- Top 5 Best Backpacks for Traveling and Hiking
There’s one thing about backpacking in the wilds or near home that must be said at the outset—it is trash! If you pack it in, pack it out. We do not want cans, plastic bags, paper, and other rubbish littering nature.
With the hundreds of backpacks in the marketplace it’s hard to know what to buy. The best of the best backpacks has been reviewed here to help you decide. The backpacks today have tons of features but we don’t want to add pounds of more weight to carry around on our backs, so the ones listed here are lightweight.
Today it’s about simplicity rather than fastening ourselves up to frames and carrying extra stuff to weigh ourselves down to get to our end goal with sore aching muscles too tired to cook or what we want to do. Not only have we evaluated backpacking gear, we also and tested sleeping tents and soft coolers. Of course, you will need your friends or family to help carry excess gear. If you’re taking that much stuff, you might need a 4-wheeler or a pack mule.
1. Considerations When Buying a Backpack
You will want to know will you be doing back country hiking, going on a day trip, or staying at one place such as a fishing spot to know what you’ll need. Can you and your friends carry it all on your backs or do you need to reconsider your needs. Go to a sporting goods store and try one on to see how that will do when loaded with your stuff, such as stainless steel or ceramic cookware. If you’re going camping, don’t forget your can opener, and cutting knives.
- Size Matters
You will need to scrutinize the backpack’s physical size when empty and full. Do you want it soft, hard framed, or collapsible? If you take it with you on a plane, will it pass the airline’s regulations? If so, you might want to check their guidelines beforehand. You don’t want your backpack being bulky and heavy and an encumbrance to be saddled with—that’s no fun and defeats its purpose.
- Weight Matters
The weight of the backpack empty matters. Then you add in the stuff you are taking with you and you might start feeling physically over packed. Backpacks can be made of polyester, thick canvas, duck canvas that is heavier, and Tyvek® –all lightweight.
- Price Tag
Price and quality do not always equal a good deal. You will not gain anything if your cheap backpack falls apart on your trip or hike. Picking up all the stuff and no place to put it was not your idea of a great adventure.
Backpacks can cost from under $50 for good fabrication and up to $200+ for the high-end models. Pick out one that is strong but will not break your back or bank account. You will find many best backpacks for kids and for women who need something larger than a purse for travel, working out, or a hiking trip for the day.
2. Types of Backpacks
Traveling can mean different things to many people, such as—
- Vacationing in a foreign country
- Traveling to school
- Visiting family or friends for the weekend
- Going to the gym
- Hiking trip for the day
- Hitting the trails for hunting game
- Business trips
The different varieties of backpacks liberate your hands for other things by attaching it to your back.
- Daypack—very well-liked and very popular for a day trip hiking when only needing to take supplies for the day. It has no frame and is more flexible.
- Hiking Backpack—is the most trendy and practical for going long distances with more weight generally loaded from the top. These are used for longer trips, longer times hiking, and when hunting. Some have rigid frames for carrying more supplies and gear and some are frameless.
Backpackers sometimes carry a larger main pack with a smaller daypack. Backpacks shown here are unisex for both men and women and some are the right size for young people over age 10.
Top 5 Best Backpacks for Traveling and Hiking
1. SWISSGEAR® 1900 ScanSmart TSA Laptop Backpack
The SWISSGEAR® 19-inch electronic device backpack will carry your laptop and lunch too. The Item model number SA1900 is a #1 best seller on Amazon.com®. This is an eBag exclusive with its lay-flat design that will get your computer through airport security at the TSA (Transportation Security Administration in the USA) x-ray equipment. Your laptop can stay inside the best laptop backpack for convenience. The backpack has a designated compartment that has an adjustable divider to hold most portable laptops up to 17-inches on the diagonal. The floating TabletSafe™ tablet pocket is for your first-class electronics protection. The colors available are black, black/blue, black/gray, gray heather, and red.
You will be able to pack your books, pens, cell phone, tablet, and laptop in this roomy case made of 1200 denier ballistic polyester fabric and that number is thick. The main partition has durable and extra-large zippers with side compression straps. The back panel has Airflow™ ventilation that is padded with a mesh fabric and built-in suspension. It is unisex and one size fits all.
Other cool things are the accordion file folder, organizer space, internal accessory pockets, side pocket, 2 mesh water bottle pockets, padded media pocket, headphone cord port, molded top handle, a webbing daisy chain and carabineer to attach gear to when you’re on the go. It also contains a front quick-access pocket and reflective accent material built into the shoulder straps for added safety when out at night. Since the backpack is oversized, it fits adults and large children best.
This best backpack for men is wonderful and durable to use for school, college, hunting, hiking, and work. It makes a great day pack for hiking the trails and ‘round the world trips. It is not water resistant and is not a cooler to keep things cold. It does not have a sternum strap or luggage strap to attach to wheeled luggage.
It will hold 31 liters (1.09-cubic feet) of stuff and a 2-liter (68-ounces) water or soda bottle. You can carry 40-pounds in it and that is substantial weight unless a short walk at school from one room to another. If you don’t pack it too tight, it will fit under an airplane front seat with no problem, or the overhead bin if packed too full. You can also put a small blanket in it, since the airlines charge for it now.
The dimensions are 18.5-inches tall x 13.5-inches wide x 9.0-inches-deep and it weighs 3.3 pounds empty. Laptop area measurements are 18.5-inches long x 12.5-inches wide x 2.0-inches high.
California residents: Click here for Proposition 65 warning.
You will receive a User’s Manual and 3-year Warranty from date of purchase from any defects in workmanship and materials. The backpack is made in China.
SWISSGEAR® Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900 Review Full of Stuff video.
2. Under Armour® Storm Hustle II Backpack
The Under Armour® Storm 1, item model number 1263964, is a top selling backpack on Amazon.com® at an affordable price. The tag on it shows it is water resistant with a strong and durable abrasion-proof bottom panel. The soft lined laptop compartment holds up to a 15-inch laptop securely. It is unisex and one size fits all.
The pack has 2 side water bottle pockets, a top grab handle, and a large gusseted front laundry pocket for all those dirty things. You will like the 3 interior slip pockets with 5 exterior pockets for your devices and other stuff. You will also like having the extra comfortable shoulder straps that are adjustable HeatGear® and the fabric of 81% polyester and 19% nylon.
The Storm 1 is the best backpack for travel, great for school kids, day trips, office, and hiking day trips. This is too large for kindergarteners and grade school kids but ideal for college students. Get the kindergartners and young kids a small cartoon logo backpack to not break their backs.
This will hold gym clothes, a 29.5-inch basketball, and a tennis racket handle that will stick out.
To clean, first remove excess dirt and mud with a dry brush, and then use mild detergent and warm water to remove any set-in stains with a soft tooth brush, sponge, or cloth. Let it air dry. Do not use abrasive household cleaning products or submerge the bag in water when cleaning. Do not put in the clothes washer and never in the dryer.
The dimensions are 18-inches tall x 13-inches wide x 8-inches deep. The cubic volume is 1875-cubic feet.
You will receive a User’s Manual. Returns and exchanges are free and accepted up to 60 days after purchase with original receipt or shipment summary. The backpack is made in China and ships from different locations in the USA.
Under Armour® Storm Series Hustle Backpack Review – Best School Backpack video.
3. TETON SPORTS® Scout3400 Internal Frame Backpack
The TETON SPORTS® Scout3400 is the perfect size for youth and light backpackers with a free yellow safety rain cover included. It stays hidden until you need it then simply pull it out. The model number TSIFB-01 is a top best seller on Amazon.com®. The 2 barrel-lock drawstrings will close the main compartment pocket secure and tight.
It has torso adjustments to fit most body sizes; an internal frame backpack large enough for 2 to 4 day trips and maybe more holding 3400-cubic feet with 55-liter (14.5-gallons) capacity weighing 4.5-pounds empty. The side/front and top/bottom compression straps will hold your tent, sleeping bag, and other gear securely. You don’t want to wear out your hips and you won’t with the hip padding of open-cell foam with a mesh lumbar (lower back) pad. The channels are molded to give you even more comfort with airflow. You can’t miss the bright yellow rainfly that is integrated into the backpack being resistant to rain—and water. It is unisex and one size fits all.
Everyone loves color for different purposes such as hiding out in the dark evergreen woods and forests. These colors are stunning for men, women, and young people alike. From left to right: mecca orange, hunter green, and coyote tan with matching straps. You will have plenty of pockets, thick padded shoulder and waist straps, and bendable aluminum stays for strength. The zippers are thick and study.
You can hang your ski poles, fishing pole, shovel, or ax in the gear loops. With the convenient top carry loop, you can easily put this into your vehicle. The backpack is made of 600D (denier) Diamond Ripstop 600D (denier) PU (polyurethane). This has a padded pouch that can be used to hold a laptop. It is the pocket for a bladder and has a hydration capacity of 101-ounces (3-liter bladder not included). The sleeve inside the pack to slip stuff into it shuts tightly with a Velcro® pocket that attaches. It can be used for your laptop, or for water, or purchase a separate bladder for water.
The TETON SPORTS® website FAQ states: “The Scout3400 backpack meets size standards for airport carry-on, as long as you don’t stuff it too full. A bulging pack will exceed allowable measurements and if you somehow manage to get it on the plane, it won’t fit into the overhead bin very well. Of course, all TETON SPORTS® backpacks can be checked in at an airport. Fasten buckles, tighten straps, and tuck loose ends into zippered pockets whenever possible to minimize damage from baggage handling machines. Please note damage from baggage handling is not covered by the TETON SPORTS® Warranty.”
The Scout3400 is 30-inches tall x 17-inches wide x 12-inches deep with an adjustable torso length from 15- to 19.5-inches. The waist belt adjusts from 26- to 60-inches. The weight is 4.4 pounds.
You will receive a User’s Manual and a Limited Lifetime Warranty that covers products against defects in materials or workmanship to the original owner only and excludes normal wear and tear (i.e., zippers that wear out after extended use) or misuse. The backpack is made in China.
Getting to Know Your Teton®Scout3400 Internal Frame Backpack video.
4. Badlands 2200 Camouflage Hunting Backpack
Badlands is a reputable leader for backpacks for over 20 years. The 2200 hunting backpack is loaded with great features such as being able to take home your cut up kills putting it on the meat shelf, carry a rifle, bow, or pistol and is hydration ready. This backpack is not built around pockets—it is built around physics, ergonomics, and biomechanics for the best performance while you’re out in the wilds. The Approach Camo color is great for hiding you in the wilderness. The backpack is a top best seller on Amazon.com®. It is not water proof; the Badlands rain cover is sold separately to keep your gear dry. It is unisex and one size fits all.
The 2200 will carry a heavy load with its T-6 aluminum aircraft frame that bypasses your spine and transfers any size load down to your hips through the molded foam suspension. It will work with your body not against it to support hefty weight with its center of gravity design that’s almost too good to be true, yet not perfect, having a batwing scheme.
This versatile pack will handle what you want to do whether you hunt with rifles, bow and arrows, cross bows, or snares in states where trapping is still legal. It does have loads of pockets, partitions, sections, and compartments to store tripods, ammo, spotting scopes, cell phones, chargers, cameras, and other gadgets. On each side are pistol holsters and a shelf for meat.
Badlands uses KXO-32™ fabric that is strong, durable, waterproof, and quiet when in the hunting realm. The pocket/sleeve for the bladder is square. This matches the Badlands brand bladder, but not other brands.
- Dimensions:19- x 17- x 19-inches
- Fits Reservoir Size (liters): 2-liters
- Total Volume 2250-cubic liters
- Volume Main: 1980-cubic liters
- Pockets: 8
- Weighs: 5-pounds 15-ounces
- Integrated Spotting Scope Pocket
- Blaze Orange Meat Shelf
- Zippered Back Panel Access
- Hip Belt Pistol Holder
- Rifle Boot: Yes
- Zippered Back Panel Access: Yes
- Waist Strap: 32- to 50-inches
Gift-wrapping is available for family and friends. You will receive a User’s Manual and Badlands offers an Unconditional Lifetime Warranty. The backpack is made in China.
Badlands 2200 Pack-Attaching a Bow and/or Rifle video.
5. OSPREY® PORTER 46 Travel Backpack Bag
OSPREY® is located in Cortez, Colorado, at the San Juan Mountains and sandstone canyons, a favorite place of mine. Their trekking and gear hauling backpack is a hardy and tough duffle bag as well with high-tech suspension built into it. Just unzip the back panel and use the mesh padded shoulder harness and hip belt for comfortably carrying on your back. The hoodoo red is as colorful as the rocks in Colorado, and it comes in black and nitro green. The 46-liter bag is a high-quality seller on Amazon.com® at an affordable price, item model number 137646-391-1-O/S, making this a best travel backpack. It is unisex and one size fits all.
It has a large lockable access main compartment for the contents inside. It has 1 internal and 1 external mesh pockets that are zipped in the main portion for quick access to what’s inside. Its foam padded sidewalls with StraightJacket™ compression will stabilize the pack and protect it to compress the load. There is a sternum strap that is adjustable and a stow away padded shoulder harness. A rescue whistle buckle is comfortable and supports the popular backpack style of wearing it.
On the front panel are 4 reinforced cord loops for attaching Porter’s Osprey® Daylite pack sold separately that gives you more capacity for carrying stuff. Top and side carrying handles are foam padded. The shoulder strap attachment is a D-ring configuration for carrying options.
Take it with you on airplanes, hiking, hunting, and anywhere you go it goes.
- Volume Dimensions: O/S 2807 cubic-inches/46-liter
- Size Dimensions: 22-inches high x 14-inches wide x 9-inches deep
- Weight: 3.31 pounds.
- Fabric: Main-420D (denier) Nylon Hex Diamond Ripstop; Accent 420HD nylon pack cloth; bottom 420HD nylon pack cloth
- Stow-Away Padded Hip Belt: 38 mm
- 1mm HDPE Frame Sheet
A 15.6-inch laptop will fit into this with protection. It is not waterproof but you can buy a cover for it.
Gift-wrapping is available for family and friends. You will receive a User’s Manual and an Unconditional Lifetime Warranty. The backpacks are made in Vietnam.
Osprey Porter 46L Backpack Review—1 Year of Travel | Best Backpack for RTW Travel Video.
- The middle or bottom is the best place to put heavier gear to prevent you from losing balance and stability.
- Prepare for bad weather even though it’s not predicted.
- Plan you trip route before you leave telling people your plans, where you’re going, and when you plan to go back.
- Take a paper map with you, a compass, camera, and the ability to use them. Take along electronic devices such as a cell phone, but remember they don’t always work out of range.
- Don’t forget flashlights, binoculars, matches or lighters for camp fires, hiking boots, canteen of water, pocket knife and small shovel.
- Take batteries and chargers for your electronic devices. If staying where there is electricity and your charger stays plugged into the wall, don’t forget to take it when you leave.
- Take water, purification tablets, and a system to filter water for an emergency. Check out your area traveling to know if you will have water access.
- Take a first aid kit in case there are bugs, animals, or someone slips and falls.
- Take a few high-pitched metal whistles for you and your group.
- Read your backpack User’s Manual to know how it functions before taking off.
- Don’t forget to take your house keys with you.
No matter how big or far your trip, always be ready for unforeseen problems and prepare for it by taking things such as a first aid kit, knife, and an Epi-pen® for those having allergies to bug bites or plants. Hunters will be licensed for the specific animal kill season and be safe as well wearing the required hunter orange above the waist pursuant to your state’s regulations and is strongly recommended for those states not requiring it. Be safe on your global trip, day trip, hunting trip, and wherever you go with your backpack. Happy shopping and happy backpacking!