Hiking with your kids is a great way to explore the great outdoors. When you take your kids hiking, you introduce them to the wonder and beauty of the natural world.
Hiking is a beautiful learning experience for youngsters. They learn about different ecosystems, tracks and signs of animals, different types of plants, how to read a map, and so much more.
Hiking backpacks for kids need to be comfortable, lightweight and have enough room to carry all the essentials.
To help you find the best kids hiking backpack, we have put together a ranked and reviewed list of 5 hiking backpacks for kids that will make your next hike with the kids a breeze.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
What Are The Best Kids Hiking Backpacks?
Here is our ranked and reviewed list of the best kids hiking backpacks.
The 5 Best Kids Hiking Backpacks
- Best Overall Backpack For Kids – Deuter Fox 30
- Best Budget Backpack For Kids – REI Tarn 18
- Best Large Backpack For Kids – Osprey Ace 50 Youth
- Best Daypack Backpack for Kids – Deuter Junior
- Best Little Backpack For Kids – Deuter Kikki 8L
1) Best Overall Backpack For Kids – Deuter Fox 30
The Deuter Fox 30 is a great multi-use backpack to see your child through hikes, school days, and travel adventures. The pack’s VariQuick back length adjustment system ensures a comfortable and snug fit for any child and means the pack can grow with your child. The adjustable torso length harness makes it perfect for carrying heavier loads and longer hikes.
The Deuter Fox 30 also comes with a handy rain cover, which is clipped into place so it can be easily removed when not needed. It has plenty of pockets and compartments to organize your child’s belongings, and the mesh pockets are perfect for holding snacks or a water bottle.
The Deuter Fox 30 is made from durable, high-quality materials and comes in many fun, bright colors that kids will love.
- Weight: 2.68lb
- Back Length: 12″ – 15″
- Capacity: 30L
The fox 40 is the best overall hiking backpack for kids. With its variQuick back length adjustment system and comfortable harness, it will grow with your child. It’s also made from durable materials from a trusted brand.
2) Best Budget Backpack For Kids – REI Tarn 18
Designed for kids 8 – 12 years old, the REI Tarn 18 is the best budget backpack. It is made from recycled ripstop nylon with a durable water repellent finish. The backpack has a large main zippered compartment, a zippered front pocket, and a front stuff pocket that is great for storing a light jacket. Additionally, the backpack has side compression straps to stabilize the load and a sternum strap to keep the shoulder straps from sliding off small shoulders. The bag also has large side mesh pockets for water bottles to make it easy for kids to stay hydrated. Finally, the backpack is compatible and has a hydration sleeve.
- Weight: 1.06lb
- Capacity: 18L
The REI Tarn 18 is the best budget backpack for kids 8 – 12. It is made from recycled materials, has a durable water repellent finish, and includes features that make it easy for kids to stay organized and hydrated.
3) Best Large Backpack For Kids – Osprey Ace 50 Youth
The Osprey Ace 50 is a great large hiking backpack for kids with many features to help them on the trail. This pack will grow with your child with 5 inches of adjustable torso length and an extendable Fit-on-the-Fly hip belt. Additionally, it has a ventilated Airspeed suspension, zippered sleeping bag compartment, removable sleeping pad straps, an internal reservoir sleeve, and plenty of pockets. This full-featured hiking pack will suit your child well on any adventure. Plus, should the skies open up, an included rain cover ensures your gear will stay dry.
- Weight: 3.7lbs
- Capacity: 50L
Built with the same quality craftsmanship as their adult packs, the Osprey Ace 50 is great for kids. The 5 inches of torso adjustability will accommodate your child as they grow, and the extendable Fit-on-the-Fly hip-belt ensures a comfortable fit. This fully featured pack includes a zippered separate sleeping bag compartment and hydration sleeve for a backpacking trip.
4) Best Daypack Backpack for Kids – Deuter Junior
The Deuter Junior is the best kids daypack. It is perfect for younger kids aged 5 to 10 who are just getting into hiking and mountaineering. The backpack is designed with the Airstrip back system, which is comfortable and well ventilated. It also has an adjustable sternum belt, outer pockets, a zipped front pocket, and reflective name lettering. The Deuter Junior is made from 600D PES fabric and is PFC-free.
- Weight: 0.9lbs
- Capacity: 18L
- Back Length: 12.5″ – 17″
The Deuter Junior is the best kids daypack for younger kids aged 5 to 10 who are just getting into hiking and mountaineering. It is comfortable, well ventilated, and has plenty of storage space.
5) Best Little Backpack For Kids – Deuter Kikki 8L
If you have a little one who loves to hike, the Deuter Kikki 8L is the best hiking backpack. Your youngster will love taking this backpack on short hikes and walks. It has plenty of space for snacks and supplies and a wet laundry compartment for their wet clothes.
The pack comes in three colors – green, blue, and pink and the bear character design with light reflecting eyes is sure to delight. The best part is that this backpack is PFC-free and manufactured according to the bluesign standard – meaning it’s good for the environment and safe for your child.
- Weight: 0.66lb
- Capacity: 8L
The Deuter Kikki is excellent for your aspiring kindergartner hiker. With plenty of room for supplies and child-pleasing design, your youngster will be begging you to head out for a hike just so they can use their pack.
Hiking Backpack For Kids Buyers Guide
When choosing the best hiking backpack for your child, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.
The first thing to consider is how much space you’ll need. If you’re planning on day hikes or short overnight trips, a smaller backpack in the 20-30L range should suffice. However, if you’re planning longer trips or your child is carrying more gear, a larger pack in the 40-50L range may be necessary.
Choosing a backpack that will fit your child’s torso is also essential. Most companies provide a range of sizes based on torso length. For example, the Deuter Kikki is recommended for children with a torso length of 12.5″ – 17″.
You can measure your child’s torso by having them stand upright and measuring from the base of their neck to the top of their hip bones).
Another thing to consider is the weight of the backpack. A heavier pack will be more difficult for your child to carry, so you’ll want to make sure you choose a bag that’s not too heavy.
Hip Belt Padding
A comfortable padded hip belt is vital for any hiker. A padded hip belt will help distribute the backpack’s weight more evenly and make it easier for your child to carry.
Adjustable Hip Belt
An adjustable hip belt is also an excellent feature to look for. This will allow you to adjust the hip belt as your child grows, so they can use the same backpack for several years.
A chest strap will help distribute the backpack’s weight properly and make it more comfortable for your child to wear. They will also stop the shoulder straps from slipping off.
Padded shoulder straps are essential for comfort, but you’ll also want to make sure they are adjustable shoulder straps. This will allow you to adjust the backpack as your child grows and ensure a comfortable fit.
Sleeping Bag Compartment
If you’re planning on using the backpack for overnight trips, a sleeping bag compartment will come in handy. This will allow you to easily access your sleeping bag without digging through the entire pack.
A waterproof backpack is a good idea if you’re planning on hikes in areas with a chance of rain or snow. Look for a rain cover if the bag itself isn’t waterproof.
Pockets and Compartments
Pockets and compartments can help organize gear and keep track of smaller items. Front mesh pockets are an excellent place to store snacks, and side water bottle pockets make it easy to access things you need quickly.
How to Pack a Backpack
Now that you know what to look for in a hiking backpack for kids, it’s time to learn how to pack it. The key to packing a bag well is to put heavier items at the bottom. Things that need to be accessed easily can be stored in the top, side, or hip belt pockets.
What should kids carry hiking?
Kids should carry a few essential items on any hike, including water, snacks, a first-aid kit, a map, and a compass.
Can I use a hiking backpack for school?
Most hiking backpacks can be used for school, but specific school backpacks are also available.
What to put in a hiking backpack with kids?
In addition to the essentials, you may want to pack some extra items when hiking with kids, such as sunscreen, insect repellent, a change of clothes, and a jacket.
How much weight can a child carry backpacking?
Most experts agree children should carry no more than 10% – 20% of their body weight when backpacking.
The best hiking backpacks for kids will depend on their individual needs. However, all the bags on this list would make an excellent choice for any child who loves to hike. So, whether you’re looking for a large pack for extended trips or a small pack for day hikes, one of these backpacks is sure to be just what you’re looking for.
See you on the trail!