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5 Best Lightweight Hiking Backpacks For Travel: Carry-On Sized Adventure On A Budget

***This post may contain affiliate links.***

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have the freedom to be up for any adventure on your travels, be it a walking tour or a full-on mountain trek? After all, you never know what opportunities and adventures may come your way on the road.

The awesome thing about travel is that the more you do it, the more cool things you find out about that you never even knew existed before arriving at your destination. While you might be prepared for anything, your gear might not. Don’t let your luggage hold you back from having epic outdoor adventures on your travels.

Finding the best lightweight hiking backpack for your travels will free you to do anything that comes your way as you travel. Leave room for adventure on your next vacation by ditching the bulky backpacks and rolling luggage and opting for a lightweight hiking backpack instead.

What Is A Lightweight Backpack?

A lightweight backpack is typically defined as a backpack that weighs in at 3lbs (1.5 kg) or less.

What Makes A Good Lightweight Hiking Backpack?

The perfect hiking backpack, in a nutshell, is one that’s made out of, lightweight, durable material with a top loading design, water bottle pockets on the outside, and chest and hip belts to help better support the weight of the backpack while walking.

Why Should You Travel With A Lightweight Hiking Backpack

If you enjoy hiking and participating in other outdoor activities on your travels you should absolutely be traveling with a hiking backpack, whether it’s your sole form of luggage or a foldable backpack you take with you just in case. Traveling with a hiking backpack is the easiest way to enable you to go on any epic outdoor adventure you find out about on your travels.

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What To Look For In A Hiking Backpack

Weight

Simply put, the heavier your backpack is the more weight you have to carry on your back. Also, the heavier your backpack is the hotter it is to wear. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a backpack that’s light in weight and made out of high quality, breathable material.

Volume

In terms of use, volume refers to how much stuff you can fit in the backpack. The larger the volume, the bigger the space inside the bag to fill with things. If you’re looking for a carry-on sized backpack I would buy a backpack that’s less than 50 liters. We use 40-liter hiking backpacks on all of our trips and it fits perfectly in the overhead compartments on a plane.

Durability

There’s a fine line between lightweight and cheap quality. Don’t cross it. Durability is 100% worth a bit extra cost as the last thing you want is your straps ripping off, or getting a hole in your bag mid-trip.

On the contrary, lots of backpacks are super durable but made out of incredibly thick heavy material. No good. Look for that happy middle ground area of lightweight and durable without being insanely expensive.

Material

The quality of material your backpack is made out of is crucial in order for a lightweight backpack to last. A rip-stop nylon or polyester is a good choice for a budget-friendly backpack material. A more expensive pack should be made out of silnylon or cuben fiber.

Cost

Hiking backpacks, like all outdoor gear, can cost a pretty penny. But they don’t have to. It’s all about finding that perfect balance between cost and quality. Quality often increases up to a certain point, and then even minimal increases in quality cause a big jump in price. There are lots of good quality lightweight hiking backpacks on the market for less than $150 US dollars.

Quick Picks

Best Budget Lightweight Hiking Backpack For Travel

Modase Large 40 L Lightweight Water Resistant Backpack

Best Quality Lightweight Hiking Backpack For Travel

Osprey Packs Kestrel 38 Backpack

The Best Lightweight Hiking Backpacks For Travel

1. Modase Large 40 L Lightweight Water Resistant Backpack

The Modase Large 40 L Lightweight Backpack is one of the best budget lightweight backpacks on the market. Coming in at under $25 this backpack offers an incredible amount of value for the price.

The Modase backpack is made out of tear and water resistant nylon, has breathable mesh shoulder straps that are incredibly comfortable, large mesh water bottle pockets, is top loading with a drawstring lock (meaning you can overstuff the bag if need be), has a top pocket for holding small items, and has both a chest strap and a hip belt with zipper pockets.

At 40 liters this bag is large enough to hold enough stuff for up to 1 month of travel, yet small enough to fit as a carry-on item on an airplane. It can also fold down into a small pocket, making it easy to toss in your luggage or larger backpack if you don’t want to use it as your main form of storage.

And the best part is that all of this awesomeness weighs in at just 1 lb. or 0.5 kg.

Cons

No back support.

Click here to check the latest price on Amazon.

2. Coreal 50 L Hiking Backpack

The Coreal 50 L Hiking Backpack is another great bag that offers incredible value for your money. Coming in at just $43 US dollars, this Coreal backpack is an awesome bag for adventure travelers on a budget.

The Coreal hiking backpack is made out of tear and water resistant nylon, has breathable mesh shoulder straps and back panel that are incredibly comfortable, water bottle pockets, is top loading with a drawstring lock and an extension collar (allowing you to stuff even more things into the bag), has a top pocket for holding small items, and has both a chest strap and a hip belt with zipper pockets.

At 50 liters this bag is large enough to hold enough stuff for months of travel (if you pack light), yet small enough to fit as a carry-on item on an airplane.

The Coreal 50 L Hiking Backpack weighs in at 2.1 lbs (1 kg).

Cons

Literally nothing.

Click here to check the latest price on Amazon.

3. Osprey Packs Kestrel 38 Backpack

The Osprey Packs Kestrel 38 Backpack is a once in a lifetime purchase. How can a backpack be a once in a lifetime purchase you ask? Because of Osprey’s insanely awesome All Mighty Guarantee. Osprey guarantees to repair or replace your bag for any reason completely free of charge, no matter how long ago you bought it.

Coming in at $120 US dollars, this Osprey bag is significantly more expensive than the other bags on this list, but I think the fact that it’s a forever item and you’ll never have to buy another backpack of this size again makes it worth it, even for those of us on a budget.

The Osprey Kestrel backpack is made out of ripstop nylon, has breathable mesh shoulder straps, a light wire frame, side water bottle pockets, a stretch front pocket, is top loading with a drawstring lock, has a top pocket for holding small items, and has both a chest strap and a hip belt with zipper pockets, an external hydration sleeve to prevent a water bag from leaking inside your bag, and an included rain cover to make sure none of your stuff gets wet when you’re out and about in the rain.

This Osprey bag is designed to carry 30-40 lbs (13-18 kg) worth of stuff, making it large enough to carry enough stuff for over 1 month of travel as well as being small enough to fil as a carry-on on the airplane.

The Osprey Packs Kestrel 38 weighs in at 3.1 lbs (1.5 kg).

Cons

Price. At $120 this bag is definitely an investment, but keep in mind that with the All Mighty Guarantee it’s a definitely a forever item that will never have to be replaced.

Click here to check the latest price on Amazon.

4. G4Free Large 40 L Lightweight Water Resistant Travel Backpack

The G4Free Large 40 L Backpack is a great choice for those on a limited budget. Coming in at only $19 US dollars, this pack will allow for all sorts of adventures on your travels without putting a dent in your budget.

The G4Free Travel Backpack is made out of tear and water resistant nylon, has breathable mesh shoulder straps, side water bottle pockets, is top loading with a drawstring lock and an extension collar (allowing you to stuff even more things into the bag), has a top pocket for holding small items, and has a chest strap.

At 40 liters this bag is large enough to hold enough stuff for up to 1 month of travel, yet small enough to fit as a carry-on item on an airplane. It can also fold down into a small pocket, making it easy to toss in your luggage or larger backpack if you don’t want to use it as your main form of storage.

The G4Free 40 L Travel Backpack weighs in at less than 1 lb (less than 0.5 kg).

Cons

No hip belt and no back support.

Click here to check the latest price on Amazon.

5. Neekfox Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack 35 L

The Neekfox Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack is a great lightweight backpack for budget travelers. Coming in at $20 US dollars, this 35-liter bag is great for shorter trips or as a weekend hiking bag.

The Neekfox Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack is made out of thickened nylon fabric, has breathable mesh shoulder straps, side water bottle pockets, a zipper opening, two front pockets for extra storage space, and a chest strap.

At 35 liters this backpack is big enough to hold enough stuff for a week long trip and is more than small enough to fit in an overhead compartment on an airplane. It can also fold down into a small pocket, making it easy to toss in your luggage or larger backpack if you don’t want to use it as your main form of storage.

The Neekfox Lightweight Travel Backpack weighs in at around 1 lb (0.5 kg).

Cons

No hip belt, no back support, and a zipper opening (meaning there’s a breaking point, a way for water to more easily get in, and that you can’t stuff as much into the bag).

Click here to check the latest prices on Amazon.

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Best Lightweight Hiking Backpacks for Travel | Best Travel Backpacks | Best Hiking Backpacks | Best Carry On Sized Backpacks for Travel | Best Lightweight Travel Backpacks | Best Lightweight Travel Gear | Best Ultralight Travel Backpacks | Best Travel Gear

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Comments

  1. It’s true that if you get the wrong travel bag it certainly will make your journey difficult and weight is a key factor because you don’t what to have it heavy before you even start using it.

  2. I used the Osprey Kestrel for years and I have to agree it’s a great pack. It’s certainly not perfect, but it hits the right balance between all the features that you need at a decent price. Sure, there are more expensive packs (especially with all the kick starter bags that have hit the scene) but those seem more geared for people who want a backpack but will never come anywhere near an outdoor trail or hike. Love my Osprey!
    Megan recently posted…What Do I Need For Beach Vacation With My Family?My Profile

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