The Best Budget Hiking Backpack

Are you an adventure lover and wish to carry your essential items with you? If so, you need a good affordable backpack that you can take with you on your outdoor trips!

In this article, we are going to explore the best budget hiking backpacks of 2020. Apart from this, we are also going to talk about:

  • Types of backpacks
  • Reasons to carry a backpack on outings
  • Important things to carry in backpacks
  • Recommendations to choose the best cheap hiking backpacks
  • Frequently asked questions

Whether you are travelling or just roaming around on adventures, a backpack can serve as a perfect companion to store your essentials. There is a wide variety of products available today but we will focus on those which are low in price and high in features. If you like going out all the time, you will find this guide very useful because you are going to learn about the top rated hiking backpacks!

Read also: 10 Best Budget Hybrid Bikes

What is a Backpack?

A backpack is a bag which you can carry on your back through the straps around your shoulders. It is known as a rucksack or book bag as well due to its various uses. Backpacks can be frameless or framed. In the first case, the bags are made from one material and there is no external or internal frame to support it. Most normal bags for students and outdoor users are of this type. The framed bags have a plastic or metal frame which contains the shoulder straps. Rolling bags are usually of this type. Moreover, there are many different bags such as sports bags, sleeping bags, military bags, etc. which are designed according to the purpose.

Uses of Backpacks

We will list here the common uses of backpacks so that it is easy to categorize the different types which we will study in this article.

Educational Purposes

This is the most popular use of bags or backpacks. Every child uses them in schools, colleges and universities. They are used to carry books, stationary, lunch and other essential items which students require in their studies. Stylish backpacks are often one of the requirements that children put in front of their parents. Most small backpacks are frameless because they are intended to be light for young children. Experts recommend students not to carry more than 10-20 % of their body weight in school bags otherwise it may cause problems for them.


Hikers are popular users of backpacks because it is a mandatory item for them. During hiking, there are essential items which they need to carry along. These include water bottles, snacks, maps, sunglasses, jackets, first aid kit and others. Nobody can pick up all these things in two hands; therefore, enthusiasts are always on the search for the best lightweight hiking backpack. Same goes for mountaineers who may require excessive equipment than hikers because the adventure may consist of several days in extreme climate.


Just like hiking, camping requires bags to carry your important items. These include food, sleeping bags, tents, first aid kits and other equipment. Nowadays, almost all these things are available in special foldable packaging which means that users can store them in small backpacks for ease in transportation. Consequently, you should know about the best backpacks for camping. Stick to this articles and you shall know all!


Backpacks are a must while travelling. Most users take it as a hand carry on airplanes, buses or vans. The ease of carrying such bags and their small size allows them to be placed anywhere below or above the seats. Moreover, you can open the bag anytime during your journey and take out your snacks, laptops or cell phone charger to keep you busy and stay connected. Most travel backpacks are frameless in style and have several pockets inside to store various kinds of items.


The latest trends have shown that people prefer backpacks when going out for shopping because they are much more practical than handbags or normal plastic shopping bags. You have the advantage of keeping essentials like water bottles, sunglasses or caps in the bag while having a place to store anything you purchase. Moreover, it is environment friendly since you do not need to buy and then dispose plastic bags every time you go out.

Quick Comparison Table

10 Best Budget Hiking Backpacks in 2020

Image Product Description Check Price
Military Expandable Travel Backpack
Military Travel Backpack
4 compartments for storage
Check Price
North Face Borealise
North Face Borealise
Capacity of 28 liters
Check Price
MOUNTAINTOP Hiking Backpack
Mountaintop Hiking Backpack
Storage capacity is 40 liters
3 small front pockets

Check Price
Osprey Packs Daylight Backpack
Osprey Packs
Storage capacity is 25 liters

Check Price
Amazon Basics Backpack
Amazon Basics
Storage capacity is 65 liters
Length of 30 inches

Check Price
TETON Sports Scout Backpack
TETON Sports
Storage capacity is 55 liters
Adjustable length of 15-19 inches

Check Price
 Diamond Candy Waterproof Backpack
Waterproof Backpack
Storage capacity is 40 liters
20 inches in length

Check Price
Women’s Backpack
best Osprey backpacks″
Can fill it up to 40 pounds
Check Price
Everest Signature Waist Pack
Everest Signature
Waist sizes from 24 inches to 46 inches
Check Price
Lightweight Backpack
Lightweight Backpack
Storage capacity is 40 liters
Check Price

Military Expandable Travel Backpack

This backpack is an all in one piece which you can use in hiking, trekking or travelling. There are overall 4 compartments for storage. The front one contains places to put pens or tools like screwdrivers. You have the option to attach an extra pouch on the front through the Velcro straps. Behind this, there is another small compartment to hold small items. The two main ones are located at the farthest back and you would be amazed by their sizes.

When fully expanded, the backpack can hold 64 liters worth of items.  Special cloth straps are present inside to hold your things on one place. At the side, you have a water bottle holder and on back, you have two small pouches to store mobile phones or walkie talkies. The back straps are adjustable and contain several buckles to securely tighten the bag along your back. Top handle is sturdy enough to carry all the weight of the bag. Priced at $38 and containing all these features, this is one of the best backpacks for hiking and camping.

  • Large capacity
  • Molle System at front to attach pockets
  • Back pockets for handy devices
  • Multiple colour choices
  • Too much straps and zips on front
  • Not suited for daily use

2. North Face Borealis

North Face Borealis backpack

If you want a simple and elegant backpack, this product by North Face is the ideal one for you.  Made from nylon, it has a capacity of 28 liters. The unique thing about this bag is that the back is made from Flex Vent system which allows proper ventilation and cushioning so that the users have the most comfortable experience while carrying it. You would not feel exhausted after carrying this bag for hours due to this advanced mechanism.

There are two pockets. The larger one has internal spacing to accommodate various items like laptop, tools and food items. Front ropes allow users to carry clothes on the go. There are two small side pockets as well. You can buy this product in black and blue colour for $30 only. Overall, its features make it one of the most comfortable hiking backpacks.

  • Simple and elegant design
  • Advanced back support
  • Inexpensive backpack
  • Limited storage capacity
  • Colour choices are less

3. MOUNTAINTOP Hiking Backpack

MOUNTAINTOP Hiking Backpack

This backpack is a versatile product by MOUNTAINTOP. At 20 inches in height, this is one of the longest bags out there. If you are a tall adventurer, then you would be looking for this type of bag because it fully covers your back. The maximum storage capacity is 40 liters divided into 3 small front pockets and 1 larger main pocket. The storage space is very deep which means that users can store hiking sticks, tents, sleeping bags and other essential items easily.

Everywhere you look in this backpack, you will find adjustable straps that can hold items like drink bottles and clothes.  The shoulder straps and back section is created from a mesh material to allow air flow towards the user. This is very important in long hikes because users may get exhausted due to heat and exhaustion. Users can choose from over 20 different colours for this product and they have to pay only $65 for this best mountaineering backpack.

  • Long, stylish design
  • Multiple colour choices
  • Decent storage capacity
  • Deep storage may cause problems for storing perishable items
  • Relatively expensive

4. Osprey Packs Daylight Backpack

If yOsprey Packs Daylight Backpackou are looking for a small and simple backpack, this one from Ospreys will suit you perfectly. The bag has a 25 liters storage capacity in its two compartments. It measures 19 inches in length which means that the bag has really deep pockets. Back is covered with foam and mesh lining to keep the user comfortable and ventilated. Using the straps on the sides, multiple small bags can be attached to it to increase your storage.

Users have over 5 colour choices for this $50 backpack. The minimalist design makes it ideal for shopping or student use as well since it is a good looking product and is easy to carry around.

  • Sleek Design
  • Multiple straps for attachments
  • Various colour choices
  • Small storage capacity

5. Amazon Basics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack

Amazon Basics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack

If a backpack could have everything, the Amazon Basics hiking backpack would be the one to do it. It has a whopping 65 liters capacity and a length of 30 inches which makes it one large hiking backpack. It is made from polyester material and is totally waterproof. You can take it to the toughest of adventures and it will accompany you in full form. There is a pre included rain cover as well to help you in case of heavy rainfall.

There are two front pockets plus two bottle compartments on the sides. The main compartment is at the back and it contains special sleeping bag holder as well. The back is lined with mesh to allow air flow to the user.  You have the option to adjust the shoulder straps and make your journey most comfortable. The colour choices are green and black and the product comes with a one year Amazon Basics warranty. Priced at $65, this is truly one of the best mountaineering backpacks in 2020.

  • Large capacity of 65 L
  • Waterproof material
  • Adjustable straps for comfort
  • Compartment for the sleeping bag
  • Not suited for small people
  • Deep pockets make accessing items difficult

6. TETON Sports Scout Backpack

TETON Sports Scout Backpack

If you are searching for the best backpack for heavy loads, then this product by TETON is a good choice for you. Having a 55 liters capacity and an adjustable length of 15 – 19 inches, you are all set for a great adventure with this bag wherever you go. It is made from Oxford Canvas material which is a tough fabric for all conditions. At the top, you will find a built in rain cover to protect your belongings during heavy rainfall.

There are 4 circular side pockets for bottles or cups. At the front, you have a compartment for sleeping bag and a mesh holder. The main pocket in the bag is extremely deep.  With the movable straps and waist belt, you can securely tighten this backpack to your body and enjoy your hiking and mountaineering trips without any worry. The product costs $120 and comes in 4 colours: black, beige, green and orange.

  • Large storage capacity
  • Rain cover included
  • Multiple colour choices
  • Length is adjustable
  • Expensive backpack

7. Diamond Candy Waterproof Backpack

Diamond Candy Waterproof Backpack

The Diamond Candy backpack is a 40 liter waterproof bag. It carries the traditional style of backpacks but includes several features which make it one of the best day hiking backpacks. Almost 20 inches in length, the bag offers plenty of space for outdoor essentials. It comes with a pre included rain cover to keep the bag dry. There are 4 roomy compartments for storage. At the side, you have bottle holders in mesh compartments. The back side is well padded to make your trips extra comfortable.

The straps on the bottom and sides allow users to attach hiking equipment such as rods easily without compromising internal space.  The bag costs $59 and is available in 8 different colours.

  • Simple design
  • Included rain cover
  • Decent storage space
  • Resembles a school bag

8. Ospreys Fairview 40 Women’s Backpack

Ospreys Fairview 40 Women’s Backpack

This is an excellent product for all female hikers. Made from 210D nylon fabric, this is a sleek backpack with one large storage compartment. It contains spaces for clothes, boots, sleeping bags and more. You can fill it up to 40 pounds and carry it easily through the shoulder straps, side handle or the long handle that can be extended from the back to carry it like a handbag.

The zips are lockable and the material is both water and heat resistant. Priced at $117, it is one of the best Osprey backpacks for travel.

  • Stylish Design
  • Side handle can be used to carry it sideways
  • High-quality material
  • Very expensive backpack
  • Storage spaces are limited

9. Everest Signature Waist Pack

Everest Signature Waist Pack

If you do not want to carry heavy backpacks on your shoulders, we have brought this product in our list as well. This is a waist pack by Everest brand that can be attached on waist sizes from 24 inches to 46 inches. This means that kids or adults of any size and weight can use this product. It has 3 small compartments which have a capacity of 2 liters overall. You can carry small water bottles, maps, tickets, sunglasses or similar items in this handy bag.

It is made from waterproof polyester and contains a key ring holder as well on the front pocket.  You can buy it in lots of colours. Priced at $11, this is one of the best small hiking bags on the market.

  • Small and lightweight
  • Waterproof material
  • Cheap bag
  • Not a proper backpack
  • Storage is very limited

10. Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Backpack

best cheap backpacking backpacks

If you are an adventurer and go on frequent trips, this backpack by Venture Pal is the ideal choice for you. Having a clean design and available in 12 different liveries, this bag is made from water proof nylon material. It has a special wet compartment which can store your wet items during rain, swimming or boating. The unique thing about this product is that it completely foldable into a small pouch. This means that you can even carry it in your pockets!

The backpack has an overall capacity of 40 liters which is plentiful for your hiking, camping or mountaineering trips. Inside the main compartment, you will find separate sections for your items. The sides are covered with extra straps to hold essential items on the go. Priced at $40, it is truly one of the best cheap backpacking backpacks.

  • Completely foldable
  • High-quality material
  • Decent storage capacity
  • Back is not mesh-lined

Features to look for in a Hiking Backpack (Buying Guide)

Now that we have seen the 10 best budget hiking backpacks, let’s list down the important features that you should look for before buying a new bag:

  • Storage Space

The first thing to consider in a backpack is its storage space. Most hiking trips that last for a day need around 25-35 liters of storage space. Therefore, you should not carry extra large bags with you. Fortunately, the majority of hiking and mountaineering bags have at least 40 liters storage which is perfect for a day hiking adventure.  However, if you are going on camping trips, you would have to spend one or more nights outdoors which may require extra equipment. For this, you may need a larger bag but mostly such trips are done in groups so the items may be shared in every member’s backpacks.

  • Comfort

Comfort is of utmost importance in hiking trips. You do not want your back to start hurting after a short time because it will not allow you to complete your ascent properly. Most hiking backpacks have padded backs with mesh that allows air flow to your back. The proper cushioning is also critical to soften the impact of heavy loads on your shoulders. Therefore, always buy the bag with proper mesh material and padding at the back side so that you are comfortable during your arduous journeys.

  • Material

The material of a hiking and mountaineering backpack is a bit different from school and luggage bags. This is because they have to withstand harsh weather conditions. Most hiking bags are made from polyester and nylon material which are processed in to special treatment to make the backpacks waterproof. These materials are made into specialised weight denoted by D for example 210D refers to 210 grams weight of the material for 9000 meters size. Moreover, the inside materials are also waterproof so that the bag does not get wet if anything spills out.  So, if you are looking for the top rated hiking backpack, make sure to check its material carefully.

  • Accessories

You may ask what type of accessories would one need in backpacks. There are many small items which help professional hikers during their trips if they are available with bags. These include rain covers, extra straps, additional small bags, fitted water bottles, etc. Such things help the users in various situations and if they are pre included with the bag, the deal is a good one to acquire. However, it is difficult to find these items in the best cheap hiking backpacks so you would need to spend a little to get these additional accessories.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the best backpack?

It depends on the user’s requirements. There are thousands of good backpacks on the market. Some of the best ones include:

  • Pans Expandable Travel Backpack
  • North Face Borealis Backpack
  • MOUNTAINTOP 40 L Backpack
  • Osprey Days Daylight Backpack
  • Amazon Basics Internal Frame Backpack
  • Teton Sports Backpack
  • Diamond Candy 40 L Backpack
  • Osprey Fairview 40 Backpack
  • Everest Signature Waist Pack
  • Venture Pal 40 L Backpack
  1. How big of a backpack do I need for backpacking?

This is a very important question for hikers. Most hiking trips that last for a day need around 25-35 liters of storage space. Therefore, you should not carry extra large bags with you. Fortunately, the majority of hiking and mountaineering bags have at least 40 liters storage which is perfect for a day hiking adventure.  However, if you are going on camping trips, you would have to spend

one or more nights outdoors which may require extra equipment. For this, you may need a larger bag but mostly such trips are done in groups so the items may be shared in every member’s backpacks.

  1. What is the best lightweight travel backpack?

It is essential for backpacks to be light in weight. Most backpacks are lighter than 1 pound when empty which means that you will barely feel the difference in weights below 1 pound. However, we have compiled a list of the lightest backpacks which are best for travelling purposes:

  • Swiss Gear Travel Gear 1900 Backpack
  • Osprey Fair point 40 Travel Backpack
  • Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack
  • TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible
  • Outlander Lightweight Travel Backpack
  • Yorepek Extra Large Backpack
  • WITZMAN Travel Backpack
  • Amazon Basics Carry On Travel Backpack
  1. Can you carry on a 50 L backpack?

 It is not possible to take a 50 liter backpack as a carry on in airplanes. The maximum capacity is 45 liters for the onboard luggage. Larger bags are not allowed because they are too big for the cabin and may cause problems in the storage compartments as well. Therefore, only keep the most essential items like your laptops, snacks or chargers in your carryon luggage.

Final Words

It is essential for an adventurer to be well prepared for the upcoming trips. The backpacks are a source of survival for many people which means that their significance cannot be neglected. However, at the same time, this does not mean that a person who has a good, expensive backpack will automatically become a good hiker. The user must know how to make the best possible use of the bag and utilize all its features effectively. Many people may not realize the importance of so many straps on such bags but to a professional, they all mean something.

In this article, we have explored the 10 best adventure backpacks. All the products are compared in terms of their features, prices, pros and cons. It is observed that the top rated hiking backpacks are aimed at purpose rather than design. They have straps all around and rugged look which suits their purpose. The storage capacity of most backpacks is greater than 40 liters with some having as much as 65 liters room for items. Nylon and polyester are the 2 main materials used in such bags and majority of the products reviewed were waterproof. Adjustable shoulder and side straps are a common feature of hiking backpacks.

Overall, the best budget hiking backpacks can be purchased under $50 which is a reasonable amount of money to spend on this item. These bags can serve the users for a lifetime over several other occasions like travelling and shopping as well.  Although looks and colours do not matter much to hikers, there are some brands like Ospreys which have really stylish backpacks. We would recommend our users to go through this guide in detail and choose the best bag according to their requirements.




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