Best Backpacks For Hiking & Camping

Choosing a backpack / rucksack for camping, hiking, running, backpacking or any activity can become overwhelming when you are faced with so many options and are unsure what will best suit your needs. Below we review what we consider to be the best backpacks for sale and detail what you need to know and consider before buying.

best backpacks buying guide

​Best Backpacks / Rucksacks

Osprey Exos 48

Volume: 48 Litres

Weight: 1.08 Kilograms

Osprey Exos 48 backpack

When it comes to buying backpacks, some of us can have a limited budget. As such, we need to ensure that we’re able to find a backpack that is both reliable and cost-effective. Of course, this can be a tough balancing act, but fear not, because there are options available. One option is the Osprey Exos 48 which offers a lot for a low price. Not only is this backpack affordable, but it also offers users a vast amount of storage space for such a small backpack. This can be attributed to the clever design of the Osprey Exos 48.

When it comes to carrying the backpack, many will be surprised at how comfortable it is. While it may not compare to some of the ultralight options available, it is also less cumbersome than some other backpacks that rely on an interior frame for support.

The backpack itself is a mere 1.08 kg, and those who will be planning to carry items up to 12kg will find that their body can support the weigh quote easily, and not cause any discomfort when being carried.

The comfort of the Osprey Exos 48 can be attributed to the AirSpeed back panel. This is made up of a mesh panel coupled with a board stiffener which looks to promote comfort in every instance.

Added confidence about the ability of the backpack is backed up thanks to the inclusion of a reinforced bottom, which looks to safeguard any possessions by them not putting too much pressure on the overall build of the backpack. An ideal backpack for those with a limited budget, or making their debut in the world of backpacking.

Mountainshack Adventure Camping Rucksack

Mountainshack Adventure Camping Rucksack

Volume: 65 Litres

Weight 1.66 kgs

The Moutainshack Adventure Camping Rucksack is a backpack that can be used by adults and young children without weight being an issue. Whether you’re looking to cram in a number of items for your camping holiday, or looking to brave the great outdoors, you will find that the Mountainshack Adventure Camping Rucksack is more than capable of contending with the weight, without it becoming a hindrance to the user.

The backpack will easily support loads of up to 12kg without those carrying the backpack being subjected to any discomfort, since the backpack is able to easily distribute weight towards the body, without it feeling too heavy.

Despite its low price, the aesthetics of the backpack would have you believe that it is actually a more premium backpack. Not only does the backpack make clever use of the design when it comes to storage, it is also constructed to a high standard, including the buckles and stitching.

Of course, it’s not going to be able to contend with more premium backpacks in some instances, and trying to carry too much weight could be detrimental. However, if you use the backpack in the right way, and don’t try and go beyond the recommended weight, there’s very little reason as to why you can’t rely on the Mountainshack Adventure Camping Rucksack moving forwards. There are plenty of pockets so you can safeguard items, and the backpack itself is easily adjustable, allowing you to find the most comfortable fit.

Regardless of whether you’re looking to go backpacking globally, or you just need a solution for your child’s next scout outing, the Mountainshack Adventure Camping Rucksack is a cost-effective solution that not only meets expectations, but actually exceeds them.

Montane Cobra 25 Backpack

Volume: 25 Litres

Weight: 0.871 kg

Montane Cobra 25 Backpack

There comes a time when a backpack exceeds its expectations, but many aren’t sure why. In this instance, it’s the Montane Cobra 25 Backpack that steals the limelight. The impressive nature of the Montane Cobra 25 can be attributed to the excellent fabric that’s been used to create the backpack. Realising that some smaller backpacks can buckle under the pressure when being used, Montane have had the foresight to use Raptor TL. For those who are unfamiliar with Raptor TL, it is a fabric that offers an excellent strength to weight ratio.

As well as offering a brilliant design, the Montane Cobra 25 backpack also offers more comfortability thanks to the ‘Comfort Back Pad’ which is moulded to help support the user when using the backpack.

Regardless of whether you’re looking to take in what the world has to offer, or simply looking to kick back at a festival, the Montane Cobra 25 is a diverse backpack that will suit a number of requirements. However, it’s the benefits it is able to offer those who are keen mountaineers that really showcases how versatile the Montane Cobra 25 really is. We all know how tiresome a mountain climb can be, so the last thing we need to worry about is lunging a heavy weight on our back.

The Montane Cobra 25 backpack is so lightweight, then it never seems a toil when climbing up steed roads or hills, which can be worth the investment alone. Those who are looking for a backpack that offers a multitude of uses could find the Montane Cobra 25 a worthwhile investment.

Clarkson Goods Tactical Army Patrol MOLLE Backpack

Volume: 48 Litres

Weight: 1.1 Kilograms

Clarkson Goods Tactical Army Patrol MOLLE Backpack

There are instances where we use our backpack for more than just backpacking, and as such need access to a solution that will serve many different purposes. Some may use the backpack for mountain and camping trips, while others will simply use it as hand luggage when going abroad.

As you can probably derive from the name, the Clarkson Goods Tactical Army Patrol MOLLE backpack has a military-inspired design, which means it can be very adaptable regardless of the situation. As such, the Clarkson Goods Tactical Army Patrol MOLLE backpack more than delivers in a number of areas.

The backpack ensures that comfort is a at the forefront, and this is achieved thanks to the padded shoulder straps and a chest strap. There is also a belt to offer some additional support should it be needed.

Users are also covered when it comes to storage. As well as being robustly built, the backpack also offers a number of roomy compartments that can make the storage of items a straightforward endeavour.

The MOLLE material used in the design of the backpack also offers the users further benefits should they wish to make the additional investment. MOLLE allows for additional pouches. For example, those in more isolated areas may want to ensure that they have a first-aid kit to hand. The MOLLE system allows the user to simply add a first aid pouch made from the MOLLE system. Those who may have doubts should take reassurance in that the same material is used by the military, so you know it can be relied on.

Those looking for a sturdy backpack with solid construction will find that their expectations are more than met with this robust backpack. What’s more, it can be used for many different activities, including mountaineering and cycling.

Mountaintop Trekking Rucksack

Volume: 65 Litres

Weight: 1.6 kg

Mountaintop Trekking Rucksack

Although there are backpacks designed for a number of different reasons, However, one of the drawbacks that many find with some backpacks is that they aren’t always robust when it comes to wet weather, and they often that the contents of the backpack are left in a soggy mess. Fortunately, the Mountaintop Trekking Rucksack counters this eventuality with relative ease, thanks to the waterproof material used to construct the backpack, as well as the inclusive rain cover.

It’s not only it’s weather proofing qualities that make this backpack a worthwhile consideration when purchasing a backpack. The Mountaintop Trekking rucksack offers plenty of storage for those who gave a fair few items to carry. This is thanks several different compartments built into the rucksack. Additional storage is offered by compression straps which allows for the storage of a sleeping bag and various other camping equipment.

That’s not to say that the rucksack can’t be used for other activities. As well as being used for both camping and mountaineering, there’s no reason as to why the rucksack can’t be used for more laidback affairs, such as festivals.

The backpack sits comfortably on the back, and as long as it's used in the right way, there’s very little reason why you should feel any pull when using the backpack.

However, if you do try and store too many items, you may find that the backpack starts to go out of shape. As such, you should ensure that you’re not tempted to try and fit a little more in.

For the price you’re paying, you’re introduced to a high-quality rucksack that can be used in a number of instances without incident.

Berghaus Men’s Trailhead 65 Rucksack

Volume: 65 Litres

Weight: 1.7 kg

Berghaus Men’s Trailhead 65 Rucksack

When it comes to the great outdoors, Berghaus need very little introduction. While many will be aware of how reliable their outdoor wear range is, where does Berghaus stand in relation to its rucksack range. Well, if the Trailhead rucksack is anything to go by, Berghaus should be confident that their backpack range will be just as successful as its outdoor wear range.

As the name would suggest, this particular backpack is designed for the male population. While the female population may be a little disappointed by this, fear not, Berghaus has many different options, so there’s no reason as to why you shouldn’t be able to find a solution that suits your needs.

While there can be several benefits in possessing a rucksack that can be used by either sex it’s worth remembering that men and women will have a certain build and frame. As such, the only way to get a truly customised fit is to purchase a rucksack designed exclusively for your frame.

This is where the Trailhead really shows off its value. Despite being an entry-level rucksack, you’re actually given a solution that contends with more premium options available. One of the most impressive feature is the Biofit back system. As well as being able to adjust the length of your rucksack depending on the load you’re carrying, there is also a webbing pull that allows you to make amendments when wearing the rucksack.

Those who are looking for storage will find more than they need with the Trailhead rucksack, although there is a slight issue. While there is plenty of space in the main compartment, those who use it to full capacity may find that the side pockets become useless, depending on what you’re carrying. Given the amount of space, this won’t be too much of a hindrance to many, but is worth noting when making a decision as to which backpack is best-suited to your needs.

The rucksack is also well-built, but given that Berghaus is behind this, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The backpack itself is light and with all the features on offer, is a complete breezed when it comes to carrying the rucksack. The Trailhead can be used many different situations, which can range from a camping weekend, to a bout of mountaineering.

Backpack Buying Guide

When it comes to exploring the great outdoors, we all need to be in possession of a suitable backpack. While there are plenty of options available, some of them may not suit your individual needs. As such, it can be useful to know what to look out for when it comes to purchasing a backpack and what factors there are to consider before committing to a purchase.

The first thing to consider before purchasing a backpack is the different types available. The factors that you will need to consider are as follows:

Backpack Capacity

In most instances, the capacity of your backpack will depend on your plans. If you’re only looking to take a couple of trips that are a couple of days long, then it’s unlikely you will need a large backpack. Similarly, if you have a long trip planned, then it could be advisable to invest in a backpack that has a larger capacity.

Backpack Features

Although the function of many backpacks is generally the same, you may wish to consider some additional features that look to make your trip a little easier.

Backpack Fit

Many people assume that they should purchase a backpack based on their height, but it’s the size of your torso you should consider. Opting for one that is too big could make your trip a little uncomfortable.

Backpacks Defined by Trip Length and Capacity

Although you may have a general idea of what size backpack you need, it can still be difficult to ascertain which suits us best without a little assistance. Fortunately, many of the backpacks available will give you plenty of guidance as to its capacity, as well as advising as to which backpack suits your trip best.

Weekend (1-3 Nights: 30-50 Litres) It’s likely that a weekend rucksack will be among the cheapest available, but it should be noted that packing light can be a true test of your will, as it means you can only pack the necessities, give or take a couple of luxuries. A weekend backpack is named due to the length of the trip it covers, which averages around one to three nights.

Although you may not be able to store much in the first instance, it does mean that your rucksack is much lighter as a result, which can be a deciding factor for a number of people.

Multi-Day (3-5 Nights: 50-80 Litres) Multi-day backpacks are one of the most popular among consumers, as they are ideal for a multitude of trips, including skiing and day trips. There is a little more room on offer within multi-day backpacks, which should ensure that you have enough storage for items to last between three and five nights.

Extended-Trip (5+ Nights: 70+ Litres) As the name may suggest, extended-trip backpacks are commonly purchased by those looking to enjoy the great outdoors for longer than five nights. They are also popular during the winter periods, as they allow travellers to pack extra clothing or additional sleeping bags.

They can also be used by families who take their children camping, and don’t want to burden the children with carrying their own rucksack. This can mean that trips outdoors can be more appealing to children.

Backpack / Rucksack Features to Consider

As mentioned previously, there are several features that can come included with a backpack to ensure that your trip is as comfortable as it can be.

Backpack Frame Type: Several backpacks are available with frames that look to keep you steady should you be travelling along rough terrain or carrying a heavier load than usual, and generally consist of the following frame types.

Internal-Frame Backpacks: Of all the framed backpacks available, you will often find that those with an internal frame are amongst the most popular. This is because they are designed in a way to ensure hikers stay upright and even, despite travelling on uneven terrain. In some instances, they can even incorporate a slew of load-support technologies that look to transfer the weight of the load to the hips, thus making your backpack easier to carry.

External-Frame Backpacks: If you’re looking to go travelling with something of an irregular load, then you may want to invest in an external frame backpack. As well as allowing you to carry an irregular load with greater ease, it can also yield many benefits in relation to ventilation and organisation.

Frameless Backpacks: The more seasoned traveller may decide that weight is one of the more important factors of a backpack, and as such will invest in a frameless backpack as a result. However, the shortcomings of a frameless backpack can mean you’re limited to what you can carry, so it may mean that you can’t take as much as you’d like to. However, if you don’t mind substituting a few things and you’re aware of your terrain, the frameless backpack is not without its benefits.

Ventilation Is Important

Those buying their first backpack will probably be unfamiliar with how many people suffer from having a sweaty back, simply due to the structure of the backpack. As such, many manufacturers include a feature called ‘tension-mesh suspension,’ which looks to keep the backpack a few inches away from your back, instead using the mesh.

Many will also include ventilation funnels into the back panel, which look to offer the same results as the tension-mesh suspension.

Rucksack Access

As more and more people get used to travelling with a back, they will find that they have their own preferences as to what kind of backpack suits their needs the best. Regardless of where your trip takes you, gaining easy access to your backpack can be very important. Of course, which kind of access is best can be subjective, but the following pointers should help you see what’s available when it comes to backpack and their entry points.

Top-Loading Openings: Top loading openings are pretty much a standard when it comes to backpacks, and often make storage easy. However, you should ensure that all important items are placed at the top, otherwise you could find that you’re digging around for important items, which can be harder than you think if you’re in the wrong kind of conditions.

Panel Access: Those looking for easier access to important items should consider purchasing a backpack that offers zippered side and front panels. When open, they will allow you to fill the full interior of your backpack, which in turn allows you to find your items more easily, regardless of the conditions you’re travelling in.

Which Kind of Pockets Are Included with Backpacks?

The types of pockets found on backpacks can depend on the manufacturer, and the design of the rucksack itself. The following descriptions offer information about the different types of pockets available.

Elasticated Side Pockets: Sometimes, those out camping or hiking just want some extra storage for a water bottle, or tent poles. Elasticated side pockets are ideal for this, as they lie flat when empty, but stretch to hold a slew of different items.

Hipbelt Pockets: If you’re a more experienced hiker, then it would make sense that you want quick access to items such as snacks and fluids. Hipbelt pockets are ideal for this, as they accommodate a series of small objects that can be accessed quickly.

Shovel Pockets: Shovel pockets are given their name as they were originally designed to hold a snow shovel. They are effectively flaps stitched to the front of the backpack, which can be used to store maps, jackets and a selection of other lightweight items.

Removable Daypack or Toplid: There are times where you will set up camp, but still needs a means of storage for day trips or supply runs. This is where a removable daypack or top lid can come in useful, as it allows you to store only the items you need for the day, ensuring your load is as light as possible.

Sleeping Back Compartment: While many backpacks will store a sleeping bag with ease, in some instances they can take up a lot of space. As such, many are always looking for alternative storage. Opting for a backpack that carries a sleeping bag compartment on the bottom of the backpack means you can store your sleeping bag easily, without giving up vital storage space.

What About More Hostile Conditions?

Evidently, there will be many reasons as to why you need a backpack. It could be for a family weekend away, or a journey across more hazardous conditions, such as ice. In this regard, it can be worthwhile considering a few other options to make your trip that little bit easier.

The first thing you should consider is a rain cover for your backpack. Although a number of backpacks will be treated, there are still openings that can fall victim to the outside moisture. If you happen to be travelling in snowy or icy condition and use trekking poles, then you may want to consider purchasing a backpack that has attachment points.

The Fit of The Backpack: What Should I Look For?

Evidently, the fit of the backpack can be one of the most important factors when it comes to making a purchase, because if it doesn’t fit, it won’t serve you well moving forwards. A few backpacks will come with adjustable straps, so there’s no need for perfection, but you still need to ensure that the backpack you purchase is suited to your needs.

You should look towards your torso length as opposed to your height when it comes to choosing a backpack. Many manufacturers and retailers will provide guidance as to what rucksack will suit your torso.

If you try the backpack on, and feel it hangs too low despite adjusting the straps, then it could be the backpack is too big for you, and will serve its purpose. Evidently, opting for one that’s too small also proves to be problematic, as it will feel tight, and even restrict your movement.

You may have heard myths that bigger is better, but the truth is that if the backpack is too big, you will simply not be able to carry it, making your trip a much tougher ordeal than it should be.

Ensure You Use a Reputable Retailer

Most retailers and e-commerce stores that deal with the sale of backpacks will be of good repute, and can offer advice and guidance on your next purchase. However, there are always those looking to prey on consumers and offer fake or lacklustre options, while promoting them as otherwise.

If you’re looking to make an online purchase, then ensure you use a store that has good reviews, and has security protocols in place when making payments online. An online store should have no problem in supplying contact details should you need them, and will often have a slew of reviews online you can use as guidance.

If you use a bricks-and-mortar store, then the same rules apply. Ensure the company has good reviews, and can provide a replacement should the backpack your purchase not be up to standard.

As you can see, there can be a lot to factor in when it comes to purchasing a backpack, but once you get used to your requirements, making a purchase will be a breeze. Just as if you were buying a coat or a new pair of jeans, you simply take your preferences into account, while factoring in what kind of features you will require to ensure your trip is memorable one, and not for the wrong reasons.