Best Hiking Backpack Under $100 in 2020
Hiking is one of the best hobbies to take on right now because the activity is suitable for all ages, all body types and especially since you get to explore so many beautiful sights, natural plants, animals and breathtaking sunrises. Hiking offers plenty of positive health benefits. This sport is excellent for building strong leg muscles, for getting a beautiful tan, for keeping your weight in check and the outdoorsy adventures offer great relief from stress and anxiety.
Hiking is also a very popular sport or activity because it is so affordable. All you need is the right gear and you will be able to enjoy many adventures for free or at the fraction of the cost of other physical sports such as gym.
One of the first things you will need if you want to enjoy regular hiking expeditions is a good quality backpack. And if you think that you will have to dish out a small fortune to get a good backpack then you are very wrong. At this moment you can pick up quite a few great looking backpacks for under $100.
In this review we are going to have a look at the top hiking backpacks that you can buy online at an affordable rate.
How important is a good backpack
It is important to have versatile traveling gear if you want to make a success out of your hiking expeditions. Nature can be unpredictable and you can count on lots of unforeseen elements and situations every time you set out on trial. With the right type of gear at your disposal you can travel with ease, get through tough situations and you will be able to stay safe on these often dangerous journeys.
While it is important to prepare for the unexpected by stocking up on lots of gear, it is also important to keep the weight of your gear in mind. You will need to carry your backpack throughout your journey and a heavy backpack, too much gear or heavy gear could tire you out tremendously.
The type of backpack you choose is very important for your journeys because your backpack can cause lots of agony or back aches if it doesn’t offer a comfortable fit. A good backpack is also important for protecting your gear and for keeping everything nice and dry in all sorts of weather conditions.
There are lot of characteristics that could affect the usefulness and functionality of a backpack and in this article we hope to teach you to find the right specks and features to include when searching for the perfect backpack.
What should be included when looking for a backpack?
When you are shopping around for the perfect backpack you should keep the following three categories in mind;
- Backpack capacity
- Backpack features
- Backpack fit
Backpack capacity – Hiking backpacks differ quite a lot in size and for good reason. The size you need depends greatly on the duration of your journey. The longer your hike is the bigger backpack you will need. Hiking backpacks typically come in three major sizes or types;
- Weekend backpacks are typically designed for one to three days. These daypacks or overnight packs usually have a capacity of under 40 liters and hikers do choose capacity according to the season. During winter season you will need something near 40 liter capacity but in summer you can easily get away with a much smaller day pack.
- Multi-day backpacks are designed for 3 – 5 day trips. These backpacks usually have a capacity of 40 – 60 liters and are considered medium to normal capacity backpacks. The backpacks can come with an internal frame but are mostly popular without internal frames because they are much more comfortable to wear.
- Extended trip backpacks are best suited for traveling for longer than 7 days. These backpacks typically have a capacity of over 60 liters and usually have an internal frame. While these high capacity backpacks are great for carrying lots of items along your journey they are no longer highly popular since it is trendier to go lightweight on hiking and backpacking expeditions.
?A small backpack might break if you stuff it too tightly with traveling gear where a big backpack could be unnecessarily heavy and bulky for short trips that are meant to be light hearted and fun.
Backpack features – The right type of features will ease many things in your journey. It is entirely possible to get a backpack under $100 with plenty of outstanding features. Here are the top features to look for in these affordable bags;
- A backpack that is light weight is always a good pick since the accessories you need to take along do contribute quite a lot to the total weight. Backpacks with frames are much heavier and fabric thickness can also have an impact on weight.
- Backpacks with lots of pockets are usually preferable because it makes it easier to stay organized on trips or to access things you might need.
- A backpack with a built in sleeper could be preferable if you are taking on long hiking expeditions or if you are hiking in winter climates.
- Tool loops are not essential but can be very handy if you are taking on adventures such as skiing or mountain climbing.
- A rain cover is an absolute must if you are planning on hiking during the rainy season or in areas that experience winter snow.
- Waterproofing is always a handy feature no matter where you go, what bag size you need or what type of adventure you enjoy because staying dry is one of the most important aspects of basic survival.
- Some backpacks come with built in water reservoir for camel back. These are preferable for long expeditions although not essential since you can buy water reservoirs loose.
?Backpack fit – The importance of choosing a comfortable backpack can never be over emphasized. A backpack that claws into your shoulders, that doesn’t sit firmly or that has thin straps won’t just eat away at your back, it could affect your ability to complete hiking trails entirely. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a backpack with a comfortable fit;
- Backpacks with internal frames are better for loading lots of stuff but are much tougher on your back. The frame rides against your back and can cause sweat and bruising. Frameless backpacks are always a better pick for hikers.
- Waterproofing is beneficial for keeping your belongings secure but you will have to sacrifice comfort because these backpacks typically are not breathable and can result in lots of sweating.
- Padded straps are critical if you don’t want your backpack to claw into your shoulders as you travel.
- Your backpack should have comfortable positioning. If it sits too low on your back you could experience terrible lower or higher back pain.
- It isn’t preferable for your spine to carry more than a third of your body weight on your back and long hiking expeditions can get quite exhausting if you carry too much weight.
More tips on choosing the right backpack size
One of the toughest parts about choosing the right backpack is to identify the right size. Backpacks can be quite expensive and you cannot really buy a different backpack for every hiking expedition you take on. Here are a few tips to help you choose a good size backpack that will be practical for many hiking adventures.
Get your gear together – One of the easiest ways to determine the size of backpack you need is to get all of your stuff together. Stuff everything into a borrowed backpack so you can see just how much space you will need. Don’t forget about space for food and water.
Reduce clothing – Most hikers over pack on clothing. You will be surprised at how little you can survive with, especially during summer time. When it comes to clothing you really want to pack only the bare essentials or invest in sports clothing such as cross fit shorts that take up less place.
The type of hiking expedition – For general hiking you needs a much smaller bag than for sports specific hiking. Hiking expeditions that involve mountain climbing, skiing or hunting hiking expeditions you will need a much bigger bag for extra accessories.
The duration of your journey – As said before; the size of backpack you need depends on the duration of your trip. For day or weekend trips, a small bag under 40 liters is perfectly fine. For 3 – 5 day trips you might want to look at backpacks that range from 40 – 60 liters and for 7 day plus journeys you will need something over 60 liters.
How often are you hiking – Some hikers enjoy these expeditions as often as they can while others can only get away once a year. If you are a frequent hiker then it might be best to choose something high quality, durable and something that is easy to clean. If you only hike occasionally then a cheaper bag could be the better pick since it will be unused most of the time.
The size of your group – The number of people included in your group can also have an impact on the size of pack you need. For example; if you travel on your own then you need ample space for a full hiking kit but if you are traveling as a group then lots of camping accessories can be divided amongst carriers.
The hiking season – You don’t need nearly as much equipment during summer hiking expeditions as in winter time. In winter you need thicker sleeping bags, jackets, coats, socks, a tent and much more. In summer you can get by with sleeping underneath the stars and clothing takes up much less space.
If you still have no idea what backpack to choose then go for a medium backpack. Multi-day packs are the best investment because they can be used as luggage for other types of traveling expeditions such as work travels. You will have a good pack for a moderate hiking adventure and these backs typically are not too extravagantly heavy for day trips or weekend hiking trips. Small day bags can also be handy for all sorts of everyday expeditions including trips to the gym and won’t be left to hoard dust in your closet for the biggest part of the year. The only bag type you really need to be careful off choosing are those big 60 liter bags that often is just too big for general functionality.
Best Hiking Backpacks for Under $100
Now that you understand the basics of choosing a good backpack better, it is time for us to dive in and explain more about the top backpacks we have chosen for this review. The following are the best of the best available on the market and will be suitable for your hiking expeditions because they offer the best benefits and features.
These backpacks are perfect for extended trips of 7+ days. The Mountaintop backpack ranges are available in 8 different colors and in different capacity size. You can buy this backpack in 50l, 70l and 80l size. The larger bag sizes are perfect for those long journeys because there is ample space for gear, accessories and clothing. Overall the backpack looks great in all different available colors but what probably really interest you are the features of the bag. Here are the main features of this quality backpack;
- Zipped front access allows you to get into main compartment with ease
- Daisy chains allows you to hook lots of accessories or attachments
- 8 compression straps for tying your backpack and other gear
- Hydration system compatible with access on side and water bladder sleeve in main compartment
- Made from high quality material with YKK zipper and Korean nylon buckles
- Adjustable back length with 8 different adjustment levels
- Adjustable harness strap position and shoulder straps
- Built in rain cover
- Internal frame
- Separate bottom compartment for shoes or messy items
- Weighs 4.4 pounds
- Waterproof fabric
- Perfect for all sorts of adventures such as travels, camping, hiking and trekking
- Durable materials
- Adjustable back length, straps and harness strap for comfortable wear on different sized people
- Comes with built in rain cover
- Easy side access hydration system is compatible with 3 liter bladder
- Big back perfect for long duration trips
- Affordable price
- Waterproof fabric
- No water bottle pouch
- Could be better with more small bag systems
- Hip belt might be small for some hikers
- Might be small for cold weather use
This is another great backpack for those taking on long journeys and backpacking expeditions. The backpack is available in three different colors and offers a simple yet stylish look, is made of waterproof material and consists of an internal frame. Here are some of the main features of this quality backpack;
- Zipper front access
- Internal frame
- High quality nylon fabric and aviation aluminum ultra-light material
- Adjustable padded shoulder straps
- Back ventilation system to reduce sweating
- Exterior bags consist of cellphone pocket, zipper front pocket, top zipper pocket and net side water bottle pockets
- Weighs 3.7 pounds
- Made of good quality materials
- Large capacity suitable for long trips
- Padded adjustable straps for enhanced comfort
- Side fitted water bottle pockets
- Not suitable for built in hydration systems such as water bladders
- Interior frame can cause pain during long trips
- Slightly heavy weight
The Tetcon Sports Scout 3400 is an Amazon #1 bestseller with over 1990 customer reviews. This bag is popular and a best pick for your traveling expeditions for good reason. It has all the major features that is needed for your trip, allows you to adjust it with great ease for comfortable fit and the bag’s 55l capacity is perfect for 2 – 4 day hiking trips. The bag is available in three different colors; coyote tan, hunter green and mecca orange and all of these bags look pretty fantastic. Here are some of the leading features you might want to know about this bag;
- Internal frame backpack
- Large 55L capacity
- Perfect for youths to adults for 2 – 4 day expeditions
- Customizable straps and torso positioning for more comfortable fit
- Has an open-cell foam lumbar pad and molded channels that offers maximum comfort and airflow.
- Made from high quality materials
- Sleeping bag compartment
- Compression straps
- Lots of exterior pockets for easy packing
- Compatible with 3l hydration bladder
- Comfortable ergonomic shoulder straps
- Padded waist belt with wide hip straps
- Has a bungee storage
- Has a sewn in rainfly that can be tucked away when not in use
- 3 pounds
- The backpack has a great look and is made of durable material
- Ample space for everything you need for your trip
- Perfect medium or normal sized bag for 2 – 4 day trips
- Adjustable shoulder and hip straps are padded for enhanced comfort
- Light weight
- Lots of exterior pockets and bungee storage for great organization
- Has a sleeping bag storage
- The straps could have been made of better quality materials
- Internal frame can cause back pain
- Slightly heavy due to internal frame
This is another great backpack for those 3 – 5 day hiking expeditions. The backpack is quite stylish and is available in 5 different colors which includes black, red, green, blue and yellow. Here are the main features of this stylish backpack;
- Zipper accessible bottom compartment
- Internal zippered divider
- Water resistant fabric
- Molded foam back panel with airflow channels
- Internal aluminum frame can be adjusted to different sizes
- Adjustable buckles
- Comes with a rain cover
- Good quality waterproof materials
- ?Relatively light weight
- Adjustable padded shoulders straps
- Available in different colors
- Hip straps enhances wearing comfort
- Not compatible with hydration bladder
- Internal frame can cause discomfort
- Could have been better with more exterior pockets
If you are looking for a small backpack for a day trip or for a weekend trip then we highly recommend the 30 liter Terra Peak Adjustable Hiking backpack. The 30 liter capacity is perfect for 1 – 3 day trips in the wilderness and the backpack is available in different colors. You can also buy this same backpack in 55, 65 and 85 liter size. This backpack features a beautiful and sporty design which makes it stylish for all sorts of sports and not just for hiking and camping expeditions. The backpack is made of strong materials and includes the following main features;
- 30 liter capacity bag
- Consists of main compartment, secondary compartment with pencil case organizer, mesh zip pockets and key chain
- Fabric exterior is treated with water-repellent coating and backpack has a built in rain cover in the base pocket.
- Comfortable hydration system with access at the top of the pack and bladder sleeve in main compartment
- Weighs only 1.52lb
- Has padded EVA back panel and cross vent straps for enhanced comfort
- Lots of tool attachment points for accessories
- Dual adjustable waist belt
- No internal frame enhances comfort
- Straps and back of bag is thickened which enhances comfort
- Waterproofing and rain cover
- Available in different sizes
- Mesh water bottle pockets at sides are very convenient
- Can be fitted with water bladder and has convenient water access point
- Perfect for all sorts of sports or activities
- Some complain that the straps don’t allow for comfortable fit on all sized people
- Could have been better with more hook straps or clips
- More pockets would have been preferable for easy gear access and better organising
This is a very popular hiking backpack because of there are so many areas where you can hook camping accessories. The backpack features a military tactical design and is available in a huge variety of different colors. It is made of good quality fabric and includes the following main features;
- 35 liter capacity – also available in 25 and 28 liter capacity
- Has a built in hydration compartment and can fit a 2.5 liter bladder. Tube is fed through the top of the bag
- Adjustable padded straps
- Stitched in waist belt that can be slid into the middle space of the padding
- Comes with chest straps
- Weighs 2.7 pounds
- Water resistant coating fabric
- Made of durable materials
- ?Available in different sizes
- Compatible with hydration bladder
- Made of water resistant coating fabric
- Has side fitted exterior pockets
- Has a zipper padded back panel suitable for carrying a laptop or hydration bladder
- No rain cover included
- No side fitted water bottle pouches
- Waist belt can be challenging to use
All of these bags come highly recommended and any one of these backpacks would certainly be very helpful on your hiking adventures.
If you are looking for a small and flexible bag then we highly recommend the 30l Terra Peak Adjustable Hiking Backpack. This bag is stylish and offers all the main features you need for easy traveling.
For longer hiking trips such as 2- 4 day trips you can certainly consider the 55l Teton Sports Scout 3400 backpack. It has ample space for all your needed equipment and is available in various sizes which is preferable for choosing a backpack for summer or winter specific hikes.
If you are backpacking a country or plan on taking on a 7+ day hiking adventure then the 80L Mountaintop Internal Frame Hiking Backpack is a wise pick. The backpack is available in different seizes and might not have many exterior pockets but it does offer lots of space for all the gear you will need for this type of adventure.
We are sure that these top picks will provide you with all the support you need whether you are planning on taking on a short hiking expedition, want to enjoy lots of outdoorsy adventures or want to go about backpacking different countries.