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Best Kids Hiking Backpack [2023 Buying Guide]

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The best kids hiking backpack should be both comfortable and durable, as it will be carrying your little one’s essentials. In this hiking resources guide, we’ll list down our top picks on the market.

Having the right bag helps ensure that your children are comfortable while they’re out on their hike, which makes them more likely to enjoy themselves and want to go back out again.

Best Kids Hiking Backpack
Best Kids Hiking Backpack

Kids grow up so fast. One day they’re this tiny little nugget and the next they’re ready to explore the outdoors and set out on their first hiking adventure.

When your kids are ready to get out of the hiking backpack and get their own, be sure to get one of these best kids hiking backpacks.

What To Look For When Choosing A Kids Hiking Backpack?

Here are a few of the most important things to consider when searching for the best hiking backpack for kids.


The distance and difficulty by which your family can hike will depend on the age and ability of your kids to do such activity. For starters, a small day pack will do, which is enough to carry water, some snacks, or a few little items that they want to bring along.

The capacity or volume of the backpack we choose tends to increase as the child ages, big enough but still comfortable for them to wear. 


For younger kids who are just starting to hike, it’s okay to go for backpacks that are more budget-friendly but make sure it’s comfortable to wear for the kids, something lightweight yet sturdy enough to keep up with their energy.

For older kids who have more hiking experience, this is the time to start investing in bags that are pricier that can offer greater functionality and durability while hiking. 


To avoid replacing and buying new backpacks for your growing kids, you should choose a hiking backpack that has features such as adjustable straps, so you can always adjust these bags to get the ideal fit for your kids.


It’s important to keep it lightweight, kids have tiny frames that can only take so much. Take into account the weight of the backpacks when empty and how heavy it will get when you finally stuff them with things. Heavier backpacks can take a toll on their bodies and can affect their moods as well. 


Hydration Reservoir Compatibility– Keeping hydrated during outdoor activities is one of the most important things to remember. It’s better to get a kids backpack that has a space for a hydration pack, you won’t have a hard time looking for this feature as this is a common feature for most hiking backpacks which you can also find in our list.

Sternum Strap- This strap holds the shoulder straps in place and prevents them from sliding off your kids’ shoulders. 

Padded Shoulder Straps-  This serves as an added support for your child while carrying the backpacks. It also makes the bag more comfortable to wear because of the cushioning function that the padded shoulder straps provide.

Waist belt– A waist belt feature helps in distributing the weight of the backpacks, they can carry it with much ease.

Compression Straps- These straps help in tightening the backpack’s load thus keeping the things inside more secure and balanced for your child to carry.

Pockets- Instead of stuffing everything inside the bag, these pockets help in holding little items that your kid would need.

Your kids should like it

After all the research that you did to pick out the best hiking backpacks for your kids, there’s one important thing to consider that can make or break your decision.

Make sure that your kids like it and would want to actually wear it. It’s pointless to get high-end and pricey hiking backpacks for your kids if they don’t want to use them.

One thing you can do is pick out your top backpack choices and from there, let your child decide which one they like the best.

best hiking backpacks for kids
Best Kids Hiking Backpack

Choosing the right hiking backpacks for your kids is important because a backpack that is not suited for their ages and body can definitely harm their bodies and create a negative attitude towards hiking in the long run.

Best Kids Hiking Backpack

Taking your kids on a hiking adventure can be a great way to bond as a family and explore the outdoors. But in order for it to be enjoyable, you need the right equipment – and that includes having the best kids’ hiking backpack available.

How Much Weight Can Kids Carry?

When it comes to hiking backpacks for kids, weight is always going to be a concern. A lot of experts suggest that the ideal weight that a kid should carry is between 10% to 20% of their body weight, but this suggestion usually pertains to kids and their school backpacks.

Hiking is a totally different environment where kids can face challenging terrains while traveling for long hours under the sun. Heavy backpacks can lead to injury and can dampen the mood of the kids along the way.

Ages 2-4

Pack weight: less than 5% of the bodyweight

In this age group, you should keep everything to a minimum. You can let them wear an empty backpack or put tiny little things inside, this can serve as an early training ground for them.

Ages 4-7

Pack weight: 5% of body weight

Kids this age cannot carry a backpack for a longer period of time, it can tire them easily. A pack that is 5% of their body weight(around 2-4lbs) is just enough to keep them going.

Ages 8-10 

Pack weight: 5%-10% of body weight

Kids would have some experience in hiking by this age and can carry slightly heavier packs. But make sure to check every now and then to know if the weight has some effect on the posture of the child.

Ages 10+

Pack Weight: 10%-15% of body weight

Growth spurts happen in this age group and by this time they should be able to carry a heavier load for longer periods. Since this is a critical stage in the kids’ development and growth, it’s important to check them and their overall posture every so often during the hike. 

Fun & Cool Hiking Clothes

Related Hiking Resources


Are you struggling with wet clothes while hiking and unsure of how to dry them? Check out our expert tips on How To Dry Clothes When Hiking.

Are you interested in taking your babies or toddlers along for a hike? It’s possible with the right equipment! Make sure to find the best hiking carriers for babies and toddlers to help you along the way.

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