Best Camping Backpack for Hiking - Expert Review | Mountain IQ (2024)

Best Camping Backpack for Hiking - Expert Review | Mountain IQ (1)

The camping backpack that I personally use and recommend is the Osprey Aether (Mens) / Ariel (Womens) AG Series. Osprey have been the market leader for backpacks for decades now, and with this bag they have really produced a high quality bag that is also very versatile (load capacity ranges from 30-70 litres) and affordable.

If you're strapped for cash, I recommend checking out the Teton Sports Scout 3400. It's lightweight at a meagre 4.5 pounds (2 kg) and gives you 3400 cubic inches (55 litres) of load capacity, making it great for multi-day camping/hiking trips.

If you have a smaller frame and/or worry about big camping backpacks being uncomfortable, then check out the N NEVO RHINO. It's a great unisex option which comes in various sizes (40-80 litres) with a narrower and easily adjustable strap system to fit most atypical body types.

Here are our top 5 Camping Backpacks.

Best Camping Backpacks (Top Picks)

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Best For Women


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Top Backpacks For Camping (Detailed Reviews)

We reviewed over 15 camping backpacks for this article. Below are the best camping backpacks that made our short list.

  1. Osprey Aether/Ariel AG Series - Best Overall
  2. Osprey Atmos AG
  3. N NEVO RHINO - Best For Women
  4. Kelty Redwing
  5. Teton Sports Scout 3400 - Best Value

Read our complete buyers guide for camping backpacks.

Best Overall Camping Backpacks

Claiming the title of Best Overall backpack is the Osprey Aether Series. This hiking backpack has all the features you can possibly need for any outdoor adventure, and the large variety in sizes available means that the pack caters to most people.

The packs durability, clever design and versatility made it the best backpack, in our opinion, scoring it 4.5/5.

Although the Osprey isn’t the cheapest backpack, spending a little more is worth it in our opinion - especially considering Osprey will repair any damage or defect free of charge, regardless of when you bought the pack.

The pack keeps your back comfortable. This is due to its lightweight suspended back panel in combination with the LightWire tensioned, fill peripheral frame, meaning that any load is comfortably transferred.

The packs innovative features are what really sold us. The best being the convertible top-lid day back (the top lid converts into a smaller backpack).

You can easily leave your pack at basecamp and deploy the DayLid to use for small adventures, and the flap jacket on the main backpack means that you can use the pack easily without its lid.

Other clever features include ice axe holders, an internal compression strap and hip belt pockets that come with zips.

Coming with an IsoForm5 harness and CM hipbelt, the pack provides great fit and comfort to the hiker. The components are interchangeable and the hip belt is heat mouldable, so as to provide you with the best fit possible.

The weight distribution efficiency of the pack is made even better by the side compression straps which serve to ensure balanced weight transfer.

Main Features
  • CM™ hipbelt and IsoForm5 harness
  • Convertible daypack lid
  • Antigravity technology
  • Compression straps

What we like
  • Customisable fit
  • Good weight distribution

What we dislike
  • Is a bit pricey

Best Camping Backpack for Hiking - Expert Review | Mountain IQ (6)

5/5 Overall Rating

Note: Women’s version is the Osprey Aura.

The Osprey backpacks performed well, and the Osprey Atmos AG was the Editor’s Choice of backpack. This versatile pack was designed with the hiker’s comfort in mind and is lightweight, durable and with an ergonomic design.

One of the backpack’s key design features that stood out to us was the Anti-gravity suspension system, which makes the pack feel as if it is floating off your back.

The system is a mesh back panel that contours your body, evenly distributing weight and keeping you cool.

The “Fit-on-the-Fly” hip belt is another feature of the pack that we liked, as the hip belt pads can extend 5 inches to accommodate a variety of body types, ensuring maximum comfort.

The belt of the back contours your body and does a good job of keeping impact off both your back and hips.

Other handy features of the Osprey are the side compression straps, which help stabilize your load, and this, in combination with the adjustable harness, makes sure that the pack fits your body and is stable.

The clever, stow-on-the-go feature means you can quickly attach and carry trekking poles.

Lastly, the pack comes with a removable, floating top lid which contains two zip pockets. This lid means you can squeeze in a little extra if you are carrying a large load or you can remove the lid completely to reduce weight.

Main Features
  • Anti-gravity mesh panel
  • Fit-on-the-fly hip belt
  • Adjustable harness
  • Removable, floating top lid

What we like
  • The excellent fit of the hip belt
  • The ventilation of the back panel
  • Has a place to store trekking poles

What we dislike
  • Some packs can initially be squeaky
  • Could have more places to clip items onto the pack

Best Camping Backpack for Hiking - Expert Review | Mountain IQ (7)

4.5/5 Overall Rating

The is our best women’s backpack, especially if you are smaller in stature.

Coming with a single contoured aluminium frame which can easily be shifted to fit the shape of your back, as well as adjustable hip and chest straps, the High Sierra can easily fit a variety of body shapes.

The moulded foam back panel that features airflow channels cool and comfortable.

The pack loads from the top, with bottom and side compression straps that help you secure your gear and stabilize your load.

The daisy webbing chain, one either side, is ideal for carabiners and other gear, and the soft lashing hardware means that you can easily attach equipment such as trekking poles and ice picks.

Other nifty features that this pack came with was an included tuck-away rain cover, for wet conditions, as well as space for a hydration back and dual exit ports for hydration pack tubes.

Main Features
  • Moulded foam back panels
  • Tucked away rain cover
  • Contoured aluminium frame

What we like
  • Good price
  • Lots of straps to attach items

What we dislike
  • Could have more pockets for small item storage
  • Main compartment only opens at the top

Best Camping Backpack for Hiking - Expert Review | Mountain IQ (8)

4.3/5 Overall Rating

If you are aiming at doing day hikes, a bigger backpack may be a little too bulky and heavy. Although not really suitable for multiple overnight hikes, of the backpacks we tested the Kelty Asher was one of our favourite daypacks.

The packs Perfect Fit Suspension means that the bag is comfortable and fits your body without hassle. The pack easily adjusts to you, meaning you can have an almost customised fit within seconds.

The Hex Mesh back panel means that your back is kept ventilated.

Featuring top and panel loading, a stretch front pouch as well as front pocket with organisation the Kelty Redwing makes it easy to pack and keep organized what you need for a quick day hike.

This, with the packs compression straps and trekking pole loops means that all your gear is kept in place.

Main Features
  • Perfect Fit Suspension
  • Top and Panel loading
  • Hex Mesh back panel

What we like
  • Lots of pouches and straps for storage of gear
  • Ergonomic design

What we dislike
  • Can only be used on day hikes

Best Camping Backpack for Hiking - Expert Review | Mountain IQ (9)

4.5/5 Overall Rating

The Teton Sports Scout 3400 backpack is affordable and is designed with your comfort in mind. Although it may not be the most high tech backpack, it is perfect for those starting out hiking or for shorter, three to four day treks.

Some of the Teton’s best features include a rain cover, so that even in miserable weather your belongings are kept dry, a sleeping bag compartment, lots of quick access pockets for storing items on-the-go, as well as gear loops and compression straps.

The pack’s shell is made from sturdy 600D ripstop and 600D Oxford canvas, making it able to endure heavy strain.

With an adjustable internal frame and ergonomic, contoured, adjustable shoulder straps, the pack can fit a variety of body ranges. Moulded channels aim to provide you with maximum comfort and airflow.

Main Features
  • Sleeping bag storage
  • Rain cover
  • Adjustable frame and shoulder straps

What we like
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Handy quick access pockets
  • Affordable price

What we dislike
  • Slightly smaller
  • Not as high tech as some of the fancier packs

Hiking Backpack for Camping Buyer's Guide

A camping backpack is a key piece of equipment, especially when you plan on spending considerable time outdoors. There are numerous factors to consider when picking your next purchase, such as how long you are hiking and camping for, and how far you will have to carry your pack for.

When deciding on a backpack for your personal, there are a number of variables that you need to take into consideration.

There a large variety of backpacks to choose from, with many variables for you to take into consideration. Generally the more features a backpack has the more expensive it is, however, depending on how intensely you will be using your pack, it may be worth it to spend slightly more on something that is higher quality.

Below you will find some of the key features to look out for when buying your next camping backpack.

How big of a backpack do I need for a 3 day hike?

For 3 days of hiking or camping you will need a 40L backpack, for 4-5 day hikes a 50L bag should be enough and for 5-7 day hikes you will need a 60-70L backpack.

These will help you carry drinks, extra clothing and the rest of your hiking basics. Consider using a backpack compatible with a hydration pack, to save space and bring more water with you.

For half-day hikes you will be ok with a 35L backpack or even a day pack (depending on the trail and weather conditions), because you won't have to carry too much with you.

If you need more information about what size backpack you need, check out our comprehensive backpack size guide.


Many backpacks come in a variety of sizes, so you can select the most appropriate capacity for your needs. However, there are no set rules on how big of a pack you need - rather, you should consider multiple factors before deciding on the volume.

Considerations such as how many nights you will be hiking, the time of year (as colder weather normally means you will be carrying more) and where you are going, will affect the volume of pack you next purchase.

As a general rule, it is better to stick to smaller sized packs. If you have an unnecessarily large backpack, you may be tempted to pack it with items of heavy gear that are unnecessary.

Remember to keep your gear in mind when picking your next pack. You need to consider whether your gear will compress well, and if you have larger items, such as tents and sleeping bags, it is a good idea to check how they will fit into the available space.


A key feature to keep in mind is the backpacks adjustability. Even if the frame and weight are good, a bad fit will make your entire journey uncomfortable. Thereby it is important that backpacks are adjustable in a number of areas so you can ensure the fit is as close to perfect as possible.


Another feature to take into consideration when purchasing your next camping backpack is its breathability. If you trekking through hotter areas over lengthy periods it is important that your back allows your body to breath.

Padding and Support

Hiking for longer periods with heavier loads means that you pack has to provide adequate support and padding to keep you comfortable throughout the day. The three most important areas are the hip belts, shoulder straps and back pad.

As you should be carrying the majority of your packs weight on your hips, it is important the hip belt is well padded and comfortable, with some packs go as far as having heat moulding padding.

Obviously, added padding adds extra weight, so you need to consider how many days you will be trekking, as well as how much weight you will be carrying, so you can find a pack that offers a good balance between padding weight and comfort for your needs.

Shoulder straps should sit evenly and not cut into your neck and shoulders. Backpads should allow your back to breath, while evenly distributing weight.

Organisational and Compression Features

More of a bonus than a must have, something to look into when buying a new backpack is how many organisational features the pack has.

Features such as webbed loops, which allow you to clip on carabiner clips, or place for your hiking poles, come in handy. If you want to go on longer hikes, it is a good idea to check if the backpack has space for a hydration pack.

Compression straps on the side of the backpack helps stabilize the load, and compresses the contents of your pack. This will affect the overall balance of the load you are carrying, so it is something that you should consider.

Continue browsing

See more outdoor equipment reviews and our detailedbags for hiking guide. Or check out these reviews:

  • Best Hiking Daypacks
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  • Best Dry Bags
  • Backpack Size Guide
  • Best Tactical Bags
  • Best Solar Packs
  • Best Hiking Pack Under $100
  • Best Camera Bags
  • Best Hiking Baby Carrier

About the author

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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