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July 6, 2020

Lightweight Hiking Backpacks - The Ultimate Guide

Written by

Daniel Wade

Lightweight Hiking Backpacks | Today I'm Outside

Lightweight Hiking Backpacks - The Ultimate Guide

When it comes to outdoor adventures, we always try to keep the weight of the things we carry at a minimum. And one thing that adds to the weight of the outdoor gear is the backpack. In the past, backpacks tended to be heavy, especially those with large volumes, but now not anymore.

Manufacturers have become more and more creative in making ultra-light backpacks for traveling and hiking. Backpacks can now feel lighter without sacrificing their volume, which is beneficial to backpackers.

Unfortunately, you may have a difficult time identifying the best lightweight backpacks for your needs due to an influx of backpacks, with all claiming to be the best. You may find yourself in confusion since you don't know which one to spend your money on.

To make your work easier, we have put together this exhaustive guide on buying the best lightweight backpacks for work, travel, school, everyday use, hiking, and any other outdoor activity you may engage in.

Buckle up for a long read…

Here are our 12 best lightweight backpacks.

Table of Contents:

1. Outlife Hiking Backpack 60L

The Outlife Hiking Backpack is ideal for beginner and expert hikers who need more space to put enough essentials for days. It has versatile pockets, attachment points, and an internal frame system, which adds to its rigidity and provides support. The mesh material at the back makes it comfortable for all your outdoor trips.

Apart from the main compartment, it comes with numerous interior pockets for which are great for gadgets and laptops. The front pockets are zippered for keeping quick reach stuff while the bottom pocket is large enough to keep an extra pair of shoes. With all these pockets, it has the capacity to keep all your belongings organized.

The Outlife 60L is made of a water-resistant 1000D Nylon that is not only lightweight to carry around your back on long trips, but also quality. The fabric can withstand the rigors of your hikes and camping trips with sturdier straps that means you can carry it without issues. The double-bottom keeps the backpack safe from breakages when carrying heavy loads.

The shoulder straps are made of breathable material and are padded to relieve off pressure when carrying a full load. The chest straps keep the back closer to your body for added stability. It also comes with other compression straps where you can attach bulky items such as mats, sleeping bags, and tents. A breathable mesh pad on the pack promotes a free flow of air to keep your back cool during hot days.

Pros

  • Offers a spacious 60 L main compartment to hold everything
  • Has multiple zippered exterior pockets for convenience
  • Has a ventilated back panel for breathability
  • Nylon fabric is durable and water-resistant
  • Comes with compression straps to keep any bulky items

Cons

  • There is no rain cover included

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2. Venture Pal Lightweight Backpack

Hiking requires one to have a lot of sturdy hiking gears, and thus a dedicated hiking backpack is a must-have to help you gobble water, food supplies, first-aid box, and much more. This Venture Pal hiking backpack is great in this regard with its great performance and durability.

One of the features that make this backpack by Venture Pal the best hiking backpack is its thoughtful main compartments and organization. The venture features one main compartment that is divided into two. The main compartment is spacious enough with a volume of 35 liters, which means you can put all your dedicated accessories there. Whether you are a professional hiker or you are going for those occasional outdoor trips to the backcountry, this hiking backpack will cater to all your needs.

The main compartment, which features two separators, can store your hiking accessories, including a laptop, in an organized form. This makes it great for those looking for a bag that facilitates extra organization.

It also features side and front pockets where you can store small accessories. Featuring two front pockets as well as two zipped side pockets, you will have ample storage for your small accessories that you may need while on the go. You can keep a drinkable water bottle in one of the side pockets and an umbrella in case you are hiking during the rainy season.

The Venture Pal features all types of straps- waist, sternum, and shoulder straps. The straps have a sponge padding to guarantee extra comfort.

The shoulder strap is easy to adjust for a customizable fit, and the chest strap features a whistle buckle to allow you to lock your backpack. What's more, the straps have a woven, breathable mesh at the bottom side, which helps to ventilate air.

Another notable feature of Venture Pal is the prime quality it is made from- this backpack is made from a water-resistant material that can withstand harsh climates and tear. This enables it to provide long-lasting performance and extra strength. Moreover, the backpack’s stress points are backed by bar tacks to help the bag resist tear while on the go.

It also comes with a daypack, which makes it great for outdoor activities. Therefore, for those looking for a lightweight daypack, this will fit the bill.

Pros

  • Feature a double-layer bottom piece to allow it to bear extra load
  • Has an adjustable shoulder strap for a customizable fit
  • Spacious and organized main compartments
  • It is very affordable
  • It is lightweight, but still large enough to allow you to pack all your hiking accessories
  • The entire bag can fold into front pockets for extra storage
  • It is very comfortable to carry

Cons

  • It is very thin and thus cannot stand up severe weather for a long time
  • It is not 100% waterproof

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3. TETON Sports Hiking Backpack

Are you on a budget and looking for a quality rucksack that can be your companion when you are out in nature? Well, then the Teton Sports Scout 3400 backpack fits the bill.

This hiking backpack is packed with plenty of thoughtful features and is designed to perform in any weather, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced hikers. With a capacity of 55 liters (3400 cubic inches), you can load all the gears you need for your hiking mission.

It features external storage options to enable you to pack your hiking gears in an organized manner. The side pockets, gear loops, and bungee storage make it easier for you to organize your gear. What's more, it has a sleeping bag compartment designed to help you store your sleeping bag. This bag features a lot of side pockets and internal pockets, which makes it great for those who like to keep things organized. However, this comes at the cost of added weight.

When it is empty, the backpack weighs 2.04kgs or 4.5lbs. Although this is a bit heavy, the load capacity of this bag makes sense. With a capacity of 55 liters, you can pack your enough accessories and gears that can last you for a lengthy hiking period.

In terms of durability, the Scout 3400 is made of 600D Diamond Ripstop as well as 600D Oxford Canvas. This solid polyester makes it extremely durable and waterproof. You will not have to worry about the backpack wearing out no matter the weather or carrying capacity.

An area where Scout 3400 backpack shines the most is in comfort and ease of use. For instance, it has smooth zippers that allow opening and closing the pack easy. Also, it has an adjustable waist belt with locking straps that allows you to control the size of the waist belt. What’s more, it also features an adjustable chest strap to allow you to customize the chest fit.

Overall, we can recommend the Scout 3400 to people who are looking for the best budget hiking backpack that is large enough and durable. This is a great choice for 1-3 day hiking as well as couples who like traveling or hiking together. You can even carry it on a plan as the size fits. The easy adjustability of this backpack makes it great for people of all sizes.

Pros

  • Comes with an integrated rainfly
  • Adjustable torso length
  • Great price/features ratio
  • Features a sleeping compartment
  • Generous carrying capacity

Cons

  • It is a bit heavy

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4. Granite Gear Crown 2 60 Backpack

Granite Gear is a renowned brand in ultra-light packs and a preferred choice for many thru-hikers and backpackers. The Crown 2 backpack is arguably their best design so far, as it has great cushioning, thoughtful features, as well as being lightweight.

The area Granite Gear Crown 2 60 shines the most is in its impressive cushioning as well as carrying capacity. To make it more lightweight, this backpack is fitted with a plastic frame sheet instead of a metallic frame. In addition, the impressive padding on the shoulder straps and hip belt makes it more comfortable.

Another impressive feature of Crown 2 60 IS THE Re-Fit system, which allows for more tweaking to optimize fit. If you want to make adjustments to its fit, you can slide out the hip belt to shorten or lengthen it. However, shoulder straps lack this level of customization, but this will rarely impact on how well it fits.

Depending on your needs, this backpack by Granite Gear has made it possible for you to remove several things to cut down the weight even further. You can ditch the frame sheet, lid, and hipbelt to trim its weight. This is truly creative of the manufacturers.

When it comes to organization, ultralight packs often lack great organization features so as to trim down ounces, but the Crown 2 doesn’t skimp on organization features. For people who like keeping things organized, Crown 2 will be perfect for them. The pack comes with a cavernous internal compartment as well as three external stretch pockets. Additionally, there is one large 5-liter pocket on the top lid and two pouches on the hip belt.

In terms of construction and durability, this pack uses high-tenacity Ripstop nylon that can resist wear and tear of the exposed parts of the pack.

Pros

  • This backpack manages to be ultralight while still maintaining great organization features and comfort
  • Available in male and female version in multiple sizes, this pack should fit anyone
  • Has an adaptable design as it allows one to remove some features such as the top lid, back panel, and hipbelt to trim down its weight
  • It is quite affordable than most other backpacks in its category
  • Features adjustable straps for a better, customizable fit

Cons

  • Not as light as other ultralight backpacks in its category
  • It is quite large for a lightweight backpack

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5. NEEKFOX Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack 35L

Are you looking for a reliable backpack that accommodates gears for a multi-day hike? Look no further as this backpack can help you with all your travel adventure and hiking needs. The 35 liters backpack by Neekfox is one of the top choices for people looking for a lightweight hiking backpack that is not too big or too small.

In terms of compartments, this bag has all great compartments that you may need for a brief tour of the woods. There is a main, zipped compartment where you can keep most of your basic accessories, and two front zipped pockets as well as two mesh side pockets. You will also find several inside pockets, including one where you can store a 13-inches laptop. With all these pickets, it will be easy for you to organize your belongings.

The bag has a size of 8.66 x 9.8 x1.18 inches when folded up and can unfold to a small size for ease of storage.

On top of these general features, this bag has a few extra features that make it functional and smart to use. For example, it has mesh-padded straps that are very comfortable while the smooth zippers will rarely get caught when you are closing everything up. What's more, this bag is water-resistant.

Pros

  • It is lightweight
  • Made of durable fabric
  • It has a compact design for ease of storage
  • Has plenty of pockets for ease of organization

Cons 

  • Lacks an adjustable sternum strap, which leads to unbalanced weight distribution

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6. TETON Sports Ultralight Backpacks

For those looking for a set of internal frame backpacks that can easily meet the demands of extreme adventures, the TETON Sports Ultralight Backpack is your best bet. With a capacity of 4000 cubic inches and dimensions of 27 inches by 12 inches by 10 inches, this unique backpack can comfortably carry gear that you need for a multi-day trip. What sets this backpack apart are the features it has.

Built for comfort, this backpack features an extra padded split waistband as well as torso and hip adjustment that will offer a customizable fit. Since the lumbar region is padded and sits comfortably at your back, you will not feel the heaviness of the load.

What's more, despite the backpack coming at an affordable price, it has features that make it great for the pros as well. The oversized zipper pulls on the exterior pockets as well as the main compartment makes it easy to use.

In terms of durability and construction, this backpack by TETON is made from treated 420D Oxford, which enables it to sustain even the toughest adventures in extreme terrain. This backpack also comes with multiple compression straps, storm proof zippers, as well as sturdy buckles. The included rainfly covers you and your backpack. What’s more, its robust design makes it long-lasting.

In addition to these general features, this backpack also comes with thick shoulder pads as well as air channels to provide you with enough air circulation. Whether you are hiking, traveling, backpacking, or camping, you can pack all your gear in this durable backpack.

Pros

  • It easy-to-adjust straps for a customized fit
  • This backpack is built for comfort
  • It is durable
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The top lid rarely stays straight
  • For some people, the waist belt will not grab your waist well

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7. MOUNTAINTOP 40L Hiking Backpack

This camping backpack from Mountaintop is ideal for people who like to hike and camp for several days. It has enough space on its inside to accommodate all your regular gears. The outside has many straps that can hold your sleeping bag, camping mat, tent, and walking sticks. This makes it impressive.

It is made from durable, water-resistant polyester to keep all your gear dry during light showers. Also, it has a built-in waterproof rain cover for when there is a heavy downpour. The last thing you want is to get your gear and accessories wet, and this pack will keep everything inside dry.

This pack comes with a main compartment, a front and middle zipper pocket, a hidden pouch, as well as side pockets. Inside the main compartment, there is a laptop sleeve that can also double as a bladder compartment.

It features a breathable back panel to prevent you from overheating. What's more, the comfortable shoulder straps plus the sternum and hip straps help to distribute weight evenly.

Overall, we can term MOUNTAINTOP 40L Hiking Backpack as a great camping pack for summer and those who hike light.

Pros

  • Has a great design
  • It is very comfortable thanks to its generous padding on stress points
  • It is durable
  • Comes at an affordable price
  • Has a waterproof cover making it water-resistant

Cons

  • The main compartment lacks partitioning

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8. BseasH 60L Waterproof Hiking Backpack

Here is a great option for you if you are looking for the best backpacking backpacks for travel and hiking. This large hiking day pack by BSEASH comes with 60L capacity, which is enough for carrying a large amount of stuff and gear for your hiking trip. Made up of polyester and nylon, this bag will serve your stuff dry even when it rains.

It has a long and narrow design and features a fully padded waist strap that is designed to absorb significant load, so you don't get shoulder fatigue.

This waterproof climbing backpack is specially designed for avid hikers and travelers as it comes with ergonomic padded shoulder straps as well as back support to help you trek in the most comfortable way.

The shoulder straps also feature a breathable mesh with generous sponge padding to help relieve stress from your shoulders.

In terms of capacity, this backpack is spacious enough thanks to the 60l capacity. In addition to the main compartment, there is a separate compartment that is specially designed to carry an extra pair of shoes.

Pros

  • It has a lightweight, breathable design
  • Features adjustable straps
  • Ample capacity- 60L
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Has no rain cover

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9. Mardingtop 65L Hiking Backpacks

If you are looking for a 100% waterproof backpack, then you should definitely go for the Mardingtop 65+10L/65 liter Internal Frame Backpack. It has a rain cover that provides extra protection when it is raining outside. This tactical rucksack is one of the best lightweight hiking backpacks for avid hikers who like spending several days in the woods.

It has a padded waist belt, which can be detached when you are not using it. What's more, this backpack has a molle webbing design, which makes it easier for you to hang on your other essential items such as sleeping bags, tents, and trekking pole.

It also features two big-sized detachable side pockets where you can put your camping and survival gear. Similarly, you can use these side pockets to carry water bottles and other bigger tools.

Although this may not be the lightest of the backpack, the multiple pockets, as well as its solidly built design, make it convenient and useful for any trip. All its zippers are heavy duty and work seamlessly.

Pros

  • It is water-resistant
  • Has detachable side pockets
  • Comes with a rain cover
  • Good adjustable straps for comfort

Cons

  • It is slightly heavier as compared to other lightweight backpacks on this list

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10. Loowoko Hiking Backpack 50L

This waterproof hiking backpack by Loowoko has a generous capacity of 50 liters and thus can accommodate all your hiking and camping gear. Plus, it has plenty of padding on the shoulder straps and back panel to help relieve stress on your shoulders, back, and hip area for more comfortable use.

The generous carrying capacity of this hiking backpack, especially on its main compartment, means that it can fit all the hiking gear, clothing, and equipment you need for your weekend hike.

This Loowoko hiking backpack also features multiple pockets on its exterior where you can put small items such as compasses, knives, and maps. The mesh side pockets are great for storing water bottles. These extra compartments and pockets help you to keep organize your stuff so that you can retrieve them with ease whenever you need.

When it comes to construction, this Loowoko waterproof hiking backpack is made from durable Ripstop polyester, and thus you can count on it to last you through hiking trips. This material stops tears on their tracks to prevent them from spreading further. Ripstop polyester is a waterproof material and thus will prevent water and moisture from seeping into your backpack. This will keep your clothing and equipment dry.

This backpack has no framing system, but it offers great back support. This means that pressure on your shoulders and back is relieved, which makes it possible for you to carry heavier loads for longer distances. The adjustable waist belt allows for a customizable fit, making this backpack great for people of different body sizes.

Another impressive feature of this backpack is the eight adjustable straps on its exterior. These straps allow you to attach large items such as sleeping bags, tripods, and hammocks onto your backpack. This makes trekking or hiking easier. The pack also comes with a rain cover to further protect your belongings in case there are heavy rains.

Pros

  • It has a 50-liter capacity making it ideal for multi-day trips
  • Has eight adjustable straps to accommodate large, irregular items
  • Comes with a rain cover
  • Mesh pockets to help you store small items
  • Padded shoulder straps for support

Cons

  • Has no frame system

Check Deal Price >>

11. OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 45L

This Outdoor Master 45L hiking backpack with a rain cover is made of high-quality materials and has a spacious compartment as well as plenty of pockets to accommodate all your belongings. The included rain cover helps to keep all your belongings safe and dry.

With a capacity of 46 liters, this backpack can be an excellent choice for people who go for multi-day hikes. The main compartment is spacious and can hold all your equipment, clothes, and other essentials that you need for your trip.

The other multiple pockets have varying sizes and are easily accessible, making them easy for you to store and access notebooks, guidebooks, water bottles, and flashlights.

This backpack is made from high-quality nylon material, making it durable. It can withstand any weather condition and will not leak water inside.

Although it has no framing system, the backpack has other features that allow it to provide support and relieve pressure. Its thick and durable shoulder straps, as well as hip belt, ensures that the backpack securely sits on your back as you trek through rough terrains.

Another feature worth a mention is that the OutdoorMaster 45L Hiking Backpack has multiple attachment points that allow you to easily attach bulky items onto your bag. You can tie your tent, sleeping bag, or hydration reservoir on them.

The shoulder straps are padded and are easy to adjust for a customizable fit. The mesh panels on the bottom side of the shoulder straps, as well as on the back, ensure proper ventilation to keep your back cool.

Pros

  • Has ample 45l capacity
  • Has a padded laptop compartment
  • Reinforced haul handle to enable it to support its load
  • Multiple attachment points and exterior pockets
  • Rain cover included

Cons

  • Has no frame system

Check Deal Price >>

12. WASING 55L Internal Frame Backpack Hiking

This backpack by Wasing is a great choice for an expert and beginner hikers alike, thanks to the extendable main compartment, durable construction, waterproofing features, and contoured aluminum framing. It is perfect for multi-day hikes or weekend hiking trips. The main compartment can accommodate up to 50 liters, while the extra compartments add up to 5 liters. This extra capacity comes in handy for your equipment and gear. The backpack has a zippered bottom compartment that gives you access to the main compartment.

The nine extra pockets make packaging and organizing items easier- you can keep smaller items of various sizes in these pockets.

In terms of construction, this backpack is made from Ripstop polyester, which makes it resistant against wear and tear, especially because of its ability to stop small tears from spreading. The fabric is also water-resistant, which means your gear will remain dry.

What’s more, this hiking backpack has an internal frame system made of a contoured aluminum frame bar to support your belongings. This comes in handy when you are carrying heavier loads.

Another feature worth a mention is the extra attachments on its exterior. The dual straps on the main compartment work great, especially when you want to secure bulkier, shapeless items that cannot fit inside the backpack. The bottom side has gear loops for axes and trekking poles.

This backpack also features padded shoulder straps to ensure comfortable use when it is loaded with clothes and gear. The molded channels promote airflow throughout the back panel so that you can keep cool.

Pros

  • It has a generous capacity of 55 liters
  • The internal aluminum frame offers more support
  • Has zippered pockets for added storage
  • Ripstop polyester construction for durability

Cons

  • The torso fit is not adjustable

Check Deal Price >>

Bottom Line

All the models we have selected here are great options and have been proven to be practical and durable. When going for hikes or camping, you want a backpack that will accommodate all your gears and clothing, and still feel lightweight.  We hope that our reviews help you find the right gear for your needs.

Happy Hiking!

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Lightweight Hiking Backpacks - The Ultimate Guide

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