Top 10 Best Hiking Backpacks For 2023
Just starting out hiking? If you want to really enjoy it, you need to get the right backpack. There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable, tired, and like your pack’s a lead weight.
Or perhaps you’ve been walking in the great outdoors for some time but now your old rucksack has given up the ghost.
Either way, how do you choose a new pack? There are so many rucksacks on the market, and it can feel so confusing, can’t it?
Fear not, we’ve been researching the best hiking backpacks for 2023 and have compiled our top ten! That’ll give you a great start in finding your new backpack.
what does the perfect hiking backpack need?
- To be fitted to the person who will be carrying it – Ensure the waist belt sits comfortable between the waist and hips, then tighten it to take most of the load. Adjust the shoulder straps to feel secure, ensure the chest strap allows for some movement, and tighten any top tensioners to pull the pack closer to your shoulders. It should sit comfortably, and you should be able to walk effortlessly. Ensure it isn’t slumping down the back away from your head and shoulders. If in doubt, try out your preferred model in an outdoor store and staff will help you fit it correctly.
- The right capacity for your trip – Different rucksacks have capacities anywhere from 20L to 120L, so choose the right one for how long you’ll be on foot and how much you’ll need to carry with you. Day walks will need less capacity than overnight treks where you need to pack a camping stove, a sleeping bag, and a tent, for example.
- A lightweight construction that won’t slow you down – You shouldn’t need to be worrying about the weight of your backpack, just the items inside it. Look for a lightweight or ultralight pack (under 1.5kg) when you hike.
- Easily adjustable shoulder straps to fit you perfectly – Even if your pack is the right length and fits in the small of your back nicely, you’ll need to adjust the shoulder straps to make it comfortable for you.
- An adjustable waist strap to help you spread the load as you walk – Arguably the most important part of any backpack is the waist strap. This spreads the weight of the items in your pack across your body, rather than just being felt in your shoulders, allowing you to walk longer without getting tired.
- Secure clips and buckles – Your pack needs to stay in place so ensure the buckles fit together smoothly and remain attached and that your clips work well.
- Pockets to separate out useful items you might need as you walk – There’s nothing worse than having to stop and root through your pack to find something you need when you’re on a hike. Smaller compartments are useful for gloves, hats, torches, maps, and phones.
- A rain cover to ensure it’s waterproof – Look for a backpack that comes with a fitted rain cover in the purchase price to ensure your clothes and other items remain dry, or budget for buying a separate rain cover in the right size for your pack. Pay attention to the description of the rucksack, too. Many packs are described as ‘water resistant’, which means they have a lower level of resistance to rain than being waterproof.
How much should I pay for a good hiking backpack?
The prices of hiking rucksacks vary widely from around £30 to around £300, depending on the brand, the quality of the materials used, and how long they are expected to last you.
We found good backpacks at all price ranges, so how much you decide to spend will depend on your budget. If you’re just starting out, a more reasonably priced backpack might be sensible, while a seasoned hiker might decide to opt for a pack they expect to use for many years, and so will spend a little more.
Our Top 10 Best Hiking Backpacks for 2023
This exceptional backpack has a large capacity, it weighs under 1.4kg, has 11 pockets, and is an excellent multi-purpose rucksack perfect for hiking, camping, and trekking on longer trips. Everything you need will fit into it, including your sleeping bag, trekking poles, and bivvy.
It also has adjustable padded shoulder straps and is designed to sit effortlessly on your back when you walk. It comes with many features hugely useful to walkers including clips for a survival whistle and water pipe from a hydration system, and webbing on the back to help your skin stay dry for as long as possible. It’s made from a durable nylon fabric and is scratch and water resistant, and it comes with a rain cover.
PRICE: £50.98 (Or £49.98 for the slightly smaller 70L version weighing 1.2kg) View Product Here
This backpack is a beast! It’s ideal for long treks and camping trips where you’ll be hiking, with multiple compartments and secure clips for accessories like walking poles, yet it still only weighs 1.5kg.
Made from weather-resistant polyester, this pack also has an interior plastic coating to keep your things dry, compression straps to keep your items in place, ergonomic design to help you walk easily with it on your back, and adjustable shoulder and waist straps to allow the pack to fit all shapes and sizes.
PRICE: £29.99 View Product Here
3 . NACATIN 60L Hiking Backpack (unisex)
Resistant to wear and tear and water, this pack is made from a high-quality nylon, and it has smooth zips and durable buckles so it’s an excellent investment and will last a long time. It also weighs less than a kilo.
It is ergonomically designed to fit the structure of your back, has wide padded shoulder straps to protect your back and shoulders when you’re hiking with a heavy load, and breathable mesh padding to keep your back dry. There’s a protective inner pocket for your electronics, side pockets for water bottles, and external hanging straps for walking poles, a small tent, and a sleeping bag.
PRICE: £46.99 View Product Here
4 . G4Free 50L Hiking Rucksack (unisex)
Made from waterproof nylon, this pack has a zipped front compartment for quick access and a special zipper compartment for shoes or dirty and wet clothes to help keep your rucksack clean, dry, and smelling sweet. Perfect if you’re changing socks during a long trek or trekking over a few days.
There are side pockets for water bottles, a hydration system compartment where you’ll stow your water bladder, and a breathable mesh back panel. This pack also weights 1.2kg so is a lightweight option for walking and it has useful hanging straps for a tent, sleeping bag, and trekking poles. It comes with a rain cover.
PRICE: £47.59 View Product Here
5 . Freiesoldaten Camping Backpack 60L (unisex)
Adapting easily to fit your shape, this backpack is made from water and tear resistant nylon and has durable buckles and clips that mean it will last you for several years. There is a waist bag for your small, key items like your phone, and open side pockets for your water bottles. Handy hanging straps are perfect for your walking poles, sleeping bag, and tent.
The breathable back padding has an air pumping system to help keep you dry as you walk, and there’s a useful lower pocket for shoe storage. There are multiple pockets, and this pack weighs less than a kilo, so you won’t feel you’re lugging its weight around with you.
PRICE: £39.99 View Product Here
6 . HOMIEE Hiking Backpack 50L (unisex)
The padded waist and shoulder straps on this lightweight backpack are designed to reduce the friction between the pack and your body as you walk. The ergonomic design helps it fit comfortable on your back and shoulders and it is made with durable, waterproof nylon so will be a long-lasting pack.
It has multiple pockets, useful hanging straps for your towels, sleeping bag, and tent, and its mesh pad encourages air flow across the back. There is a D ring for sunglasses and a survival whistle. It’s ideal for hiking and an excellent option for fell runners, too. It comes with a rain cover and hydration system.
PRICE: £43.99 View Product Here
7 . Lowe Alpine Cholatse 42:47 (men’s)
With a thermo-moulded back pad and mesh to help disperse moisture and heat, and a moulded lumbar support, this stylish, tailored backpack is made from anti-tear nylon, it has multiple compartments and compression straps to keep your things where they should be, and it has top tensioners and a forward-pull hip belt so you can adjust it for maximum comfort.
There’s a fast access bottle pocket with a bungee cord, and it comes with a rain cover and water bottle. The 42L to 47L capacity is large enough for multi-day trekking and there’s easy access via the daisy-chain lash points. This pack weight 1.7kg
PRICE: £154.82 View Product Here
8 . Osprey Kestrel 58 Backpack (men’s)
This pack’s back panel is fully adjustable and has foam ridges for comfort as you walk. With 58L of capacity, there’s enough space to stow away anything you need for a trek over multiple days, too. Ease of entry is important with this pack so there’s a zip that opens up the whole of the bottom and a drawstring opening at the top.
There are also eight compression straps to keep your items in place, mesh side pockets for water bottles, pouches on the hips for smaller items, and hanging straps for any items you’d like to lash under the pack, like a sleeping bag. Weighing 1.7kg, it’s a lightweight option that’s perfect for hiking, especially mountain and hillwalking.
PRICE: £134.93 to £141.50 View Product Here
With inch-thick pads of foam on the waistbelt and shoulder straps, a ventilation system to keep you comfortable, and thicker and softer foam across the back, this rucksack also has lots of useful pockets, a rain cover stowed away in the lid, and handy trekking pole attachments.
It’s available in two different back lengths and is compatible with hydration systems and is made from durable 1000D Cordura material to ensure it will last you for years. Perfect for trekking Hadrian’s Wall or the Brecon Beacons!
PRICE: £134.25 View Product Here
10 . Osprey Kyte 36 Women’s Hiking Pack
This durable nylon backpack is specially designed to fit women’s frames. It helps to give your back proper support, especially in the lumbar area, and the AirScape back panel with foam gives a comfortable fit wherever you choose to hike.
There’s an integrated and detachable rain cover and attachments slowing you to stow your walking poles on the go. With a 36L capacity, there’s enough space for the clothing and equipment you need on a multi-day hike, and a side zip to make access easy. It’s also lightweight at 1.6kg.
PRICE: £132.61 View Product Here
If you’re new to hiking, make sure you try out your new backpack at home before you take to the trail and practise loading up your kit to find the best and most comfortable way for you to carry it.
Take a look at our handy guide to what to pack.
There’s an excellent choice of hiking backpacks out there, so now go and find the right one for you!