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Our Top Rated Backpacks for Hiking in 2018

For the avid hiker, there are two essential pieces of equipment that everyone should have – hiking boots, and a backpack. We will save hiking boots for another article, the content below focuses on the process of searching for the perfect hiking backpack. Having the right pack will enable you to bring along all of your necessary gear for your trek, and hopefully, make it relatively easy for you to carry that load all day long.

Comfort and capacity are two things to consider when you shop for a hiking backpack. Take the time to do your homework and browse through the various options to make an informed purchase on your hiking backpack that can come along with you over miles and miles of trails.

hiking backpack

To help save you some time and effort, we have pulled together five excellent hiking backpack options and listed them below. Each of the products come with a unique set of features to consider. There are countless hiking backpacks available today that vary in price, depending on quality. Knowing your budget and needs will be vital information to have when trying to settle on a new hiking backpack.

Before we get into product options, however, the next section will look at some of the buying considerations you need to make, and some of the common frustrations that hikers have with their gear. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or novice, the following information will prove to be helpful.

Buying Considerations for Hiking Backpacks

The average length of your backpacking trips should be the first thing to consider when you are shopping for a new hiking backpack. Size is key because it will determine how much gear you need to take with you, and how large of a bag you will need. If you only take day hikes that are a few miles, then you won’t need a big pack and can settle for something lightweight in the range of a 30 – 50-liter capacity. On the other hand, if you like to head into the backcountry for a week or longer, you are going to need a large pack that can be loaded up with plenty of clothes, food, water, and more.

Obviously, if you take numerous trips that vary in length, then you will need to purchase a versatile pack that is capable of handling your short and long trips. As an alternative, you could consider owning two backpacks – one for your short day hikes or overnight trips, and one for more extended expeditions. Which will probably be the preferred solution for the avid hiker as it is difficult to settle on a single bag that is well-suited to all of your outdoor excursions.

Common Issues

Usually, the frustrations that hikers have with their backpacks have to do with the overall quality of the product. If you buy a low-quality bag, you are likely to run into plenty of problems out on the trail. The pack may break, leak, or it may have poor straps that are uncomfortable on your shoulders. So make sure you purchase quality gear. We are not advising you to break your bank account to get a quality pack, but it would be a mistake to buy something low quality that is going to fail you during one of your trips in the woods.

Beyond quality, another frustration shared by hikers about their backpacks is a poor fit that makes it uncomfortable to carry the bag, especially for long periods of time. Specifically, packs that are either too large or too small for the hiker will not rest comfortably on the shoulders and the bag, making each step more of a chore. Find a sack that is a good match for your torso length (not necessarily your height) if you want to remain as comfortable as possible mile after mile.
So, the goal is relatively simple – find a pack that is well-made, will hold all of your gear, and will fit comfortably while you carry it, especially on your shoulders.

Hopefully, at least, one of the five packs on our list below will be able to meet those criteria for you.

Top Rated Hiking Backpack Reviews

TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack

Image of TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal FrameOur list starts off with a rather large hiking backpack, as this model has 55 liters of space inside and weighs 4.5 pounds. The torso length on this pack is adjustable from 15’’ up to 19.5’’, meaning it will fit a variety of hikers nicely. There are both side and front compression straps included on the bag, and it has a sleeping bag compartment which is perfect for overnight hikes.

Reviewers have commented on how this pack is a quality choice for the price, as many hiking packs can easily cost double or more the price of this TETON model. The adjustability is another point that many buyers appreciated, as well as the space for a hydration bladder. With portions to accommodate gear for longer trips and plenty of features to make going a little easier, the TETON Sports Scout 3400 is an excellent entry into the world of hiking backpacks.

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Naturehike Outdoor Backpack

Image of Naturehike Outdoor BackpackFor a small, less-expensive option to get you started on the trail, this Naturehike product should be one you consider. You won’t have to spend much to own this pack for yourself. It is certainly not meant for long, overnight hikes where ample gear will be required, but it is sufficient enough to carry around on your daily hikes. The pack itself is made from waterproof nylon, and it has lightweight straps to keep you as comfortable as possible.

Those who bought this pack were not looking for a large bag, so they have found it perfect for day hiking, biking, and more. When shopping for a bag that will fit the essentials for a fun day spent outside – food, water, small first aid – you will want to give the Naturehike Outdoor Backpack a closer look.

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Mountaintop 60L Hiking Backpack

Image of Mountaintop 60L Water-resistantFrom an affordable small daypack, we go back to a hiking backpack that is meant for multi-day excursions into the backcountry. This pack from Mountaintop has an impressive 60L volume, meaning you should be able to store away all your gear. Rather than just one big open pack, this product has a main compartment, a sleeping bag compartment, side pockets, and more. It is made from water-resistant polyester to help keep your gear safe in the rain, and there is an additional rain cover built into the bottom pocket which can provide the pack with extra protection in rough conditions.

The ‘power frame system’ used in this pack helps to move their load onto your hips and legs rather than just your shoulders and back. The bag only weighs 3.5 pounds when unloaded, and it has plenty of tool attachments points, so you can customize your experience as needed. Buyers who have put this pack to the test enjoy its capacity, the sturdy design of the bag, and the value received in return for its modest cost.

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High Sierra Appalachian 75 Internal Frame Pack

Image of High Sierra Classic 2 Series Appalachian 75 Frame Pack

Another large pack on the list, except this one, has a slightly higher price tag in comparison to the previously mentioned bags. However, that price comes with plenty of features and performance, and previous buyers have primarily been happy with what they have received. The pack uses a top load design to get items in and out with ease, and it has an aluminum frame bar which you can adjust to make carrying the pack more comfortable out on the trail. Also, there is a molded foam panel for your back, which adds to your comfort on long hikes.

Reviewers love how much space is available in this pack – plenty for a tent and sleeping bag, along with some clothes and other items. If you are looking for a bag that can help you spend multiple days out on the trail, this would be a great start. Durability is another word that customers have used to describe this quality product. Overall, the consensus is very positive about this bag among current users, which is a great sign of its quality and ability to serve the duty of reliable hiking backpack.

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Kelty Coyote 80 Internal Frame Backpack

Image of Kelty Coyote 80 Internal Frame

To finish our list, we have a premium hiking bag from Kelty. This bag is the biggest one on our list, and also the most expensive. Kelty is a brand that is well-known by most hikers, as they offer some of the best gear regarding performance and durability. An 80L bag, this hiking backpack is large enough to accommodate equipment for long trips on the trail. Whether you are going to be out for just a couple days, or a week or more, the Kelty Coyote 80 is a strong contender for the job.

The ‘CloudLock II’ adjustable suspension has been designed to keep your comfortable and to lighten up even a heavy load. One of the benefits of owning this pack that has been noted by users is the number of pockets it has, making it easy to keep supplies organized throughout a trip. Also, the quality of the pack has received tons of praise, with quality construction making it easy to trust this product.

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Conclusion

If you want to have as much fun as possible out on the trail, but also keep yourself comfortable, a great hiking backpack is essential. Each of the five backpacks listed above fills a slightly different role in the hiking world, but all have features to help you enjoy your outdoor experiences. Whether you need a large overnight bag like the Kelty or a small pack for day trips such as the Naturehike, be sure to weigh all of your options before you order.

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