If you’re going on a casual hike or a short trip, there’s no need to carry a big rucksack. A small to medium sized hiking backpack will do the job perfectly. It will often have useful tools such as loops and cords to hold items externally, as well as more basic features such as a laptop compartment. Make your journeys trouble-free with one of these 10 best hiking backpacks in 2018 below.
Remote II 30
Remote II 20
|Colours||12 Different Colours / Styles||Black / Grey / Red||Black / Grey / Blue / Magenta / Turquoise||9 Different Colours / Styles||Black / Blue / Green||9 Different Colours / Styles||Black / Blue||Black / Khaki||Black / Blue / Purple||Black / Blue||Colours|
|Construction||N/A||N/A||N/A||600D Poly / 450D x 300D Heather Poly||Nylon & Teksever Fabric||210D Cordura® Nylon / 420D Nylon / 600D Poly Print / 1680D Ballistic Nylon||N/A||600D Polyester||N/A||N/A||Construction|
|Capacity||40 Litres||30 Litres||20 Litres||26 Litres||30 Litres||28 Litres||30 Litres||40 Litres||20 Litres||25 Litres||Capacity|
|Laptop Compartment||Yes, Rear Padding Only||Yes, Rear Padding Only||Yes, Rear Padding Only||• Up to 15" Screens|
• Laptop Compartment - 12" x 14"
|• Up to 15.6" Screens|
• Laptop Compartment - 26.6 x 33.6 cm
|• Up to 15.6" Screens|
• Padded Laptop Compartment - 12" x 13"
|• Up to 15.6" Screens|
• Rear Padding Only
|• Up to 15.6" Screens|
• Laptop Compartment - 38.7 x 2.5 x 26.5 cm
|Yes, Rear Padding Only||Yes, Rear Padding Only||Laptop Compartment|
|Internal Pockets||Internal Pockets|
|Internal Organiser||Internal Organiser|
|Hydration System Compatible||Hydration System Compatible|
|Chest Strap||Chest Strap|
|Waist Strap||Waist Strap|
|Bungee Cord System||Bungee Cord System|
|Attachment Loops||Attachment Loops|
|Ventilated Back||Ventilated Back|
|Hand Luggage||Hand Luggage|
|Dimensions||35 x 25 x 65 cm||51 x 30 x 29 cm||48 x 26 x 22 cm||50 x 34 x 19 cm||50 x 35 x 22 cm||50 x 34.5 x 22 cm||53 x 37 x 16 cm||51 x 39 x 24 cm||47 x 27 x 22 cm||49 x 28 x 24 cm||Dimensions|
|Weight||0.8 kg||0.68 kg||0.5 kg||0.91 kg||1.46 kg||1.26 kg||0.86 kg||1.19 kg||0.41 kg||0.48 kg||Weight|
|Warranty||90 Days Limited||Lifetime||Lifetime||Lifetime||Lifetime||Lifetime||Lifetime||90 Days Limited||Lifetime||Lifetime||Warranty|
The Difference Between a Hiking Backpack and Rucksack
In many cases, the terms “backpack” and “rucksack” are used interchangeably, while other times they’re used to describe different types of bags. This ends up causing a lot of confusion but I’ll try to provide some clarity to what each of those terms really mean.
Popular bag manufacturer and retailer Mountain Warehouse explains “A backpack is smaller, 35 litres and under, a rucksack is larger”. While the capacity of a backpack can be more or less, their explanation is pretty much spot on.
Some other differences to bear in mind are:
- A backpack is ideal for leisure hikes (one day) while a rucksack is necessary for more rigorous and longer treks (several days).
- A backpack can be used as an extra bag for holidays or for day trips, hence why they’re sometimes called daysacks, while a rucksack can be used for backpacking around the world for days and weeks.
Top Features | Best Hiking Backpacks
- Our Rating – This is our own opinion based on product research of our own and other people’s usage and feedback. Clicking through to one of the featured products directs you to our affiliated retailer’s product page, where you’ll find genuine customer reviews. We highly recommend that you read what they say about the model you’re interested in.
- Capacity – How much total storage space is there within the backpack? This is usually measured in litres. Remember that some hiking backpacks allow you to attach items to the outside of the bag, therefore saving space inside the bag. If you’re after a smaller backpack for casual day outs, then check out our 5 best small backpacks list.
- Laptop Compartment – In a hiking backpack or daysack, a laptop compartment is more of an addition rather than primary focus. Sometimes, the padding is only incorporated at the rear and at other times there is very little padding. If you do intend to carry around a laptop often, then I’d recommend that you put your laptop in a slim sleeve or buy a specialised laptop backpack instead.
- Internal Pockets – Are there additional pockets inside the compartments to help organise your belongings? Smaller hiking backpacks will generally have less inside pockets than larger models.
- Internal Organiser – If you carry pens, cards and other small accessories, then an internal organiser compartment will come of use for you. These are pockets and slots of varying sizes that’s ideal for students and workers alike.
- Hydration System Compatible – Backpacks with this feature have a dedicated opening that allows the tube from a hydration bladder bag to filter through, providing easy access to drinking water. It’s a lot more convenient than pulling out a water bottle each time you need a drink.
- Chest and Waist Straps – These buckle clips helps to secure the backpack even more, preventing it from moving around too much when walking. Most hiking backpacks will only have a chest strap, but the best hiking backpacks will often have both.
- Bungee Cord System – The bungee cord that you see looping around the front of some hiking backpacks are designed to hold larger items externally, such as sleeping bags, clothing, walking sticks, large flasks and bottles etc.
- Attachment Loops – These may come in the form of a small bungee cord loop, but most of the time, they will be looped pieces of nylon that allow items such as water flasks to attach to them via a karabiner clip or a rope/cord.
- Ventilated Back – Of course, if you’re going to be hiking with the backpack, then you’d need a well engineered backing system that promotes free flowing of air and less heat retention. The best hiking backpacks have this incorporated so they’re much more comfortable for the wearer.
- Hand Luggage – Because hiking backpacks are characterised by their small to medium size, it makes them suitable to be taken on board flights as hand luggage without needing to check them in. Airlines have different restrictions but the large majority of them are more or less the same in their dimensions. If you’re in doubt, check the airline’s hand luggage policy to see if your bag can be classed as hand luggage.
Our 10 Best Hiking Backpacks 2018 Reviewed
1. Mountaintop 40L Lightweight
Mountaintop are known are producing some of the best value hiking backpacks you’ll ever come across, and they haven’t skimped on quality neither. One of the favourites among their hiking bags is their 40 litre lightweight model which comes in a wide range of 12 different colours and styles.
The capacity is very generous considering the price, and the bag is certainly lightweight relative to its capacity. There’s also a plethora of pockets around the backpack including a laptop compartment should you use the bag for work instead of hiking.
2. Berghaus Remote II 30
Designed for all day hiking and commuting to work, the Berghaus Remote II 30 is versatile as it boasts a laptop compartment, side mesh pockets for bottle storage, a height adjustable chest strap and removable hip belt, a feedway for a hydration pack, a comfortable Flow Back System that provides comfort and breathability, and a very useful large quick access pocket at the front of the backpack.
3. Berghaus Remote II 20
If you like to travel light and you’re after a small hiking backpack that’s not lacking in features, then a good choice would be the Berghaus Remote II 20. It differs from the larger model by having a zipper compartment at the front rather than a elastic pocket and a smaller capacity, but most other characteristics remain the same.
4. The North Face Jester
The North Face is renowned for manufacturing hiking gear of the highest quality, and their Jester model is simply a well engineered simple hiking backpack that is also perfect for work too.
The Jester has a slimmer profile than most, a well padded laptop compartment, an internal organiser for your pens, cards and other accessories, and an highly effective ventilated back system. Plus, it comes in loads of different colours and styles to fit any personality.
5. The North Face Surge
The Surge by North Face combines the best of both worlds of hiking and work with its cleverly designed backpack. It’s the best hiking backpack on this list for international travel thanks to its checkpoint friendly laptop compartment that folds completely flat, tablet pocket and media pocket.
The laptop and tablet compartments are fleece lined which prevents your electronics from hitting the bottom when set down on the floor. The Surge has a multitude of external pockets for better organisation and side compression straps to reduce the size of the backpack when necessary.
6. The North Face Borealis
The North Face Borealis is a popular hiking and travelling backpack that seemingly has all bases covered for work or for an adventure. Constructed from durable rip-stop and ballistic nylon, the Borealis also boasts adjustable chest and hip straps, side compression straps, a suspended fleece lined and padded laptop and tablet compartments and a brilliant front organiser compartment.
Integrated is North Face’s FlexVent™ suspension system which is basically well padded shoulder straps and back panel that delivers maximum support, comfort and ventilation. A bungee cord system and attachment straps at the front allows you to secure even more items. As is the case with many of North Face’s hiking backpacks, the Borealis has a wide range of colours and styles to choose from also.
7. Berghaus Trailbyte
Designed for the urban commuter and casual hiker, the Berghaus Trailbyte markets itself towards the tech conscious wearer.
Its ‘electronics compartment’ has enough storage space and pockets for a 15.6” laptop, a tablet, mobile phone, hard drives and other tech accessories; while the main compartment is an open space for bulkier items such as clothes and books. The Trailbyte is a subtle and professional looking multi-purpose backpack.
8. Mountaintop Tactical
This military style backpack is not your usual hiking bag, but it’s damn effective nonetheless. The Mountaintop Tactical characterized by its distinctive Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) system, which is the grid of poly straps that allows items to be attached to them via a karabiner clip or small rope.
Just about everything on this backpack is durable and rugged, from its careful stitching, to the chunky zips, down to the 600D poly exterior. Each external compartment is zipped and is spacious enough to serve its purpose. All-in-all, the Mountaintop Tactical is ideal if you carry a lot and your bag tends to suffer more bumps and bruises than most.
9. Berghaus Twenty Four Seven Plus 20
The Berghaus Twenty Four Seven Plus 20 is the most lightweight and smallest on our list of the best hiking backpacks. This no thrills small hiking backpack is ideal for the basic hiker and worker who doesn’t like to carry much.
It has a main compartment which houses a laptop compartment and an internal zip pocket, a front zipper compartment and two side mesh pockets for holding bottles. You’ll also appreciate the feedway for a hydration pack, cords to attach walking poles or other items, and the vented air flow backing.
10. Berghaus Twenty Four Seven Plus 25
Add on an extra 5 litre capacity to the previous mmodel and you got yourself the Twenty Four Seven Plus 25, which not only offers more space, but also offers a front attachment system and a large front pouch that allows you to stash and quickly access items such as magazines, newspapers and other bits and bobs.