Trekking through breathtaking landscapes, from forests to mountains to deserts, and taking in the beauty that nature has to offer can be a life-changing experience.
For some people, once they go on a few great hikes, they can’t imagine spending their free time another way. For others, they just wish they had more time to spend in the great outdoors and look forward to weekend outings.
Whether you’re a regular hiker or just getting into the practice, having the right gear can make an experience go from decent to amazing. One of the most basic pieces of gear is a backpack. And, of course, you want to have the best hiking backpack available.
When choosing the best hiking backpack for your needs, you’ll need to set a budget because bags can get well into the hundreds in price when you consider features like size and materials. You’ll also need to consider what you’ll be using your bag for.
Will you be hiking for just a few hours? A few days? If you’ll be hiking for longer than a few days, it might be a good idea to spring for a little bit more expensive bag, but in any case, there are still great bags out there for any kind of experience.
The first factor we’d suggest considering is the size of the bag you want. Usually bags are measured in volume and can range from 15 liters to 80 liters or more. Generally, 15-25 liters is plenty for a day hike, while anywhere from 40 liters to 80 liters or more is adequate for overnight hikes, depending on what kind of gear you’ll need.
Items like sleeping bags and pads, tents, cooking supplies, food and water can begin to take up a lot of room, so if you’ll need to carry a lot, you’ll need to look for a big bag. But, don’t forget, big bags tend to be heavier, so keep in mind how much your body can handle.
You’ll also want to check how the bag is formatted in terms of space. Some backs come with attached daypacks or “brains” (smaller, often detachable pouches on the top of the bag). It’s a good idea to double check if the volume measurement includes those additional spaces or not (it usually does).
The best hiking backpacks are durable. There’s no way around that. When you hike, you’re often exposed to the elements.
That might range from simple brushes with nature, like a stick scraping the side of your bag when you hike through a wooded area and dirt when you set your bag down, to more intense encounters, like rain or hailstorms.
In any case, you bag needs to be made of strong enough materials to hold up through those kinds of conditions, since a broken bag that you can’t carry or that might cause you to lose supplies can be devastating to your safety.
As a subset of durability, water resistance is very important to a bag because you never know when you might get caught in the rain, especially if you move through different altitudes and terrains.
While the best hiking backpacks are fully waterproof, budget bags may not be. You can always consider a rain cover for your bag or a bag liner (which can be simple as a huge trash bag) for an extra layer of protection from moisture, if needed.
The placement and availability of different pockets might not seem so important but having easy accessibility to essential equipment in a pinch can make a big difference in comfort and safety.
The best hiking backpacks will give you easy access to not only your water source (whether that’s a bottle in a side pocket or a bladder with a straw close to your face), but also a place to store equipment in case of an emergency that you can easily get to.
A good strap design can make a big difference in how your body feels after a long day of hiking. The best hiking backpacks shift weight from your shoulders to distribute it around your body, most notably through strong hip straps.
You should look for a bag with well-padded, thick shoulder straps with chest support, and if you’re considering a larger bag, you should also look for one with comfortable and adjustable hip straps.
The Best Hiking Backpacks Under $100
Now, let’s take a look at the best hiking backpacks we could find that do well at all of the features we’ve mentioned above and fit into your potential price range.
Best Day Bag: The Osprey Talon 22 combines comfort and practicality. It’s one of the only day packs that offers hip straps, making it one of the most supportive daypacks out there.
Best Day Bag with Water Bladder: If we had to sum up the Osprey Daylite Daypack in three words, they would be: Simple, comfortable and durable. Plus, you can thread a water bladder through it, so it really doesn’t get much better than this.
Best Budget Bag: At just $35, the Ozark Trail 40L Hiking Backpack Eagle is one of the best deals out there a bag with a relatively large capacity and comfortable straps.
Best 40L Bag: The FENGDONG 40L Waterproof Hiking Backpack is well-designed to accommodate many different kinds of equipment from hiking poles to a bed roll, and has great side pouches, making it a great 40L choice.
Best 50L Bag: We love that the Esup 50L Hiking Backpack comes with a rain cover and convenient pouches on the hip straps, making it an extremely practical budget choice for this size hiking backpack.
Best 60+L Bag: Outlife’s 60L pack is bug enough to fit everything you need for a multi-day hike and uses a lightweight frame design to minimize any extra weight you might find, making it a great choice for new backpackers.
Now you’ve seen some of the best hiking backpacks under $100 for many different needs. Consider what you’ll be using the bag for and choose the one that best suits your hiking trips.DISCLAIMER (IMPORTANT): This information (including all text, images, audio, or other formats on FamilyHype.com) is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional advice, diagnosis, endorsement or treatment. You should not take any action or avoid taking action without consulting a qualified professional. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here a FamilyHype.com.