The best hiking backpacks: from Osprey to Berghaus

Large, lightweight and well designed, these best hiking backpacks are essential for your next walk in the wild

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Whether you’re covering a hundred miles over a few days or planning to walk the Three Peaks in one day, you’ll need a decent hiking backpack for the trail ahead. 

Capacity, waterproofness and weight are all things to consider when buying a hiking backpack, and it should have enough pockets and holders for items that require easy access, such as water bottles, wipes and snacks. 

The best hiking backpack is going to deliver on all specs that we mentioned at the top. Our top pick, the Deuter Vario hiking rucksack is supported by a steel frame for strength, has a decent medium sized 50L capacity and comes with a waterproof cover to protect your belongings in the wet. 

If you’re in it for the long haul, you may want to consider the weight of your rucksack. Because of its steel frame, the Deuter is pretty heavy, while the Berghaus Ridgeway rucksack 65+10L offers more room but there’s less weight to lug around.

Deuter Vario hiking rucksack

1. Deuter Vario hiking rucksack

The Deuter Vario is a great all-rounder for day hikes and multi day excursions

Capacity: 50+10L
Waterproof: No but comes with cover
Weight: 2.2kg
Reasons to buy
+Features three sided air circulation

When it comes to hiking backpacks, this Deuter pretty much ticks all the boxes. It’s of a reasonable size, boasts a steel frame for sturdiness, is made from a stretchy fabric so you can squeeze in all of your belongings and it comes with a range of handy features including a wet laundry compartment, ice tool or hiking pole loops, hydration system compatibility and a detachable rain cover. In addition to all this, the backpack offers three sided air circulation to help keep you cool as you clamber. 

Osprey Xena 70 litres

2. Osprey Xena 70 litres

This bag is a must for serious female hiker, with the Xenith 75 being the matching men’s version

Capacity: 70L
Waterproof: Yes
Weight: 2.28kg
Reasons to buy
+Custom moulded to women’s body shape

Built for the wilderness and with an RRP of around £240 this is a rucksack for serious hikers. If the details matter to you, Osprey has thought of every single one. The backpack has been moulded to the female form, and the clever strap system has been designed to support and distribute the weight of the load. 

It offers external hydration access, a sleeping bag base compartment and plenty of outside pockets. For the size, this rucksack is also very lightweight, making it a clear favourite, so long as you can justify the price tag. 

Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 litres

3. Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30 litres

A perfectly sized, completely waterproof backpack for wet walks

Capacity: 30L
Waterproof: Yes
Weight: 770kg
Reasons to buy
+Completely watertight

If you’re purely trekking, this waterproof hiking backpack could be the perfect choice. It’s a reasonable 30L, which is enough room to store food, drink, first aid kits, camera equipment and anything else you may consider bringing along.

Best of all, if you happen to get caught in a rainstorm (more than likely if you’re hiking in the UK!), users mention that the watertight shell is very effective, keeping belongings bone dry in whatever weather Blighty throws at you.

Osprey Farpoint 55 Backpack

4. Osprey Farpoint 55 Backpack

With a handy 13L day sack attached, this is the ideal hiking backpack for travellers

Capacity: 55L
Waterproof: Yes
Weight: 770kg
Reasons to buy
+Packs like a suitcase, wears like a rucksack

When your hiking holiday involves a couple of plane transfers and hitching some rides, this Osprey is super convenient. Thanks to its clever design, it packs like a suitcase, allowing you to arrange your belongings carefully, while the detachable daysack means you can keep the main part locked away in your accommodation and comfortably take your essentials with you on your walk.  

Berghaus Ridgeway rucksack 65+10 litres

5. Berghaus Ridgeway rucksack 65+10 litres

A reliable hiking backpack that offers huge amounts of space and plenty of compartments

Capacity: 65L+10
Waterproof: Comes with rain cover
Weight: 1.81kg
Reasons to buy
+Features a bottom zip for easy access to all items

Berghaus are pretty reliable when it comes to outdoor gear and they haven’t gone wrong with this hiking backpack either. There’s plenty of space to store your items, plus compartments for water bottles, snacks and maps. 

You can expand the side pockets out to give yourself an additional 10L of capacity, while the adjustable BIOFIT back system helps to ensure the backpack is comfortable to wear, no matter your size or shape. If rain makes an unwelcome appearance, there’s also a foldaway cover that you can take out when required. 

Mountain Warehouse Ventura rucksack 40 litres

6. Mountain Warehouse Ventura rucksack 40 litres

Perfect for those adventuring on a budget

Capacity: 40L
Waterproof: Comes with rain cover
Weight: 1.2kg
Reasons to buy
+Great value

If you’ve just come out of uni and you’re looking to go travelling, the likelihood is that you’re not going to have tonnes of cash to spare. Suitable for camping, travelling and festivals, this is a great value hiking backpack that will become your trusty sidekick whenever it’s time to explore the outdoors. 

It features an airflow back to keep things cool, a compartment for a hydration pack, and compression straps to ensure it remains comfortable as you stride. There’s also a rain cover if the heavens happen to open mid hike!