The 4 Best Hiking Backpacks

David Fulmer/Flickr

David Fulmer/Flickr

Whether you’re a weekend trail warrior or are hitting the Appalachian Trail for a through hike, there’s no shortage of different hiking backpacks out there. The options can be overwhelming! We’ve rounded up a short list of our favorites, based on value, capacity, durability, and weight. Ready to hit the trail? Here’s a list of our favorite hikes in the U.S. to bring one of these amazing backpacks on.

The Best Pack For Day Hikes

Just $20.99 gets you the Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack, a colorful lightweight daypack. In addition to being durable, the pack has a large main compartment (35 liters!), folds into its pocket for storage, and even comes with a lifetime warranty. For a casual hiker who doesn’t want to make a huge investment, this our top pick.

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The Best Pack for Multi-Day Hikes

Deuter has been a top name in backs for years -- and with good reason. The Deuter Aircontact 65+10 offers the company’s revolutionary Aircontact system that adapts to the wearer’s back, keeping you cool and lightening your load. Reviewers report carrying loads of nearly 50 pounds with no discomfort! (Deuter also makes a SL-version of this backpack, designed to accommodate women’s frames.)

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The Best Hydration Pack

Since CamelBak released their first M.U.LE. more than 20 years ago, the brand became synonymous with hydration packs. Like previous versions, the CamelBack 2016 M.U.LE. hydration pack is lightweight, but it can easily carry up to three liters of water and plenty of snacks and gear for a day trip. The new pack has multiple small compartments for stashing keys and electronics and also features a convenient magnetic tube strap. 

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The Best Pack for Your Furry Friend

Dogs can hike too, so why not make them share part of the load? Ruffwear’s sturdy, comfortable Approach Full-Day Hiking Pack for Dogs has an integrated harness and comfortable design, allowing man’s best friend to carry more trail necessities. The kit comes in five different sizes, ensuring a perfect fit for your hound. (Note that dogs shouldn’t take more than 25 percent of their body weight in their pack. If your dog is new to hiking, start with a smaller load and gradually add more weight.)

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