to top 10 table

Best Hiking Backpacks Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated Feb 21, 2019

“Between every two pines, there is a doorway to a new world.” John Muir, one of the most influential naturalists in history said that and we like it. His point is that getting out into nature is so much more than a neat day trip. And If you want to have a successful hiking trip you need three things: a GPS device, good hiking boots, and a good hiking backpack. Hiking backpacks are made to carry all of your essential items with you on a hiking trip. There will be some hybrid backpacks on the list that also double as good hiking backpacks, so be prepared for some surprises. So come on in, get yourself suited up and then get out there, as Muir said: a whole new world awaits.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 21 hrs of research

icon
WASING 55L
94.8/100 our score
Materials
94
Water Resistance
95
Durability
95
Ease of Use
94
Features
96
WASING 55L
Why is it better?

Extension collar can expand to accommodate 5 extra liters

Sternum strap comes with emergency whistle buckle

Eight different torso length adjustments

Can still carry on an airline

Only weighs 3.5 pounds

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
WASING 55L
Test Winner: WASING 55L
Researched Sources
18
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
13k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
21
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Kevin Enochs:

We've updated this page with some additional links and price checks to make sure you're getting the best of the best when it comes to hiking backpacks. We've also added some new products to our list that we think you're going to like both in terms of the price point and in terms of the features.

Sorting Options
Materials Water Resistance Durability Ease of Use Features By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
Materials
94%
Water Resistance
95%
Durability
95%
Ease of Use
94%
Features
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$45.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Materials
93%
Water Resistance
95%
Durability
94%
Ease of Use
95%
Features
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$26.54
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Materials
94%
Water Resistance
93%
Durability
92%
Ease of Use
92%
Features
91%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$20.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Materials
92%
Water Resistance
91%
Durability
93%
Ease of Use
92%
Features
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$34.35
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
Materials
90%
Water Resistance
89%
Durability
88%
Ease of Use
90%
Features
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$57.95
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.6
Materials
88%
Water Resistance
85%
Durability
84%
Ease of Use
86%
Features
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$64.99
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
Materials
81%
Water Resistance
82%
Durability
80%
Ease of Use
80%
Features
82%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$18.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79
Materials
80%
Water Resistance
79%
Durability
77%
Ease of Use
80%
Features
79%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$37.89
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.2
Materials
77%
Water Resistance
79%
Durability
76%
Ease of Use
79%
Features
75%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$34.79
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
74.2
Materials
77%
Water Resistance
75%
Durability
74%
Ease of Use
72%
Features
73%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.05.19)
$74.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • WASING 55L
  • OUTLANDER 20L/33L
  • VENTURE PAL LIGHTWEIGHT
  • HIGH SIERRA LOOP
  • SPEEDO TEAMSTER
  • TETON 3400
  • G4Free Large 40L
  • TETON 1100
  • JANSPORT SUPERBREAK
  • AMAZON BASICS INTERNAL FRAME
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Hiking Backpacks

1. WASING 55L

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
WASING 55L
Materials
94
Water Resistance
95
Durability
95
Ease of Use
94
Features
96
best offer for today
$45.99
Pros:

Extension collar can expand to accommodate 5 extra liters

Sternum strap comes with emergency whistle buckle

Eight different torso length adjustments

Can still carry on an airline

Only weighs 3.5 pounds

Cons:

Might be too big for some customers

The #1 spot goes to the Wasing 55L. This huge monster has circled many lists for years and is the best friend of any determined hiker. There is nothing that this backpack can’t do, and it is head and shoulders above the rest of the items on the list.

Read more

Lots of Special Features
Two mesh bottle pouches
Front sleeping bag compartment
Two key hooks
SBS zippers
Trekking pole attachment and bottom loops

Decision Time
Going big with the Wasing 55L model is a smart choice if you’re going to be doing some serious hiking. The outdoors won’t be able to surprise you, and inside your backpack will be everything but the kitchen sink.

Cost and Value
This is the best value on the list, no question about it. At a low price, you get almost quadruple space, a highly durable backpack and a brand that can be trusted. Buyers that want a smaller backpack will be better off with another item on the list.

2. OUTLANDER 20L/33L

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
OUTLANDER 20L/33L
Materials
93
Water Resistance
95
Durability
94
Ease of Use
95
Features
92
best offer for today
$26.54
Pros:

Nylon makes it light and strong

Weak points are reinforced with bar tacking

Several pockets to store things in

33L version is huge

Warranty is ironclad

Cons:

No middle ground in sizes between the 20L and the 33L versions

No dedicated laptop compartment

Outlander is one of those brands that strikes like lightning. The company took a few features from all of the top backpacks in the industry to create their very own, and it’s incredible. Functionally it is one of the best values on the list and continues to be a really good choice for hikers.

Read more

Your Size, Your Choice
Besides all of the usual color choices, Outlander is also offering this model in sizes 20L and 33L. The only difference between the two is their actual size, so customers won’t miss any important features if they go with the smaller model. And just to make a note, the 33L is a massive size upgrade from the 20L.

Unique Features
Folds into a zippered inner pocket, and also has two side pockets. The backpack is also resistant to both water and ripping, as well as abrasion resistant.

Cost and Value
Amazingly this is one of the lowest priced backpacks on the list, even at the #2 spot. Because of the attention to durability customers will get instant value on this purchase, along with a very strong warranty.

3. VENTURE PAL LIGHTWEIGHT

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
VENTURE PAL LIGHTWEIGHT
Materials
94
Water Resistance
93
Durability
92
Ease of Use
92
Features
91
best offer for today
$20.99
Pros:

Perfect for taking on flights

More pockets than you know what to do with

One of the most comfortable backpacks on the list

Built from the ground up for multiple use

Side pockets can hold water bottles

Cons:

No dedicated laptop space

Depending on how you pack the material may be noisy

When the Venture Pal first came out, the first thing people noticed is how lightweight it was. This was nothing new by backpack standards. But when you realize just how light it is compared to the others on the list, well that is when you’ll understand why it is #3.

Read more

Light and Comfortable
The reason the Venture Pal is so light comes from how it distributes weight. Good hiking backpacks don’t concentrate weight all in one area, and in this case, they managed to throw in breathable mesh shoulder straps. And with the additional sponge padding for the shoulders, it becomes the most pleasurable backpack experience of your life.

Tough Construction
This backpack is both tear and water resistant. Not only that but it's crafted to fit into a small space when your hike is over. It's foldable into its own pocket, and those folded dimensions are Folded dimensions are 9×8.5×2.2 inches.

Cost and Value
Venture Pal has kept this backpack at an insanely low price for a while. The company is always good with pricing their equipment, although this ranks as the best price. The bag is one of a kind, and a value worth having around the house.

4. HIGH SIERRA LOOP

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
HIGH SIERRA LOOP
Materials
92
Water Resistance
91
Durability
93
Ease of Use
92
Features
90
best offer for today
$34.35
Pros:

Colors are very well done

Tablet sleeve is 12.5x11x0.75 inches

Polyester holds up well to abuse

Multi-compartment design includes large pockets

The backpack can have extra gear attached to it

Cons:

No laptop sleeve

Not waterproof

Fun for many reasons, the High Sierra Loop backpack comes as a surprise in the #4 position. The model is an improvement over one of their older models, and it has ironed out all of the flaws. Buyers will have a lot of extra new features to play with and plenty of colors to choose from.

Read more

An Insane Amount Of Color Combinations
There are currently 32 different color combinations to choose from, all of them with a unique twist. High Sierra wanted to give the customers a chance to choose a design that is personal. And these are more than just plain colors mixed together, as each bag has a very nice shade that holds over the years.

Lots of Options
There are a number of little things that make this backpack special. Things like a tablet computer sleeve, and a media pocket. There are monster hooks and bottom straps and also mesh beverage pockets.

Cost and Value
Sierra opted to keep this backpack at a low price which is one of the reasons it is so popular. Durable materials will protect your investment, even if it lacks water resistance.

5. SPEEDO TEAMSTER

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
SPEEDO TEAMSTER
Materials
90
Water Resistance
89
Durability
88
Ease of Use
90
Features
90
best offer for today
$57.95
Pros:

35 liters is pretty generous for what it does

There is no better protection for your laptop than inside this bag

Durable material can take a lot of damage and drops

Dirtbag is an ingenious idea and can even be used for wet items

The bleacher seat is another one of those ingenious ideas

Cons:

A little heavy for its size

Redesign of the bag took away some cool features of the old design

And then there came a surprise, and its name was Speedo! The large teamster backpack is a nice addition to the list, made more for light hiking with limited miles rather than long expeditions. There is enough room here to put your most important stuff away and have it comfortably resting in your pack.

Read more

The Laptop Sleeve Was A Surprise
Built in laptop sleeves for a backpack can be a bit of a hit or miss depending on the brand you choose. Speedo went all out and made sure that your equipment is 100% protected from the most dangerous outside elements. This model has the best laptop sleeve of any other hiking backpack on the list.

Options, options
There are up to Up to 18 colors to choose from. Add the water resistant bottom and laptop sleeve and you've got a backpack perfect for the hipster in you.

Cost and Value
Speedo is iconic as a brand even if people wouldn’t think to associate them with hiking backpacks. The price is low on this item, and it is about as big as you can get without getting a bag with a frame.

.

6. TETON 3400

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.6
TETON 3400
Materials
88
Water Resistance
85
Durability
84
Ease of Use
86
Features
85
best offer for today
$64.99
Pros:

There is a space on this pack for anything

Padded pocket keeps water bladder cool

Has a lot of high-end features without a high price

Very low priced for what it offers

Is one of the all-time top sellers in hiking backpacks

Cons:

Water bladder not included

Some sleeping bags may not fit

Now comes the big ones, with the Teton Sports Scout 3400 leading the way. These are true to form hiking backpacks that can’t be mistaken for anything else. They are made to carry as much as possible while maximizing the room available.

Read more

Great For A Beginner
There’s nothing really technical about using a hiking backpack, although if you want to maximize the space in it there will be some trial and error. With the way the pockets and compartments are set up with this model, it’s easy to make use of all the extra room. There will be less user error to go around and more time getting ready for your big hike.

Plenty of Room
This baby comes in at a huge 3400 cubic inches but only weighs 4.5 pounds. It has a lot of space for a sleeping bag and to top it all off it has a limited lifetime warranty.

Cost and Value
This one is a no brainer for all they are offering at a low-mid tier price. You’re getting everything that would be in a high-end bag, although it could stand for a little more support. Once you realize how fun it is to use the dedicated compartments, it’ll be easy hiking from that point forward.

7. G4Free Large 40L

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
G4Free Large 40L
Materials
81
Water Resistance
82
Durability
80
Ease of Use
80
Features
82
best offer for today
$18.99
Pros:

Heavy duty but lightweight

Multicompartment and drawstring pouch

High volume capacity

Cons:

Straps are not padded enough

The G4Free Large 40L Lightweight Water Resistant Travel Backpack was designed to give the flawless balance between size, durability, lightweight, and volume capacity. The G4Free backpack can also be transformed into a handheld bag when you are not using it on your hiking trips so it can serve more than just one purpose.

Read more

Huge Storage
What makes the G4Free backpack an ideal travel bag for backpackers with so many things to pack for a single trip is its capacious storage. This bag has a top-loading sack designed with a drawstring lock. This unique feature allows the user to fit more items into the back when needed or less slack if it is not packed to the brim. Unlike traditional bags, your packing is restricted to the limitations of the bag’s zipper lock. The bag’s main compartment has an integrated fabric divider and comes with a secured top double-sided pouch for additional storage.

Big and Light
The pack comes with a high 40 liters volume capacity but is also a foldable backpack. That makes it very lightweight and convenient to use.

Cost and Value
For a backpack that is as versatile and durable as the G4Free backpack, this is actually very affordable too. It seldom happens that a bag this size comes with a very reasonable price even when it is sold online.

8. TETON 1100

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79
TETON 1100
Materials
80
Water Resistance
79
Durability
77
Ease of Use
80
Features
79
best offer for today
$37.89
Pros:

Limited lifetime warranty

Hydration pack only weighs 2 pounds

Three zipper pockets and two mesh pouches

1,100 cubic inches to fill

The chest shock absorber works wonders

Cons:

Durable but could still use some work

Won’t fit any laptop over 13 inches

When Teton came out with the Sports Oasis 1100, they intended to cram as much backpack as possible into one model. They may have succeeded, as there are only a few things this model seems to be lacking.

Read more

Great Athletic Cut
When you’re hiking the last thing you need to worry about is your backpack straps cutting into your shoulders. Little things like the straps not being able to be adjusted correctly and weird shapes make for an uncomfortable experience. The Sports Oasis 1100 cuts down on that problem by making it the perfect for men, women, and children.

Easy Use Features
This pack comes with a few features that make it really easy to use. Take your pick: the replaceable hydration bladder that fits all sizes, The comfort straps, and weather guard also notch up the ease of use factor. Add in the bungee cord system and the Butterfly opening and you have one simple backpack.

Cost and Value
At some point, you will end up filling all of the space in this bag, even if it takes years. With its low price buyers will flock to it solely for all the space they’ll be given. Any fears about the durability should go away with the included limited warranty.

9. JANSPORT SUPERBREAK

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.2
JANSPORT SUPERBREAK
Materials
77
Water Resistance
79
Durability
76
Ease of Use
79
Features
75
best offer for today
$34.79
Pros:

One of the lightest on the list

Over 20 different color options

High-quality fabric and padding

Can take a lot of abuse

Cons:

Not originally for hiking so it lacks water bottle holders

Would be perfect if it had 1 extra compartment

With the way the Superbreak is marketed there has been a small following of diehard users. JanSport didn’t do anything revolutionary with the design, and it is about as plain as a backpack can get. Where it gains such high praise is that it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, and opts to keep things simple. Even though this is considered more of a day pack, many have gone on to use it as a pretty reliable hiking backpack.

Read more

Lightweight
A good hiking backpack needs to be strong but lightweight. The reason the Superbreak makes the list is due to the beating it can take without breaking. It’s stronger than the Storm Hustle II yet manages to feel like a cloud when you have it on.

Lightweight but Large
This pack weighs a small 11 ounces but has fairly large dimensions at 18x17x1 inches. This ensures you're going to have all the room you need whether you're out for a day or a few days.

Cost and Value
Being able to convert this into a hiking backpack is one of the great joys of repurposing. It’s low cost and half the price of a lot of other branded hiking backpacks, yet seems to be twice as tough. Keep that in mind when you’re having troubles deciding on whether to purchase it or not.

10. AMAZON BASICS INTERNAL FRAME

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
74.2
AMAZON BASICS INTERNAL FRAME
Materials
77
Water Resistance
75
Durability
74
Ease of Use
72
Features
73
best offer for today
$74.99
Pros:

Comes in three sizes

The backpack is tough and water resistant

Shoulder straps are adjustable

Plenty of room

Cons:

Shoulder Straps Feel Flimsy

Tears Easily

This is a huge backpack offered by Amazon basics that's immensely affordable but also gets high marks for its ability to get the job done when you're out in the natural world. It comes in three sizes ranging from 55 to 75-liter capacity, it has a water-resistant exterior coating and an integrated rain fly and a waterproof cover for when things get really wet.

Read more

Multiple Options
There are three different versions of this backpack when it comes to capacity. The smallest at a 55-liter capacity will still get the job done and the largest at 75 liters is built to hold everything you might need for an extended stay in the woods.

Built for Comfort
Adjustable padded shoulder straps will keep you comfortable. There are open cell lumbar pad and channels for airflow as well as solid panels to provide back support.

Cost and Value
The choices in size and style make this a really attractive option for day hikers and folks who are planning to spend a lot of time in the field. This pack is built for comfort but is tough enough to handle anything you can throw in it or that nature can throw at it.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

Choosing a hiking backpack with the best quality of the material is important especially when you are planning to use it for all your outdoor activities and trips. From the outer canvass to zippers and suspension system, the quality of the materials used in the construction of the bag will determine its durability and overall function. We have considered several options based on diversity and quality of materials that are ideal for activities that require a lot of movement and walking.

Water Resistance

Although it is not necessary that a backpack is one hundred percent waterproof, it is still important to consider the water resistance of the bag. There are bags that are only semi-waterproof while other models come with external tarps you can wrap around the bag in case of a heavy downpour. Here, we have several options you can consider in terms of the hiking bag’s water resistance capacity, such as the Under Armour and Speedo options.

Durability

The hiking bag you will choose will be subjected to harsh conditions not to mention heavier loads which are its primary purpose. Just like with anything, the durability is very important because it will technically be the main factor in determining how long your bag will be used. In this regard, we have taken the liberty to prepare a list of hiking bags with higher ratings when it comes to durability and resistance to wear and tear that is only natural for these things.

Ease of Use

When you go on a hunting trip or hike, your backpack will be the only thing that will be carrying all your important gear and camping stuff items. It is important to choose a model that is not too complicated to use and one that is very easy to maintain and store every after your hunting trip is over. We have made a selection of options with different levels of ease of use and maintenance depending on the number of features that a particular model has.

Features

When efficiently packed, your backpack can carry an amazing assortment of equipment. Below are some packing tips and explanations on the right way to pack your hiking bag.

Your load can be divided into three different levels or zones in addition to peripheral storage:

Base Level: Ideal for bulkier gear and other similar items that are not needed until you set up camp.
Midpoint: Ideal for your more compact or heavier items to provide balance.
Upper Level: Ideal for other bulkier hiking essentials you need to use while you are on the trail.
Accessory compartments: Ideal for small essentials you will need immediately or frequently.
Lash-on points and tool loops: Ideal for overly long or oversized items that will take up too much space inside the bag.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
Materials
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#2
Water Resistance
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#3
Durability
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#4
Ease of Use
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#5
Features
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
The Hiking Backpack

We're all about the expert tips here at the Gear Hunt but we must admit we were a bit taken aback about how to advise our patrons when it comes to the perfect hiking backpack. And that's because the backpack you need depends on the hiking you're doing.

Other Factors to Consider

Accessories

Accessory compartments are ideal for smaller essentials because they provide easy and fast access every time you need a piece of gear from your bag. However, different models of hiking backpacks may also have different accessory compartments like front pockets, lid pockets, and side pockets. Some models may also have hip or belt pockets. Some of these pockets may also include smaller pockets on the inside but all these options are there to help you better organize smaller items such as:

Map and compass
GPS
Sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip balm
Headlamp and other camp lighting essentials
Insect spray
Snacks
Hydration bottles
Rain cover
Car keys (look for a clip inside one of the pockets)
Identification cards and cash stash
Lash On Points and Tool Loops

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Are internal/external frames required for a good hiking backpack?
a:

Only if you plan on carrying excess weight on a multi-day trip. The reinforced frames are for carrying a lot of weight for long periods of time and shift some of the stress away from your own body.

There are several frame types to choose from on any hiking bag models in the market today. If you want to go extra light, your option would be the frameless hiking bag. There are also hiking bags with an internal frame that helps provide stability when hiking on uneven terrain. These models often integrate an assortment of load support system designed to shift the load from the back to the hips. If you are planning to bring an irregular and heavier load like an inflatable kayak for your hunting trip, hiking bags with an external frame is an ideal choice because it offers plenty of organization options for your gear and good ventilation.

q: Is putting my laptop in a backpack without a designated laptop compartment a good idea?
a:

Some of the backpacks on the list have special cushioned compartments just for laptops. If you purchase a bag without it, simply buy a sleeve for your laptop and put it in the bag where weight won’t constantly be on it.

q: Will the airline let me bring my backpack aboard?
a:

Yes, as long as it meets size guidelines. No, if it contains anything on the ban list.

q: Is it more practical to own a hybrid backpack?
a:

In a perfect world, yes, but there simply is no replacement for a backpack with an internal/external frame. There is no way you can fit an incredible amount of weight in a hybrid without adding stress to the backpack and your body. There is room in the industry for both, which is why people usually buy one of each.

q: What size of bag do I need?
a:

The size will depend on how long your trip will be and the weight and bulk you are capable of carrying. For weekend hunting or activities that often last from one to three nights, a sturdy 30 to 50 liters hiking bag is ideal. Efficient hunters using more modern and less bulky hunting gear can really pack things light on one to three days hunting trip by using a hiking bag of this range. But you need careful planning and self-discipline if you want to pack things light because you need to carefully choose the gear you need to bring as well as your clothing.

q: What type of backpack is preferable for extended hunting trips?
a:

For extended trips that go as long as five days or more, the ideal hiking bag is not smaller than 70 liters. These bag sizes are also preferable during winter because its size can accommodate additional clothing, a four season tent that comes with extra poles and a warmer sleeping bag.

q: How heavy should the backpack be?
a:

How heavy your hiking bag should be is relative. Every person is unique and it is important to spend some time discovering the optimum pack weight. For example, some people may carry a twenty-seven-pound hiking bag which is good for a seven-day pack and the overall weight is still optimum for them.

q: Is it important to consider ventilation?
a:

There are hiking bags that feature a back panel with suspended mesh to work against the sweaty back syndrome which normally happens with hiking bags with an internal frame that usually rides against the back. Also known as “tension-mesh suspension,” this is designed like a trampoline which allows the frame supported bag to be carried several inches from the back and rests on top the highly breathable mesh. There are also bags built with ventilation chimneys that help promote better airflow because it is built right into the back panels of the bag.

Sources

  1. BackCountry, How to Chose a Backpacking Pack, Website
  2. Outdoor Gear Exchange, What Volume Pack Do I Need, Website
  3. BackPacker, How to Clean and Store Your Gear, Website
  4. Backpacker, Backpacking 101, Website
  5. Section Hiker, Day Hikers 10 Essentials Guide, Website