A good hiking backpack is an essential piece of gear for any hiker. There are many different backpacks on the market, and it can be difficult to choose the right one.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a hiking backpack:
How much stuff do you need to carry? Backpacks range in size from around 30 liters (weekend trips) to over 100 liters (large expedition packs).
For a multi-day hike of 4 to 10 days, I would recommend at least 45 liters capacity. This will easily fit my recommended basic ultralight gear pack and weigh maximally 5 kg (before food and fuel).
For much longer hikes like through hikes on the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail you will want at least 50 liters. But again, with a good selection of lightweight gear, you do not need 100 liters to survive.
Generally, you want to have a good balance between capacity, price and weight. The backpacks included here are all lightweight and above 30 liters in capacity.
Heavier packs will be more difficult to carry, so consider how much weight you’re willing to carry. A rule of thumb is that a loaded pack should not weigh more than 20% of your body weight, and the pack itself should not weigh more than 20% of your total gear weight.
Form factor and fit:
Make sure the backpack fits you well. It should be comfortable to wear, with straps that distribute the weight evenly. Consider if you need a hip belt and how thick clothing you will be wearing underneath.
The more clothing you wear, the less important the material of the shoulder straps and hip belt, but you might also sweat more on your back.
The material used for the back mesh is also crucial to ventilation, which can be important in warmer climates! However, a light pack will always cause less sweatiness than a heavy one! This is why I prioritize lighter packs.
Some backpacks have features that can be helpful, such as rain covers, built-in hydration systems, and pockets for organization.
Some you can open from the front to see all the contents at once, others are loaded from the top. Some have detachable hood, which can be used as a separate daypack.
Decide which features are most important to you and look for a pack that has them.
Materials and durability:
Hiking backpacks are usually made from nylon or polyester but some mentioned here are made with the ultra-strong Dyneema fabric. Nylon is durable and lightweight, but polyester is less expensive and but more abrasion resistant and has a softer feel to it.
Backpacks can also be made from other materials, such as canvas, cotton, G-1000 (like those from Fjällräven) or even leather.
All backpacks listed in this post are made from materials that are durable, yet light, and will stand up to the abuse of hiking.
Top 3 Ultralight Backpacks Under 100$
In case you are in a hurry, here are my top picks for ultralight backpacks under 100$:
Full list of the best ultralight budget backpacks:
|1.3 kg (2.8lbs)
|MOBI GARDEN X-PAC
|1.2 kg (2.6 lbs)
|Naturehike XPAC large
New version at Amazon
|(0.75 – 1.76lbs) 340g-800g
|3F UL Gear FLAME’S CREED
|OneTigris LITE Roamer
|3F UL GEAR YUE
|1.94 lb/881 g
|3F UL GEAR QIDIAN PRO
|3F UL GEAR Frameless
|Weikani Full Zip Bag
For my full list of all my favorite ultralight hiking gear needed for a good hike, check out my post with my sub 500$ gear list weighing only 7 oz (3kg!).
I am going to go through my experience and knowledge on some of my favorite of these backpacks in the following!
Naturehike Rock 60/40+5L framed backpack
If you are familiar with my site, you will know that Naturehike is one of my favorite undiscovered Asian brands that are on par with many western brands but at a fraction of the price!
There are many different types and sizes of backpacks from Naturehike the market, but one that has recently caught my eye is the Naturehike Rock 60l.
This backpack has a 60 liter capacity, but also comes in a 40 liter version, which is plenty for most day hikes or even some overnight trips.
The 40 liter version only weighs 1.16 kilograms, making it one of the lightest backpacks of this size on the market and the 60 liter pack weighs 200 grams (0.5lbs) more.
The dimensions of the 60L pack are 53x26x18, and it has an aluminum frame with 420D nylon construction.
The back panel is padded and there is a Doneford buckle closure system. The backpack also comes with an integrated rain cover, which is a nice bonus feature.
The cover is contained in a zipped pocket underneath the pack, so it is easy to reach.
Overall, this is a great backpack for anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and exploring nature.
Is Naturehike a good brand?
In my opinion, and many other ultralight hikers on the internet, the answer is yes!
Naturehike is one of the stronger Chinese outdoor gear manufacturers. According to a 2012 article about China’s outdoor market, Naturehike has been recognized as the company with the best “sustainable R&D capabilities” and has been highlighted for its ability to successfully develop new products and keep up with trends in the outdoor industry.
Naturehike’s main factory is located in China’s Zhejiang Province, which has been described as “China’s Silicon Valley”, and there are three additional facilities in China as well as one facility in Myanmar.
The company not only offers a wide variety of outdoor products but is known for its innovation and products on par with many western brands.
Naturehike participates in worldwide outdoor brand industry events in order to promote its products to retailers around the world and has won multiple awards.
This also means, that it might soon be more widely appreciated and expand into western countries, which will undoubtedly increase their prices… Luckily, this has not happened yet!
Naturehike XPAC Series Ultralight pack
Naturehike is a Chinese brand that sells a wide range of outdoor gear and equipment. Their products feature innovative designs and a lot of functionality, while maintaining competitive prices.
The XPAC Series backpacks are available in a range of sizes, from 20 to 35 litres, and weights, from 300 grams to 900 grams. These backpacks are made from cuben fiber fabric, also known as Dyneema, that makes them completely waterproof and ultralight.
The tops completely fold away into themselves, and internal straps keep them neatly in place.
The backpacks also have front mesh pockets and hip belt pockets, and a minimalistic design that makes them look quite cool! They come in either yellow or blue – I have the yellow one and it’s great for attracting attention on the trail…
3F UL Gear FLAME’S CREED 40+16L
This one is one of my favorites, with its lightweight 210D nylon exterior and superior features at a super low weight of less than 2 lbs (<900 grams!). It is also the backpack I use myself, and the one I recommend in my ultralight budget gear list.
I really love its minimalistic design and the ability to use a foam mattress as a back mesh, which you might bring for sleeping anyways.
See why I love this type of sleeping pad in my other posts. Hint: They are ultralight, they do not make any noise and there is no puncture risk or chance of mildew growth!
Anyways, back to the pack!
The 3F UL Gear FLAME’S CREED backpacks are designed for hot-weather hiking where you need to be nimble and light on your feet, without compromising the carrying capacity.
The padded shoulder straps are wide and contoured and trap heat, so you should feel it warming your shoulders as you wear it.
The waist belt is wide and cushioned and features a quick-release buckle. Of course, belt-positioning is important.
Too narrow belt and straps might cause chafing if you’re carrying a heavy load when it’s placed at the wrong point on your waist. This is not a problem here with the fairly wide shoulder straps and hip belts compared to other ultralight packs.
3F UL Gear FLAME’S CREED backpack main Features
The FLAME’S CREED pack has an 80cm*30cn*22cm size main compartment, perfect for multi-day trips.
The backpack is made from 210D and 420D nylon fabric. The two fabrics offer breathability and a moisture-resistant layer, which can be handy if you’re hiking in warm weather or if it rains.
The pack has a ventilated back panel and a breathable fabric. It’s fairly light and shouldn’t weigh you down.
There’s also an internal pocket with an expandable stretch mesh section. It’s ideal for stashing lightweight items such as snacks, toiletries, and maps. You can adjust the stretchy mesh section using zippers.
What I also like about the FLAME’S CREED backpack is that it has a system to attach the sleeping bag, rain covers, rain gear, or even a small tent. The back panel has three compression straps that allow you to attach your tent, compression cover, and sleeping bag.
There are two large side pockets. These can be handy for strapping stuff you need to access quickly – water bottles, for example, and rain gear.
The hip pockets are secured with zippers that turn outwards, and the shoulder straps are padded, too, so they’ll stay comfortable when your rest against your support.
The backpack also has adjustable hangers that secure a pair of hiking poles.
The pack is made from a Nylon material with a thickness of 210 and 420 Denier. These are both high-density fabrics, so they’re strong and durable. Overall, the backpack is well-made and has a sturdy though light field to it.
The lightweight design makes this pack easy and comfortable to carry. It is built with the same quality materials that most western brands also use for their bags, which is evident in every seam, stitch, buckle, and strap.
If you want an even stronger backpack, check out the ones made from Dyneema on the list.
Size and Weight
It weighs 850 grams, and the pack’s dimensions are 80cm*30cn*22cm. This is extremely light for a pack this size!
The pack holds 56L which can easily hold a 20L water reservoir (like the Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir) on top of your basic gear like tent, sleeping bag and pad.
The 56L pack has 18cm depth and 80cm high. The thickness is 30cm and the hip belt reaches 55cm around.
This 3UL gear backpack weighs 850 grams for the 56L and also comes in a lighter but smaller version.
The lighter option is better if you’re going to be carrying a load of around 10kg or less. The backpack features a lightweight design, so it’s comfortable when carrying this weight.
If you want a slightly larger and more sturdy pack, check out their Dyneema version here.
At around 60$ the Flames Creed backpack is also one of the cheapest reviewed here.
The 3F UL Gear FLAME’S CREED 40+16L is a lightweight frameless backpack. The panel back system offers a secure system to attach your wet clothing, rain cover, or rain gear. The back is breathable and comfortable, and the shoulder straps are padded for extra comfort. And all this at a very affordable price and super light weight.
3F UL Gear
Apart from Naturehike, perhaps the (next) most popular Chinese ultralight tent brand is 3F UL Gear best known for the Lanshan series of tents.
3F UL gear was first established in 2008 under the “Nature Club” label.
The brand’s first product was a tarp tent, which they advertised as being made of “waterproof parachute fabric.” They later began offering backpacks as well, and in 2016 added hammocks and trekking poles.
3F UL gear products are currently available for purchase on Aliexpres and Amazon and their own website, and the brand claims to have a dealer network in over 20 countries.
They do make nice hiking gear using very lightweight and good quality materials that match big western brands!
They are perhaps most famous for their Lanshan tents which are pretty unique in the shape of a more classical-styled triangular tent, and the requirement for hiking poles as support, which does bias the comparisons of weights between brands!
3F UL GEAR QIDIAN PRO Ultralight Backpack
The QiDian Pro Ultralight Backpack is primarily made from a nylon and Dyneema blend. The dyneema is woven into the fabric, which holds its shape and provides resilience, while the nylon provides better wear resistance.
Dyneema is a synthetic fiber first developed in 1965, which is made from polymer fibers. It was quite popular with the military, but is in more widespread use now thanks to its low weight, high strength and abrasion resistance.
The backpack’s shoulder straps are made from nylon, with padding for comfort. The waist fastening is similarly made from padded material and is adjustable to fit any waist size. It’s also made from a durable material for improved wear resistance.
Side pockets, which are for convenient access to quick-access items. Storage belt pockets are another feature I really liked. I found them very useful when I needed somewhere to keep my phone or sunglasses.
The backpack’s main compartment is expandable by rolling up the to cover, which is handy if you have bulky items that you don’t want to stow in the main compartment. I found the expanded size perfect for a stack of light jumpers or a large jacket.
The QiDian Pro Ultralight Backpack is a minimalist backpack that’s ideal for hiking, camping, travelling and other outdoor activities. The backpack is light yet strong and hard-wearing due to the Dyneema material. It’s specially made to be ultralight, while still retaining a high level of quality.
The QiDian Pro Ultralight Backpack is well-made, elegant, and ultra-light. The zippers are strong, the straps are comfortable, and the backpack is strong and secure enough for long hikes.
Mobi Garden Hiking Backpack
The MOBI GARDEN Hiking Backpack is a great choice for your next hike! It’s made from durable, waterproof 420D nylon and features a reflective strip for safety in low-light conditions.
The backpack has a breathable back mesh panel to keep you cool and dry. The backpack also has standing pads to protect your belongings from getting wet or dirty when put on the ground.
The backpack is able to contain 45+8Liters due to its expandable top part. The backpack measures 60x34x23cm, making it a perfect size for day hikes or overnight trips. The backpack has plenty of room for all your gear, including a sleeping bag, clothes, food, and water.
Check out the Mobi Garden Backpack on AliExpress.
The MOBI GARDEN Hiking Backpack is a great choice for hikers who want a durable, comfortable, and comfortable, aerated backpack. It’s sure to make your next hike more enjoyable!
And at 990g, it does not get much lighter for the price!
Among the backpacks mentioned in this article, this is the one with the most effective anti-sweat back panel to prevent sweaty backs. So if you hike in warmer regions or have a tendency to sweat, this might be the best choice for you!
Weikani Full Zip Bag
The first thing I noticed about the Weikani 50L backpack is that it’s really well made. It’s made of a combination of polyester and nylon, and has seams that are well-sewn and flat, with no rough edges or protruding threads to catch or damage clothing. It’s also got a nice, even overall color, so it won’t look like a big yellow banana.
It also has an ultra-lightweight design. While it doesn’t quite reach lightweight status at 1.76 lbs (0.8 kg), that’s still extremely light for a 50L bag. It’s also a lot lighter than the Standard Cage 60L pack at 2.4 lbs (1.2 kg).
Extremely good price!
The most awesome thing? It costs only 30 US dollars! Yes – you read that right. It will only cost you 30 US dollars if you buy it from China instead of the US. At 30 US dollars, the Weikani is the absolute cheapest 50L backpacks included here.
The Weikani’s lightweight design does come with a downside, however. Most notably, the main storage compartment is just 28 cm wide, a little short for bigger, bulkier items like winter clothing or a laptop. However, at only 30 dollars, there isn’t much sense in complaining.
What you get
The Weikani backpack has a sleek and simple design. Aside from a few wee bits of extra stitching, it’s made from one single piece of nylon and some polyester mesh and sponge material on the back.
The shoulder straps are padded, and lie against your chest without going too low. They’re tough and durable and feature a two way pull belt for light support.
You’ll also benefit from an adjustable waist belt. It’s comfortable, thanks to the wide padding, and it has a triangular-shaped pull that’s comfortable for bigger adults. You also get two side pockets and two large (600D sturdy Nylon) zippered panel pockets, both of which are useful for storing small items.
When it comes to convenience, the Weikani pack has a pair of buckled shoulder straps that come up from the waist belt. These allow you to cinch the waist belt tight to pull up the overall size of the pack until you’re comfortable.
The shoulder straps are also joined by a connectable strap to bring the bag closer to your bag.
The hip belt is great and fairly minimal with two nylon straps. When you loop them around your waist and pull them tight, they act as stabilizers that secure the pack to your back.
Weikani’s 50L Backpack is extremely lightweight, coming in at only 1.76lbs. It’s made with quality nylon and has a clean design. The main compartment is accessible through the long front zipper and the backpack itself is treated with a waterproof coating, making it perfect for hikes or other outdoor activities. The backpack comes in three colors and is best suited for people of shorter stature.
I have no real complaints about the Weikani 50L backpack. It’s a very lightweight, durable, and well-designed bag. The versatility of its size makes it suitable as a primary backpack on shorter hikes, or a secondary pack if you’re hiking or travelling for longer periods of time.
Now that you hopefully have decided on a backpack for your next hike, you might want to check out my recommendations for a superlight tent, an ultralight sleeping bag, my recommended list of ultralight cheap gear, or perhaps some more information on the materials used to make the backpacks described here (nylon, polyester or Dyneema).