydration system compatible

Why have I chosen it?

One notable feature of the Mammut Lithium 20 is the detachable and padded hip belt, which adds comfort and support during extended hikes. The 3D EVA foam with air channels enhance back ventilation, keeping you cool and dry even during strenuous activities and it also comes equipped with a trekking pole carrier, allowing you to easily secure your poles when not in use.

It features a large front zipper pocket and a main zipper compartment, offering ample storage space for your essentials and is also hydration system-compatible, allowing you to stay hydrated on the go. Additional storage options include two mesh side pockets for quick access items, a zip pocket on the hip belt and a fold-out cellphone pocket conveniently located on the hip belt as well.

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11/27/2023 08:57 pm GMT

3. Osprey Talon 22 Hiking Backpack

My third option is from a well known brand and comes in a number of sizes to meet various hiking needs. Made from recycled high-tenacity nylon fabric, it is water and tear-resistant with the ablity to add a rain cover to ensure your belongings stay dry even in wet weather conditions as well. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Osprey
  • Material: Recycled high-tenacity nylon fabric
  • Capacity: 22 liters
  • Weight: 1.98 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎21.34 x 12.71 x 4.29 inches

Other inclusions:

  • Available in small or large/extra large
  • Raincover available as extra
  • Blinkie light attachment

Why have I chosen this?

This backpack is an optimal choice for day hikes, commuting or light and fast overnight trips. Despite its generous space, the backpack is lightweight, usually weighing just under 2 pounds, thus enhancing user comfort during prolonged use. It is also crafted from high-quality nylon material allowing it to withstand typical outdoor conditions as well.

It is also sustainably designed with recycled high-tenacity nylon with a BioStretch harness, continuous-wrap hipbelt and an injection-molded, die-cut foam AirScape® backpanel move with you on the most technical terrain. In terms of organization, it contains two main pockets – one with padded lining for a laptop – as well as Dual zippered hipbelt pockets for ease of access for smaller items.

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11/27/2023 09:08 pm GMT


There you have it, my three best backpacks for hiking. And as usual,  let me know of your experiences here.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time

Have fun


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