Tips For Picking The Best Hiking Backpack For Your Backpacking Trip

best hiking backpack

Tips For Picking The Best Hiking Backpack For Your Backpacking Trip


Today we are going to take a look at the types of backpacks and discuss some tips on picking the best hiking backpack for your backpacking or hiking trip.

Camping comes in a wide variety of forms from car camping to overnight backpacking and no matter where you are in the world, camping is one of the most popular pass times. With such a wide variety of camping, it is important to be prepared for the type of camping you want to do. One of the crucial steps for camping is selecting the best hiking backpack for your backpacking or hiking trip.

Every type of camping will have a different type of backpack that is more suited to the activities you are going to engage in so keep that in mind.

Why It Is Crucial to Pick The Best Hiking Backpack?

Picking the right backpack is crucial for a large number of reasons. Most important of those reasons is that you want to be able to depend on the bag when you need it. The last thing you want is for the bag to fail on you while you are out on your camping trip.

Another reason for why that picking the best hiking backpack for your backpacking or hiking trip is essential, is that you want to be able to store what you need to in it and have it organized in a way that is conducive to your camping needs. The proper backpack will support that.

Different types of camping will call for different types of bags, the frame backpacks that are used for longer camping trips is a good example of that. Without the best pack you won’t be able to optimize your camping trip. It could be hard to carry your equipment, or you might end up carrying more than you need.

A good way to think of this is a construction worker needs to use the right tool for the job, they wouldn’t use a screwdriver to put in a nail. The same goes for all of your camping gear, not just your backpack.

What are the different types of backpacks?



best hiking backpack


School Bags

When most people think of backpacks they are thinking of the school bag. School backpacks are designed for everyday use going to and from school. In many cases their durability is questionable and they won’t possess any features that are tailored toward camping.

We highly recommend not even considering a school bag even for car camping as you never know when conditions will change or what you will need from your backpack in an emergency.


A daypack is a type of camping bag that is meant to supplement the one that holds your main camping needs. It is the type of pack that you carry when you go out adventuring for the day and you don’t want to carry all of your supplies or a giant empty bag. Daypacks are small bags that more and more often will feature a hydration pocket.

These are used in addition to your main camping bag and should not be considered a replacement for your camping backpack.

Tactical Hiking Backpacks

Tactical backpacks are very popular in both the camping world and for other backpack uses. Many different types of tactical hiking backpacks exist but most of them are unique in the fact that they have molle webbing, lots of pockets, a military appearance, and durability. The molle webbing allows for you to install additional pouches, clip-on bags, and attach accessories.

Different types of backpacks for camping come in tactical options and they can be beneficial for those in the outdoors, especially those who want a flexible platform. One thing to note is that if you are buying a tactical backpack, you will want to make sure it is built with quality. A lot of cheap tactical backpacks are being produced due to the popularity and that is the last thing you want for camping.

Rucksack Backpacks

Instead of being a type of backpack, a rucksack backpack is more of a style or feature that you can find on a variety of bags. The rucksack design is iconic and easy to spot, they feature a cinched top on the bag and a flag that covers the cinched area to prevent water from entering the bag.

It is common to find backpacks that are designed for camping that have the rucksack feature. This includes many of the best backpacks for camping. It is not a necessary feature though.

Backpack Frames

Most backpacks that you see every day are ones designed without a frame. These are great for everyday use as they are lightweight and can come in all sizes. Backpacks with frames can either be internal frame backpacks or external frame backpacks. These types of backpacks have a frame that runs down the back to provide support for your back. The main reason that backpacks have frames is to support large, tall loads.

Backpacks with frames are best for when you are looking to engage in long-term camping or need to carry all of your supplies out into the field with you. New frames are designed with lightweight material but that doesn’t always mean they are durable. Make sure to check the frame’s reviews and material to ensure durability.


Top Best Cheap Hiking Backpacks To Buy For The Outdoors: Buying Guide


What are some essential features to consider when picking for the best hiking backpack for your trip?


best hiking backpack


  • Waterproof/Water-Resistant

A very important design feature when looking for a camping backpack is water-resistance or waterproofing. Very few backpacks are truly waterproof, but they will put up with a large amount of rain. Even the best waterproofing will often give out if left out in pouring rain for a long time.

Look for a backpack that has a quality waterproof material to get the best resistance possible. Several sprays are also available to help increase the level of waterproofing, Scotch Guard for example.

  • Ergonomic Design

How your backpack rests on your body is important as you will likely be carrying it a lot. If the backpack isn’t designed to sit right, it won’t just be uncomfortable but it can hurt you. If you wear an improperly designed backpack often, it can lead to damage to your body.

Ergonomics also includes the various chest straps and belt straps. These are designed to help spread the load across your body instead of having it centralized in one area.

Find a backpack that is designed to contour to the human body. Many designers will highlight the ergonomic features of their bags. You can also read the many articles on the internet about proper backpack ergonomics.

  • Adjustable Design

Not every body is the same and that is one of the reasons that they make backpacks adjustable. Even the best ergonomic backpack won’t be set up properly for every person. This is where adjustability comes into play, the various straps on the backpack are designed to position the backpack in the proper position on your body.

  • Outside Pocket(s)

Outside pockets and pockets that can be easily accessed from the outside are pretty useful. These are pockets that you can keep the things that you need immediate access to, such as navigational tools, fire-starting tools, flashlights, etc. The number of pockets you need will depend on the number of items you want to be able to access.

  • Tie-Down Straps

A good camping backpack has tie-down straps positioned around the bag to attach additional items to the bag. One of the most common straps is for attaching your camping tent and/or sleeping bag to your camping backpack. Trekking pole tie-downs are also common. With tie-downs, you don’t have to take up space in your bag for these additional items nor do you have to worry about storing dirty/wet items in your bag.

  • Ventilation for Proper Airflow

It can get quite sweaty and hot when you are camping and have your bag on your back for a while. The best backpacks for camping have ventilation built into the design. One key area for ventilation is where your back meets the backpack so you don’t get too much sweat built up in there.

Some bags may also have ventilation designed into the main compartment so your items can breathe. This may compromise the waterproof design of your bag but it can be compensated for by having a rain cover for the bag.

  • Backpack Weight & Carrying Weight:

Another thing to consider when picking the best hiking backpack would  be the weight of the backpack as well as it’s carrying weight. These are two different things:

Backpack Weight:

Refers to how much the backpack weighs when empty. It is advisable to pick a light hiking backpack to avoid carrying around the dead-weight of the backpack itself!

Backpack Carrying Weight:

Refers to how much stuff the backpack is able to carry.  This choice option would mostly likely depend on how far you are going, how much stuff you need to pack and take along for the trip, as well as the length of the trip (how long you are going to stay there). It may not make sense taking an 80lbs backpack when you are just going for a day trip or an overnight trip where you will just be spending a few hours and would not need to take a lot of stuff.


Bottom Line:

Backpacks come in many different designs. It is important to keep these essential features in mind when picking the best hiking backpack for your backpacking or hiking trip. Also, keep in mind how you are going to use the bag and pick your pack with that in mind. For example, do not get a large backpack if you won’t be carrying much in it.




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Are you interested in more options to meet your personal needs and budget? Check out these advanced resources and extended listing we have below on this topic:

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