Here at SELF, we’re big fans of backpacks—all sizes, shapes, and colors. They’re one of the ultimate tools to schlep your stuff, whether you’re going to and from work or away on a weekend trip. In the fall, one of my favorite things to do is go hiking, which definitely calls for a quality backpack. The problem is it can be a challenge to find one that’s functional, cute, and can serve double duty in the city—important for me so that it doesn’t gather dust in my closet when hiking time is limited to only once every few weeks.
Technical packs, while ideal for keeping my back dry and preventing any strap rubbing, tend to not be the most attractive options. So as I started spending more time in the great outdoors, I started taking notes on what I liked in a hiking backpack—both function and style included.
Between my long weekend excursion at The Camelbak Pursuit in San Francisco, a Labor Day hike up in New Hampshire near the AT (hiker speak for the Appalachian Trail), and a few days trail running and hiking in Aspen, I got a pretty good idea of what’s out there. (It also helps that my editor also loves hiking and we could powwow about the ones we’ve tried and loved.) I tried ones from companies you normally think of when you think “hiking backpacks,” like L.L. Bean and Columbia, plus lots of new brands, like Topo Designs and United By Blue. And now I’ve got a pretty long wish list of packs I’d love to carry myself.
Here, I compiled a list of 22 cute and lightweight hiking backpacks that are sure to help you out on your next day hike. They just might inspire you to get outside and explore a little more often.
Burton Tinder Backpack, $75
This sunset-inspired print is sure to stand out on your climb (and, of course, your Instagrams after), and the drawstring top and adjustable front clips allow you to really pack this thing to the brim.