For those hikers that don’t mind taking a little less, a small hiking backpack can be just the thing. Whether you’re just a day hiker looking to take a few important items, or a hiker doing a more ambitious weekend trip, for instance, a small backpack can be ideal. Many hikers, backpackers and campers end up taking far more gear than they need, which results in large, bloated backpacks. By taking only the essentials you can both lighten your load and get rid of the need for a big, heavy backpack.
Small Hiking BackpackWhat to look for when you’re looking at small hiking backpacks.
- Capacity – A small hiking backpack is great, but you want to make sure that you don’t get something that’s too small. Think hard about what you will and wont be bringing with you hiking, and don’t forget about things like food and water, which can take up quite a lot of space and increase and decrease quite a lot, depending on conditions and the length of the trip.
- Frame – When you get in to smaller hiking backpacks it’s a good idea to ask yourself if you need a frame or not. With a total weight of less than 25 or 30 pounds, you can make do without a frame, provided you do a good job of packing. One bonus of getting a backpack without a frame is that frames weigh a lot, and leaving the frame at home lowers your weight. Keep in mind that some backpacks come with a removable frame, which gives you more versatility.
Best Small Hiking BackpackSome of the better small hiking backpacks on the market right now.
- GoLite Jam Backpack - When it comes to small hiking backpacks, the Jam is a rather popular choice. With a capacity of 50 liters it's not so big that it cant be used as a day pack, but still gives you enough room for a whole weekend worth of gear, and lightweight backpackers could get a full weeks worth of gear in without too many problems. The hip belt and sternum strap are welcome additions for longer distances, and the hydration bladder and hip belt pockets mean that you don't have to take the backpack off for the important stuff. With no frame, and a weight of just 1.73 pounds or 788 grams, this is a great backpack choice.
- ULA Equipment CDT - Another backpack that occupies the space between big day day pack and small week pack is the CDT. Like the Jam it comes with no frame, hip belt pockets and a hydration pack, all feature which make it easy to stay fast and light. Features like an extending roll top closure and ample space in exterior pockets make this a great backpack for lightweight backpackers who do a little day hiking on the side. It weighs a total of 17 ounces, which is 482 grams and gives you 55 Liters of capacity to work with..
- Osprey Exos 46 - Something slightly smaller that's probably limited to just day trips and maybe an overnight adventure or two is the Exos. This is a little more sturdy, with an aluminum frame and back ventilation system. This backpack also features hip belt pockets and a convenient place for a water bladder,which is ideal for those that don't want to slow down. It weighs 2.31 pounds, or 1.05 kilograms, which is more than either of the backpacks above.