Comparison of the Best Hiking Backpacks: A Buyers Guide!

By Dakota Foote

Osprey Women's Aura 50 AG Backpacks

If you love hiking and backpacking into the wilderness, then you know how important the right backpack is! This is especially true for us women as we don’t generally have the upper body strength that men do.

The type of backpack you will need will depend on what you plan to do with it. Do you plans include long distance hikes? Do you need to carry a weekend full of supplies or are you a day tripper? Will your hike include snow or extremely hot weather?

The best hiking backpack will not only handle your needs, but do so comfortably. Let’s take a look at the 5 common types of backpacking trips and which is the best hiking or best backpacking backpack that works for both men and women.

Light and Quick

For hiking long distances in a short amount of time, weight matters! Are you willing to sacrifice luxuries in exchange for a lighter pack? If so, then you must look at the Granite Gear Blaze A.C. 60 for men the Osprey Aura AG50 for women. The Granite Gear Blaze is very lightweight and has an extremely simple design. It does offer some organization, so it’s better than a plain old duffle bag to be sure! The Osprey Aura is very stylish looking, but don’t let looks fool you. This backpack has superior ventilation and a wide range of fitting adjustments.


For those with big plans, such as hiking the Appalachian Trail, the thru-hiker requires more planning and prep than simple weekend trips. For simplicity, terrific suspension, and organizational capabilities, the top rated hiking backpacks would be the Osprey Exos 48 and the Granite Gear Crown VC 60. The Granite Gear must be considered the best hiking backpack around! It transfers most of the weight to sit on your hips, not your shoulders, and it holds a whopping 60 liters. The Osprey Exos is perfect for women as it is super cushy and has tons of little pockets you don’t normally find on other packs, no matter the size.

Gregory Deva 60 Technical Pack

The Ultra-Light

For longer trips and those who have a hard time carrying much weight, ultra-light means what it says. If you are a minimalist who would consider cutting the handle off of your toothbrush to save a half of an ounce, then the top rated hiking backpacks for you would be the Kelty Coyote 80 for men or the Gregory Deva 60 for women. (That Deva name sounds like Diva, doesn’t it?) The Kelty Coyote is not only reasonably priced, but it has a larger capacity than many other packs. It has excellent back padding, but is still super lightweight. The Gregory Deva pack, or the Diva pack as I like to call it, might be a bit heavier than other packs (5 lbs), but it is designed for women that are anything but Diva’s! It is built rugged, with sturdy zippers and terrific back ventilation. If you are a petite lady, this one is probably not for you, but tomboys should definitely check this one out!

Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack Bag

The Weekender

If you are like me, weekends are get- away time! You want to pack some luxuries, but you don’t want to turn up at work on Monday with a sore back! For weekend trips, we have to recommend the Osprey Porter 46. It holds 46 liters, which makes it perfect for those one to three day trips. While it lacks some of thick hip pads of some backpacks, it simply cannot be beat for organization, not to mention, size! The best way to describe this one is that it’s the biggest small backpack you can find at any price!

1 Rated 20L 33L- Most Durable Packable Handy Lightweight Travel Backpack Daypack lifetime Warranty

The Leisure Pace

Some people are more interested in the scenery than in making tracks. They take time walking to the lake, snap pics, and then walk back the same day. For all the leisurely paced folks out there, the best backpacking backpack for day trips has to be the Outlander Day Pack. It has multi-compartments and holds a roomy 25 or 33 liters! Another option is the Pacsafe Metrosafe 350. If your day plans include the big city, this is a backpack that no one can get into but you. If the safety of your belongings is your concern, the Pacsafe is for you!

Thank heavens that manufacturers have finally figured out that women’s bodies have very different curves than men. Be certain that you are buying a backpack that is designed for your torso length. It would be a worthwhile investment to get fitted to be sure that you are buying the right sized frame for your body shape. The best hiking backpacks are comfortable, lightweight, and designed for the trip you have in mind. You will find that a properly fitted backpack, for both men and women, will greatly increase the enjoyment of your trip. Pack light and happy hiking everyone!

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