Is your little one finally old enough to accompany you on your weekend hiking trips? Then it’s high time you get them their own backpack! It’s important for them to learn to be independent, but also to learn how to properly balance and move around with a pack on their backs.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Hiking Backpacks For Kids
So, we found the ten best hiking backpacks for kids of all ages! From lightweight hydration packs to multi-day beasts – whatever it is that you’re looking for, you will find plenty of options in our detailed review!
Best For Older Kids
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Best Hydration Backpack For Hikes
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Most Versatile Backpack
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Best Backpack With Large Capacity
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Best Affordable Hiking Backpack For Kids
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Osprey is a champion of hiking backpacks, and that includes the kids’ option. The Jet is a premium pack made entirely from recycled materials, with features you usually see on Osprey’s backpacks for adults.
Like the AirScape backpanel – it features bump-foam ventilation as well as breathable mesh, ensuring your little one will always be comfortable while wearing the Jet. Plus, there’s a webbing sternum strap that keeps those shoulder straps in place, and which also doubles as an emergency whistle.
The Jet is a big backpack, so it’s best for older kids who can handle something this size. This also makes it an awesome option for longer and more demanding hikes, where you need to have a lot of gear handy.
There’s a spacious main compartment on this backpack, as well as three stretchy pockets on the front panel. The Jet is also equipped with an external hydration sleeve – it’s just behind the backpanel, so it doesn’t take away from the capacity of the main compartment at all. But you won’t get a hydration bladder with this pack, so bear that in mind.
In addition to that, this pack also has daisy chain webbing on the front panel. Meaning you can easily attach any bulky gear to the front of the pack if you use a carabiner, as long as it’s not too heavy for your little one.
Another thing you will love about the Jet hiking backpack is the DWR coating. It means that the entire pack is water repellant, so you don’t have to worry about the contents of the pack getting drenched in the rain.
However, the Jet backpack was redesigned not too long ago, so it’s still pretty brand new. This means a hefty price tag and not a lot of deals available.
If you want a backpack that’s proven to be excellent, go with the mini MULLE. It’s an awesome hydration pack, and even the kids’ version of it has some grown up features!
The MULLE backpack is small and lightweight, so perfect for really young kids. Its backpanel is heavily padded and covered with breathable mesh, so your little ones can stay comfortable even on hot days. And there’s the sternum strap that will ensure the pack stays put on them – great if your kids fidget around a lot, and you’re worried about the shoulder straps falling off.
This backpack for kids doesn’t have a huge capacity. It has a hydration bladder compartment that fits the 1.5-liter Crux reservoir, and an extra zippered compartment on the front. So, you will be able to fit some of their other necessities in this pack, in addition to the hydration bladder.
On top of that, the mini MULLE also features a stretchy front pocket, which is great for putting away a spare layer of clothing. This ensures that neither you nor they have to carry a jacket in their hands while you’re all hiking, so it’s pretty convenient.
CamelBak’s Crux reservoir is truly top of the line, so you are getting premium quality for the coin. It has a kid-friendly on/off lever that prevents any leaks, as well as an ergonomic handle for easy refilling. And it is able to keep water cold for hours, ensuring you will have a refreshing drink on your back during those hot and sweaty hikes.
Another thing worth noting is that the sternum strap doubles as a safety whistle. So, if your kids ever stray off while, they can draw attention to themselves with a whistle – great because it means you don’t have to keep an eye on them every second of your hike.
The Daylite is one of Osprey’s all-time best-sellers. And that goes both for the adult and kids versions of this amazing bag. It’s definitely one of the most versatile backpacks you can get for your kids – the rugged exterior and comfortable backpanel as perfect for hiking trails, while the spacious main compartment and extra pockets work great for school.
This is the pack to get your kids if you want to avoid buying them a different backpack for every occasion. They can use it for hiking, travel, school, football practice, and pretty much everything else.
The Daylite hiking backpack for kids features thick padding and breathable mesh on both the backpanel and harness, for premium carrying comfort. The sternum strap ensures that the shoulder straps don’t move around during hikes, and it doubles as a safety whistle.
This pack is part of Osprey’s 2020 sustainable collection, and it is made entirely from recycled materials. That includes PFC free DWR coating, which keeps this pack dry during rainy weather.
The kids’ Daylite pack has a spacious main compartment with an internal hydration sleeve. But you don’t get a hydration bladder with this pack, so keep that in mind.
This sleeve is actually a great versatile feature – it works as an extra internal compartment where your kids could put their notebooks if they were to take the Daylite to school. On top of that, this backpack also has a small zippered pocket on the front panel, as well as two stretchy side pockets.
Oh, and it’s actually a pretty affordable backpack. You can buy it for less than $40, which is a great deal for such a high-quality kids hiking backpack!
If you’re serious about camping trips with your kids, they will need a big backpack that can hold a lot of gear. And the Deuter kids’ backpack is exactly that – a durable, high quality pack with a 40-liter capacity. Just keep in mind that this is a big pack, so it’s only suitable for bigger kids. Or really small adults!
The harness of this pack is actually adjustable, and it’s best for back lengths from 10 to 18 inches. This also means that this backpack for kids will grow along with them. They will be able to use the Deuter pack for years – perfect for parents who are tired of buying a new, bigger backpack every six months.
This pack has an adult-looking harness. It features really thick padding and soft breathable mesh, for premium carrying comfort. And it has both a sternum strap and a hipbelt, ensuring that your little ones don’t actually feel the entire weight of their 40-liter pack.
That huge capacity means that this pack is perfect for multi-day trips and that it can hold all the gear they might possibly need. Plus, with multiple compartments and pockets, organizing all that gear will be effortless.
The main compartment is very spacious, with internal pockets for separating items. Then, there are the two hipbelt pockets that are great for stuff your kids need handy at all times. And this has several carabiner attachment points, so it’s also possible to attach any bulkier gear to the exterior of the pack.
In addition to that, the Deuter Fox is equipped with two stretchy side pockets and two sets of compression straps – over and above the pockets. This is great for storing hiking poles, and it guarantees that you won’t be the one that’ll end up carrying them for the better part of the hike.
If you’re just looking for a quick and cheap solution, the Bseash backpack is a good option. It’s not a premium bag, but it’s under $20 and it will do just fine on your next hiking trip. This is a small pack, suitable for kids that are shorter than 4 feet.
The backpack is made from both nylon and polyester with waterproof coating on the outside. It has a good tear and abrasion resistance, thanks to the durable materials. And it’s a small and lightweight bag – it weighs less than 8 ounces, making it the perfect hiking pack for your kids
One thing to note is that this backpack does not have an adjustable harness, and your child will outgrow it eventually. But that’s what you get for some $15! And honestly, it’s actually a really good backpack for the money – the entire backpanel is padded and ventilated, so it is pretty comfortable to wear. Not something you’d expect on such an affordable pack!
It’s also a very versatile backpack for kids, with two zippered compartments, stretchy side pockets and bungee cord at the front panel. You can fit the essentials for your little one’s hike in the 10-liter capacity of the bag, while the bungee cord is handy for keeping their jacket when they get too hot.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, since this is such a small pack, you can’t really fit any bigger items in it. An A4 notebook won’t fit, and neither will a regular-sized tablet. You could fit an iPad mini inside – a good thing to know if you want to also use this for vacations.
Gregory is a premium outdoor brand that makes some amazing backpacks. The good news is that they make backpacks for kids; the bad news is that those are not cheap at all. So, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, you can just skip this section.
And if you’re willing to spend a little more for a premium backpack, the Wander 50 is an option worth considering. Yes it is expensive, but it is a 50-liter backpack with an adjustable harness. Which means that your child will be able to use it for several years, since the backpack can actually grow with them.
Now that is great value for money, even if you’re spending a bit more than you wanted to. Especially since you’re technically getting two backpacks for the price of one; the Wander pack comes with a detachable SideKick day pack. It’s great for those trips when you want to venture further away from the camp, but nobody wants to lug around an entire 50-liter bag.
The backpanel and harness of this kids’ hiking backpack are both heavily padded and covered with breathable mesh. If the pack is properly adjusted, it will be very comfortable to wear, and your kids shouldn’t feel the burden on their shoulders. Especially when using the padded hipbelt, which transfers the weight from their shoulder onto their hips.
The Wander backpack features a roomy main compartment with an internal hydration sleeve, water bottle pockets, hipbelt pockets, trekking pole attachment points, sleeping pad straps, multiple external pockets and compression straps – among other things. Honestly, it’s just a mini-version of an awesome multi-day backpack.
The Scout is a children’s hydration pack with a large capacity. The hydration sleeve is behind the backpanel, which gives you two roomy compartments for all the other necessary gear. This makes the pack a great versatile option – it’s perfect for longer hiking trips, but it could also work for school or travel, thanks to all the other pockets and compartments.
Your kid’s books and notebooks can easily fit into the main compartment of this pack, and so could a tablet. And they would still have that extra front compartment for any smaller items!
The backpanel features thick padding and breathable mesh, so your little one won’t actually feel the bladder against their back. It’s a very comfortable pack to wear, especially since it also has a sternum strap that ensures those shoulder straps won’t move around.
This pack has daisy chain webbing at the front, which is perfect for attaching any bulkier items to the exterior of the pack. And the stretchy side pockets are great for bottles, a spare hoodie, or some items they would like to have more easily accessible.
One thing that makes this backpack awesome is its size. With a height of 15”, it can work for kids of various ages. Your 6-year-old could wear this, but so could a 10-year-old – the adjustability of the shoulder straps is everything with the Scout!
And you will get CamelBak’s Crux reservoir along with this backpack. It has a capacity of 1.5 liters, and it’s probably one of the best hydration reservoirs on the market. It is entirely BPA-free , it’s able to keep water cool for hours and it comes with a handy hose and valve that are easy to use and don’t leak.
TNF Recon is an excellent backpack, and the kids’ version is as awesome as the full-sized one. It’s not primarily a hiking backpack, but it’s definitely a backpack your kids could take on a hiking trip. It is made from 600D polyester, which has excellent tear and abrasion resistance. But it is not fully waterproof, so I wouldn’t recommend this backpack for hikes on rainy days.
The thick padding in the backpanel ensures your child will stay comfortable even on long hikes, while the easy to use sternum strap helps keep those shoulder straps in place. They can fit most of their important gear in the spacious main compartment, which has some internal pockets that are perfect for organizing necessities for class.
There’s also an extra compartment on the front panel, which is great for items your kid would need handy during hikes, or just a pencil case. And the stretchy pocket on the front panel is perfect for stashing a jacket or a hoodie when they get too hot during hikes.
This backpack also features reflective accents for improved visibility in the darkness. That’s great for overnight camping trips, since it guarantees that they won’t lose the backpack somewhere in the forest. On top of that, the Recon Squash also features stretchy side pockets that are perfect for water bottles.
Keep in mind that this is a really small backpack, and it’s best for kids that are in elementary school. Sure, the shoulder straps are adjustable, but they will outgrow it eventually. It’s best to get it for younger kids, who can then use for it the next several years. But if your kid is already 7 or 8 years old, this is probably going to be too small for them.
If you need to get a backpack for a toddler, this is by far the best option for you. It is adorable, and your kid will almost definitely wall in love with it, meaning they will want to take it everywhere. That’s how easy it’ll be to get them to carry their own hiking gear!
But keep in mind that this is a tiny backpack, and it can’t fit a lot of gear. There’s one main compartment that is pretty roomy, and which should be able to hold a toddler’s hiking essentials. The pack also has two stretchy side pockets that are designed to hold water bottles, but they are pretty shallow and will fit only small bottles.
The thing that makes this an excellent backpack for your child is the backpanel. It features thick padding and breathable mesh on both the harness and the backpanel, guaranteeing that your little one is comfortable whenever the Kikki is on their back. There’s also a convenient sternum strap that will help keep those shoulder straps in place, and ensure that the pack doesn’t fall off.
Another cool thing about this backpack is that it has multiple accessory loops. These let you attach anything you want to the backpack, as long as you use a carabiner.
This isn’t a remarkably functional hiking backpack, but it is one your kids will want to wear without you having to beg them. It is adorable, well made, and very durable, so it should last them for a couple of years. But they will outgrow it pretty fast since the backpack only work for kids that are 5 or younger. So, if you have a 2-year-old, it’s a great backpack. But if you have a 4-year-old, you should probably get them something bigger, since they won’t get a lot of use out of the Kikki.
The HydraJet 15 is a hiking backpack for kids, which comes with Osprey’s hydration bladder. The pack is made from mesh and nylon, and it has a very durable exterior. Nylon has pretty good water resistance even without any extra coating, so this pack is a great option for different weather conditions.
The hydration reservoir is external on the HydraJet, meaning that your kids will have plenty of space inside the bag for all the necessary hiking gear. This backpack features a roomy main compartment with an internal pocket, as well as an extra zippered pocket on the outside for any smaller items.
And there are also two stretch mesh pockets on the sides, for kids who prefer water bottles to hydration bladders. On top of that, the HydraJet is also equipped with bungee cord on the front panel, which is great for stashing any bulky gear.
One reason why your kids will love this pack is that it is super comfortable to wear. It features the AirScape backpanel with excellent ventilation and a hipbelt made only from breathable mesh, making it a great choice for hot summer days. The backpanel and the harness are both padded, for premium carrying comfort.
The HydraJet comes with Osprey’s trusty 1.5-liter Hydraulics reservoir and all the necessary accessories. It’s known for the Quick Connect feature, which allows you to detach the bladder from the hose, making refills easy and effortless. On top of that, the reservoir is made from BPA-free plastic, and it makes use of the bite valve that prevents any leaks.
It’s important to get a backpack that will be just the right size for your kid – obviously. But how do you pick the perfect one? And will you have to replace it within a few months?
You should always look at the dimensions of each backpack, and try to see just how big that is on your child’s back. A backpack that’s too big might seem like a good idea because they will be able to use it longer, but it’s likely to weigh them down. Which means they won’t want to wear it, and you’ll wind up having to buy another backpack anyway.
Some hiking packs featured here are adjustable, so they are able to grow along with your kid. These are the best investment – instead of having to buy a new pack every time your child grows, you can get a pack they will be able to use for years. However, this is usually the case with bigger and bulkier packs.
Another thing to note is that, even though most of these packs are designed for kids, a lot of adults choose to get them over regular-sized versions of the same packs. Especially people who are tiny – they wind up saving quite a lot of money by buying kids’ backpacks instead of big ones.
So, if a 25+-year-old adult is able to wear a kids’ pack comfortably, there’s no reason why your child wouldn’t be able to wear it in a few years. Most of the backpacks I showed you are fully adjustable, so you will be able to adapt to them as time goes by. Especially the backpacks from Osprey and CamelBak.
Hiking is a very loose term. It can mean walking around the plains that are 15 minutes away from your house, or it can mean going on a weekend hiking/camping trip. So, what’s your exact definition of hiking?
If you want something for shorter outings, pick up a hydration backpack. These are great because they are very small, lightweight, and can fit a hydration bladder plus a few other necessities – what else would your child need on a three-hour hiking adventure anyway?
On the other hand, if you want to get serious about family camping trips, you will need to get a bigger backpack for your kid. That way you won’t be the one carrying all their stuff, and they can start learning how to walk with a proper hiking backpack. Just bear in mind that the bigger backpacks tend to be pricier, and they’re only suitable for older kids – think 8+ years.
And if you want a versatile backpack for your child, then neither of those two will work. You should look for something that looks almost like a school backpack, but with those staple sports features – hydration bladder, daisy chain webbing, etc. These packs are the best investment if you want to get them just one bag they can take everywhere, from the soccer field to the mountain tops.
Do you need a cheap backpack for a hiking trip that’s coming up this weekend, or do you want to invest in a pack for your child?
Some of the packs I’ve featured are pretty expensive, but that’s due to the premium materials and adjustable harnesses. Sometimes it is better to spend more money on a premium backpack, than to have to buy a new one every so often. But that only makes sense if you go hiking often, and you know that your little one will use their pack frequently.
If hiking is just something you do once in a blue moon, you’ll be fine with an affordable bag. In that case, you don’t really need something insanely durable, since the bag won’t go through a lot of wear and tear.
I included both affordable and premium options because I wanted to make sure that everyone can find a bag that works best for their unique situation.
It’s important that your child likes the backpack you want to get for them, otherwise it will be a nightmare getting them to wear it! Look for a bag that you know they will love, and not just something you think is good for them.
It just like with luggage for kids – you’re actually trying to trick them into carrying their own stuff so that you don’t have to. And that’s why it’s best to let them pick; that way you know you are getting them something they like, and they will be more inclined to carry the bag on their own.
Obviously, you can be a little sneaky about it. Let them choose between the top three bags you like, or just let them choose the color. Either way, including them in the decision of which backpack they’re getting will make them more inclined to wear it on hiking trips.
The Best Hiking Backpacks For Kids: Our Top Options
Not sure which of these backpacks is the right option for your kid? Just go with one of our top choices and it should be the perfect fit!
All of the packs I showed you really are great, but my absolute favorite for day hikes is the Osprey Jet. It is made entirely from recycled materials, and it’s never too early to teach your child how to be environmentally conscious! The backpack is very comfortable to wear thanks to the AirScape backpanel and adjustable shoulder straps. And your little ones can fit plenty of gear in the spacious main compartment and all the extra pockets of the pack.
If you want a backpack for multi-day hikes, go with the Deuter Fox. It has a 40-liter capacity that is more than enough for overnight trips. And that capacity is spread over multiple pockets and compartments, so there’s definitely enough room for all their hiking essentials. Plus, the harness is adjustable and it grows along with your child. Meaning that they will be able to use this backpack for several years, so you’re actually getting awesome value for money.
Those of you that are looking for a budget friendly pack for kids should pick up the Bseash Hiking Backpack. With a price point around $15, waterproof exterior, and spacious interior, it’s definitely one of the best affordable options out there. The pack had a padded and ventilated backpanel for great carrying comfort of your kids, and a spacious main compartment with several external pockets so that they’re able to carry all of their gear on their own.
That’s it! Head over to Amazon to see the prices of all of these awesome hiking backpacks for kids, and pick up the one you loved the most!