The Hike. Probably one of the most common tests of human endurance available.
When a person pits themselves against the spirit of the hill and proves that he or she can climb up any mound of dirt on Earth just to see the gleaming horizon stretching out to infinity.
Accomplishing this feat takes more than an indomitable will. It requires the right equipment.
Many great travelers have been lain low by carrying the wrong supplies in their undersized satchel or choosing a hiking backpack that chafed them raw, forcing them to throw it into a crevasse with foul curses.
Picking the proper hiking backpack is about balance.
You need it to be big enough to take all the water, trail mix, and beer but not so large that it is cumbersome and weighs you down.
You want the proper straps and adjustments so that it is comfortable and fits you like a lumpy second skin.
You want something durable that can take a tumble down a glacial rockslide without tearing.
Most importantly, you want something that looks good because mountain goats are mean.
For all of this and more, we offer our 5 best-hiking backpacks.
COMPACT ASSAULT PACK
- Total of four compartments: Main compartment: 18" x 10" x 5" with one zipper and one mesh pocket. 2nd compartment: 15" x 8" x 2". Front top compartment: 4" x 7" x 2.5". Front bottom compartment: 10" x 8" x 2.5". Hydration compatible.
- Small, compact bag. Perfect for use as a day-pack.
What’s to Love: Barb-wire tough.
What’s to Hate: Cramped quarters.
Hard-Core: It’s just cute as a button that you want to cart your energy bar up the hill.
When you’re ready to do something big-time, like pack some extra armor plates to raid an insurgent camp in a cave halfway up the mountain and need space for your sidearm, then you go to see Condor.
The Assault Pack is made with rough climbing in mind and won’t rip or tear under the most arduous of conditions.
It is relatively compact though it still manages to find space for a hydration bag and plenty of extra ammo.
The compact size is better for short trips or going up very serious gradients. If you plan on doing as much scrambling and climbing as hiking, this will help.
If you need extra storage for your makeup, this ain’t your bag.
Comes in small, medium, and large sizes depending on your mission outing and lots of lovely camo colors to complement your shoes.
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BLACK DIAMOND NITRO
What’s to Love: Hydration pocket.
What’s to Hate: Not very versatile.
Lighter Than Air: Weight is always a concern when it comes to hiking backpacks, and usually, the lighter ones are flimsy jobs that tear open like cheap grocery bags.
The Nitro isn’t like that. It does seem too light to be true at first, and you’ll be tempted to reinforce with something, like a military-issue duffel bag, but you must fight that urge.
The back is a unique ridged foam that offers airflow without sacrificing durability. The general size is good for day hikes and maybe overnight, though that would be pushing it.
It bears a separate hydration sleeve so bottles can be refilled without digging through your whole bag. The easy access top and mesh side pockets let you get what you need in a hurry. This makes hours on the trail a joy but turns days on the trail into hell on Earth.
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Dakine Cyclone Ii Dry Pack 36l
- Material: 305D Cordura nylon ripstop
- Volume: 36L
- Shoulder Straps: breathable, ergonomic
- Access: top
- Pockets: 2 water resistant stash, 1 laptop, 1 mesh side
What’s to Love: Compartmentalization.
What’s to Hate: Slower camera access.
Shutterbugs: Ansel Adams swears by this particular hiking backpack for photographers.
The truth is that if you are a serious photographer, few bags can both carry all of the lenses and equipment you need as well as provide sufficient space for silly things like water and food.
The Sequence’s interior compartments are made to let you carry everything for capturing the perfect shot of sunset over El Capitan.
At the same time, it can also be loaded with food and has a laptop compartment that can easily carry a camel bag for water.
The bad news is that it doesn’t have a separate fanny pack for your camera so quick-draw shots are often out of the question.
The good news is it doesn’t have a fanny pack to make you look like a tourist.
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BERGHAUS Trailhead 65l Rucksack
What’s to Love: Reduced pack sweat.
What’s to Hate: Awful rain cover.
Total Comfort: Tall people, short people, hobbits, and hunchbacks all have trouble finding hiking backpacks to suit them.
Most designers start with average body types and don’t offer nearly enough options for those who need something different.
The Freeflow is made with the Biofit System, which changes the strap size and the overall length of the pack to help those whose bodies are made like special and unique snowflakes.
It is comfortable for almost anyone and includes an airflow system that helps keep your back cool, so you aren’t covered in what is scientifically known as “Back Pack Sweat.”
Tons of pockets and padding also make it easy to use and carry. The sole drawback is the included raingear is, how you say, terrible.
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OSPREY EXOS 58
- AirSpeed suspension keeps the weight in the pack off your back, enabling highly ventilated carrying comfort
- Dual access stretch mesh side pockets for storing water bottles and other gear
- Front stretch mesh pocket for quick storage of rain gear or extra layers
- Removable floating top lid with integrated FlapJacket protects packed gear when top lid is removed
- Internal hydration reservoir sleeve accommodates up to a 3L reservoir (sold separately)
What’s to Love: Versatility.
What’s to Hate: The Price, oh Lord, the price.
Best All-Around: You can’t go too wrong with any member of the Osprey line, but the Exos 58 is the most impressive.
It is light enough to be used as just a hiking backpack for a day on the mountain yet sturdy enough to be part of a backpacking frame for a trek along the Pacific Crest Trail.
The ExoForm shoulder and waist straps stick tight without slipping and won’t dig into your body.
An AirSpeed back panel coupled with very light material help allows your back to breathe. It bears an integrated flap for rain and weather protection that works well.
It has pockets everywhere. There are a few on the waist strap, two mesh on the sides and one on the front, as well as zippered options all around.
You’ll even note an ice tool attachment on the side for alpine climbers and mountaineers. Includes removable compression and inside-out straps that allow it to transform into whatever you need in a pack.
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Skog Å Kust BackSåk Waterproof Floating Backpack
- Rugged All-Weather Protection: BackSak is made from heavy duty 500-denier PVC to seal out the elements with watertight, welded seams and a roll-down top. Keeps your gear protected & dry in a variety of outdoor sports and activities.
- Comfort & Convenience: Sternum clip & padded back support help relieve pressure on muscles. Thick, cushioned straps adjust for custom comfort. Handy D-rings at sides hold water bottles & other gear.
- 2 Easy Ways To Close: Simply fold the roll-down the top at least 3 times, then click the top clip to create an instant handle. OR use the side clips & adjust for a snug, compressed fit – it’s main compartment is IPX-6 waterproof either way!
- Zippered, Protective Pockets: Spacious interior pocket keeps electronics & other valuables separate from wet towels & swimsuits. Splash-proof outer pocket safely holds keys, IDs, more.
- 25 & 35 Liter Sizes: Both our 25L and 35L sizes feature our sleek, simple design - no tacky slogans or garish logos. Available in a variety of colors and backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee
What’s to Love: Simple.
What’s to Hate: Very Simple.
Honorable Mention: TheSkog Å Kust BackSåk has many things to enjoy about it besides the name. It’s basically the modern version of the old-school rucksack you stuffed your younger brother into.
It is made of bomber 1200 D nylon treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent), making it hard to get wet and hard to cut through. You should get years of use out of the TheSkog Å Kust BackSåk.
The compression straps are good for any load size, though you’ll find the pockets frustrating. It has one primary compartment with no specialized places, secret pockets, or high-tech nonsense.
If you like to throw a bunch of gear into a bag and get on the trail, the TheSkog Å Kust BackSåk is a fun – if not especially versatile – choice.
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Buying Guide – Best Hiking Backpacks
If you are an avid hiker, you probably already know the best hiking backpacks for women. For starters, they have to be light-weight and easy to carry on your back. They need to be durable and sturdy enough to hold the weight of a lightweight woman. They also need to have good storage compartments for all your essentials, such as your cookware, sleeping bags, lunches, and other foodstuffs. Lastly, the best hiking backpacks for women generally have adjustable straps so that you can adjust them for your height and waist.
In finding the perfect hiking backpack, consider the features that really appeal to you. Although it might be tempting to buy the cheapest one you can find because it is cheaper, you may get something that is not very useful for you. To get the best value for your money, look at the various hiking backpacks for women available on the market. They come in different sizes, shapes, colors, materials, designs, and of course, in varying price ranges. Consider the following features when choosing a hiking pack:
You will never go on a day hike without plenty of water. Even if you bring plenty of bottled water, having a water bottle pocket on your hiking backpack would be very useful. Some daypacks come with water pockets that can fit plastic bottles and other suitable water bottles, so do not forget to check them out.
If you are hiking long and rough trails, you need a water filter system that does not take up too much space. The water filter on your pack can be attached to the pack’s back panel or to a small water bottle. A good filter has a built-in filter cup that can be taken out for cleaning. Some of these filter cups are made from breathable fabric, making it easy to breathe as you drink.
Camping trips are not the same as hiking expeditions. You do not need to carry all your gear; you just have to leave behind the essentials such as food, plates, silverware, dishes, toiletries, and sleeping bags/beds. On the other hand, trekking involves carrying many more things, including a tent, cookware, food and water, a tent, sleeping bag/beds, a stove, hiking boots, hiking poles, and other equipment. Hence, carrying a lightweight but durable backpack that can provide all the gear that you need for trekking would be a wise choice.
Another important feature to consider when purchasing a hiking backpack is its water-resistance. Waterproof backpacks are preferred by hikers because they allow them to carry sufficient amounts of water on them. The most common material used for water-resistance is nylon. Some backpacks also come with reflective strips that make the user more aware of their surroundings during night time. These accessories make the backpack more noticeable in high places, and the user can find their way around the wilderness.
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Last update on 2021-09-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API