The Best Hiking Backpack (Guide) – 2016 Reviews

Hiking Backpack Review GuideAs modern society increasingly leads us to sedentary lives, hiking is an appealing sport that combines healthy exercise in the great outdoors with exertion levels appropriate for people at any activity level. A good backpack is an essential part of any hiking trip, as it can conveniently store and carry food, drinks, clothing, maps and other gear. Whether out for a day long stroll on a well-marked hiking trail or enjoying a challenging trek through the mountains, a good hiking backpack can drastically improve a hiker’s carrying capacity as well as reduce user fatigue.

Whereas early camping and outdoors enthusiasts had to make-do with surplus military or school backpacks, today’s hikers can benefit from a wide range of top-quality hiking backpacks designed to be the perfect accompaniment to a jaunt in nature. With comfortable straps and well-balanced load designs, hiking backpacks give people the freedom to explore this beautiful planet that is home to us all.

Compare: The 10 Rated Hiking Backpacks of 2016

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration BackpackTETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Backpack
Teton Sports$$4.9
Camelbak Products Men's Classic Hydration PackCamelbak Products Men's Classic Hydration Pack
JanSport Classic SuperBreak BackpackJanSport Classic SuperBreak Backpack
TETON Sports Trailrunner 2.0 Hydration Backpack w/ BladderTETON Sports Trailrunner 2.0 Hydration Backpack w/ BladderTeton Sports$4.4
Outlander Most Durable Packable Handy Lightweight Travel BackpackOutlander Most Durable Packable Handy Lightweight Travel BackpackOutlander$4.4
SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Backpack 1900Swiss gear$$4.5
Naturehike Outdoor Backpack Climbing BackpackNaturehike Outdoor Backpack Climbing BackpackNaturehike$4.4
The North Face Unisex ReconThe North Face Unisex ReconThe North Face$$$4.6
Cycling hiking backpack water-resistant daypackCycling hiking backpack water-resistant daypackSnowhale$4.5
Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel BackpackOsprey Farpoint 55 Travel BackpackOsprey$$$4.7

What is a Hiking Backpack?

Technically speaking, any backpack filled with supplies and carried on a hike could be considered a hiking backpack. But whereas early outdoor enthusiasts were forced to make do with improvised satchels, today’s hikers can benefit from a range of well-made backpacks designed to carry supplies on hikes, treks and other outdoor expeditions. A quality hiking backpack is made from durable materials to keep contents dry and protected from inclement weather.

Hiking backpacks often feature special compartments or bladders to carry water, a critical resource for hikers trekking through nature. Hiking backpacks are designed to comfortably distribute heavy loads to reduce user fatigue, and are engineered to hold contents securely to prevent shifting and damage to valuable supplies as hikers negotiate uneven terrain.

What are the different types of Hiking Backpacks?

While some hiking backpacks are referred to as “day” packs, meant to be used for short outings, other hiking backpacks are designed to carry supplies, food, water and other necessary items for surviving days in the wilderness. Some hiking backpacks function as a tank or bladder storage for potable water, allowing hikers to remain hydrated even when far from established water supplies. Hiking backpacks often feature a myriad of pockets, straps and other exterior pouches where smaller items can be attached or stored.

Many heavy-duty models of hiking backpacks contain special rain tarps or hoods to add an additional layer of protection against water damage. Well-designed pads and strap systems allow hikers to comfortably carry their backpacks for many hours without experiencing undue fatigue.

What are the advantages of owning a Hiking Backpack?

Having a good backpack is an important requirement for even the shortest day hike, as water, maps, phones and other critical equipment can be kept on hand. Many campers and visitors to the great outdoors become disoriented and step off marked trails, becoming lost or separated from fellow hikers for hours. Critical survival equipment such as warm clothes, food, drinks, whistles, maps and phones should always be kept on hand even for short day hikes, and a backpack is a perfect organizer for all of these supplies. Owning your own hiking backpack gives users the chance to become acclimatized to the feel and heft of their backpack, and learn how to store and organize all of their items.

Borrowing backpacks and other gear on an extended hike is usually not a welcome practice, as it is always better to be self-sufficient and bring your own hiking backpack. Having one backpack dedicated to hiking allows users to store all of their necessary gear and supplies for the trail in one convenient location when not in use. Backpacks, by virtue of their design, allow people to carry heavier loads for longer distances than any other kind of hand-carried bag.

Which models are the contenders for the Best Hiking Backpack?

JanSport Classic SuperBreak Backpack – This jaunty pack from one of the most popular manufacturers of backpacks comes in a wide range of colors and designs. Measuring a full foot across, the JanSport Classic SuperBreak is capacious enough to store everything a hiker might need for a day trip. With rugged zippers designed to last for years, and a weather resistant exterior, the JanSport Classic SuperBreak is the perfect hiking backpack to take on any trek in nature.

Camelbak Products Men’s Classic Hydration Pack – This generous pack can carry all the water necessary for day hikes or lengthy expeditions through the wilderness. With a variety of stylish colors to choose from, the elegant and stylish Camelbak Classic Hydration Pack is suitable for every hiker’s taste. Keeping hydrated during hikes is absolutely critical, and the Camelbak Classic Hydration Pack supplies more than enough liquid to power through long treks in comfort.

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Backpack – This big hiking backpack from TETON contains everything a hiker might need on a trip. With a big 70-ounce water pouch and big interior, the TETON Sports Oasis 1100 can carry clothes, meals, and other vital gear on camping, hiking and exploration trips in the wilderness. Special straps, exterior pockets and mesh pouches allow hikers to easily and access their items, and a bright yellow rainproof cover keeps items safe and dry.

Considerations for Choosing the Right Backpack or Your Trip

  • Carrying Capacity – The interior carrying capacity of the backpack, including all of the exterior pouches, straps and pockets, determines exactly how large and heavy a load can be carried in the backpack
  • Dimensions & Weight – The overall weight of the backpack plays an important role on longer hikes, and the dimensions of the bag determined whether it is large and bulky or smooth and form-fitting to the user’s back.
  • Exterior Pockets & Pouches – A quality hiking backpack will have convenient pouches and pockets on the outside to allow users quick access to water, snacks and other important items.
  • Additional Features – Many of today’s advanced hiking backpacks come with a variety of additional features, including special materials to help air circulate against the wearer’s back and special rain flaps.

Carrying Capacity

JanSport Classic SuperBreak – This full-sized backpack was originally designed to carry big, bulky textbooks, and the big 25 liter (1,551 cubic inch) interior is more than capacious enough to carry water, food, clothing, maps, emergency equipment and other vital supplies needed on an all-day hike.

Camelbak Products Men’s Classic – The Camelbak Classic Hydration Pack is specifically designed to hold only water and other liquids, and can carry up to 70 ounces, or just over 2 liters.

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 – The TETON Sports Oasis 1100 is equipped to carry 70 ounces, or just over 2 liters, in a BPA-free flexible bladder. The TETON Sports Oasis 1100 is rated to carry over a total of 1,100 cubic inches of food, water and other vital hiking gear.

Dimensions & Weight

JanSport Classic SuperBreak – The JanSport Classic SuperBreak measures a full 12″ wide and is 16.5″ inches high. With adjustable shoulder straps, the JanSport Classic SuperBreak weighs just 12 ounces when empty.

Camelbak Products Men’s Classic – The Camelbak Classic Hydration Pack comes with an adjustable 34-inch shoulder strap for improved comfort and carrying convenience. The drinking spout is 4 inches long and the entire Camelbak Classic Hydration Pack weighs just 12.6 ounces when empty.

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 – Empty, the TETON Sports Oasis 1100 weighs just two pounds, and when filled is about the same size as a full-size school backpack.

Exterior Pockets & Pouches

JanSport Classic SuperBreak – The JanSport Classic SuperBreak comes with one big exterior pocket with a zipper enclosure, with enough room to carry phones, tablets, maps or other smaller items.

Camelbak Products Men’s Classic – The Camelbak Classic Hydration Pack comes with a convenient exterior zipper pocket big enough to hold mobile phones or other small items.

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 – The TETON Sports Oasis 1100 comes with two mesh pouches, one “stash” space, and three zipper pockets to keep valuable items safe, secure and dry. The hydration bladder comes with a convenient kink-free sip tube and specially-designed cushioned bite valve for easy operation while on the go.

Additional Features

JanSport Classic SuperBreak – The entire JanSport Classic SuperBreak is made from a rugged and durable 600 Denier grade polyester, giving it outstanding resistance to water, mold and moisture. The straight-cut, padded shoulder straps can be adjusted to comfortably fit any adult, and a special padded back panel adds an extra layer of support on longer hikes.

Camelbak Products Men’s Classic – The Camelbak Classic Hydration Pack comes in a wide variety of colors, allowing hikers to match their water carrier with other trekking equipment.

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 – While the TETON Sports Oasis 1100 is primarily designed to carry water, its large 70-ounce bladder is FDA-compliant to carry food items as well. The special ventilated pads on the chest and straps make carrying this hiking backpack extremely easy. Big two-inch opening on the bladder makes it simple to fill or clean.

Conclusion: Our Hiking Backpack Reviews Are In

The JanSport Classic SuperBreak Backpack – Best Low-Cost Hiking Backpack

JanSport Classic SuperBreak BackpackThis bright, colorful backpack from one of the most popular manufacturers in the business is perfectly equipped to carry everything necessary on a day hike. Nature lovers have enough space to carry drinks, snacks, clothes and other items with them as they comfortably shoulder the load using JanSport Classic SuperBreak’s adjustable strap and pad system. With so many color designs to choose from, the JanSport Classic SuperBreak allows any day hiker or nature lover to personalize their explorations of the great outdoors.


Backpack looks great and sits well on the shoulder and back, with the shoulder straps and pad adding an extra layer of comfort. The manufacturer is renowned for the longevity and durability of their backpacks, and the JanSport Classic SuperBreak is no exception. Rugged zippers and a roomy exterior pocket keeps everything secure. Can easily carry enough drinks and food for 2-3 meals, plus a change of clothes and some small essential items.


The JanSport Classic SuperBreak is meant to be used as a day pack only, and does not have enough capacity to carry large amounts of camping gear and other supplies for extended hikes and camping trips.

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The Camelbak Products Men’s Classic Hydration Pack – Best Hiking Backpack for the Money

Camelbak Products Men's Classic Hydration PackAlthough military scouts and wilderness explorers had been using collapsible bladders to transport water and other liquids for many years, Camelbak became famous for radically updating and modernizing the flexible water carrier for use by soldiers, explorers and hikers. Able to hold up to a generous 70 ounces of liquids, the Camelbak Classic Hydration Pack can carry more than enough water for lengthy day hikes in demanding terrain. With a comfortable and easily-adjustable shoulder strap, hikers can remain hydrated on even the longest treks.


Looks great and very stylish with so many bold color choices to choose from. Holds more than enough water for a long hike in hot weather. Exterior zipper pocket is great for keeping keys, phones and other small items. Advanced interior lining keeps water and other liquids neutral with no funny aftertaste or smell.


Although the Camelbak Classic Hydration Pack is a fantastic way to carry water on a day hike, it is completely unequipped to transport food, clothes, maps or other common hiking essentials.

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The TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Backpack – Best Hiking Backpack Overall

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration BackpackAnyone planning on enjoying a day hike or overnight journey through the wilderness will benefit from having the TETON Sports Oasis 1100. Able to carry more than 2 liters of water safely and easily, the TETON Sports Oasis 1100 is loaded with exterior pockets, pouches and stash space to fit in essential hiking items. With adjustable padded shoulder straps and a big carrying capacity, the TETON Sports Oasis 1100 is the perfect accompaniment to any hike or overnight wilderness trip.


Looks great and fits comfortable across both shoulders, freeing up your arms. Tons of exterior pockets and mesh pouches means strapping on additional gear and supplies is easy. Bladder can contain food or water, giving hikers more flexibility in their meal options. Twist lock and special bite valve make accessing the bladder when walking a simple and intuitive process. The TETON Sports Oasis 1100 is well padded all over to minimize fatigue on longer hikes and expeditions.


The TETON Sports Oasis 1100 serves primarily as a way to transport water and small hiking essentials, and is not voluminous enough to carry camping gear and supplies for extended wilderness trips.

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In Conclusion

Hikers know that the most important bit of gear to bring with them is a quality backpack, voluminous enough to carry all the water, meals and supplies necessary while remaining lightweight and comfortable. Hiking backpacks often contain special bladders to transport water or other liquids, ensuring vital hydration when out in nature miles away from the secure resources of civilization. Hiking backpacks can store food, medical supplies, clothing, maps and other important pieces of equipment. A good hiking backpack comfortably carries heavy loads without adding undue strain or fatigue to the hiker.

While any backpack off the shelf can hold a few essential hiking supplies, only the TETON Sports Oasis 1100 is truly designed to offer bikers and outdoor enthusiasts the carrying capacity they need for their essential supplies. Able to hold a generous 70 ounces of liquid in its leak-free pouch, the TETON Oasis 1100 will keep hikers hydrated on even the hottest treks. Multiple exterior pockets, pouches and mesh straps allow hikers to add other gear and supplies, increasing the amount that a hiker can carry during the journey. With an FDA-compliant food grade bladder and roomy 1,100 cubic inch interior, the Sports Oasis is the perfect accompaniment to any hike or trek in the great outdoors.