The Best Hiking Backpack Under 100 Bucks: Ultimate Buying Guide 2019

I hope you enjoy and find value in this guide to the best hiking backpack under 100 bucks.

I hope you enjoy and find value in this guide to the best hiking backpack under 100 bucks.

Hiking is a favourite pastime of countless people around the world.

Myself included!

In fact, well over 34 million people in the United States alone love a good hike.

All over the globe, people are venturing into the great outdoors for bipedal adventures! I don’t blame them, either. There’s a lot about hiking that I just find intrinsically appealing: the physical exertion, the freedom, the time, the natural beauty, the simplicity of it…

There’s nothing better.

It’s undeniably more enjoyable when you’re prepared though.

The perfect hike can quickly descend into a tiring, uncomfortable, and downright dangerous situation when you’re not sufficiently kitted out.

Of all the gear that comes in handy, a decent hiking backpack is often essential.

Unfortunately though, top of the line packs don’t come cheap. Many people (like me…) baulk at the idea of paying such extortionate prices. I mean, you really don’t need a fancy pack to get a decent hike in!

Thankfully, you can find inexpensive options too. I decided to look into the best ones currently on the market. Looking for a hiking bag that won’t break the bank?

Keep reading for a comprehensive buying guide of the best hiking backpack under 100 bucks.


Best Hiking Backpack Under 100 Bucks- Summary Table

1.jpg

Type: Top loading

Capacity: 20L

Weight: 8.8oz (0.22kg)

Rating: 4.5/5

Price:

 
5.jpg

Type: Top loading

Capacity: 55L

Weight: 4.5lbs (2kg)

Rating: 4.5/5

Price:

2.jpg

Type: Top & Panel

Capacity: 40L

Weight: 2.1lbs (0.9kg)

Rating: 4.3/5

Price:

 
6.jpg

Type: Top loading

Capacity: 50-65L

Weight: 3.6lbs (1.65kg)

Rating: 4.3/5

Price:

3.jpg

Type: Top loading

Capacity: 20L

Weight: 7.5oz (0.2kgs)

Rating: 4.8/5

Price:

 
7.jpg

Type: Top & Panel

Capacity: 44L

Weight: 2.5lbs (1.1kg)

Rating: 4.6/5

Price:

4.jpg

Type: Top & Panel

Capacity: 35L

Weight: 0.86lbs (0.4kg)

Rating: 4.8/5

Price:

 
8.jpg

Type: Top & Panel

Capacity: 55L

Weight: 3.5lbs (1.6kg)

Rating: 4.8/5

Price:


You have to keep certain things in mind to find the best hiking backpack for your needs.

You have to keep certain things in mind to find the best hiking backpack for your needs.

5 Important Considerations for Choosing the Best Hiking Backpack

There are certain things to stop and think about before buying a backpack- even a cheap one!

Keep the following things in mind when making your decision:

1. Type of Hiking

Different types of hike demand different things from a backpack.

For instance, you wouldn’t take a tiny 20L pack with no internal frame on a week-long trip. It just wouldn’t make sense- you’d need far more stuff than you could ever fit. Likewise, there’s no point carrying a giant pack on an afternoon hike!

Have a think about the sort of hiking you’ll be doing. It’ll play a big part in the type of bag you need.

Consider where you’ll be hiking too. The weather conditions will impact the suitability of a pack. Heavy rainfall demands good waterproofing. You’ll want a rain-cover! Hilly terrain with lots of scrambling involved? A lighter pack with a waist belt and internal frame will be helpful.

Finally, a quick note for more extreme hiking:

Any thru-hikers or long-distance types reading this piece might want to check out pricier packs. Sure, everyone loves a bargain. But you guys are doing some hard-core hiking. It’ll pay to invest a bit more upfront! 

2. Size and Weight

Absolutely think about the size and weight of your hiking backpack.

The right volume for you will, again, depend on the type of hiking you’re doing.

However, as a rough rule of thumb, the lighter the better. It’s about finding a balance. You want to be able to fit as much food and gear as you need, at the lightest possible weight.

With cheaper packs, the lightest options tend to sacrifice durability of materials. That’s another consideration if you’re a rough and ready sort of person! The great outdoors has a fine habit of testing your gear.

Speaking from experience, you really don’t want rips and tears making it impossible to properly carry your stuff. Longer hikes demand greater durability. That often means heavier bags.

It’s also worth mentioning the temptation to over-pack. You know, with extra space you might be inclined to fill it. Sometimes, opting for a smaller bag is preferable. Small bags mean space is a commodity! You’re forced to pack efficiently.

The wrong backpack can make hiking a miserable experience. be sure to take these hiking back considerations into account when choosing yours.

The wrong backpack can make hiking a miserable experience. be sure to take these hiking back considerations into account when choosing yours.

3. Comfort

Hiking can be ruined by an uncomfortable backpack.

It’s as simple as that. Walking long distances with an off-centre and heavy backpack, with poor padding, inadequate adjustability, and a low quality waist belt isn’t fun.

Now, it wouldn’t be great, but you’d probably be able to put up with it on shorter hikes. However, to put it bluntly, longer tramps would suck. Again, I’m speaking from experience: comfort is a major consideration when buying a bag.

Think about buying a bag with warranty. That way, you can load it up to full weight when it arrives and try it on (just don’t damage it!). See how it feels. Can you imagine walking 20km with it on your back?

If not, then think about sending it back and finding a different one.

4. Functionality

All backpacks serve the same purpose, right?

They’re there to hold and protect your goods, on your back, while you get to and from your destination.

However, not all backpacks were created equal. It’s the additional functionality that separates the best packs from the worst.

It’s the extra strap that holds your trekking poles perfectly in place. It’s the front panel opening that means you can access you things with ease. It’s the adjustable shoulder straps, the stretch pockets, the water pouch holders and so on.

Simply, some backpacks are more functional than others. They don’t have to be fancy. But you definitely want them to fulfil your requirements.

Think about what you want and need your backpack to do. Then find one to match. Hopefully, this piece contains one that’ll work well for you.

5. Price

Price is almost always a factor to think about too.

For me, it’s often at the top of my list in terms of considerations.

Of course, cost is particularly relevant to this piece.

After all, each of the options I’ve included are under 100 bucks. However, there’s a wide range of prices within that bracket. As is usually the case, the more you pay, the higher the quality. That said, the cheapest options may be better suited to your hiking needs.

My approach is simple: find a pack at a price point that matches my budget, and gives me the best value for it. I want to meet as many of my criteria for a hiking backpack as possible, while staying within budget.

That said, I’m usually prepared to pay more for slightly higher quality. Gear is important: you want it to live up to expectations and match your requirements. Furthermore, it tends to work out cheaper in the long run like this.

After all, higher quality means greater longevity (aka I won’t need to pay out for repairs and replacements of cheaper kit).

With all these considerations in mind, let’s move on to my ‘best backpack under 100 bucks’ buying guide! I hope you find what you’re looking for.

The best hiking backpack depends on your requirements! Below you’ll find my picks for the best ultra lightweight hiking backpack, the best 40L backpack, the best hiking daypacks, the best hiking backpack for women, the best hiking backpack for men, the best waterproof backpack for hiking, the best travel hiking backpack, and the very best cheap hiking backpack I could find.

The best hiking backpack depends on your requirements! Below you’ll find my picks for the best ultra lightweight hiking backpack, the best 40L backpack, the best hiking daypacks, the best hiking backpack for women, the best hiking backpack for men, the best waterproof backpack for hiking, the best travel hiking backpack, and the very best cheap hiking backpack I could find.

The Best Ultra Lightweight Hiking Backpack

1. Zomake Ultra-Lightweight Backpack

Key Features

  • Portable/foldable

  • 20L capacity

  • Water and tear resistant

  • Several zippered pockets for storage

  • Side mesh pockets

  • Adjustable shoulder straps

Description

I love ultralight hiking, travelling and backpacking.

You say goodbye to enormous packs and the sore shoulders and uncomfortably tight waist belts in the process. This pack from Zomake is the best ultra-lightweight hiking backpack I could find.

I’ve got one very similar and it’s been ideal for my travel and hiking needs. The foldable design is perfect: I can stow it away in my bigger pack whenever I don’t need it.

How about the hiking itself?

Well, at 20L you’ve got enough room for your essential hiking items. And some nice zippered pockets come in handy for valuables and the like.

Now, you’ll need a bigger pack for longer hikes. But for shorter day excursions and the odd overnighter (in warm climates) it should be ideal. The weatherproof material will provide some much needed protection against showers too. Avoid heavy downpours though.

The true blessing is the size and weight saving aspect.

Sure, you’ll miss the support and structure of an internal frame. But it’s light as a feather as a result and folds up small.

Overall, Zomake have made an incredible little bag here. It’s vastly popular online and everyone raves about it in the reviews. For the discount price you can see why.

Aside from the odd report of slight material tears, you’ll struggle to find a bad word about it.

It’s exceptional value for money and will satisfy all lightweight hiking needs.

Pros

  • Ultra-lightweight

  • Increased durability

  • Tiny folded size

  • Water resistant material

  • Reinforced stress points

  • Roomy!

Cons

  • No internal frame

  • Potential material rips

  • No waist belt

The Best 40l Backpack

2. Mountaintop 40L Hiking Backpack

Key Features

  • 6 adjustable straps

  • Compartment for computer/water pouch

  • Carry-on size

  • Warranty

  • Multiple zip pockets + hidden velcro pocket

  • Stretch mesh side pockets

  • Straps suitable for trekking poles

  • Ventilation system

  • Bottom compartment

Description

I love 40L backpacks.

More often than not it’s the ideal size for all my travel needs- including hiking.

Why? Firstly, because the dimensions tend to fit the hand luggage requirements on planes (as with this Mountaintop pack). Avoiding hold luggage fees saves masses on flight tickets!

In terms of quality, price, reviews, and ratings, the Mountaintop Hiking Backpack is the best 40l backpack I came across in my research. By all accounts, you’ll struggle find a fault in it.

It has everything you’d want from a hiking pack: adjustable, padded straps and waist belt; great functionality from its various straps and compartments; ventilation system to stop your back getting too sweaty…and so on.

I think it looks pretty snazzy too, which is a bonus. And it’s an absolute steal for the price.

Move quickly though as it’s another popular pack that sells fast. For short to mid-length hikes, and even long term travel, this pack looks perfect for the job.

One downside worth mentioning is the potential for its colors to run. However, that seems rare.

And with a 90 day warranty anyway, it’s a no risk purchase. Give it a shot and if you don’t like it, simply send it back.

Pros

  • Hand-luggage size for planes

  • Adjustable design

  • 90 day warranty

  • Numerous pockets and compartments

  • Padded straps

  • Mesh back panel for ventilation

  • Easy to access contents

  • Water resistant

Cons

  • Potential running of colour

  • Potential durability issues

The Best Hiking Daypacks

3. HIKPRO Lightweight Backpack

Key Features

  • Portable/foldable

  • Tear resistant

  • Water resistant

  • Simple design

  • Three zippered compartments

  • Adjustable shoulder straps

  • Mesh Side Pockets

Description

The HIKPRO 20L pack could easily have been my pick for best ultra-lightweight hiking backpack.

However, it comes in at number one for my best hiking daypacks category too.

It offers all of the same benefits as the Zomake: super lightweight and foldable design, with water resistant fabric and basic top-loading functionality. A useful little zippered front pocket is great for smaller items or valuables.

Likewise, you’ll enjoy durable materials and adjustable straps.

You don’t need anything more in a daypack for hiking. It’s just a great little bag to take on a hike. Nothing fancy, it’ll pack up nicely and set you on your way without fuss.

The downsides are the same for all bags like this: there’s no internal frame, no waist belt, and the materials can sometimes feel a bit flimsy.

That said, this is one of the highest selling bags online. It comes in with a 4.8/5 star rating. That’s impressive. Those numbers tell a story:

Lots of happy customers.

Pros

  • Great value for money

  • Lightweight

  • Tiny folded size

  • Portable

  • Improved durability

Cons

  • No strap padding

  • Potential stitching problems

  • No internal frame

  • No waist strap

The Best Hiking Backpack for Women

4. Luisport Lightweight Waterproof Backpack

Key Features

  • Foldable/portable design

  • Multiple compartments

  • Durable materials

  • Warranty

  • Straps for trekking poles

  • Adjustable straps

  • Mesh side pockets

Description

This Luisport waterproof backpack is my pick for the best hiking backpack for women.

In reality though, anyone will benefit from it: no matter your gender.

At 35L it’s a good sized lightweight hiking pack. One size up from 20L daypack-style bags, you’ve got more room for manoeuvre. You can take more stuff! And that means longer and more challenging hiking is possible.

It’s got a bunch of great features, including the all-important (and high-quality) warranty we all enjoy!

Sure, it’s more expensive than the 20L packs. But not by much. And you get more features too.

Adjustable straps will stop it moving around excessively. However, they aren’t padded, which is a bit annoying, and it lacks a waist-belt too.

Although you have more space to place with, you don’t want to overload it with heavy items. It won’t be comfortable to walk with. Likewise, the materials are durable, but they won’t be top of the range (these are all pretty cheap bags!).

The trekking pole straps and side pockets are nice touches. They’ll be genuinely handy on a hike too.

Pros

  • Water-resistant

  • Folds up small

  • Drawstring inner section

  • Super lightweight

  • Ventilated shoulder straps

  • Quality materials and features

  • Top quality foldable design

  • 5 year warranty!

Cons

  • No internal frame

  • No waist belt

  • No shoulder padding

  • Occasional (potential) durability issues

The Best Hiking Backpack for Men

5. Teton Sports Scout 3400 Backpack

Key Features

  • Multi-position torso adjustment

  • Airflow design

  • Internal frame

  • Built-in Rain Cover

  • Sleeping bag compartment

  • Lifetime warranty

Description

This Teton hiking backpack looks and sounds like the real deal.

And it takes top spot as my best hiking backpack for men.

(Again though, there’s nothing stopping anyone from enjoying it. The pack will suit almost anyone.)

It has thousands of purchases and raving reviews.

You can see why too: it looks great, and has all the attributes of a quality pack.

Functional, it’s fully adjustable with thick, padded shoulder straps and waist-belt. The ergonomic, adjustable design fits a wide range of body sizes. It has all the compartments, pockets and straps you’d expect too.

At 55L it’s a good size for longer hikes. You can attach all necessary sleeping equipment, and fit clothing and cooking stuff with ease. I like that it holds a sleeping bag too. That’s essential for longer, overnight hiking.

Now, a few reviews moan about the durability of its materials.

But, let’s face it, you can’t buy a 70 buck backpack and expect the world! Right?

I mean, there’s a reason top of the line stuff costs hundreds and hundreds more! You tend to get what you pay for. As far as quality goes, this Teton is arguable as good as it gets…for this price point.

Moreover, there are literally thousands of reviews shouting about how good it is. Pay heed to those!

Pros

  • Fits wide range of body sizes

  • Holds sleeping bag

  • Keeps things airy

  • Built-in Rain Cover

  • Padded straps and belt

  • Under warranty

Cons

  • Durability issues

  • Cheap features (plastic zipper)

  • Small sleeping bag compartment

The Best Waterproof Backpack for Hiking and Travel

6. Mountain Top Internal Frame Hiking Backpack

Key Features

  • Choose between 50, 55, 60 and 65L versions

  • Internal frame

  • Expandable design

  • Air circulation system

  • Fully adjustable shoulder straps and waist belt

  • Trekking pole attachment

  • Sleeping bag compartment

  • Rain cover included

  • Water pouch pocket

  • Warranty

Description

I’d happily take this backpack travelling.

There’s a variety of sizes to choose from, it looks cool, and has everything I’d ever need. And all for a cheap as chips price tag.

That’s why I’ve picked this Mountaintop internal frame pack as my best waterproof backpack for hiking and travel. The material is water-resistant and it comes with a rain cover for added waterproofing. Two ticks there.

Again, it comes with all the padded and adjustable strapping needed. Another tick.

Then there’s the quality materials, ventilation system and sleeping bag compartment too. Tick, tick, tick. An expandable design is a great little touch too. It means you’re covered for a wide range of hiking needs: from long ones to multi-day hikes.

Now, again, the material durability has been called into question on the odd review. As I mentioned with the Teton though, that’s to be expected. Overall, this backpack would be ideally suited to any moderate hiking /backpacking needs.

Pros

  • Comfortable design

  • Sponge padded straps

  • Good ventilation system

  • Can expand for larger loads

  • Holds sleeping bag

  • High quality materials

  • Water resistant

  • Rain cover included

  • 90 day warranty

Cons

  • Design struggles over longer hikes

  • Potential discomfort

  • Potential durability issues

The Best Travel Hiking Backpack

7. Kelty Redwing Backpack

Key Features

  • Convertible top lid

  • Aluminium frame

  • Stretch front stash pouch

  • Hydration pouch

  • Ventilating back pack

  • Zipped side pockets

  • Adjustable straps

Description

This Kelty backpack seems awesome.

At 44L it’s probably a bit too big for handluggage. But otherwise, I can’t fault it.

I really like the dual loading design: open from the top and front, as required. That amounts to easy access to all your stuff. You’ll be thanking it when you need to access something quickly that’s halfway down the pack!

The design seems sound in all aspects. The materials are high-quality and the manufacture is good too. It’s the real-deal. And that’s probably why it comes in at a higher price-point. Indeed, depending on the day, it may even cost more than 100 bucks. Sorry!

But for this quality, hopefully you’ll let me off. Indeed, it might be worth paying the extra 20 bucks for a higher standard of hiking backpack.

At 44L it’s a nice size for short, medium and (possibly) longer hikes. The internal frame and durability will stand you in good stead as you go. The ventilation system will keep things breezy too!

A cool feature is the removable top-lid too. This becomes an additional sling-style pack to carry smaller items when the entire bag isn’t needed.

Pros

  • Top lid converts to sling pack

  • Good ventilation system

  • Padded straps for comfort

  • High quality versatile design

  • Solid structure

  • Top and panel loading means easy access

Cons

  • Expensive (relatively)

  • Potential durability issues

  • Potential strap loosening

The Best Cheap Hiking Backpack

8. Gonex 55L Hiking Backpack

Key Features

  • Access from top and panel

  • Rain cover included

  • Aluminum rod internal frame

  • Water and tear resistant

  • Multiple compartments

  • Multiple internal and external pockets

  • Front pouch & water pouch

  • Alpenstock fixture

  • Shoulder straps and waist belt

Description

I’m a big big fan of this Gonex 55L.

It looks and sounds brilliant. That’s why I’ve listed it as the best cheap hiking backpack here. AKA, it’s number 1…

Why? Because it has everything you could ever need for hiking (or travel), in a modern and sleek design, with unbeatable ratings and reviews, at a price point that’s crazily low for what you get.

Sound good? That’s because it is!

An aluminium rod acts as the internal frame. This creates structure while keeping the weight down. The materials are premium standard, water resistant, and a rain cover is supplied too.

It includes useful features such as a pouches on the waistband (eg for your mobile phone), a front pocket for easy storage, and removable internal belt with multiple storage pockets. Use it or don’t- that’s up to you. Your trekking poles (alpenstocks) can be easily attached, and it’s dual-loading (meaning easier access).

The shoulder straps and waist belt could be the only issue.

It’s great that they’re there and they’re fully adjustable. But they don’t seem particularly padded. And at 55L it’ll be tempting to load the pack up. Obviously, a heavy bag with meagre padding is a recipe for discomfort.

That said, you can’t have everything. And in every other way, from what I can see, this pack will more than do the job for all short to long distance hiking.

The Gonex is epic value at just over 50 bucks. You can’t go wrong.

Pros

  • Comes with rain cover

  • Premium materials used

  • Water resistant

  • Internal pockets on waistband

  • Numerous and varied compartments and pockets

  • Can fix alpenstock

  • Fully adjustable

  • Easy to access contents

Cons

  • Thin shoulder padding

  • Potential durability issues over time


Time to Buy Get Hiking

There you have it: my buying guide to the best hiking backpack under 100 bucks.

Every day, people around the world are venturing out to hike in the great outdoors. This simplest of activities brings unrivalled joy to the lives of millions all over the globe. I’m a major advocate of hiking as much as you possibly can, and try to do the same myself!

Having the right hiking gear makes an undeniably big difference though. And a backpack is often the first port of call.

Thankfully, you don’t have to break the bank to get your hands on a good’un.

I hope this buying guide has highlighted some of the best out there, regardless of your particular hiking needs. I wish you all happy hiking!

Find one you like? Let me know in the comments!

And be sure to subscribe as well!

I’ll drop you the odd email to keep you updated on what I’m up to (complete with useful tips and insight I come across along the way). Tag along for the ride and join the community of us all figuring out exactly what we’re doing.


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