One of the essential pieces of kit for a successful hiking trip is the best hiking backpack that meets all your needs and can accommodate all your gear.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t count the times where I’ve not been happy with my backpack on a hiking trip – either it hasn’t fit well and the straps have dug in, it has been too small, or even too heavy.
As someone who loves to spend time outdoors, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time recently researching the best hiking daypacks. It can be tough to work out what is going to be the best lightweight backpack for you, especially when shopping online as there are so many different choices, models and styles out there as contenders for the best hiking daypack 2021.
After having tested several of the best small hiking backpack options on recent trips, I decided to share what I’d learned and my experiences looking for the best day backpack.
In this guide you’ll find out exactly how to find the best backpack for hiking and camping and what the important factors to look for are – whether you’re in search of the best ultralight backpack, the best womens hiking backpack, or just the best hiking backpack under $100 – you’re sure to find inspiration in my best hiking backpack reviews.
Let’s get started!
Compare The Top 13 Best Hiking Backpacks Australia 2021
|Osprey Exos 58 Hiking Backpack||1.2 kg||58L||Unisex||4.5||Check|
|Osprey Packs Aether AG 60 Hiking Backpack||2.2 kg||60L||Men||4.5||Check|
|Gregory Mountain Zulu 65L Overnight Hiking Backpack||1.8 kg||65L||Men||4.5||Check|
|Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 40-60L Hiking Backpack||1.2 kg||60L||Unisex||5.0||Check|
|Deuter AirContact Lite 75L Hiking Backpack||3 kg||75L||Unisex||4.5||Check|
|Osprey Packs Kyte 46L Women's Hiking Backpack||1.7 kg||46L||Women||4.5||Check|
|CamelBak Sequoia 18 Women Hiking Backpack||1.2 kg||18L||Women||4.5||Check|
|North Face Recon Hiking Backpack||1.2 kg||31L||Unisex||4.5||Check|
|Osprey Levity 60 Ultralight Backpack||0.9 kg||60L||Unisex||4.5||Check|
|Evecase Travel Daypack Backpack||2.8 kg||-||Camera and Gadgets||4.5||Check|
|Lowepro Photo Sport Travel Backpack||1 kg||-||Camera and Gadgets||4.5||Check|
|Berghaus Centurio 30L Military Hiking Backpack||1.3 kg||30L||Unisex, Military||4.0||Check|
|Phil&Teds Escape Baby Hiking Backpack Carrier||3 kg||18L||Hiking w/ a baby||4.5||Check|
Top 13 Best Hiking Backpack Australia 2021
Here is a handy reference list of the best hiking backpacks 2021 offers – see my full best backpacks for hiking and camping reviews below!
- Osprey Exos 58 Hiking Backpack, 58L
- Osprey Packs Aether AG 60 Hiking Backpack, 60L
- Gregory Mountain Zulu 65L Overnight Hiking Backpack, 65L
- Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 40-60L Hiking Backpack, 60L
- Deuter AirContact Lite 75L Hiking Backpack, 75L
- Osprey Packs Kyte 46L Women’s Hiking Backpack, 46L
- CamelBak Sequoia 18 Women Hiking Backpack, 18L
- North Face Recon Hiking Backpack, 31L
- Osprey Levity 60 Ultralight Backpack, 60L
- Evecase Travel Daypack Backpack, Camera and Gadgets only
- Lowepro Photo Sport Travel Backpack, Camera and Gadgets only
- Berghaus Centurio 30L Military Hiking Backpack, 30L
- Phil&Teds Escape Baby Hiking Backpack Carrier, 18L
What Is The Best Backpack For Hiking?
When you’re looking for the best backpack hiking 2021 has to offer, there are many different considerations to keep in mind depending on your own needs and preferences. If you are concerned about back support, looking at options for the best hiking lumbar pack will be advisable, for instance. That’s just one example.
In the sections below, I’ll go into more detail about how to work out which of the best rated hiking backpacks is likely to be the best for you and what to look for.
How To Choose The Best Hiking Bags
There’s so much choice when it comes to choosing the best backpack for hiking and travel that it can be easy to get distracted by all the fancy features and designs!
Whatever style of backpack you go for, these are the factors I recommend considering for any of the best quality hiking backpacks before making your final choice.
Probably one of the most important elements of choosing the best hiking backpack for the money you want to spend is how much you’re going to be able to fit into it (and what) – i.e. the capacity.
The top 10 hiking backpacks I’ve included in this guide vary in size. If you just want the best day hiking backpack, then something like the best 30l hiking backpack may suit you perfectly.
If on the other hand, you are looking for a backpack for a multi-day hiking trip that can fit your tent, clothes, camping accessories and food, then something like the best 60l hiking backpack or even the best hiking backpack 75l is likely to suit your needs better.
If you’re looking for a backpack that’s suitable for specialised gear, there are also best camera backpack hiking options available that will be perfect for all your photography gear.
Second to how much capacity you’ll need in your hiking backpack is how much it weighs (when empty). This is especially important for larger hiking backpacks and for travel, you’re going to want the best lightweight travel backpack or the best lightweight hiking backpack given your pack will likely be heavy enough once it has your gear in it.
The top ultralight backpacks often feature creative weight reducing measures such as removable covers and tops that can be stripped off when not in use. Choice in the fabric can also make a difference in the weight of your backpack.
If you’re going to be wearing your new backpack over any kind of distance – such as hiking or even just while travelling, it’s super important to make sure it fits your body well for the most comfortable fit.
For women, I recommend selecting the best hiking backpack for women or the best women’s daypack for hiking that has specifically been designed for women as these provide a better fit.
When choosing any of the top rated hiking backpacks, make sure you check the length, width and height measurements of the backpack to check they will fit your body well. Many of the best hiking backpack brands offer multiple sizes for a better fit.
Comfort, Fabric and Durability
If you’re investing in one of the best backpacks for travel and hiking, you’re going to want to make sure your backpack is designed with comfort and durability in mind.
One of the key considerations here is what fabric your backpack is made from – this will not only affect the durability of your backpack but also how comfortable and breathable it is to wear and even the weight of your backpack.
These are some of the main types of fabrics you may find when reading backpack reviews:
- Nylon. One of the most common backpack fabrics, Nylon is nearly always treated with a waterproof coating. Rip-Stop Nylon has the addition of strong cross-threads to prevent tears and rips. Nylon is one of the more cost effective materials for packs, the higher the Denier number, the tougher the quality.
- Polyester. Cheap but not known for its durability. If you’re looking for the best budget hiking backpacks, some may be made from Polyester, which is ok for infrequent use.
- Dyneema Composite. Strong and lightweight, this is one of the top-end fabrics used for durable and lightweight backpacks. More expensive. Can feel stiff and less comfortable.
- Cordura. Premium brand fabric used in some top-end bags and known for its strength, lightweight and durability. Costly.
Although the days of backpacks with external metal frames are mostly gone, all good backpacks, – even the best light travel backpack – have a frame. Most of the best light hiking backpack models in this guide have an internal frame that is designed to be lightweight and space effective while providing support and structure to the shape of the backpack.
External frames are not stable for off-trail trekking or recommended in general for recreational hiking.
Internal frames are made of different types of construction, such as wire perimeters and frame stays. Some of the various options include:
- Frame Stays. These are vertical strips of carbon fibre or aluminium which are sewn into major pockets to keep their shape. These are used by the best ultralight hiking backpack manufacturers who say that no additional wireframe is needed with lighter weight loads.
- Wire Frames. A 360 wire perimeter frame made from bent metal rods to keep the outline of your backpack firm. The advantage of these is they allow ventilation cavities to be created along the back of your backpack for improved comfort. Many popular backpack brands such as Osprey use these. The downside is they can intrude on internal pack space.
- Tubular Frames. Similar to the perimeter wireframes above but not circular, these tubular frames are good at keeping a bag structure in place but provide less flexibility.
Gender, Age and Gadget Care Specific
Given the choice of best hiking backpack reviews out there, it’s not surprising that there are good variety and options that cater to specific needs as well.
As well as the option to get a specifically designed best women’s hiking pack that I’ve already mentioned, there is plenty of choices if you’re looking for the best baby hiking backpack or the best child carrier backpack for hiking.
Other specific needs packs that there is plenty of choice for include the best hiking camera backpack, the best military backpack for hiking, or even the best hiking backpack for beginners if you aren’t sure where to start.
Roll Tops or Top Lids
All of the best backpack brands for hiking focus on top openings (rather than side openings) for the shape that they offer. There are two main types of top openings to be aware of, each with pros and cons:
- Top Lids. You’ll probably be most familiar with these; they cover the top of the pack and when there is some space below them they can be used to store additional gear such as a rolled sleeping mat, sweater or sleeping bag. They provide good water protection and strap down onto the rest of the bag. The main disadvantage is the bag does not roll up smaller when you are not using the full capacity.
- Roll Tops. With a roll top backpack, there’s no ‘lid’; instead, the unused capacity is rolled down over the rest of the bag to seal it off. The main advantage of this type of bag top is you can make the bag smaller if you’re not using the full capacity. However, it provides slightly less rain protection, and if you are inclined to overpack, I recommend you avoid this option for risk of not having enough ‘lid’ left on the bag.
Other Great Features
When researching what is the best hiking backpack, you’ll find that many of the backpacks available have no end of great features. The question is, do you really need all of them? While some of the best light backpack features are super handy, others may add weight or just extra cost to your bag.
Here are some of the extras I recommend keeping an eye out for.
- Waterproof/Resistant. An essential for many hikers, check that your bag has a waterproof coating that’s reliable, or consider buying a separate rain cover.
- Adjustable Torso. If you’re going to be sharing your backpack or want more flexibility, this is a great feature to have.
- Ventilation. Especially if you’re looking for the best lightweight backpack for thru hiking, you’ll want ventilation that reduces sweating.
- External Pockets. More of a matter of personal preference, if you like to have pockets handy on the outside of your pack, these can help store maps, bottles, torches, snacks, or anything else you want accessible.
Best Hiking Packs 2021 Reviews Australia
First, in my best hiking backpack, 2021 reviews is the Osprey Exos 58L hiking backpack.
Available in 3 different sizes, this Osprey lightweight backpack consistently gets rave reviews and is undoubtedly one of the best Osprey hiking backpack options around. Features include peripheral wireframe, a top lid closure, a front stretch mesh pocket for storing rain gear for easy access, and an internal hydration reservoir sleeve that can fit up to a 3L hydration reservoir or camelback (sold separately).
Available in two different colours, this best mid size hiking backpack also features a stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment.
If you’re looking for a great 60L or best 50L hiking backpack, you can’t go wrong with the Osprey Exos 58 – it’s a great Osprey light backpack.
If you’re looking for top hiking backpack brands, then you’ll no doubt come across Osprey – one of the best backpack brands around. In terms of the best Osprey backpack for hiking, the Osprey Aether AG 60 Hiking Backpack is a great one to consider. It is packed with features, and one of the most comfortable packs around.
While designed to be a great option for those seeking the best hiking backpacks for men, this is a good pack for anyone seeking a large sized pack. This backpack is designed to be able to accommodate a load up to around 20kgs comfortably.
This best hiking backpack for men is equipped with a nicely padded hip belt and shoulder straps that are ergonomically designed and also come with supportive suspension, so perfect when your pack is a little on the heavy side.
So if you’re after a great large sized pack from one of the best hiking pack brands around, then the Aether AG60 hiking backpack is one worth considering.
Looking for the best hiking backpack for long trips from yet another one of the top brands for backpacks? Well then consider this Zulu 65l backpack from Gregory Mountain, designed with the male body in mind, featuring some great features while remaining lightweight.
The Zulu has an easy to adjust and well-ventilated frame, so it’s easier to dial up your torso length and stay cool even in hot weather. Other features of this best internal frame hiking backpack include bigger hip belt pockets, an adjustable hip belt, comfortable lumbar panels, and a highly durable external mesh.
If you’re looking for a breathable pack, that has a customisable fit, and temperature regulation, then the Gregory Mountain Zulu is a great option. Definitely, one of the best large hiking backpack options on the list.
When it comes to what’s the best hiking backpack, it really is quite different for each individual. This backpack from Sierra Design is an excellent option for those that want something versatile as thanks to the unique system which lets you expand it from 40-60 litres through the adjustments of a few straps.
Whether you’re after the best 40l hiking backpack or something larger, this pack gives you the option to have both. It features a stiff yet lightweight frame as well as Y-FLEX suspension which allows you to carry heavy loads, exceeding those which can be carried in similar sized internal frames. It also has six exterior pockets and a variety of hip belt sizing options.
If you’re looking for an extremely comfortable, versatile, lightweight backpack, then this best multi day hiking backpack is a good choice. Whether you’re after the best overnight hiking backpack or the best 3 day hiking backpack, with the ability to change its size, this backpack will suit a range of different trips.
If you’re after a large backpack for multi day hikes, then the AirContact Lite 75L is a great option. Certainly one of the best Deuter backpack for hiking trips which last for several days.
This best backpack for travel and hiking is exceptionally versatile, and fit for a wide range of activities from the usual backpacking to trekking, mountaineering, and general travel.
As well as its excellent design, it has superior compression for bulk too. It’s also highly compatible with a 3.0 litre drinking bag or system.
This best hiking camping backpack is lighter than your average pack and is equipped with a friction mesh that protects the bareback shoulders, and hips.
It is made out from an extremely durable fabric, with extremely flexible Active Fit shoulder straps, and re-designed hip fins, this pack perfectly molds itself to fit the wearer comfortably.
It also has front zip acces, outer pockets, a height adjustable lid, lid, bottom, and elasticated inner compartments. Rain cover, and a walking pole holder is also included.
Its Aircontact Lite Backsystem utilizes an open-cell foam to improve ventilation, while the anatomic X-frame aluminum stays and moves with you for a more efficient load transfer.
Overall, this is an extremely versatile pack that can easily adapt to anyone’s needs.
This best women’s hiking backpack 2021 offers is ideal for those after a small sized pack which is extremely durable and perfect for those seeking adventure!
This Osprey Kyte offers a high level of comfort, particularly for those carrying moderate loads. In fact, even when fully packed, it’s still super comfortable. This best backpack for women hiking trips also has a 46 litre capacity so perfect for those weekend trips.
Features of this best womens backpack for hiking include zippered hip belt pockets, dual stretch mesh side pockets, excellent attachment points at the pack’s exterior, an integrated rain cover, and a zippered sleeping bag compartment along with a floating divider.
If you’re looking for an extremely comfortable, best hiking backpack women option which allows you to handle rough terrains with ease, then this pack is perfect—definitely, one of the best female hiking backpacks out there.
If you’re looking for the best Camelbak hiking backpack, then the CamelBak Sequoia 18 Women Hiking Backpack is a great option. Perfect for those seeking the best day backpack for hiking
The CamelBack Sequoia is a super stylish and functional hiking backpack which features an S-curved harness and a much shorter back panel for a more comfortable and customised fit. It comes with a water reservoir that has a 3-litre capacity and an on/off leak proof lever. This best hydration pack for hiking also features an ergonomic handle which makes refilling easy.
The 7 exterior pockets of this best day trip hiking backpack provide plenty of storage, and it has a special NVback panel for excellent ventilation and load transfer.
If you’re after a great daypack as well as the best hydration backpack for hiking the CamelBak Sequoia is a great one to consider. Certainly the best Camelbak for hiking trips for the day.
In terms of the best hiking backpack brand, there are quite a few different options on the market and North Face is undoubtedly one of them. This North Face lightweight backpack is an excellent option as it’s comfy and well-designed – perfect for everyday use and day hikes.
This best travel hiking backpack features a stretch front pocket that keeps your essentials within close reach. Also, it has fleece lined pockets to ensure your gadgets and other electronic devices are kept safe and secure.
This best North Face hiking backpack, also has a FlexVent suspension system equipped with a padded air-mesh back panel and a supportive spine channel to ensure your comfort no matter what your load.
Whether you’re after the best day hiking packs or simply something for everyday use, the North Face Recon is well worth considering. This is the best North Face backpack for hiking or even to take on the daily office commute.
Weighing at just under 1kg, the Osprey Levity is perfect for those seeking the best lightweight day hiking backpack. This ultralight pack is a highly ventilated backpack which has a suspended mesh back that keeps you cool and dry.
Features of this best hiking travel backpack include a fixed top lid with a zippered pocket to easily organise smaller items. It also has a front fabric pocket that allows you to store your rain gear and a side pocket for water bottles and other items.
For external gear, it has a top lid cord loop attachment point. Additionally, it also has a sternum strap along with a safety whistle.
Overall, the Osprey Levity is a great, lightweight backpack; it’s a good option for those after the best travel and hiking backpack which has a 60l capacity.
When it comes to the best day hiking backpacks 2021 offers the hiking photographer; the Evecaset Travel Daypack is an excellent one to consider. This backpack is made from premium nylon materials and is also fully padded with a closed dense foam that’s both shockproof and secure, making it the ideal choice for those after the best backpack for camera and hiking.
While keeping your camera equipment well protected, this best DSLR backpack for hiking can be converted into a travel bag by simply unzipping the middle compartment. Other features include accessory pockets, tripod holder with straps, rain cover, and more. It also has a separate padded laptop compartment which can fit a 15.6inch laptop.
When it comes to the best hiking DSLR backpack, the Evecase is such a great option as it offers both convenience and portability for people who are always on the go. So if you’re after the best backpack for photography and hiking, go and check it out.
Another excellent option for the best camera hiking backpack is the Lowepro Photo Sport Travel Backpack. With the ability to fit a DSLR camera with an attached 24-70mm, as well as additional lenses, this pack is designed to protect your photo gear and other equipment.
This best backpack for photography and hiking is exceptionally lightweight and durable made from ultra-tear strength fabric. Furthermore, it comes with a built-in all weather cover that safeguards your equipment from the rain. It also has a dedicated 2-litre hydration pocket.
Overall, if you’re looking for the best camera backpack for hiking, which will keep your precious photography equipment well protected, the Lowepro Photo Sport Travel Backpack is another option worth considering.
A robust and an extremely versatile backpack, the Berghaus Centurio 30 litre pack can face the most challenging hikes with its extremely durable nylon fabric as well as an internal frame for load support. It’s also versatile with the option of being a 30l or 50l pack, so perfect whether you’re after the best hiking day pack or the best hiking backpack for long trips.
One of the heavier packs in this guide, the Berghaus Centurio features equipment attachment points. It also allows you to attach extra compartments, increasing the capacity of the pack by another 20 litres. So the pack can be either 30 litres or 50 litres depending on the length of your trip.
This backpack also comes with extra pockets which are particularly useful in longer hikes or treks.
Whether you’re after a well-built and durable 30l pack or the best 50 liter hiking backpack, the Berghaus Centurio is an excellent option.
This backpack is suitable for children who weigh 3kg to 18kg, or around 6 months to 3 years. This best baby backpack hiking also comes with a baby hood, mirror and a removable daypack and change mat. Foot stirrups are also included with this best infant hiking backpack to maximise your child’s circulation throughout the hike.
For parents, this best baby hiking backpack 2021 features a dual core waistband and advanced lumbar support to evenly distribute the child’s weight, keeping you comfortable even during long hikes. It also has a hydration pouch and storage to store your liquids and keep you and your baby hydrated.
For parents who enjoy hiking with the little ones in tow, and seeking the best baby backpack carrier for hiking, then the Phil & Teds Escape Baby Hiking Backpack is one to check out.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to the best hiking backpack Australia 2021. Check out the best options for the best travel backpack, best tents, best camping stove, and best camping mattress. Find all my guides to the best camping gear here.
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