Best budget hiking backpack

Gear

For the best fit and comfort while hiking, choose a backpack that matches your torso size and has an adjustable hip belt.

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Which budget hiking backpack is best?

Having the right equipment can often make or break a hiking trip. This is especially true for backpacks, as they need to be the right size, fit and weight capacity for the intended trip. There is an abundance of backpacks to choose from for any outdoor pursuit. Thankfully, deciding which type suits you best needn’t break the bank, as there are plenty of budget-friendly options available with similar features to their more expensive counterparts.

The first consideration is where and for how long you will be hiking, as this will affect the size and construction of the backpack. The Everest Hiking Pack is an excellent all-around choice. It has durable, waterproof material, is large enough to carry several days worth of equipment and has well-padded back and shoulder straps. Alternatively, there are several other backpacks worthy of consideration, with different features and for different types of trips.

What to know before you buy a budget hiking backpack

Capacity

The primary consideration is how big a backpack you need. Daypacks are usually around 20 to 30 liters and can hold enough for a day or two. A 30- to 50-liter backpack is ideal for a long weekend and should have enough room for a compact tent and sleeping bag.

For extended, multi-day trips, a backpack with 60 liters or more is recommended. You can often strap items, like tent poles and groundsheets, to the outside of the backpack to give extra room inside. For more options in sizes, take a look at the Best Hiking Backpacks Guide at BestReviews.

Adjustability

The range of adjustment allows you to fine-tune the backpack to the wearer’s body size. At a minimum, the shoulder straps should be adjustable in length for people of different heights. Additionally, an adjustable back panel and hip belt on larger backpacks will allow you to find the ideal fit and weight distribution.

Comfort

Ideally, any backpack should be comfortable to wear, especially for long or arduous trips. Padded shoulder straps are a must. Most backpacks over 35 liters also have a padded hip belt. It is recommended that the correct weight distribution should be 20% on the shoulders and 80% on the hips for long hiking periods.

What to look for in a quality budget hiking backpack

Material

The best backpacks are lightweight, waterproof and durable. Synthetic materials like nylon and polyester are popular as they are very thin. Rip-stop nylon has interwoven threads that make it highly durable. Thicker materials like canvas are also very hard-wearing. However, these are often heavier and more expensive.

Correct fit 

If you are carrying the backpack for extended periods, it must fit comfortably to avoid muscle strain or injury. Measure the length of your torso and check the manufacturer’s size chart for a correct fit. Additionally, ensure the hip belt has enough adjustment for your waist size.

Extra features

Depending on your budget and the type of trip intended, you may choose a backpack with additional extras. An internal or external frame keeps the backpack properly aligned and distributes the weight more evenly. If the backpack isn’t already waterproof, then a rain cover is a handy feature. External straps and pockets can increase the capacity by securingitems to the outside of the backpack.

How much you can expect to spend on a budget hiking backpack

Although many hi-tech backpacks can be pricey, not all are. You can find good-quality day packs for $20-30. Multi-day packs with a 65-liter capacity and additional extras are available for under $100.

Budget hiking backpack FAQ

What is the best way to pack a hiking backpack?

A. For long periods of hiking, how the weight distributes within the backpack is critical. You should pack the heaviest items in the center of the bag and as close to your back as possible. 

What size backpack do I need for a 5-day hike?

A. Usually, a 60 to 70-liter backpack is sufficient for long trips. However, more importantly, it should be the correct size for the wearer. A larger backpack is more versatile, and you don’t have to fill it for every trip.

What’s the best budget hiking backpack to buy?

Top budget hiking backpack

Everest Hiking Pack

Everest Hiking Pack

What you need to know: This waterproof backpack has a 48-liter capacity making it ideal for weekend trips.

What you’ll love: It has twin side pockets, several compression straps, and an adjustable hip belt to spread the weight. It is available in a range of colors.

What you should consider: It doesn’t have a frame, so it’s not ideal for very long hiking trips.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top budget hiking backpack for the money

NEEKFOX Lightweight Hiking Daypack

NEEKFOX Lightweight Hiking Daypack

What you need to know: This smaller backpack has a roomy interior and mesh side pockets for carrying water bottles.

What you’ll love: It uses lightweight, rip-stop nylon. It folds away into its zippered pocket for storage.

What you should consider: This model doesn’t have a hip belt, so you carry the weight on your shoulders.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

High Sierra Pathway Internal Frame Hiking Backpack

High Sierra Pathway Internal Frame Hiking Backpack

What you need to know: This large, 60-liter backpack is big enough for extended trips and has a fully adjustable back panel. 

What you’ll love: The shoulder and hip straps are breathable and ventilated for comfort. It has several external and internal pockets for smaller items.

What you should consider: It doesn’t come with a rain cover.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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