Skip To Content

    21 Small Hiking Backpacks For Your Next Outdoor Adventure

    Whether hiking is your heaven or hell, you'll want these bags for your next expedition.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. A sling backpack that you can simply throw over your shoulder and go about your day outdoors. It has a waterproof exterior and plenty of pockets to store anything you'd need (including one for your tablet).,

    Promising review: "Carried this Mosiso bag all over Italy for two weeks! Lightweight...had just the amount of space...I use the two mesh side pockets to carry sunglasses and computer specs. On a rainy day, I substituted a compact travel umbrella for the sunglasses. Kept my water bottle in the clip section for easy access and sometimes slid a lightweight jacket through that clip. There are really three sections of varying depths and an extra mesh, padded pocket to protect my iPad Pro. I carry it as a cross-body, a backpack, and at times just slide my wrist under the clip. The strap is adjustable and can be clipped on the right or left. I always had quick access to my iPhone. It’s not complicated and I finally feel really organized! Got lots of compliments...a great find!" —Gene Knapke

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99 (available in 25 colors).

    2. A 10-liter day pack with a secret pocket (among loads of others) so you can feel super safe while you're out being the nature god/goddess that you are.,

    Promising review: "I've been looking for a small day pack that I can use for short hikes and outings with my kids when we don't need a full-size diaper bag. This is perfect! It's compact but packs plenty of features into its small size, including water bottle holders, pockets for pens, and a pocket that would be the perfect size for a tablet. It is well made with a nice amount of padding, unlike other small day packs I've tried. And a great bonus is that it's adjustable enough to fit myself AND my kids! My favorite feature is the 'hidden' zipper pocket on the back — I always worry about pickpockets opening exposed pockets when in crowded places/traveling, so this pocket will be perfect for hiding my wallet or other small valuables! My only complaint is that the zippers on the main two pockets are a little hard to use due to the large flap that covers them, but this will likely improve with use. Thank you, OneTrail Gear!" —BC

    Get it from Amazon for $44.95 (available in six colors).

    3. A North Face mini backpack stylish enough to evoke envy from everyone on your campus, and functional enough to hit the trails at any time.

    The North Face

    Promising review: "Very very happy! Great, smart design. I have literally taken it from church to trail. It holds my bible and notebook, and a can of bug spray, pack of trail snacks, etc. too. It really is the perfect size. It's not too big and not too small. Also has great padding, really comfortable on my back. One of my best North Face packs!" —Pamela

    Get it from The North Face for $59 (available in 12 colors).

    4. A foldable cross-body backpack that will take up less space than a Nintendo Switch, and you can still pack it full of all your essentials then frolic to your heart's content.

    Promising review: "Really nice little sling pack, made like a backpack. Holds a lot. Great for a two- to four-hour hike. Will hold two 16 oz. water bottles on each side. I have an extra water bottle in sling/shoulder carry too for additional water (have a dog). Great pack though for a few-hour hike. I have a setup: standard things in a small cosmetic case–type bag (few survival things) to change out then to a larger backpack for an all-day hike. Durability is unknown yet but for the price — definitely worth it." —Lynda

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in four colors).

    5. A hiking daypack available in a 24-L version that can ACTUALLY fit in your pocket when it's folded up. When unfolded, this will be your next lightweight travel BFF.,

    Promising review: "I *LOVE* this pack! I got it to go with me on a trip to Switzerland. I needed something super lightweight that I could pack and bring in my suitcase, and then use for hikes so I didn't have to unpack my carry-on backpack. This one delivered AND THEN SOME. It was super comfortable and lightweight, yet durable to carry all day on the Saxer Lucke trail. I also thought it was pretty enough to prance around town with it during the day. It is pretty much the perfect little travel bag for the price. I'm sure if you, say, rub it on rocks or let your pit bull gnaw on it, it would not hold up to such treatment, but then again, I wouldn't either! If you're looking for a heavy-duty bag, this is not your bag. If you're looking for an ultra-lightweight, breathable, packable bag that you don't feel like *that* American tourist wearing out and about, and don't plan to pack a freaking brick in this thing, then THIS IS YOUR BAG!" —Nicola Martina

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99+ (available in eight colors and designs and in 16 L and 24 L).

    6. An Osprey day pack you'll be delighted by, on account of just how many knickknacks you can stuff in here and you'll still feel like you're wearing nothing on your back.

    Promising review: "I legitimately forgot it was on my back at some points because of how light it was. The pack was able to carry everything I needed for a six-hour trek; a Camelbak, six bottles of water, first aid, bug spray, a windbreaker, food, my battery pack, keys, and a LifeStraw. It’s amazing what I was able to fit into that pack without any issues. It was able to survive hitting against trees and sharpened rocks and even at one point my pack saved me: I had the two bottom straps clipped but hanging off of me and at one point I was sliding down a wet boulder and the cords caught a small tree. I don’t recommend you use the pack with the intent for support; I was just lucky and the material of the pack was sturdy for me. Overall really happy with buying this, I’m not even sponsored or anything but felt it was deserving of my review." —Alexander Morris

    Get it from Amazon for $49.95 (available in 10 colors).

    7. And a bonus kids' Osprey with tons of tot-friendly features so your little one can hit the trails safely — like a safety whistle, a hydration pack, easy-to-grasp zipper pulls, and pockets with tethers for smaller grabbers.,

    Promising review: "My son attends a nature preschool and this was the required backpack. It’s a great price, amazing quality, and most important my son LOVES it. I love the padded shoulders and chest strap. He is able to use it independently. He is 3 and this is the PERFECT size. I would say unless you are looking for a mini backpack, this would only be suitable for 5 years old and under. It’s a great backpack and we love it so much we plan on getting the bigger version for our older boys." —Cassandra hough

    Get it from Amazon for $37.50 (available in three colors).

    8. An Eddie Bauer packable 20-L daypack that has all the bells and whistles, and can also fold into itself — all for $15 right now.

    Eddie Bauer

    Promising review: "This is my second 20-L backpack. I used the other one to death, I had it for years. I use this backpack for everything, hiking, day trips, adventures with grandkids...lightweight, comfortable to wear no matter how much I put in it, and durable." —Jen

    Get it from Eddie Bauer for $15 (originally $30; available in 10 colors).

    9. A hydration-compatible REI pack that makes packing as easy as just stuffing everything inside. With two sets of front straps, you know that this baby isn't budging while you scale a mountain.


    Promising review: "I've had the Flash Pack for five years now. I have a couple of other packs in my gear arsenal but this is the one I always grab. It's so lightweight, the bladder is really easy to install and remove, the straps don't cut into my shoulders, and it's extremely versatile. I use it the most for hiking and mountain biking, but I've also used this pack for travel, camping, and kayaking. I will definitely be purchasing another as backup for the day that I finally destroy this thing." —Jane

    Get it from REI for $39.95 (available in three colors).

    10. A hydration backpack that's made of moisture-wicking material and connects to a water bladder so you can refuel on the go without having to stop and pull out a clunky water bottle.,

    Promising review: "This pack deserves 5 stars for how comfy and lightweight it is. Great for long day hikes or maybe an overnight stay if you can pack light (not me!) Took this with me for an 8-mile hike through vast, open fields; being directly exposed to the 90-degree heat was no problem with plenty of water (3-liter reservoir) and quick access to my shades! Keep in mind if you fill it up all the way, you will have closer to 30 L of packable space left. I am always skeptical of 'one size fits all' products ESPECIALLY when it comes to packs. It can be hard to find the right size to accommodate a long torso and also tight at the waist, but being so adjustable this is just what I needed! Hip pockets on both sides, pretty spacious, and two side pouches fit full-size Nalgene bottles. I really like the material they chose; it seems to wick away any moisture, so no sweat stains. The only other con is the chest strap can be a bit tough to get off, but not too bad once you get the hang of it. The water reservoir is probably the best out there, much easier to fill with the screw-on cap vs. the pouches that you have to hold open while filling." —Maxwell R.

    Get it from Amazon for $159.95 (available in three colors).

    11. An Athleta backpack if you want to give your outdoor routine a chic upgrade. This backpack can double as a trail staple or your go-to when you just want to jaunt around town.


    Promising review: "I am in love with this backpack! It's a secure padded place for my iPad or MacBook, keys, front zipper pocket, inside for wallet, sunglasses zipper pocket, and extra hidden spot. I'm an instructor and need multiple items in this backpack for classes and gym (lock, iPhone dongle) in a different pocket. Just a well-made backpack and a very nice surprise was the mask holder. It's such a nice surprise and glad I got this backpack. Also two sides for water bottles! Just a perfect item! Highly recommend." —M.lows

    Get it from Athleta for $79.97+ (available in two colors).

    12. A Lululemon active backpack designed for the outdoors enthusiast who's always on the go — this lightweight, water-repellent guy will be your best friend.


    Promising review: "I have had this bag for a few weeks now and have been absolutely loving it. I have taken this out cycling, hiking, and just around to and from, and have found different uses for the pockets, which have been great. Plenty of room for chargers, everyday items, and some extra clothes. The two mesh pockets on the side with the option to strap something into are a great touch. There is a channel running through the bottom of the bag, I am not sure if it was designed for this, but I put a nylon strap through it with a buckle and have been using it as a waist strap while cycling. And it held up well!" —ABCeveryday

    Get it from Lululemon for $128.

    13. A lightweight day pack that's breathable and foldable, so when you're enjoying the great outdoors you won't even remember you're carrying a whole buttload of stuff.,

    Promising review: "Yes. Yes. Yes. Packs INCREDIBLY small. Zippers are sturdy and secure and it is, in fact, waterproof. Took hiking on a glacier in the pouring rain in Iceland; my stuff stayed dry. The main pocket held; thick winter hat, gloves, huge water bottle, granola bars, apples, files, and paperwork. Small pocket had: coin purse, pen, car keys, ChapStick, hand cream — but could hold a few more small items. The mesh pockets on either side do hold water bottles, however, if it is a heavy water bottle it will feel lopsided on your back. I ended up using it for my cellphone and a sunglass case — it held securely and I did not worry about losing them! Straps are fantastic and comfortable. When pulled snugly, it was firm and secure on my back and did not flop or shift weight. Material is INCREDIBLY thin and lightweight, so great for packing on a trip. I think if it were pierced with a pin or another sharp object, it would compromise the bag as it is SOO thin. This being said, FANTASTIC price. Very pleased. Would buy again." —Timothy C. Goodwin

    Get it from Amazon for $15.99+ (available in 18 colors).

    14. A water-resistant day pack that's unassuming, but packs a punch. In other words, you'll feel like you have a magic backpack that you can keep pulling stuff out of like a real-life Dora the Explorer.,

    Promising review: "I loved EVERYTHING about this backpack! 👍I wanted a compact, lightweight backpack to store in the trunk and have for road trips. I used it today to carry water bottles, cellphone, and a portable charger and as we hiked I couldn't even tell it was on my back. Really light, small but very spacious. I loved the adjustable shoulder straps...not excessively padded and bulky but somehow really comfortable. During hikes, I collected rocks. Once in the shopping district, I added some souvenirs/keepsakes. When I got home there were orange-colored dirt marks all over the inside from the rocks. I freaked out, thinking it was permanently dirty and discolored. Nope! A damp cloth cleaned and restored it back to its original condition. Finally, I love that it came in purple, my favorite color. I may be purchasing a few more as gifts. Go get yourself one!" —GigiGirl

    Get it from Amazon for $16.99 (available in 12 colors).

    15. A hiking day pack both kiddos and adults will love for its durability and sheer functionality, whether you're hiking, cycling, sailing, exploring a new city, or just existing in need of a new backpack.,

    Promising review: "This review is after two years of daily use and several hundred miles of use in the Smoky Mountains National Park. This pack is amazing. My wife uses this pack instead of a purse. She was excited about the color and the organizational possibilities of this backpack. It is finally showing from daily use. Then add in that she has hiked 300 miles with it, this backpack has outperformed all of my expectations by fivefold. I do not only recommend you get one but buy one for your loved ones. I have had to strap it to my backpack and it fits perfectly. I bought her another brand to replace this one that was a lot bigger, three times the cost, and had a nice large pocket. She used the new one twice and then picked up the old one and went for a hike, commenting several times how the Sunhiker was way more comfortable. So Sunhiker, you have a customer for life. Thanks for making a product that has stood up to hikes, snow, sun, wind, rain, and my driving." —Scott Gaskin

    Get it from Amazon for $26.99+ (available in 10 colors).

    16. An ultralight 35-L day pack destined to automatically channel your inner adventurer, complete with a safety whistle, foldable material, and the ability to carry everything you need for the day while still feeling light as a feather on your back.,

    Promising review: "Bought this on a whim in case someone on our trip in the mountains wanted something separate from their carry-on travel backpacks when we were out and about. I ended up using it every day for every outdoor activity we did and it was amazing. Super light, tons of pockets, sturdy. The only thing I wished it would have had was, on one heavy hiking day, a waist strap would have been nice. But I wouldn't hold off on buying this one just because of that. I will be getting one of these for the whole family for our next trip. When it was time to come home, I just folded it back up into its little case. Fabulous. I have a great Lululemon backpack I got years ago that has always been my go-to for travel or outdoors, but from now on I will only be using it for things in weighs like 3+ pounds empty compared to this weightless adventure pack. That featherweight makes all the difference on a long day of hiking, biking, etc." —Redecorating Mom

    Get it from Amazon for $22.99 (available in six colors).

    17. A small backpack you'll want to venture outdoors in, even if you're the biggest homebody there is. You won't be able to resist the lightweight material and tiny, nonclunky size!,

    Promising review: "I love to go hiking but have a bad back. This little pack allows me to carry my lunch and have room for a jacket that may come off as the day warms up. But it's not so big that I'm tempted to bring too much. It has dividers and pockets in all the right places...tons of them. And the zippers are very sturdy. My friends all carry daypacks with huge price tags and my little pack does the job just as well. I'm very pleased with this purchase." —JJ

    Get it from Amazon for $15.99+ (available in 11 colors).

    18. A hydration backpack so you don't have to reach behind you for your water bottle and miss the scenic view. It comes with the 3-liter hydration bladder, a rain cover, AND a lifetime warranty. What more could you need?,

    Promising review: "Comfortable on even the boniest of backs, roomy as all heck, seemingly very durable, and...looks fantastic! I've already received compliments on the color and style of the pack; people don't believe me when I tell them the price. The bag itself is extremely lightweight, I feel like I could levitate up inclines with this beauty. For a broke college student who doesn't have $80 to drop on a nicer new hiking backpack with a hydration system, this baby is my new best friend. It has so many awesome features! If you're thinking about purchasing this for your day hiking excursions, do it. Thanks, Teton, I'll be comin' back!" —Tswagga

    Get it from Amazon for $49.99 (available in seven colors).

    19. A Carhartt cooler backpack sure to keep all your hiking accoutrements nice and cool so you can fulfill your dream of cracking a cold one at the top of a mountain.,

    Promising review: "Perfect for heading to the river. Holds plenty of drinks (let's be!) and still plenty of room for my dry stuff. I love the cooler/backpack combo because it helps to keep my hands free to manage my pup's leash. Being a backpack makes it super secure when trekking down to the water. The extra cargo loops are perfect to clip my lightweight hiking chair, which also helps to free up my hands to carry other stuff. This is my new favorite toy. Definitely recommend." —Lauri

    Get it from Amazon for $64.99+ (available in three colors).

    20. A recycled Vera Bradley sling bag for casual adventurers who wants your bag to also serve as an adorable travel accessory whose floral design will make you smile.,

    Promising review: "I love the idea that this is made from recycled plastic bottles! It's a great size, very convenient, and ready to go! It even fits my small laptop along with my wallet and other necessities. Another big thing for me is the zippers. I hate getting an item where you have to fight with the zipper — these glide back and forth perfectly!" —jrdraft

    Get it from Amazon for $36.19+ (available in 15 designs).

    21. And a Patagonia 23-L backpack that's designed for people with shorter torsos to be able to move comfortably. On top of that, it's 100% recycled — win-win!


    Promising review: "I was looking for a new backpack but wanted to make sure it could keep up with all the different traveling and activities we do; this backpack is absolutely perfect. It has more than enough room and is perfect for our hikes and carries exactly what we need (bonus with it being water resistant!) Super comfortable and will definitely be getting so much use out of it!" —EMILY

    Get it from Patagonia for $129 (available in five colors).

    You, suiting up for your next outdoor adventure after buying you new backpack:

    Disney–ABC Domestic Television

    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.