Right now, I own a lot of hiking backpacks, each with its own purpose. One is large enough for multiday treks, one perfect for overnighters, another for day hikes, and still another ideal for that summit push. After lots of miles with packs on my back, I have some pretty strong opinions about what’s essential, what’s convenient, and what’s unnecessary. A good hiking backpack will bear heavy loads while being comfortable, keep supplies in easy reach, and protect your stuff against the elements. That’s pretty much it. These are the six hiking backpacks I know I can always count on, each suited to a different trekking need.
Best hiking backpack for day hikes
The Redwing 32 is a smaller version of one of Kelty’s best-selling hiking packs, yet despite its relative small size, it retains the quality of the original larger pack. That includes padding for your lumbar region and shoulders, ventilation mesh covering the shoulder and waist straps, and multiple pockets (including a pair for water bottles). With a 32-liter capacity, it could absolutely be an overnight or weekend pack if you didn’t need to bring a tentor sleeping bag, but the best way to use it is as a day pack loaded with all the gear, snacks, and backup apparel you need to have a great all-day outing that ends back in civilization.