Best Hiking Backpack Under 100: Top-Rated Models and Buyer’s Guide
Being an avid hiker myself, I can say confidently that you should not skimp on two things when preparing for a hike, that is a backpack and shoes. To help you find the first one, I’ve put together this article. It will show you how to get the best hiking backpack under 100, pack it properly, and which models and brands I find to be ideal for camping. I have included ten products in my top so that each reader can find the right one for them.
The main difficulty when searching for inexpensive equipment is buying a sufficiently high-quality product that will not break after the first challenge. I believe that cheap doesn’t mean bad, and even for a low price, you can find a backpack made of reliable materials. With the correct fit, proper packing of things inside, and right care of the equipment, it can serve you for a very long time.
Top 10 Best Hiking Backpacks Under 100
- Top 10 Best Hiking Backpacks Under 100
- 1. Best Hiking Backpack Under 100: N NEVO Rhino
- 2. Best Internal Frame Hiking Backpacks: MOUNTAINTOP
- 3. Best Lightweight Backpack for Hiking: G4Free 35L
- 4. Good Hiking Backpack for Women: Kelty Redwing
- 5. Best Affordable Hiking Backpack of Large Capacity: TETON Sports
- 6. Small Backpack for Hiking: FENGDONG
- 7. Best Budget Backpacking Pack for Traveling: Loowoko
- 8. Top Hiking Backpacks for Pros: HOMIEE
- 9. Best Value Hiking Backpack with USB Port and Compass: G4Free 50L
- 10. Affordable Hiking Backpacks: Bseash
- 100 Dollar Backpack Buyer’s Guide
- Top Hiking Backpacks FAQ
- Hit the Road with the Best Budget Backpack
Hiking backpacks differ from the urban ones with a hip belt. Thanks to it, 70-80% of the weight is transferred to your hips and legs. This detail is the key to comfortable hiking for many days because carrying a lot of weight on shoulders is very tiring and can even lead to back injuries.
1. Best Hiking Backpack Under 100: N NEVO Rhino
I consider this model to be one of the best backpacks under 100. It features a removable frame, which makes it ideal for both beginners and professional hikers. This item is made of durable nylon that is excellent at repelling moisture. There is a special cover for additional protection of your belongings from heavy rain. You can choose the backpack color, as well as its volume. The product line includes models from 40 liters to 80 liters. The minimum size weight is just 3 pounds.
I especially like that the manufacturer has equipped it with all sorts of additional elements. For example, there is a whistle, a holder for keys and water bladders, ropes for trekking poles, and even a small waist bag. Perhaps, the only drawback I have found is that the shoulder straps are too close to each other, and that’s why they can chafe the neck.
- Removable frame;
- Many additional accessories;
- Large model range;
- Suitable for both beginners and pros.
- Shoulder straps are located close to each other.
2. Best Internal Frame Hiking Backpacks: MOUNTAINTOP
In my opinion, it is one of the best internal frame hiking backpacks. It sits securely on the shoulders and hips and does not cause any discomfort in the back area. I have put it in the second place because of a built-in frame, which you can’t remove if needed. It also increases the product weight (3.7 pounds). Despite it, the shoulder straps do not cut into the skin.
The model has two main compartments, and you can access them not only from the top, as in ordinary backpacks, but also from the bottom. You can put extra shoes or wet clothes in it. There is also a separate compartment for a water bladder that can hold up to 100 ounces of liquid. The hip belt is adjustable, but it is not very convenient to fit it because of its soft straps.
- Breathable mesh back;
- Separate compartments for shoes and liquids;
- Soft shoulder straps.
- Quite heavy.
3. Best Lightweight Backpack for Hiking: G4Free 35L
I can say confidently that it is one of the most comfortable backpacks for hiking that I have ever tested. It is very comfortable for one-day hikes and has many great features, but look at the huge range of colors! There are muted hues, crazy bright colors, and even plant and floral prints. This item is made of soft yet durable nylon, has reinforced stitching, strong nylon straps, and solid buckles and zippers.
Also, you should pay attention to the incredible compactness of this backpack. It is frameless and folds easily into its small bag when not in use. Its weight is only 0.79 pounds; it is one of the most lightweight products on my list. There are 35 and 40-liter models to choose from, so this item is most likely unsuitable for long hikes.
- Reinforced seams;
- Folds into a small bag;
- A huge number of colors.
- Not intended for long hikes.
4. Good Hiking Backpack for Women: Kelty Redwing
This backpack is specially designed for women, taking into account the female shape and anatomy. It is a smaller version of a classic Kelty model because, as a rule, women carry less weight, which means that the volume of a backpack should be less. This product’s weight is slightly less than average and equals 2.6 pounds, and the volume is 40 liters. You can adjust the hip belt or remove it completely.
This model is equipped with an internal frame made of lightweight aluminum. It gives the backpack perfect rigidity. I like that there is a flat front pocket where you can put all your tiny belongings: keys, a map, a flashlight, and more. Besides, there is a hidden compartment behind it, in which you can put a windbreaker or cap so as not to take up space inside. Trekking poles can be attached to the side straps if needed.
- A hidden compartment for quick access;
- Great for laptop carrying;
- Ideal for women;
- Small weight.
- Aluminum stay is not removable.
5. Best Affordable Hiking Backpack of Large Capacity: TETON Sports
It is a versatile backpack for both women and men. One of its advantages is that the item is large and, at the same time, not heavy: it weighs 4 pounds with a volume of 60 liters. There is also a separate sleeping bag section, so the backpack is perfect for long hikes. I also like the attachment system, which provides an optimal fit for any body shape. In particular, its hip belt can be adjusted separately for lower and upper hip parts.
You can staff the contents of your backpack using compression straps. The back of the product is equipped with special molded channels that ensure excellent air circulation. And for the strength of the structure, there is also an aluminum frame. Simultaneously, the height of the backpack is 33 inches, so it may be too massive for short people.
- Unisex design;
- Spacious but lightweight;
- A separate compartment for a sleeping bag;
- Compression straps.
- Too high.
6. Small Backpack for Hiking: FENGDONG
It’s another durable nylon backpack for both men and women. With a volume of 40 liters and a weight of 1.9 pounds, it is perfect for short hikes and other activities. Thanks to special bar tackings, the backpack can withstand heavy weight without the risk of ripping off the straps. I liked the quality of shoulder straps: my shoulders did not get tired even under heavy loads.
Despite its small size, the backpack is roomy. There are two main compartments where you can easily stow all kinds of things, from laptops and books to trainers. The outside pocket zipper is equipped with a large ring, so it is convenient to open it without even taking off the backpack from your shoulders. As a disadvantage, I should note that the product can withstand only a daily splash; it will not protect you from heavy rain.
- Large capacity;
- User-friendly design;
- Good ergonomics;
- Many pockets for small things.
- Not 100% water-proof.
7. Best Budget Backpacking Pack for Traveling: Loowoko
This backpack for long hikes with a volume of 50 liters has eight straps, which can be used to fix it on your body better and tie a sleeping bag or tripod. I also like that the manufacturer has taken care of the rain issue, unlike the previous model on the list. In case of heavy showers, they put a special orange cover in the kit to ensure that all your things stay dry.
The backpack dimensions meet the requirements of most airlines. At the same time, it is very convenient to carry the pack: it fits snugly against the back, and the straps equipped with spongy padding do not rub the shoulders. This model has many additional pockets for small items. But the side pockets, which are often filled with water bottles, are made of thin mesh material. In my opinion, they are inconvenient since you can catch on branches and tear them.
- Travel-friendly dimensions;
- Heavy rain cover;
- 8 straps for attaching various things;
- Many compartments.
- Mesh side pockets don’t look secure.
8. Top Hiking Backpacks for Pros: HOMIEE
This 50-liter model is suitable for trips of 3-5 days, including air travel. It’s made of durable 420D nylon, which not only provides reliable protection from rain but also increases the strength of a product. Separately, I want to note this backpack’s design. Firstly, thanks to a special harness, it fits the back perfectly. Secondly, two vertical cushions along the spine provide excellent ventilation.
In general, the design has comfortable nuances. For example, there is a large compartment for storing dirty or wet items at the bottom of the backpack. And a cover is included for protection from prolonged showers. There is also a separate pocket for a drinking system (100 ounces), a pipe hole, and a shoulder strap clip. So it is convenient to drink water on the go. Finally, the top can be pulled off with a drawstring if needed.
- Durable and comfortable;
- Handy drinking system;
- Rain cover;
- A separate pocket for dirty and wet things.
- May not be suitable for tall people.
9. Best Value Hiking Backpack with USB Port and Compass: G4Free 50L
This G4Free backpack will surely be appreciated by those travelers who cannot imagine their hike without nature photos. The manufacturer has equipped this model with an external USB port so that you can be sure that your smartphone will not be discharged at the most inopportune moment. Another feature not found in other products is a built-in compass attached to the chest strap for better orientation.
This model belongs to frameless packs with a softback. While the back is reinforced with a fairly thick foam padding, it doesn’t hold up its shape well enough. The item comes in only one volume of 50 liters, but you can choose from seven different colors. There is a bottom compartment for changing shoes, a water bladder pocket with a convenient pipe hole, and two hip belt pockets. Although this backpack is made of waterproof 1000D nylon, it comes with a rain cover.
- A USB charger port;
- Made of durable materials;
- A small compass;
- A rain cover.
- Without a frame or rigid inserts.
10. Affordable Hiking Backpacks: Bseash
This model is perfect for hiking in hot climates. I like that its shoulder straps and back are covered with an extremely breathable mesh material. However, they are wide and soft enough so that you can carry even a lot of weight comfortably. And while there is no built-in frame or metal plates, the padding on the back keeps its shape well. With a volume of 60 liters, this backpack is quite lightweight; its weight is only 2.2 pounds.
The item is suitable for different types of activities. When ordering, you can choose one of six available colors. This product has various compartments, large and small, and eight adjustable straps, to which you can attach a sleeping bag, pad, trekking poles, and other accessories. But I didn’t like the quality of its zippers. You should be careful when opening and closing the pockets.
- Many compartments;
- Fairly lightweight;
- Ideal for hot climates;
- Low-quality fittings.
100 Dollar Backpack Buyer’s Guide
Choosing the right hiking backpack online can be tricky. I have compiled a detailed guide to help you with it.
What backpack is the best for hiking?
Not every backpack is suitable for multi-day hikes in the mountains and a forest. Hiking models have several significant differences from everyday ones, making them ideal for hiking and trekking.
As I have written above, a waist belt helps to distribute the weight throughout the body, transferring most of it to your strongest muscles in the legs and hips. When adjusted correctly, it takes up to 80% of the total weight of a backpack. It should be fixed slightly below your waist, on the protruding thigh bones.
I recommend that beginner hikers purchase frame backpacks with plastic or metal plates or frames in the back area. Thanks to them, you do not need to know how to stack things inside the compartments properly.
In addition to these two critical criteria, your hiking pack should have an adjustable harness and strap system, pockets for storing small items, additional attachments, and a waterproof cover.
How to choose a backpack that fits you?
Now that you know what elements a backpack should have, I will tell you how to choose the right one for you. You should be guided by your height (or rather your torso height) and complexion. I recommend choosing products with a fully adjustable harness system.
It is the distance from your protruding seventh cervical vertebra to the top points of the pelvic bone. Look for a model that matches the measured height. If a backpack is too tall or too short, you will not distribute the weight properly. Also, remember that shoulder strap attachment points should be located at the center of your shoulder blades.
Everything is simple here. You need to measure the volume of your hips (not waist) in the area of the protruding bones. It will give you the belt volume you need. That belt should fit snugly to the body, not crawl, but also not dig into the skin.
What type of hiking backpack should you get?
Conventionally, all backpacks can be divided into two types: hard (frame) and soft (frameless). Below, I have briefly described the pros and cons of each of them.
I find wireframe models to be the best because they help you distribute the weight evenly. There are products with built-in and removable frames. Thanks to them, you can carry a lot of weight for a long time. To their minus, I would attribute a slightly increased weight. Also, you can’t fold it completely. This type is ideal for beginner hikers and those who hike from time to time.
There are no inserts in such packs, which significantly reduces the product weight, cost, and allows you to roll it up when not in use. However, if you do not know how to fold things properly so that the weight is evenly distributed over your back, this type will not work for you. Also, if you overpack it, it can cause you severe discomfort. I recommend buying these backpacks only for experienced travelers.
Pros and cons of hiking backpacks under 100
Any product’s price is formed from the cost of materials used, accessories, and additional features. Therefore, some inexpensive backpacks may not have the features of more expensive models. Budget-friendly products will keep you from going broke. Besides, you will not be sorry to replace them with new ones if they become unusable. They also don’t have those bells and whistles that you may never need.
At the same time, not all inexpensive backpacks are water-repellent or come with a rain cover. Some of these models do not have a rigid frame or breathable back padding. They also may not have additional pockets and straps for attaching accessories. If it seems to you that buying the first inexpensive backpack is difficult, remember that you do not purchase it for life. When buying the next bag, you will definitely consider all the nuances that are important to you.
How to pack a hiking backpack?
Packing a backpack is one of the key skills of any hiker. I recommend starting by making a complete list of everything you plan to take with you.
At the very bottom, you should put bulky clothes and things that you will need only when you stay overnight. The heaviest items should lie along your back, and frequently used accessories should be placed on top for quick access. Put small things in a separate pocket or pack them in a small bag to keep them from falling apart. I recommend storing documents, chargers, money, and other valuable stuff in waterproof bags. Do not forget to take a first aid kit with you and put it on top of all things.
After the backpack is assembled, put it on, adjust the straps, and walk a bit. If you feel discomfort, rearrange things to align the center of gravity.
Top Hiking Backpacks FAQ
Since the choice of hiking equipment should be approached with special care, there are many questions about finding a quality backpack. Here are the answers to some questions from my readers. If something remains unclear after reading the article, feel free to ask me about it in the comments.
How to clean a hiking backpack?
First, completely empty your backpack, open all the pockets and compartments, and shake out debris, sand, and dust from them. If the degree of contamination is light, you can wipe the inside of the pack with a damp cloth and remove dirt and stains from the outside with a toothbrush or sponge soaked in soapy water. If your bag is very dirty, it should be washed thoroughly. You can do it by hand using mild soap, or use a washing machine if a manufacturer has written about it in the instructions. The pack should be turned upside down and hung in a well-ventilated area until dry.
How to adjust a hiking backpack?
The backpack should be adjusted when it is fully packed. Place it on a raised platform (e. g., a nightstand) and put on the shoulder straps alternately. Start with the lower thigh strap. It should be tightened so that it rests on the upper half of your thighs, fits snugly, and takes most of the weight. Next, you need to adjust the shoulder straps. Do not tighten them too much so that they don’t take the load from the hip belt, dig into your neck, or interfere with your breathing.
After that, I recommend walking around for a while to understand whether you are comfortable or not. It is especially important if you are new to packing and adjusting backpacks. Adjust the straps again if necessary, and if something inside is pressing on your back, remove the pack and redistribute things.
How much should your backpack weigh when hiking?
There is a universal formula to determine the optimal weight of a backpack. It should weigh no more than 30% of your own weight. For example, if you weigh 170 pounds, your load should be no more than 51 pounds. Also, the pack’s optimal weight is influenced by individual physical characteristics, duration of travel, and weather conditions.
What materials are the best for a hiking backpack?
Choose ripstop polyester, nylon, or DCF. Thanks to a special impregnation, these materials are breathable, waterproof, lightweight, and do not fade in the sun. What I really like about them is that even if you get caught on something, and your bag rips, that hole will not spread further and will not increase in size. Backpack hardware should be strong (preferably marked “YKK”) and withstand low temperatures without losing strength.
What is the lightest backpack?
The lightest backpacks you can find are frameless. It is the G4Free 35L Backpack on my list. If you want to purchase a product with the lightest weight, look for the item with a minimum number of pockets and additional fasteners. The backpacks made of Dyneema Composite Fabric (DCF) are gaining popularity nowadays. They are way more expensive than nylon and polyester models and belong to the premium price range, but they are really very lightweight and durable.
What is the difference between a daypack and a backpack?
A backpack is a generic name for almost all bags we carry on our shoulders behind our backs. They can have different purposes, volumes, sizes, and design features. Daypacks are a separate subspecies of backpacks. From its name, it is clear that such bags are designed for short hikes during the day. As a rule, they do not have special elements like an aluminum frame in the back area or padded shoulder straps. Usually, daypacks are lightweight, and their volume is limited to 30 liters. They can hold only the essentials: a first aid kit, some personal items, food, water, and a raincoat.
How to choose the volume of a backpack?
The classification of backpacks is conditional and largely depends on your personal characteristics and preferences. Traditionally, items with a volume of up to 25 liters are considered suitable for day trips. If you plan to go somewhere with an overnight stay, you should take a slightly larger backpack (35 liters). For two-day hikes, 40-50 liter backpacks are suitable, and for trips of 5 days and more, you should take at least 65-liter backpacks. Of course, there are products with a larger volume (up to 150 liters), but scientific research and my experience show that a big load weight can negatively affect your endurance and health.
Hit the Road with the Best Budget Backpack
That’s all you need to know about choosing the perfect hiking equipment. While I believe the N NEVO Rhino Backpack has a number of distinct advantages over many other bags, the rest of the products on my list deserve your attention as well. I hope each of my readers will be able to choose a backpack that suits them.
Which model do you think is the best? What are you primarily guided by when choosing a backpack? Please share your opinion with other readers and me in the comments below! And have a great trip!
Last update on 2021-10-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API