Hiking in the great outdoors should be a fun and memorable experience. But there’s nothing fun about spending a lot of money. Unfortunately, it can be tough finding well made hiking backpacks for less than $100.
The good news is that high quality low-cost backpacks do exist, it just takes some digging around online. This guide has already done that for you, and will list the best hiking backpacks for under $100. It will also go over some of the most important characteristics to be considered in choosing a backpack, so you can find the one that’s best for you.
Size is one of the most important features to consider when buying a hiking backpack. Determining how big your backpack should be mainly boils down to how long you plan to be in the wilderness. But other factors, such as how lightly or heavily you like to pack, should also be taken into consideration.
The volume of hiking backpacks is measured in liters.
The following guidelines should be used as a rule of thumb when deciding how big you backpack should be:
Although there in no perfect number for any one person, it’s generally better to have more than less. It’s good to be able to sort all of your items and place them in different pockets, making it easy to find what you need quickly without having to rummage through a bunch of cluttered items. It’s also good to have at least one pocket for a water bottle. Some backpacks will even have two.
The location and capacity of the pockets is also something to consider. What good is a backpack with nothing but small pockets if you have large items? And if you have electronics to carry, or other items that must be kept dry, it’s imperative that there be large enough pockets inside the backpack to protect these items in the event of wet weather. It’s also advisable to put these items in durable zip lock bags before placing them in your backpack just for good measure.
Hiking long distances in a constant state of discomfort due to a poorly made or ill-fitting backpack can ruin your hiking trip quicker than a rabid bear. Okay, maybe not that quickly, but hiking for hours or days on end with a continuous pain in your back would not be an enjoyable experience.
The length of your backpack is a large factor in determining how comfortable you’ll be while hiking. Ideally you’ll want to get a backpack that is about as long the distance from the bottom of the neck to the small of your back. You can either estimate, or better yet have someone measure the distance for you. Hiking backpacks that go too far down can strain your back, because some of the weight will be below your back, rather than on it.
Get a hiking backpack that has soft, thick padding for your back, and is made of breathable material like mesh. This will be more comfortable for your back, and will help prevent sweating as well. Some backpacks are even designed with a small space between your back and the backpack allowing for air to flow through. Padding should also be considered with regard to the straps as well.
Some backpacks come with a special water bag built into them called a water pack, or hydration pack. Backpacks with this feature may be useful if you plan on hiking in hotter climates, or aren’t going to be close to a source of drinking water. They have a long hose that will allow you drink water whenever you like without having fiddle around with a water bottle.
Water packs tend to come in sizes between one and three liters, but some are larger. This makes weight a factor, as water is very heavy. Carrying a water pack may not be necessary if the weather is not too hot, or if you’re not going to be hiking a long distance. Doing so in those conditions would cause you to carry excess weight unnecessarily.
Finding a high quality hiking backpack at an affordable price isn’t always easy. The following list contains some of the best hiking backpacks for no more than $100. Compare some and you’ll quickly be able to find one that works for you.