Don't be caught out on the trails in a storm with no rain jacket, on a long hike with no food or water, or without all the extras you need to set up camp for the night. Shop The North Face hiking backpacks to make sure you pack all you need.
Tough trails need tough bags
Not every hike is going to be a gentle stroll to the top of a hill for a scenic photo or two. When you want to hit challenging trails, you need to know that your bag isn't going to fail at the worst possible moment. Not to worry, each hiking backpack can take everything you can. Go ahead. Stuff your bag extra full with supplies. Take the steepest trail and head out to explore.
Day hikes to long trips
Fans of mountaineering and climbing have specialized bags, so why not pick up the best hiking backpack for your needs? Day hikers can benefit from a lightweight day hiking backpack while campers will appreciate lash points and sleeping bag storage. And if you're looking for a multi-use pack, there are plenty of bags available that can easily double as a pack to take to class, to work or the gym.
Maybe even more important than size is comfort. With a range of hiking backpack designs, you'll find comfort whatever your body type. Load Lifter packs mean weight is distributed and balanced on more than just your shoulders, so you can really settle in for the long haul. Clambering over rocks and tackling tricky sections of trail has never been as easy, even with a full pack.
Hiking Backpack FAQs
How big of a hiking backpack do I need?
- For multi-day excursions, try a durable technical pack that is super lightweight like the Terra 55 Backpack.
- If you're headed out on a day trip, a smaller daypack like our Top Loader DayPack is ideal for camping (or commuting) on a daily basis.
- If you need to really go the distance, a large or extra-large backpack is built to comfortably take on larger hauls. Try the Griffin 75 Backpack on for size.
How much should hiking backpacks weigh?
A fully loaded hiking backpack should not exceed 10% of your body weight. If you're in it for the long-haul with a multi-day backpacking trip, your fully loaded pack should not exceed 20% of your body weight when you hit the trail.
Generally, we recommend picking the lightest backpack possible that meets your needs. The lighter the backpack construction, the more space there is for you to store all of your essential gear while on the go.
What kind of backpack will you bring in hiking situations?
The type of backpack you pick will depend on a few factors, namely the length of your trip, how much gear you are likely to carry, and your own personal preference regarding size and weight distribution.
- If you tend to multitask to the max, go for a simple Top-Loader Daypack that's durable and built to handle anything life throws your way.
- If you're looking to level up your hiking gear, go for a state-of-the-art pack that's literally built to go the distance. Plus, the top-notch Griffin 75 Backpack comes in multiple sizes so you can find the perfect fit in minutes.
- For the young hikers in your life, we've also got plenty of options for little adventurers. Our Kids Sprout Backpack is specifically designed for toddlers who love to explore.
What color backpack for hiking is best?
When you're out in the wilderness, bright colors are a must-have if you're trekking alone. We recommend bright orange, bold red, or rich blue hues that will make you easy to spot while tackling the trailhead.
Of course, it also all comes down to style. If you're looking to move from work to the weekend with ease, a more simple color scheme (and professional daypack) may be more your thing. While we offer classic hiking packs that are built for adventure, and also have more modern hiking backpacks that are packed with functional extras with a sleek look.
I don't know how to pack a backpack. What do I do?
- Stay on top of your essentials: make sure to keep all of the gear you need to use on repeat at the top of your back where it is easily accessible while on the move.
- Meet in the middle with heavier gear: experts suggest storying your heaviest gear, tools, and other essentials in the middle of the pack to make it easier to distribute the weight and stay centered while on the trail.
- Store bulky items towards the bottom: the denser gear can be stored near the bottom of your pack. From tents to your spare pair of hiking boots, store anything you don't use daily at the bottom.
Flexibility is key. Also, keep the length of your trek in mind.
I don't know how to make hiking backpacks lighter. Any tips?
- Be wary of too much water: Monitor the amount of water you carry on your back. Try out collapsible water bottles or a portable water filter to stay hydrated on the trail.
- Your wardrobe may weigh you down: Make sure to pack light when it comes to clothes. Multi-purpose combinations are a smart way to avoid too many layers that will weigh you down. In the winter months, one or two sets of thermal fabrics are way more valuable than a couple of t-shirts to keep you comfortable.
- Weather is important, too: if you're hiking in the winter, prioritize thermal layers and other gear that is sure to keep you warm while on the trail.
- Multitask with your gear: try out a tent that is super light and easy to pack up for any expedition.
I don't know how to properly wear a hiking backpack. What do I do?
- Adjust your load as needed: many of our packs boast a patent-pending Dyno Lift System that doesn't add weight. The best part? If features self-equalizing adjustable load lifters to take unwanted weight off your shoulders.
- Hip belts are super helpful: shop a backpack that has a comfortable molded hip belt to add a little extra support when wearing your pack.
- Go ahead, clip it: help redistribute the weight of your gear with a sternum strap that will bring your straps closer together, and help release some tension in your neck and shoulders.
I don't know how to organize a hiking backpack. Can you help?
When organizing a hiking backpack, experts recommend the following:
- Bottom of the pack: Store bulky gear towards the bottom of your backpack. (Make sure it's stuff you won't need access to right away)
- Middle of the pack: then, place heavier items in the middle to better control weight distribution when you're summiting the peak.
- Top of the pack: store the essentials you'll need to use frequently while chasing that sunset towards the top of your stuff. The key to a happy trek is hands-free access to a mid-afternoon snack, right?
- Stay in the loop: don't forget, you can also strap any extras to the outside of your pack using additional storage loops and clips. If the weather is heating up on the trail, you can totally loop your jacket through the outside of your pack for safekeeping.
Whether you tackle the trail or your to-do list, smart storage is key.