Hiking Backpacks



hiking backpacks, kids backpacks, backpacks for kids, lightweight backpacks

The best hiking backpacks will fit your own body comfortably. Look for backpack ratings and ultralight backpacks for comfort as well as the different brands like the Northface backpack styles. In addition to the two basic designs outlined below, there are also ultralight backpacks and even children backpacks.

Backpacking backpacks or hiking backpacks are available in two basic designs:

  • The internal frame backpack
  • These are the most popular version of backpacks to choose from and are more widely available at your favourite outdoor store. My personal favourite is the Osprey backpack brand which can be found at REI. I love Osprey partly because of their lifetime warranty but also because of their adjustable frame. Osprey backpacks also makes backpacks for kids and specific models for women.
  • The external frame backpacks

  • These original style backpacking backpacks shouldn't be ignored. They are harder to find these days but for many people they are a much more comfortable choice. The Alps Zion backpack is an award winner and has received great reviews from users.

    Outside of these two categories to choose from there are also the following:

  • Backpacks for kids
  • Kids should carry a lighter load and have a properly fitting backpack also. There are many different brands making backpacks specifically for kids. Osprey makes a great kids backpack with an adjustable torso which works well as they grow.

    We recommend that kids carry only 10-15% of their body weight on their backs.

    Fitting a kids backpack is just as important as it is for adults and how to pack a backpack for kids is the same for adults.

  • Hydration backpack

  • These are either seperate packs on their own or the hydration case itself can fit in most newer styles of backpacks.
  • How to pack a backpack

  • How you pack your hiking backpacks can make it a lot easier to carry.

    The premise of any backpack is to carry all your backpacking essentials on your back comfortably.

    Both internal and external frame backpacks are equipped with a hipbelt, shoulder straps, chest strap and adjustable straps for your shoulders and hips. They also come with lots of compression straps to keep your gear in place.

    A good backpacking backpack should be able to transfer most of the weight onto your hipbelt to take the weight off your shoulders.

    If your neck, back or shoulders are in pain or a lot of discomfort than you may have too much weight in your backpack or it's not fitting you properly.

    Ideally you should only carry 25-30% of your ideal body weight on your back.

    An experienced and very fit hiker may be able to carry more weight and a less experienced not as fit hiker should consider packing a lighter load.

    Backpacks are generally sized by torso length. From the top of your spine (you can feel the bone at the base of your neck) to your waistline. Have the store measure you for a proper fit.

    women's backpack, lightweight backpacks
    Women's backpacks are specifically designed with wider hip belts and narrower shoulder straps.

    A good thing to consider for most women.

    If you're in the market for a new lightweight backpack look for lots of pockets to hold things you will want easy access to like your water bottles, snacks and compass or maps.

    Also consider a rain cover even if the backpack claims to be waterproof. Zippers and seams always make any fabric vulnerable to rain.


    Backpacks come in litre sizes. How many days you will need your backpack for determines the size you want. There is no sense in buying a hiking backpack that will carry more than you'll ever need. It becomes wasted space and extra weight you don't need to carry.

    When you are trying on backpacks make sure you fill it with weights or weighted bags the store should carry. This will give you a much more accurate idea of what it will feel like and how you will be carrying it.

    Ziplock bags: I highly recommend using these or other forms of sealable plastic bags. They can help you keep your items organized and they'll guarantee to keep everything dry.

    Backpacks for hiking should be comfortable to wear and are one of the most important pieces of backpacking gear. Take your time choosing your next hiking backpack, it'll be attached to you for a long time!

    Happy Hiking!



    Go to Internal Frame Backpacks
    Go to External Frame Backpacks
    Learn how to Pack a Backpack
    Check out Hiking with Kids
    Check out Backpacking Food
    Check out our Hiking Gear Page
    Backpacking Cookware
    Backpacking Food
    Backpacking Meals
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