Best Small Hiking Backpack of 2020: Complete Reviews with Comparisons
Small hiking backpacks are very handy for day trips and overnight hiking trips. Seasoned hikers who prefer to pack light might use them for longer trips.
Due to their size, you can often use them for school and work (hike till Monday and go straight to work?). Many models can also be folded into small pouches and carried onto a plane.
Keep reading for in-depth reviews of 2019’s the best small hiking backpacks.
Small Hiking Backpack Reviews
1. Zomake Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack
The Zomake Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack is perfect for hiking day trips. That’s not all. Light packers can also rely on it for weekend trips.
This 20L backpack is suitable for hiking trips where you don’t need much equipment. It is the smallest model in Zomake’s Packable Backpack series. It’s available in 12 modern colors.
This backpack has a sizable central compartment with several zippered pockets for small and important items. It also features a sturdy metal zipper. Unlike big hiking backpacks, there are no alternative ways to reach the main compartment.
The Zomake also has a large front zippered pocket which you can use to stash smaller items that won’t fit inside the main compartment. When you need to store the backpack away, you can fold it and pack it into one of the internal pockets. Alternatively, you can take the folded backpack with you on a plane for additional storage.
The sides are equipped with a mesh pocket that’s perfect for water bottles, maps, and other items you need to keep within reach during the hike. This lightweight backpack does not have any compressor straps or attachment hooks.
2. Topnaca Naturehike Ultralight Backpack
The Topnaca Naturehike Ultralight Backpack offers enough storage and weight capacity for a comfortable hiking day trip. It is sturdy and well-made, not to mention affordable.
The Topnaca Naturehike Ultralight Backpack is a compact 18L multipurpose backpack. You can use it for hiking trips into the woods as long as you don’t plan on spending the night, though it looks more like a cross-country cycling backpack. It is also compact enough for airplane travel, school, and shopping. Topnaca also makes the same backpack with a bigger 25L volume. There are 6 available color options which include gray, black, and blue.
The main compartment is accessible via a sturdy metal zipper. It can fit everything you might need for a short outdoors trip. Also, it contains one zippered pocket for small and important items such as your phone, driver’s license, and credit cards.
The Naturehike Ultralight Backpack has only one external pocket. Like the main compartment, it is closed with a metal zipper. It can fit your maps and other items that you might need to access quickly. A pair of stretch mesh pockets are on the sides (one on each side to be exact). They’re perfect as water bottle holders (as if it’s not obvious enough, this highly affordable backpack doesn’t have a built-in hydration system).
You can fit the Naturehike backpack into a pouch that’s not much bigger than a big iPhone. The Topnaca backpack is tear resistant and has a 2000mm water resistant rating.
3. Venture Pal Packable Lightweight Backpack
The Venture Pal is a small hiking backpack that can double as your everyday backpack for school or work. You’ll find laptop compartments and the ability to fold them for easy storage.
The 25L Venture Pal Packable Lightweight Backpack is part of Venture Pal’s Packable series which also contains a gym bag, 35L backpack, 45L backpack, and a small drawstring backpack.
This hiking backpack is made 100% of polyester that is both tear and water resistant. It features bar tacks on major stress points for additional resilience. On the other hand, it can also double as your everyday work or school backpack. You can take it shopping or with you on a plane.
The main compartment is equipped with a sizeable laptop section and is accessible via a sturdy SBS metal zipper. On the outside, the Venture Pal backpack has two zippered pockets for additional items such as maps, camera, and pens. A pair of stretch mesh pockets complete the storage capacities.
Venture Pal makes this backpack in a variety of colors – count them, 10. There are stylish one-color options, bright floral designs, and hip camouflage patterns. There’s also a matching carrying pouch that comes with each order.
This backpack measures 17” tall, 7.3” deep, and 12” wide when unfolded. Folded up, it is 6/5” tall, 3.2” deep, and 3.5” wide. In any event, the size makes it suitable as a carry-on bag on domestic flights. This 25L backpack weighs 8.8oz. You will have to go with a nylon backpack to get any lighter.
4. HIKPRO 20L Backpack
Despite its compact size, the HIKPRO 20L Backpack is very sturdy and strong. It is layered and reinforced in all the right spots.
The HIKPRO 20L Backpack is big enough to see you through a full day of hiking or an overnight camping trip. To make it more outdoor-friendly, HIKPRO has outfitted this backpack with a double fabric bottom and a set of 14 bar tack reinforcements in all the key places.
This backpack is made entirely of sturdy and tear-resistant nylon. It is also water resistant and can hold its own in the rain – rated to protect your belongings for up to 60 minutes in moderate rainfall. The durable SBS metal zippers further underline this backpack’s outdoors character.
This backpack is available in a wide range of modern and youthful color options, including army green, deep blue, black, navy, pink, light blue, red, and orange.
There are a 20L main compartment and an internal zippered pocket that’s perfect for your valuables such as wallet, phone, credit cards, and passport (though there is a risk of falling out if you toss the backpack around). When you want to store the backpack away, the internal pocket can double as the carrying pouch.
5. Boulder Pack Co Foldable Backpack
Hikers who like to pack light might find the Boulder Pack Co Foldable Backpack extremely useful, especially considering the sturdy construction, rugged design, and hiking-friendly accessories.
The Boulder Pack Co Foldable Backpack has 28 liters total of internal volume. The main compartment takes up nearly all the space (so it’s pretty close to 28L by itself) and is equipped with a handy divider. On the outside, this backpack has a pair of zippered pockets for valuables and smaller items that you might need access to during the hike. A pair of large mesh pockets (one on each side) can hold your water bottles.
The backpack is made of ripstop polyester and features heavy duty stitching. The use of metal zippers increases the sturdiness of this small hiking backpack. The included metal carabiner, webbing loops, and reflective handle complete the menu of outdoor features.
In the back, this backpack sports a durable system of straps. The shoulder straps are padded and length adjustable. The chest strap can accommodate a wide range of figures and is equipped with a buckle where an emergency whistle can be found. There is no waist belt or back ventilation system.
The Boulder Pack Co backpack weighs 11.2oz and folds into an 8 x 2 x 6” bag which complies with airline carry-on pouch rules. As a backpack, it measures 18” tall, 8.5” deep, and 11” wide.
When all is said and done, the best small hiking backpack is dependent on personal circumstances.
If you’re looking for a hiking backpack for use more in the city than outdoors, then the Zomake and the Venture Pal are your best options. The former is a 20L backpack that has multiple internal pockets, metal zippers, and the ability to fold into an internal pocket. The latter has a 25L capacity, decent water and tear resistance, and a handy laptop compartment.
If you want an intermediate solution, the Topnaca and HIKPRO are your best bets. The Topnaca is an 18L backpack with 2000mm water resistance rating. It is made of tear-resistant nylon and fits into a minute pouch. The HIKPRO has a double bottom, 14 bar tack reinforcements, and usable water resistance.
Finally, the Boulder Pack Co is a sturdy hiking backpack. With 28L of total volume, it is not overly small either. It also features a metal carabiner, adjustable chest strap, and an emergency whistle.