Man and woman hiking through forest with text overlay The Best Hiking Backpacks for Every Type of Hiker
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Best Hiking Backpacks of 2021

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The 10 Best Hiking Backpacks of 2021

One of the most important pieces of hiking gear you’ll shop for is a hiking backpack. You need to find one that can easily carry all of your essential hiking gear without weighing you down too much. But there are so many hiking backpacks out there. How do you know which option is the best hiking backpack for you?

We’ve tried out a variety of backpacks over the years, and we’ve used what we’ve learned to put together this list of the top hiking backpacks. Whether you’re heading out on a quick day hike or a multi-day trek, you’ll find exactly what you need when you choose one of these best hiking backpacks.

1. Best Overall Hiking Backpack

The Osprey Atmos AG 65 (men’s size) or Osprey Aura AG 65 (women’s size) is our pick for the best overall hiking backpack. These packs can comfortably hold between 35 and 50 pounds, yet they’re still impressively lightweight.

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They offer plenty of padding around the shoulders and hips and an adjustable harness, so if you do load them up will all of your gear, you won’t feel a lot of pressure or pain. There’s a front stretch pocket that offers access to items you want to get to quickly, such as snacks or rain gear.

The pack also features a sleeve for an internal hydration reservoir, which makes it incredibly easy to stay hydrated during your hike.

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2. Best Backpack for Day Hikes

If you’re heading out for a day hike, you don’t need a large pack that has space for plenty of gear. That’s why the TETON Sports Oasis 1100 backpack is an excellent option. This lightweight backpack is designed for both men and women and features an ergonomic design, anti-shock chest strap, and athletic fit for all-day comfort.

Related: The Best Day Hikes Near Asheville, NC

Best of all, it also comes with either a 2-liter or 3-liter hydration bladder so you can easily drink water when you’re on the trail. It even has a built-in rain cover that can help keep your pack and gear dry if you happen to get caught in the rain.

3. Most Affordable Hiking Backpack

If you’re just getting started with hiking, you might not want to shell out a lot of money for a backpack. Fortunately, you don’t have to thanks to the Kelty Quartz 26L backpack. This pack is made for men and women and features a padded back panel and shoulder straps for excellent comfort.

The internal pockets make it easy for you to neatly organize all of your gear. Plus, thanks to an internal sleeve that can hold a water bladder or a laptop, this pack is also incredibly versatile and can adapt to anything from a day on the trail to an afternoon in the city.

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4. Most Comfortable Hiking Backpack

Some people want to bring only the absolute essentials when they hike. Others want to make sure they’re prepared for everything. If you fall into the latter category, you’ll appreciate the comfort offered by the Gregory Mountain Products Stout 65 (men’s size) or Gregory Mountain Amber 65 (women’s size).

This pack has adjustable suspension straps that help you get the perfect fit and an internal frame that moves with your body to help you conserve energy. However, the best part about this pack is that it offers an absolutely phenomenal amount of storage. If you want to bring something with you, you’re sure to find a spot to store it in this pack.

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5. Best Eco-Friendly Hiking Backpack

The more you hike, the more you’ll begin to realize how amazing this world is and why we need to protect it for future generations. One easy way to do that is to buy an eco-friendly hiking backpack.

Patagonia is one of the best companies out there when it comes to making durable and sustainable gear, and the Altvia pack is no exception. This pack is made from rugged 100% recycled nylon.

For comfort, it features padded shoulder straps and a highly breathable back panel. Plus, for convenience, the pack has a front pocket with a lid that automatically closes when you pull the drawstring.

Related: The Best Hiking Trails Near Chattanooga, TN

6. Most Durable Hiking Backpack

Are you hard on your gear? Then the Lowe Alpine Cholatse 55 (men’s size) Lowe Alpine Cholatse ND (women’s size) is the backpack for you. This durable pack is made with nylon fabric for added strength.

It includes unique loops with tip grippers below the lower compartment to securely store trekking poles or an ice axe. To make sure you stay comfortable on your hike, it also has an air-mesh back, adjustable straps, and padding on the back, shoulder straps, and hip belt.

On top of all that, this backpack also includes an SOS panel that tells how to use your whistle and arms to signal for help.

Related: How to Stay Warm Hiking in Winter

7. Best Lightweight Hiking Backpack

The Osprey Exos (men’s size) and Osprey Eja (women’s size) offers exceptional quality and comfort at an affordable price. The pack itself weighs approximately 2.5 pounds, yet it can hold between 20 and 40 pounds.

It has a unique AirSpeed suspension that helps keep the weight off your back. You’ll also find plenty of trail-friendly features, such as the Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment, dual access stretch mesh side pockets, front stretch mesh pocket, and internal hydration reservoir sleeve that can hold up to a 3-liter reservoir.

Related: The Best Trekking Poles for Every Type of Hiker

8. Best Waterproof Hiking Backpack

If the forecast calls for rain or you plan on doing some paddling during your hiking trip, you definitely want to bring along the Exped Verglas pack. This durable nylon pack has a carbonate polyurethane coating that gives it outstanding water resistance.

It has a zippered pocket on the top that offers quick access to smaller items, such as lip balm or sunscreen. The exclusive Tool Blades provide swift attachment of an ice tool at various spots on the pack. There’s also space inside to hang a hydration reservoir.

Related: Must-Know Tips for Staying Dry When Hiking in the Rain

9. Best Hiking Backpack With Adjustable Sizing

Different types of hiking trips call for different types of hiking gear. Since your pack will sit differently on your back depending on what you’ve packed inside, it helps to have one that’s completely adjustable. That’s why the Deuter Aircontact Lite 50+10 (men’s size) or Deuter Aircontact Lite 45+10 SL (women’s size) make our list as one of the best hiking backpacks.

Related: Important Tips You Need to Know About Hiking in the Heat

This pack features adjustment straps at the shoulders that can shift weight from the shoulders to the hips and a hip belt that pulls forward to make it easier to carry heavier loads. In addition to these great features, this lightweight and extremely comfortable pack also has a ventilating back system that helps reduce perspiration by 15%!

10. Best Large-Capacity Hiking Backpack

You’ll have no issues finding the space you need for your gear when you choose the Deuter Futura Air Trek 60+10 (men’s size) or Deuter Futura Air Trek 55+10 SL (women’s size). This comfortable pack has storage everywhere you look, such as a dedicated bottom compartment, zipper pockets on the hip fins, trekking pole and ice axe attachments, a stretchy inner compartment, a large stash pocket on the side, two stretch side pockets, and more.

Since you can pack so much inside, the pack also offers excellent load transfer. The steel frame, side compression straps, stabilizer straps, and adjustable sternum strap all work together to provide a very secure and stable fit.

Related: The Best Hiking Boots for Men

Best Hiking Backpacks for Every Adventure

Having the right hiking pack is incredibly important. No matter what type of hiking trip you have planned, you know you can find the perfect pack when you choose one of these best hiking backpacks.

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