An adventurous hike only happens if everything is in the right shape and size. You need the best hiking backpack, best hiking shoes, best torch and off course the best company to achieve a memorable hike.
There being many types of backpacks suitable for different occasions and purposes we may tend to confuse them if we do not know the qualities prevalent in each type. Some common types of backpacks are travel packs, laptop packs, school packs and hiking packs.
In this article we shall have a detailed look at the best hiking backpack, its 3 major categories, what to consider when buying one, how to care for a hiking backpack and of course the top 10 best hiking pack 2018.
|Osprey Volt 75||75liters||men|
|Osprey Ariel AG 75||75liters||women|
|Granite Gear Lutsen 55||55liters||men|
|Mountainsmith Lariat 55||55liters||men|
|Deuter Aircontact Pro 65+15 SL||65+15liters||women|
|Kelty Coyote 70||70liters||women|
|North Face Banchee 65||65liters||women|
|Kelty Coyote 80||80liters||men|
|Osprey Sirrus 50||50liters||women|
|Mountaintop 40 Liter||40liters||unisex|
Categories of hiking backpacks
- Day packs
- External frame packs
- Internal frame packs
These packs are perfect for short to single day hikes, runs, bicycle rides and climbs. On a general look, these packs are frameless and soft backed. A good day pack is light weight with maximum weight capacities of 10 to 15 pounds. The hip belt must be strong and good enough to keep the load from thumping on your back with every stride.
External frame packs
The external frame pack is specially used for carrying big heavy loads. They are best suited for walking on trails as opposed to other hiking purposes such as mountain climbs, skiing and bushwhacking. The entire load on this pack is usually positioned to hang off a simple exterior frame away from your back. The center of gravity here is higher as opposed to the internal frame packs; this build is advantageous in 2 major ways: it allows hikers to walk in a more defined upright posture since the weight is transferred excellently along the hip region and prevents sweaty backs due to their air flow system.
Internal frame packs
Internal frame packs are a great choice if you intend to carry heavy loads let’s say 15 ponds onwards. Within the packbag are frames made of plastic frame sheets, curved delrin rods, aluminum stays or a combination of these 3 components.
If properly fit they hug your back’s contours thus cinching the weight close to your spine. The frames main job is to enable weight transfer to the hip region. For this purpose, these bags are also fitted with very good and durable hip belts.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Osprey Volt 75 -Best hiking backpack for men
- 2 2. Osprey Ariel AG 75 -Best Hiking backpack for women
- 3 3. Granite Gear Lutsen 55–2nd Best Hiking Backpack for men
- 4 4. Mountainsmith Lariat 55–2nd Best Hiking Backpack for Women
- 5 5. DeuterAircontact Pro 65+15 SL–3rd Best Hiking Backpack for Women
- 6 6. Kelty Coyote 70–4th Best Hiking Backpack for Women
- 7 7. The North Face Banchee 65 Backpack for woman
- 8 8. Kelty Coyote 80 L Best Hiking backpack for men
- 9 9. Osprey Sirrus 50 -Best hiking backpack for women
- 10 10. Mountaintop 40 Liter Best Hiking Backpack For Unisex
- 11 What to consider when choosing the best hiking backpack
- 12 How to clean and care for your best hiking backpack
- 13 Conclusion…
1. Osprey Volt 75 -Best hiking backpack for men
Osprey is a universal company best known for its superbly branded hiking backpacks. The company caters for both men and women with a variety of Osprey packs in the market. Once you rock an Osprey backpack you can rest easy knowing that you are ready for any travel eventualities.
The Osprey Volt 75 is a top performer for budget back-country hiking. Looking at its general design, you won’t spot anything fancy other than the well accentuated shoulder- waist straps and a sturdy on the go build. The compartments and side pockets are a plenty but from a general view it’s hard to tell if they exist. Its grey and black color combo is a great way to camouflage any dust or dirt that you may pick along the way and you can choose to give it some occasional cleaning from time to time.
If compared to other Osprey backpacks, the volt’s hip belt isn’t as generous however its firm, form fitting hip belt performed better even when the pack was loaded to maximum capacity.
Its general build is durable nonetheless the stretchy back pockets and stuff compartments may begin to show small holes and wear overtime.
On a brighter note, the Osprey Volt 75 is a great choice for beginners as well as experienced hikers.
2. Osprey Ariel AG 75 -Best Hiking backpack for women
The Osprey Ariel AG 75 is not only about design and performance but it also has an added anti-gravity technology. This technology is what makes hiking backpacks feel lighter than they look, you can carry as much load as you like without worry of stress or strain.
Its best hiking backpack design can serve men as well, but the many pockets and extra compartments make it a suitable choice for the ladies. The pack has strong shoulder and waist straps, dual hip belt pockets, stretch mesh stuff pockets and a removable brain top suitable for day hikes.
The key feature that stands out in this Osprey Ariel for women backpack is its anti-gravity technology which runs as a system with a lightweight mesh suspended from the lumber to the shoulder blades.
Its grey and black color combo is also great for occasional cleaning whilst the many pockets and compartments make it a good option for organizational purposes.
On a general note, the backpack is easily adjustable but its downside is with the Velcro back panel which is finicky while making minor adjustments.
Although the Ariel is a bit pricey, everything about its build is worth every dime. The trail maybe a rough one but you can rest easy with less weight exertion and secure storage.
3. Granite Gear Lutsen 55–2nd Best Hiking Backpack for men
Men packing loads of essentials for their wilderness exploration have nothing to fear with this backpack since it has great length and breadth for ample packing capacity. It jungle green color and black to grey accents give it a delightful look which allows camouflage.
The sturdy lightweight design features 50 ounces with a 40lbs carrying capacity. Its skinny buckles and straps allowed maximum customization without increasing weight. The Lustsen also features a DWR treated nylon which eliminates need for cover in moderately moist weather.
Customers have reviewed this backpack and have raised concerns over its durability since one complained of its buckle snapping during his first trip.
Wonderfully designed for fast and light hiking, thru hiking and ultralight hikes, Granite gear Lusten 55 gets the job done in the most simplest of ways.
4. Mountainsmith Lariat 55–2nd Best Hiking Backpack for Women
The Lariat can best be described as a 55 liter detachable daypack. Its sleek design features plenty of zippered pockets and compartments with strong shoulder and waist straps. And this makes it one of the best hiking backpack for women.
An extra pocket is added on the waist strap giving ample storage and hip padding for comfort on the go. While not being much of a budget backpack, its equally durable features do complement the extra $$$ you will spend.
Its detachable daypack feature and comfy build is something users cannot overlook. It may not be a light hiking backpack but its durability is one reason most hikers choose it. The waist straps are built with an adjustable feature to fit various waist sizes from 28 to 48 inches.
Its roll top design is a feature worth appreciating however the lack of a brain is a tough reality that hikers will have to adjust to.
Bottom line, the Mountainsmith Lariat 55 is a versatile, durable and adjustable backpack great for international travel, entry level backpacking and first hiking pack for a growing kid.
5. DeuterAircontact Pro 65+15 SL–3rd Best Hiking Backpack for Women
Any outdoor adventure woman would love this hiking backpack. Its impressing height and breadth deliver enough storage space plus its heavy blue to sky blue color and multiple pockets and compartments make it an efficient travel partner.
Its load capacity is 65 liters whereas its separate starter pack comes with 15 liters. A feature that stands out is the Deuter’sVariflex suspension which is a system that allows complete customization and easy adjustment.
Compared to the many hiking backpack torsos we have come across the Aircontact’s torso is one of the easiest to adjust thanks to its Variflex suspension. The backpack is also full of room and storage for ladies nitty gritty travel accessories. Here are some extra features that are a plus one: zippered front access, rain cover, ice tool loops, day pack and rain cover.
With a weight well over 7 pounds, this appears to be the heaviest backpack in our list. The shoulder pads are rough whereas its various components are tightly placed.
Despite its weight, rough pads and tight components, the DeuterAircontact is an overall fit multi day pack.
6. Kelty Coyote 70–4th Best Hiking Backpack for Women
Kelty Coyote 70 is a backpack designed for secure hiking. The plenty of pockets and compartments are properly placed for efficient storage.
Its shoulder straps and waist band are also sturdy and strong enough to support its maximum load capacity.
The hip belt, frame and shoulder straps have ample gelatinous pockets that enhance a comfy feel to the user. Along its streamlined length and width the padding is very luxurious and cushy considering the 70 liter capacity which can be a heavy fix for a woman’s body frame.
Although there are plenty of measures put in place to ensure comfortable use, we tend to think that the 70 liter capacity is still too much for lengthy outdoor travel.
Word around is that Kelty has the best hiking backpacks this year. Coyote maintains a formidable fit for an active day or extended adventures.
7. The North Face Banchee 65 Backpack for woman
The Banchee 65 pack is designed for outdoor wilderness terrains. This all woman’s back pack can accommodate a maximum load capacity of 65 liters whilst allowing just enough storage space for particular essentials.
Its entire frame has proper ventilation on the straps and back allows moisture to escape freely.
Its suspension system and optifit frame maintains weight balance along the hips whilst keeping it far off from the body to avoid sweaty circumstances. The ample compartments and pockets increase convenience and carrying capacity.
Although its general design is a plus one, users have complained of some few weak components here and there. The plastic fasteners and buckles are weak whereas the shoulder straps could use more cushioning.
The backpack can easily fit all your hiking gear while 8+ pockets and 2 outside pockets are effective for organizational purposes.
8. Kelty Coyote 80 L Best Hiking backpack for men
Earlier on we looked at the women’s Coyote backpack let’s now take a look at the male version. At 80 liters this hiking backpack appears to be the only one with such a high load capacity reviewed by us.
With all this weight allowance, it maintains a cushy frame for ultra-light fast packing. The backpack also has strong padded shoulder straps and waist strap.
Its best feature is the breathable and comfortable air mesh. Along its length and breadth, users enjoy ample pockets situated on the brain, hips, sides and front. Novice backpackers will enjoy its perfect fit suspension system which is easy to dial and adjust.
The pack’s durability is our sole concern. We feel that its shoulder joint should have a better burly design.
On the bright side, this men’s Kelty Coyote hiking backpack is a versatile option stacked with features that allow entry level backpacking, week longs treks as well as back country organization.
9. Osprey Sirrus 50 -Best hiking backpack for women
The Osprey Sirrus 50 liter backpack is a budget friendly option for users who prefer more value for less. This pack remains a good companion for muilti-day treks and short outdoor adventures.
Its general design does meet the performance threshold while some few components such as its customizable airspeed suspension and hip belt placement keeps weight away from the back area.
Although its compartmental design does allow some space for a sleeping bag, users have complained of it being too small. Its pick me up handle is also awkwardly placed and can be useless should the brain be closed.
Overall, this backpack is suitable for weekend warrioring and overnight trips.
10. Mountaintop 40 Liter Best Hiking Backpack For Unisex
Completing our list is the Mountaintop 40 Liter Light unisex hiking backpack. MountainTop have impressed us with their growing line of functional and innovative outdoor gear especially this unisex pack. This backpack has enough compartments and pockets to pack your hiking as well as camping gear.
The mesh lining its outer frame protects it against dirt; although most of its features are not a common variant, minimalists do agree that its light weight and ample space is what makes it attractive.
It’s a very light backpack weighing at least 2 pounds and having a 40 liter volume. The Backpack is made of dyneema threads which are 3 times stronger than the Kevlar. The hip belt and its pockets are very large and strong.
Pack only has 2 main compartments and the only pocket available for extra storage is the hip belt pocket. This few storage options allow minimal organization.
This 40 liter pack is indeed a simple backpack, its lightweight design makes it a good choice for minimalist backpacking, day hikes and summit pursuits.
What to consider when choosing the best hiking backpack
Price is a crucial point to consider especially when you’re hiking on a budget. The average backpack prices we have come across range between $150 and $300. Packs on a more pricer end have extra versatile features specific to a user’s needs however, this does not mean that cheaper backpack are not efficient enough. Whether to choose a cheap hiking pack, average priced or expensive pack is all dependent on how much money is available to spare.
As we discussed earlier, a frames main job is to distribute weight along the hip area. Pack with light load capacities do not require an elaborate frame system however packs that allow heavy weight load need good framing.
It’s of major concern how much weight a backpack has when it is not loaded. Components like its material and frames can make it heavy but many brands have discovered ways of making this weight less impactful to the user. Anti-gravity and suspension systems ease the burden on the spine and back while spreading the weight to other regions such as the hips.
The volume, otherwise capacity of your pack is a determinant factor of how much weight you can carry in it. The weighing scale is often in pounds or liters however lightweight packs and day packs allow minimal load storage while internal and external packs support various loads on the higher end depending on their build and suspension systems put in place.
Hiking packs are made of different materials depending on a user’s preference. Lightweight packs are often made of these 2 materials, dyneema or ripstop nylon. On a general note, dyneema is expensive, more water resistant and light weight. Both these materials are highly functional and durable.
Designs are a plenty and they will have to do with their being a brain or not, shoulder and waist straps, how many pockets and compartments are available and where various pockets are located.
A comfortable fit is essential to give the wearer a smooth time while using the pack, in the market there are 4 common fit form designs. These fit designs are for children, women, men and unisex purposes. Each of these fitting forms has different characteristics designed to fit the shoulder, back and hip frames characteristic in each of the 4 common categories.
How to clean and care for your best hiking backpack
Caring for your backpack entails two important things:
- Daily care and how you handle it
- Its occasional cleaning routine
In this section we shall look into each of these two important things.
Daily care and how you handle it
Daily care is essential in ensuring the life of your backpack. If you use it regularly whilst neglecting its care you will find that it gets damaged faster. The way you handle your backpack is also important in avoiding unwarranted emergencies along the way. Here are some 5 things to consider while attending to a hiking backpack’s daily care and the appropriate ways to handle it.
1. If you’re not carrying the backpack, store it in a dry and safe place: some backpacks are made of materials such as leather, these materials do not agree with moist conditions. Always be aware of the storage conditions in which you will put your backpack when not in use.
2. Always carry your backpack with both shoulder straps on: some people are used to carrying their backpacks with one shoulder strap. This habit may add some swag to your entire look but in reality you are slowly damaging the straps. In cases where you are carrying heavy luggage, you will insert lots of pressure on the strap in use. This pressure may lead to this strap tearing or getting damaged.
3. Always pay close attention when dealing with zippers and other fasteners: there are two common types of zipper materials the first is plastic and the second is metal. Each material has its own advantage and disadvantage, for example, plastic zippers are ideal on children’s backpacks and cleaning them is very easy however they are prone to breakage. Metallic zippers are a firm and secure option for serious purposes however some metals are prone to rusting and cleaning metallic substances will need some particular solvents. Magnetic fasteners are also needy of crucial care; ensure that you don’t expose them to fluids and demagnetizing materials.
4. Do not place pointed or sharp objects directly in the backpack’s compartments: sharp or pointed objects if not secured can harm the user or tear the backpack.
5. If you are carrying any food substances, always ensure that you empty the backpack once you are done with this purpose: sometimes we may forget to check the contents of our backpacks on a regular basis but checking each compartment on a daily basis after using it is very important. Clear your backpack off any organic substances such as food. Food can rot in the backpack and sometimes may leave permanent stains that cannot be removed.
Best Hiking backpack occasional cleaning routine
A backpack’s occasional cleaning routine also entails 2 things, first is its light cleaning and secondly it’s deep cleaning. Each form of cleaning has its own specified procedure as we shall look into them in respect to what they entail. On a light note, always ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions on both cleaning routines.
Light cleaning is a type of quick cleaning routine that you undertake after an activity with your pack. Here’s how to light clean your hiking backpack:
- Make sure you empty all its compartments and pockets hold it in an upside down position and shake it thoroughly to remove dust, sand, dirt and any leftover objects.
- Start by cleaning the interiors. Use a clean sponge and water to clean these regions, no soap is needed.
- For the exterior you can lightly scrub out any spots or stains with the moist scrub and little soap.
- Rinse out the soap with clean cool water and a cloth or sponge.
- Hang the backpack under a shade away from direct sunlight.
Although we mention soap and water it is not necessary that these are the only two components for light cleaning. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning directives and follow the instructions on how to clean the materials used to make your backpack.
Sometimes we are very engrossed in our activities to the point that we forget to perform some light cleaning. It’s not a crime, it’s allowed if you hardly have time. Deep cleaning makes up for the many cleaning sessions that you missed. At this point you should know that you are dealing with tough and stubborn stains.
- Empty the backpack ensure that all its compartments, pockets, seams and crevices are open.
- You may choose to shake off the dirt and dust but a more efficient way is to gently vacuum these areas.
- Mend any damaged regions. If the damages are not severe you can DIY but if they are serious you need to take the pack special repairs.
- If the shoulder straps and hip belt can be detached remove them, wash them separately with little soap and water, rinse under running water and hang in the shade to dry.
- If the pack has a detachable metal frame, remove it and keep it aside.
- We assume your backpack is made of a universally water friendly material that should be easy to clean with plenty of soap and water. Any differing material should be cleaned with its agreeing cleaning solvent. Fill a sink or bathtub with plenty of lukewarm water and submerge the pack, soak for some 5 to 10 minutes to loosen the stains and dirt.
- Swish the pack and sponge off the interiors whilst carefully brushing out the exterior spots.
- Rinse the pack under clean cool water, this process may be twice or thrice depending on the amount of soap residue and foam. Drain the water and hang the pack under a shade.
From our detailed research we learn that the best hiking backpack is not your ordinary pack. A lot should be considered when choosing the ideal backpack to suit your outdoor needs.
Constant care should be taken when handling your backpack. Always clean and ensure that you store it in an environmentally friendly spot away from direct sunlight, water and any destructive agents.