Best Backpacking Backpacks for Any Travel Excursion
Adventurer & Photographer
Fit, comfort, price and style are just a few important factors when choosing a hiking backpack. Today, the variety of choices is overwhelming. One of the best ways to narrow down your search is to identify one or two of the top features that are important to you while backpacking. If you’re a photographer, waterproof capabilities may be important. Families might be focused on capacity. Whatever it is you’re looking for, there’s a travel backpack out there for you.
If you’re new to backpacking or just aren’t able to venture out as frequently as you’d like, you may not be looking to make a huge investment in a backpack. These budget-friendly hiking backpacks will meet all of your basic needs without breaking the bank.
The cheapest backpacking backpack on our list doesn’t skimp on performance. For its size, the OneTigris Lite Roamer is still ultralight and can be customized in almost every way based on your backpack needs.
“Great deal and it’s a very good bag. Well made, good design.” – Stephen P. via Amazon
You might not expect a name brand like North Face to make a large, budget-friendly camping backpack. While The North Face Terra 65 Pack typically costs around $180, savvy shoppers can often find deals and second-hand options.
“I love this bag for longer backpacking adventures, or for just loading up to go car camp somewhere.” – Annmarie via Google
You’ll get every penny’s worth out of the REI Co-Op Trail Break since this highly customizable backpack makes the perfect shareable or hand-me-down hiking gear. REI also partnered with sustainability textile brand Bluesign to utilize eco-friendly fabrics and materials.
“I would recommend this to anyone looking for a first rucksack or a universal rucksack in general. This ruck will do everything you need it to and last.” – Brandon via REI.com
Most backpacks today are made with some version of water-resistant material. But if you’re especially concerned about keeping electronics or equipment *totally* dry, check out these waterproof hiking backpacks.
The LL Bean Adventure Pro Waterproof Daypack is our most affordable recommendation for a waterproof backpack. Due to its compact size, this is a great rainy day hiking pack. The dry bag design also makes it a smart choice for water adventures like kayaking, rafting or canyoneering.
“Waterproof and works well as I put my backpack/handbag inside and my things stay dry.” – Susie via LLBean.com
For mountaineers looking for a little more out of their waterproof backpack, look no further than the Fjallraven Bergtagen pack. The Swedish outdoor gear company has developed their own signature Bergshell waterproof material. The company also focuses on sustainability, making this an eco-friendly, reliable design.
“This pack was with me during a long, wet-heavy snow day and everything inside stayed dry…Plus a comfortable fit and INCREDIBLY light!!” – Charlene J. via Fjallraven.com
Large Capacity Backpacks
Sometimes size matters. Whether you’re traveling with a family or simply need a lot of gear, check out these extra large hiking backpacks.
The Kelty Coyote 85 offers both size and value. With smart design and organizational features, there’s a place for everything in this hiking backpack. If the 85L version still isn’t enough space, you can also upgrade to the colossal 105L backpack.
“Great backpack. Exactly what I needed. A large durable backpack” – John A. via Kelty.com
Despite its load capacity, the Gossamer Gear Mariposa is a great lightweight hiking backpack. Maybe that’s why this backpacking backpack is one of the company’s bestsellers. Plus, you can buy add-on attachments like the hands-free umbrella clamp or a camp seat.
“This is one of the best backpacking purchases I’ve made in recent years. This pack is so light and yet has a good volume.” – Jiasong Y. via GossamerGear.com
Osprey’s largest backpack, the Osprey Aether Plus 100, is a mammoth hiking pack. Perfect for backcountry expeditions, it can be converted from a backpack beast into a convenient daypack. Similar to the REI design, this backpack also features environmentally-conscious Bluesign materials.
“I bought this pack and took it on a 2 week backpacking trip and it has enough to space for gear , food ,and clothes. Highly recommend this pack for its durability, weight, size , and all around features.” – Ezekiel P. via Google
Raise your hand if you’re looking for a compact, multi-use daypack that can transition from wilderness to urban adventure. You’re in luck– these versatile backpacks seamlessly transition from a weekend on the trails to your Monday morning commute.
Meet the smallest backpack on our list. The REI Co-Op Ruckpack is the perfect travel pack for a day on the trails or a day in the city. Made of recycled nylon, it’s also a responsible travel choice.
“Nice pack – great size. Plenty of organized space makes things easy to find.” – April via REI.com
The Patagonia Black Hole line of gear has quickly gained a cult following among travelers, like many of Patagonia’s high-quality, eco-friendly products. On the go or on the clock, this backpack can carry it all from water reservoirs to laptops.
“…it has pouches for electronics and keeps items dry. I took it on a snowshoe trip this weekend, and it did great!” – Kelleynicky via REI.com