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Hiking is a great outdoor activity, and you don’t need to leave your kids out of the fun. So, when you’re ready to show them your favorite trails, you’ll need the leading kids hiking backpack options available.
Hiking backpacks for kids are small, comfortable to wear, and easy to pack several items. They extend to fit better as your kid grows, thereby saving you from buying one every year.
With several choices and features available, finding the best backpacks for your kids can be tough. However, we’ve eased your search by researching, digging through the internet, and digesting customer reviews.
Hang in here to find a thorough review of the best seven hiking bags for your kiddo. We’ll also give you tips and tricks on how to buy one if you continue reading.
Our top 3 picks
Don’t have time to go through our detailed rundown? Here’s a summary of the top kids hiking backpack options:
1. Gregory Wander 50 Backpack (Best overall): This backpack packs virtually everything a hiker needs. It has a hip belt, stretch front pocket, hydration sleeve, and rain cover. But the best part is that every belt is adjustable.
2. Deuter Kids Fox 40 Hiking Backpack (Best for capacity): The Deuter Fox 40 is a child-friendly and comfortable bag to wear. It packs patented systems for torso adjustment and a large main compartment.
3. Osprey Daylite Kid’s Backpack (Best for material quality): Made by a reputable brand, the Daylight backpack has virtually everything a child needs to go on hiking tours. It has an internal name tag, a front zippered pocket, and a 1.5-liter hydration sleeve.
|Gregory Mountain Products Wander 50 Liter Kid's Overnight Hiking Backpack, Fiery Red, One Size
|Deuter Fox 40, Ocean/Midnight
|Osprey Daylite Kid's Backpack
What is the best kids’ hiking backpack of 2020?
P.S: This isn’t a ranked list.
1. Gregory Wander 50 Backpack (Best overall)
This Gregory pack provides ample space for kids to put their hiking gear. As an improvement from previous versions, the Gregory Wander 50 is well-designed with cool features for kids like a safety whistle. Kids can access its main compartment in two ways; through the top lid or the front panel access.
This bag is available in two colors: fiery red and black, and you can get it on REI.
Dimension: 25.5 x 12 x 11.5 inches
Capacity: 50 liters
Material: Nylon and polyester
Weight: 3.35 pounds
1. Adjustable torso design: The Wander 50’s suspension system is adjustable by four inches. Therefore, it is suitable for growing hikers. You can also adjust its attachment loops and hip belts to fit your child better.
2. Breathable back panel: This bag has a 3D foam back panel. The design consideration allows easy airflow to your kid’s back while they move through terrains.
3. Handy U-Zip access: These zippers make it easy for your kid to pack things for hiking tours.
- Comes with an integrated rain cover
- Has two side pockets
- Durable and reliable
- Suitable for day hikes
- No bottom compartment
If you’re looking for the best kids backpack options, consider the Gregory Wander 50. Our first impression was that this bag is feature-packed, and we were correct.
We like that it has a sternum strap and a hydration sleeve. Its comfort-grip zipper pulls were also nice additions to the backpack, especially for kids.
With its six external pockets, we reckon that kids can pack almost everything they need for a trip in this backpack. We were also quite impressed with its durable daisy chains and quality materials. However, its lack of zippered pockets and bottom compartments was a slight concern for users with kids older than 12-year old.
Overall, check out this backpack if you need a large-capacity multi-day bag for your kids. Gregory offers a lifetime warranty for this pack.
2. Deuter Kids Fox 40 Hiking Backpack (Best for capacity)
Deuter manufactures quality backpacks, and the Deuter Fox 40 is no exception. According to its manufacturer, this kids’ bag is ideal for trekking, touring, and hiking. The USA-made backpack is well-designed with padding for comfort. It has multiple components and internal pockets for organizing things.
The Fox 40 comes in two colors; ocean-midnight and cranberry-steel, and you can get both on Amazon or REI.
Dimension: 25.9 x 11.0 x 9.45 inches
Capacity: 40 liters
Material: 600D polyester with PU coating, 210D polyamide
Weight: 2.93 pounds
1. Comfortable and breathable design: The Fox 40 has S-shaped, carry-friendly shoulder straps and side compressible straps. Its Aircontact system includes ventilation channels between the backpack’s pads.
2. Adjustable design: The Fox 40 backpack has a VarQuick system. This system allows length and hip belt adjustments for the bag to fit growing kids. It can extend to a torso length of 10 to 18 inches.
3. Trail utility: This bag has gear loops, a whistle on its chest, hiking pole. Altogether, these features make it easy for kids to pack everything they need for their trips.
- Strong internal frame
- Made from quality materials
- Large capacity
- Thin hip belt padding
- No rain cover
Finding affordable kids’ hiking backpack can be tough work. So, we were elated to see that a reputable brand has one of the best hiking bags: the Deuter Fox 40.
It is a top-loading pack with water bottle pockets where you can attach a 3-liter water bladder.
We like that this bag has a dual daisy chain system. And of course, the whistle on its sternum strap would likely get your kids excited.
As you’d expect, this bag has a PU coating on its fabric. It offers loads of sizeable pockets and elastic inner compartments for kids to pack their items. However, we are disappointed that it didn’t come with hip belt pockets and a rain cover.
Nevertheless, we are convinced this backpack is a durable unit with a large main compartment.
3. Osprey Daylite Kid’s Backpack (Best for material quality)
Osprey packs need little introduction to adult hikers. Its Daylite model offers cool backpacking features for kids to move along trails.
The Osprey Daylite Backpack is similar to the Osprey Jet 12, one of the best hiking bags by this brand. However, this unit is more comfortable and versatile. It has a rugged exterior and offers decent space for kids to pack things they need for their tours.
The Osprey Daylite Kid’s Backpack is available in three color options: leafy green, cosmic red, and wave blue. Your child can use it for day hikes.
Dimension: 12.99 x 7.48 x 6.69 inches
Capacity: 10 liters
Material: 220D recycled polyester, 400D recycled nylon
Weight: 0.58 pounds
1. Internal hydration sleeve: In addition to its water bottle pockets, this bag packs an internal hydration sleeve that fits a 1.5-liter bladder.
2. Quality material: The Daylite backpack is manufactured entirely with recycled materials. It also has a PFC-free DWR coating to keep it dry.
3. Compatibility: When hiking with adults, kids can attach this backpack to additional storage and carry options like the Ather Series and Shuttle Series.
- Comfortable to carry for long backpacking trips
- Has multiple pockets to pack several items
- Has name tag
- Doesn’t come with a hydration bladder
The Daylite tops many kids hiking backpack lists, and for good reasons. It only costs a few bucks and packs comfort features for kids like a breathable mesh back and thick padding. We also like that it had a sternum belt, a front zippered pocket, and two stretchy bottle spaces.
One design consideration that could be better is the capacity of this backpack. Although 10 liters should be enough for pre-teens, such capacity might be limiting for kids approaching adulthood.
A lifetime warranty backs the Osprey Daylite backpack that’s available on REI and Amazon. So, you might want to check it out if you need the best backpack in the market for your kids.
4. CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. pack (Best hydration pack)
If you’re serious about bringing your kid with you on car camping trips and hiking tours, then this could be the bag you’ve been looking for. The pack is for young explorers but has grownup features like zipper compartments and an organizer pocket.
This kid-friendly hydration pack is available in eight different colors for children on REI and Amazon.
Dimension: 14 x 7.5 x 7.7 inches
Capacity: 1.5L hydration capacity
Weight: 0.4375 pounds
1. Innovative technology: The CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E Backpack has a crux reservoir and crux lever. The reservoir delivers 20% more water in a sip, while the lever keeps the pack leak-proof.
2. Safety touch: This backpack has a safety whistle on its sternum strap. It also comes with reflective strips to improve its visibility.
3. Comfortable design: The bag prevents sweating with its ventilated mesh harness and breathable air mesh panel.
- Has durable materials
- Easy to clean
- Relatively small capacity for a lunch box
We think this backpack holds up well and is great for different age groups. Although it’s for kids, CamelBak didn’t strip out the exciting features of its adult packs. Our research found that this pack has three exterior pockets and can fit children with a torso length of 12 to 16 inches.
One thing we couldn’t help but notice is that this bag isn’t the most spacious backpack available. Therefore, it’s a kid pack for essentials. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an affordable kids’ hiking backpack, then this could well be ‘the one.’
It is available on REI and Amazon.
5. The North Face Youth Recon Squash Backpack (Best for versatility)
If your kid wants to go hiking with you, consider the North Face Youth Recon Squash backpack when you go shopping. It’s half the size of a regular Recon bag but with all the adult version features.
Children can rock this backpack to school or use it for their hiking journeys. It provides extra-support for their delicate backs. Furthermore, there’s ample space in it to pack several things at a go.
The Youth Recon Squash backpack is available in eight colors on REI and Amazon.
Dimension: 16 x 11.5 x 6 inches
Capacity: 17 liters
Material: 600D polyester
Weight: 0.87 pounds
1. Multiple pockets: There are external zippered pockets for hiking gear and two main compartments in the Recon Squash. On this backpack’s sides, there are also two water bottle pockets. Altogether, these spaces help to keep things organized.
2. Durable fabric: The Youth Recon Quash backpack is tear and abrasion-resistant.
3. Comfortable design: This backpack’s back panel is padded and ventilated.
- Has a lifetime warranty
- Built with quality materials
- Shoulder straps are pretty small
If your kid is a 6 to 10-year old, this kids’ backpack will perfectly fit them. We found that it is easy to carry, and your kid can pack many things in it.
One thing we really like about this backpack is its versatility. Children can use it as a school bag or for other outdoor activities. However, we hoped for better stitching in this unit.
Overall, we are convinced this the North Face backpack is affordable, flexible, and suitable for day hiking. It goes for an affordable price.
6. TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack (Best for comfort)
The Oasis 1100 is an in-demand kids’ hiking backpack for several outdoor activities, including hiking. It is thoughtfully designed with loads of room for children to keep their gear.
This backpack has adjustable shoulder straps, chest belts, and waist belts to fit different body sizes. It comes in a wide range of colors, all of which are eye-catchy. More importantly, there’s a two-liter hydration bladder in its box.
Dimension: 18 x 11.3 x 2.9 inches
Capacity: 18 liters
Material: 600D PU/ 210D Honeycomb Ripstop
Weight: 2 pounds
1. Ergonomic design: The Oasis 1100 has contoured, padded shoulder straps. It doesn’t have a sleeping bag but a cushioned bit valve.
2. Safe design: The exterior of this hiking hydration pack is lined with reflective materials. Its anti-shock sternum strap also has a safety whistle on it.
3. Weather protection: Asides from its leak-resistant materials, the Oasis 1100 also has a rain cover that’s sewn-in to the backpack.
- Has side compression straps
- Decent capacity
- Easy to use and carry for long hours
- Water doesn’t flow from the bladder easily.
- Sleeping bag not included
Convenient, easy to fit, and well-designed: these are the words we can use to describe the Oasis 1100 hydration pack. From our research, it sits comfortably and offers great value for its price tag.
Recent customers are pretty pleased with this backpack and all its features. They report that its water bladder is easy to fill. But due to its small mouthpiece, drinking from the bladder can be frustrating. However, the cords on the backside are a nice touch on the bag. You can use them to attach sleeping bags.
The Oasis 1100 is a great backpack for kids, and we doubt you’ll be able to find a bag that outranks it given its price.
7. G4free Hiking Daypack (Best budget)
No hiking trip with children is complete without a great kids’ hiking backpack like the G4Free daypack. This backpack is small and suitable for older kids. It is available in vibrant colors and has some of the best backpacking features in the market.
Dimension: 13 x 8.27 x 6.3 inches
Capacity: 11 liters
Weight: 0.9 pounds
1. Sleek design: This backpack has a unique look. It sports one top compartment, one exterior pocket, and two mesh side pockets.
2. Durable build: The G4Free hiking daypack is water and tear-resistant. It also has quality, abrasion-resistant SBS zippers.
3. Ergonomic look: As you would expect from a top-quality backpack, the G4Free daypack comes with adjustable buckles and breathable mesh straps.
- Super light.
- Durable and versatile
- Useful in keeping hiking gear organized
- Easy to carry for long hours
- No sleeping bag compartment
- Poor customer service
If you want a backpack with an excellent reputation among recent buyers, then this is what you’ve been looking for. The G4Free pack is great for kids, but it also has grownup features.
We like that G4Free put some thought into making this backpack comfortable for children, especially its shoulder straps. The icing on the cake are its reasonable price and features adjustable parts to fit a kid’s torso length.
Therefore, if you’re looking for the best mid-size kids’ hiking backpack, consider the G4Free pack.
What should you consider before getting hiking backpacks for kids?
Before you make up your mind on a backpack to get on REI or Amazon, consider its:
1. Size and weight
One thing to always avoid is getting a kids’ hiking backpack on REI or Amazon that a kid can’t use. This implies that your preferred backpacking pack shouldn’t be massive, small, or heavy.
For example, the Deuter Schmusebar is a toddler backpack that won’t fit older kids. However, backpacks with adjustable features like the Osprey Ace 38, REI tarn 18, or Deuter junior will work with different torso sizes.
Therefore, consider a backpack’s dimensions and weight before you buy your hiking bag on REI or Amazon.com. Then, find out if the backpack allows adjustable torso lengths.
2. Hydration reservoir compatibility
Top-quality backpacks like the REI Co-op tarn 18 have a water bottle pocket where you can keep water bottles or reservoirs. This design consideration makes it easy to drink water while on the move.
If you are going on a long backpacking trip with your child, you might want to consider backpacks with this feature. However, this factor is worth keeping in mind during day hikes as well.
3. Number of pockets
Hiking backpacks for kids should have enough pockets and a large compartment to go on day hikes. For example, the REI Co-op tarn 18, Osprey Jet, Deuter Junior, tarn 12, and Oasis 1100 are all popular backpacks. These backpacks come with a stash pocket and front pocket for your child to pack their items.
So, you’ve found a quality backpack like the REI Co-op tarn 12 or Osprey Ace 38. But who says you have to pick a dull color?
Hiking is a fun experience. If you’re big on making your son or daughter independent, you should allow them to pick their preferred backpack color.
Top-notch backpacks like the REI Co-op tarn 18, Deuter Junior, and Osprey Daylite are available in different color options.
The capacity of a backpack is measured in liters. For example, the REI tarn 12 has a 12-liter gear capacity. While a product’s size looks at how it fits on your kid’s back, the capacity measures the items they can pack in it.
When selecting hiking backpacks for kids on Amazon or REI, consider units that allow your child to pack at least 7 liters. Also, check out units that have a sleeping bag compartment.
Next, consider your preferred backpack’s fabric. Does it look cheap or durable? Also, think about the stitching on its shoulder straps, hip belt (waist belt), and the fabric’s overall texture.
The popular backpacking materials are polyester and nylon.
No one knows what a kid hiker could do with their bag after a handful of backpacking tours. However, to make sure you don’t spend a fortune getting one every year, consider backpacks for kids that have warranties.
8. Additional features
The price of a backpack is important. However, also consider backpacking accessories like a rain cover, hip belt pockets, and waist belt. Also, enquire whether the unit has a sleeping bag or sleeping pads, trekking poles, or space for water bottles.
Q1. What is the best hiking bag?
Our best backpack for hiking is the Gregory Wander 50 unit. It is a complete backpacking unit with spacious pockets and cool accessories.
Q2. Can an adult use hiking backpacks for kids?
Yes. Adults can use a backpack for kids as long as it fits their backs. For example, a grownup hiker can use the REI tarn 14 or Osprey Jet 16 packs.
Q3. What can fit in a hiking bag?
A child can fit water bottles in the main compartment, a few clothes, and some snacks. Accessories also help to pack any small item and make the trip worthwhile.
Q4. Where can I get the best hiking bag for kids?
You can buy products like the Osprey Ace 38 and other backpacks on this list from REI, Amazon, and local stores.
Q5. What’s the price of a hiking product?
The price of a hiking bag depends on the factors in our buying guide and brand. For example, Osprey Ace products cost between a few bucks to a little over $100.
When your little one is old enough to tag along for hikes, you’ll need the best kids hiking backpack collection you can get your hands on. Well, our list contains the top-ranking backpacks in the market.
Check out our buying guide and decide the right bag to get for your kiddo.