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13 Best Hiking and Camping Backpacks for Kids and Youth

Going on hikes and scouting adventures can be super fun for kids and teens. The only hitch is that finding top-notch backpacks made just for them isn’t as easy as it is for adults.

Kid-friendly backpacks are a bit different. They are specially designed with smaller and adjustable straps and narrower hip belts. This means the backpack fits them well and can grow with them as they age – saving you from buying a new one every year.

Recommended read: Best Hiking Baby Carriers For Kids

Now, to make your backpack shopping easier, we’ve rounded up and reviewed the best backpacks for different age groups, ranging from 15 to 52 liters in size. And guess what? They’re not just backpacks but adventure companions loaded with cool features.

Here are our top 13 best hiking and camping backpacks for kids and youth:

Osprey Kids Backpack Jet 18L One Size

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Osprey Jet 18L Kids' Hiking Backpack
Osprey Jet 18L Kids' Hiking Backpack, Wave Blue, One Size

Discover the Jet 18 pack—an adventure-ready companion in a compact design. I’ve taken it on the trail, and let me tell you, it’s all about simplicity and comfort in a small, powerful package.

When you hit the trail, you need easy access, and the Jet 18 delivers with its bucket-style opening and clever pocket layout for your snacks. It’s got your back with daisy chain attachment points and even space for a reservoir if you’re thirsty for more adventure.

Plus, it’s compatible with the Osprey Hydraulics LT 1.5L reservoir (available separately), adding that extra convenience layer.

Comfort is not compromised here. The design ensures you stay ventilated and comfy on the move, while the open mesh over bump EVA foam guarantees breathability.

The harness is smooth, seamless, and lined with fleece, hugging you comfortably. With adjustable sternum straps and air mesh wrap hip belt wings, your journey will be stable.

Pros:

  • Effortless access to your essentials
  • Hydration-friendly
  • Youthful design for young adventurers

Cons:

  • The drawstring lock can be difficult for a child to operate.

Also read our reviews for Osprey Men’s Hiking Backpacks:

Osprey Stratos 36 backpack review

Osprey Kestrel 38 backpack review

Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack review

Deuter Pico Backpack – Kid’s

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Deuter Pico Backpack - Kid's
Deuter Pico Backpack - Kid's

For two-year-olds or older and heading to nursery with their favorite stuff, the Deuter Pico Backpack is a perfect companion. Check out these cool features:

First, carrying stuff securely with this backpack is a breeze, thanks to the adjustable sternum belts and two stretchy side pockets. You can keep all your treasures safe and organized.

Regarding comfort, the S-shaped shoulder straps provide a cozy fit, wrapping around your shoulders with a soft-edge finish. Plus, thanks to the Contact Back System, the padded back panel ensures a comfy journey.

In terms of safety, this youth backpack features reflective name lettering, making you visible and safe, especially during twilight adventures.

And it’s not just great for you; it’s great for the planet, too. Made from 100% recycled PET material, this backpack is eco-friendly, safe, PFAS-free and carbon-neutral.

Pros:

  • Secure storage for organized carrying
  • Comfortable to wear with an eco-friendly design
  • Reflective name lettering to ensure visibility

Cons:

  • The elastic side pockets are too small for standard toddler water bottles

Kelty Kids Hiking Backpack 

Kelty Hiking Daypack
Kelty Hiking Daypack, Winter Moss/Dill, 55L

The Kelty Kids Hiking Backpack is a backpack that lives up to its legendary namesake – Dick Asher, the founder of Kelty. This youth backpack is a true trail companion, and here’s why.

Imagine getting top-notch youth backpacking features without breaking the bank – that’s what the Asher Pack delivers. It’s like having the best of both worlds – a budget-friendly price tag with expert-level specs.

The all-new Asher features Fit Pro technology, allowing you to tailor the torso fit on the go. Adjusting the Fit Pro is a breeze whether you’re shedding layers or passing off your pack. 

The Amp Flow ventilated back panel keeps you cool and dry during those long, wild adventures. The external frame with an aluminum stay ensures your load stays secure and balanced, making your hike stable and oh-so-comfortable.

Plus, an upgraded harness package means more comfort, making this kids hiking backpack a no-brainer for hiking escapades. It offers expert-level youth backpacking pack specs at an entry-level price, giving you top-notch features and making it an affordable backpacking backpack for kids. 

Pros:

  • Customized comfort
  • Ventilated and cool
  • Stable and balanced

Cons:

  • Shoulder straps could be sturdier

Gregory Mountain Products Wander 50 Liter Youth Backpacking Pack

Gregory Mountain Products Wander 50 Liter Kid's Overnight Hiking Backpack, Fiery Red, one size
Gregory Mountain Products Wander 50 Liter Kid's Overnight Hiking Backpack

Experience the perfect blend of flexibility and comfort outdoors with the Gregory Mountain Wander 50 L youth backpacking pack – a backpack that adapts to your growth.

The VersaFit adjustable suspension system, offering 4 inches of personalized adjustment, is designed to fit growing hikers seamlessly.

With the Front U-Zip Access, accessing your belongings becomes a simple task. No more digging through your backpack – you can easily reach and retrieve what you need, making your camping experience more efficient and enjoyable.

But comfort doesn’t end there. Imagine a backpack that not only carries your essentials but also keeps you feeling fresh. The 3D Foam back panel goes beyond just cushioning. It creates ample space for air to circulate, effectively cooling your back even in warmer conditions.

To top it off, this backpack is engineered to keep your load light. Weighing just 3.439176 pounds, it’s perfect for ease of travel. You can confidently carry your essentials without feeling weighed down, making outdoors a delightful and stress-free experience.

Pros:

  • Customizable fit
  • Breathable comfort
  • Effortless access

Cons:

  • A bit heavier for individuals looking for ultra-light options

If you’d like to pair it with an adult backpack for yourself there is a 70L large backpack available as well!

Deuter Fox 40 – Backpacking Backpack

Deuter Unisex Kid's Fox 40, Paprika Mandarine, 40L
Deuter Fox 40 - Paprika Mandarine 40L

Next up on our list of backpacks for kids is the Deuter Fox 40 backpacking backpack in a vibrant Paprika Mandarine color with a generous 40-liter capacity.

First off, let’s talk comfort. The Deuter Fox 40 boasts an Alpine back system, ensuring your back stays happy even on long hikes.

And the Vari Quick back adjustment? It’s a game-changer, letting you tailor the fit for maximum comfort. Need to carry your ice axe or hiking poles? No problem! This youth backpack has nifty attachments for both.

And those sides below pockets? Perfect for stashing snacks or a water bottle within arm’s reach. Plus, the side compression straps keep everything secure and compact.

Pros:

  • Comfortable fit
  • Versatile attachments
  • Ample capacity

Cons:

  • Limited color options

Oliomp-35L Waterproof Foldable Youth Hiking Backpack

Oliomp-35L Packable Lightweight Backpack
Packable Lightweight Hiking Backpack, Oliomp-35L Waterproof Foldable Travel Backpack Suitable for men and women camping outdoor hiking and cycling (Deep blue)

Check out the Oliomp-35L Waterproof Foldable Backpack. The outside is top-notch nylon, tough enough to resist water, tears, and wear. The shoulder straps are adjustable and breathable, promising comfort, and the heavy-duty metal zipper won’t let you down.

Now, here’s the fun part – this youth backpack is practical and easily foldable! In just a few minutes, transform it into a compact bag, ideal for storing your essentials like your phone, earphones, power bank, and more. Plus, it will only hog a little space when folded.

And guess what? This kids travel backpack can hold a whopping 35L! That’s plenty of room for your gear, including gadgets, clothes, and daily necessities. Organize it all with the main pocket, external zippered compartments, and mesh pockets for your water bottle or umbrella.

Pros:

  • Waterproof and durable
  • Convenient and foldable
  • Spacious capacity

Cons:

  • Not suitable for kids under 12

Deuter Climber Children’s Hiking Daypack 

Oliomp-35L Packable Lightweight Backpack
Packable Lightweight Hiking Backpack, Oliomp-35L Waterproof Foldable Travel Backpack Suitable for men and women camping outdoor hiking and cycling (Deep blue)

Introducing the Deuter Climber Children’s Hiking Daypack – your young adventurer’s perfect companion for alpine play!

If your child is six years or older and loves exploring the mountains, this backpack is designed for them.

The Deuter Climber backpack offers a snug fit and maximum mobility, ensuring your child can easily take on alpine terrains. Thanks to the adjustable sternum belt, it stays securely on their shoulders, providing carrying comfort.

With Alpine System technology, this youth backpack flexibly adapts to every move your child makes, allowing them to move freely. The Softstripe back pads offer excellent ventilation and comfort during their adventures.

It’s equipped with an elasticated compartment for wet clothes, compatibility with a 2.0-liter drinking system, a lid compartment for important items, and an inner compartment for valuables. Your child can pack everything they need for a day of adventure.

Moreover, the Climber backpack has an SOS label with crucial instructions on what to do in an emergency. Your child’s safety is a top priority.

Pros:

  • Secure fit ideal for adventurous play and hikes
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Comfortable and flexible for young hikers

Cons:

  • Limited advanced features

Osprey Kids Backpack Unisex-Youth Ace Multi

Osprey Ace Backpack, Multi, O/S
Osprey Ace Backpack, Multi, O/S

The Osprey Kids Backpack Unisex-Youth Ace Kids Hiking Backpack is a reliable companion, just like a premium adult pack, but tailored for the upcoming environmental enthusiasts.

The Ace 75 Osprey kids backpack is all about flexibility, with up to 5 inches of adjustable torso length and a hip belt that grows with you, thanks to Fit-on-the-Fly innovation.

Feel the breeze with the ventilated Airspeed suspension, ensuring a comfy and breathable journey by keeping the pack’s weight off your back.

And when the weather surprises you, the removable rain cover safeguards your precious gear on your outdoor escapades.

Pros:

  • Adjustable features ensure a perfect fit
  • Comfortable ventilation for a breathable and cozy carry
  • High-quality construction for long-lasting use

Cons:

  • The backpack’s stability tends to decrease when not fully loaded.

CamelBak Scout Kids Backpacking Pack with Reservoir

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CamelBak Scout Kid's Hike Hydration Backpack with Reservoir
CamelBak Scout Kid's Hike Hydration Backpack with Reservoir, 50 oz

Introducing the CamelBak Scout Kid’s Hike Hydration Backpack! The Crux reservoir provides 20% more water with every sip, and you can now say goodbye to inconvenient refilling as the ergonomic handle makes it a breeze- the on/off lever ensures no leaks.

Ever experienced that uncomfortable, sweaty back during a hike? Not with this backpack. The breathable air mesh back panel keeps you cool and comfy throughout your adventure.

Safety is a priority, too. Reflective accents enhance your visibility in low-light settings, ensuring you’re seen and safe. For added safety, there’s a whistle right on the sternum strap.

And here’s a cool touch: the transparent external pocket lets you personalize your pack, showcasing your style on the trail! This backpack is the perfect companion for young hikers.

Pros:

  • Comfortable to wear even during long hikes.
  • Efficient hydration
  • Easy and leak-proof for a hassle-free experience

Cons:

  • Hose fitting issue

Gregory Mountain Products Icarus Kids Backpacking Pack

Gregory Mountain Products Icarus 30 Liter Kid's Hiking Backpack
Gregory Mountain Products Icarus 30 Liter Kid's Hiking Backpack

Let me tell you about the fantastic Gregory Mountain Products Icarus 30 Liter Kid’s Hiking Backpack. First, the VersaFit adjustable suspension is a game-changer, allowing you to customize the fit with a 4-inch adjustment range.

Say goodbye to uncomfortable kids hiking backpacks – this one fits just right! The back panel is perforated and breathable, keeping you cool and comfy during your hikes.

One of the features I appreciate is the bottom access. This kids travel backpack has a dedicated bottom zipper that lets you easily grab your sleeping bag or extra layers without rummaging through everything else. It’s a time-saver and keeps things organized.

Coming down to safety, this kids travel backpack has you covered. The sternum strap comes with an integrated safety whistle, giving you peace of mind and an added layer of security during your adventures.

Pros:

  • Customized Comfort: tailor the fit to your liking
  • Easy access and essential safety features
  • Breathable back panel to keep your back cool and comfortable

Cons:

  • Structural flaws

IVYGREEN Children Hiking/Kids Backpacking Pack 

IVYGREEN Little Kids Hiking Backpack
IVYGREEN Little Kids Hiking Backpack, Toddler Backpack for Boys or Girls, Ideal for a Day Outdoor Adventures

The IVYGREEN Little Kids Hiking Backpack is a perfect companion for your young explorers, and here’s why. First, this youth backpacking pack is crafted from water-resistant polyester fabric, ensuring both lightweight and sturdy for your kiddos’ adventures.

Designed with kids aged 3 to 8 in mind, it’s just the right size for their outdoor escapades. And it’s not just for the little ones; even adults who need a compact pack will find it handy.

The padded shoulder straps and a chest strap provide comfy support for the back, making it an ideal fit for day hikes, camping, theme park visits, zoo trips, road trips, and more.

Plus, inside, there’s plenty of room to pack a change of clothes, hat, water bottle, snacks, and anything else they might need during the day’s adventure.

Safety is a priority here! With a toy whistle on the chest strap and reflective strips on the front pocket and shoulder straps, you’ll have peace of mind as your kids explore the world. And the best part? You can choose the size that suits your little one’s needs.

Pros:

  • Kid-friendly design
  • Comfortable and supportive
  • Ample storage and safety features

Cons:

  • Not the most durable

SKYSPER 10L Toddler Hiking/Kids Backpacking Pack 

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SKYSPER Small Kids Backpack
SKYSPER Small Kids Backpack 10L Toddler Hiking Backpack Travel Daypack for Preschool and Kindergarten

For adventure-seeking parents, the SKYSPER Small Kids Backpack is a must-have for your little explorers. Picture this: a backpack with a capacity of 10L, perfect for daily adventures. It easily fits lunch boxes, books, toys, water bottles, and more.

The three spacious pockets make organizing a breeze, and the two side Velcro pockets are perfect for those little snacks.

Now, let’s talk comfort. Those adjustable, thickened shoulder straps and soft padding? They offer unmatched support and coziness, even during those action-packed days, whereas the cherry on top is a chest strap that keeps everything in place, ensuring a comfy fit for your little one.

Safety-wise, the reflective strips on this kids travel backpack keep your child visible in low light, and the chest whistle buckle gives them a quick way to reach out when needed.

Made from tough 600D polyester, it’s durable and water-resistant, perfect for outdoor escapades. Zipping it up is a breeze for the little hands, thanks to the smooth SBS zippers.

Pros:

  • Ample storage
  • Excellent support and comfort
  • Durable and water-resistant

Cons:

  • Limited capacity for school use

Deuter Kids Backpack Fox 30 – Kids 

No products found.

Let’s discuss the awesome Deuter Fox 30 Backpack designed for kids like you. Imagine a backpack that’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ deal. Nope, this one’s specially crafted for young adventurers.

This Deuter kids backpack is like the big backpack, but it’s been tweaked and fine-tuned for kids and teens like you. It’s like having a backpack that’s tailor-made for your adventure-filled journeys.

Getting into the cool features, the Fox youth hiking backpack grows with you, thanks to the Vari-Quick back-length system. So, as you grow taller, your backpack can keep up for even more adventures! It’s also super easy to use, with a handy zipper closure, ensuring your stuff is secure.

The Alpine back system and Vari Quick back adjustment ensure a comfy fit, no matter where your adventure takes you. Plus, neat attachments for your ice axe and hiking poles make you feel like a real explorer.

Need quick access to your snacks or gear? The side bellow pockets are perfect for that. And those side compression straps? They keep everything snug and compact, making your trek a breeze.

Pros:

  • Tailored for kids
  • Convenient access and storage
  • High functionality for your explorations

Cons:

  • Limited space due to frame

Best Hiking And Camping Backpacks For Kids And Youth: Buying Guide

Here’s what you should consider when shopping for the best kids hiking backpacks for kids and youth:

Size

Don’t go for a backpack that’s too big. It’s easy to pack too much, but on the flip side, a mostly empty youth hiking backpack can be annoying as things bounce around. For young backpackers, a 40 to 50-liter backpack is just right for a weekend trip, holding their stuff and some shared gear.

Adjustable Torso Length

The idea is to find a youth backpacking pack that can adjust to your body size. A cool feature is being able to adjust it while wearing it. This saves you from endless trial and error. Finding the right spot for the waist belt takes a little testing, too.

Hip Belt Comfort

Kids have less padding around their waist. This means the hip belt must sit slightly higher and be nicely padded to avoid discomfort. It should fit comfortably but have room to tighten when needed.

Shoulder Straps

Check where the shoulder straps land. They should be just right, not too wide or narrow. The point is to make the backpack comfortably rest on your shoulders, preventing fatigue.

Packing Tricks

When packing, be smart! Don’t hang heavy stuff at the bottom; it messes up your balance. Move the heavy items up top or inside so the weight goes to your hips and legs instead.

While a super light youth hiking backpack sounds awesome, most aren’t adjustable enough for growing kids. They might not last more than a year due to growth spurts. So, keep that in mind.

FAQs

What size of backpack is suitable for a child’s hiking trip?

A backpack with a volume of less than 25 liters is ideal for day trips, providing enough space for water, snacks, and a light jacket.

For two to three-day trips, a youth hiking backpack with a volume of 25 to 40 liters can hold extra clothing and camping gear.

Trips lasting more than three days would benefit from a backpack with a volume of over 40 liters to accommodate additional supplies and equipment.

How can I determine the appropriate torso length for a child’s backpack?

To find the appropriate torso length for a child’s backpack, measure their back length and choose a kid’s travel backpack with an adjustable harness to match this length. 

How can I prevent discomfort for a child while wearing a backpack during a hike?

To prevent discomfort, ensure the hip belt is positioned comfortably around the hips and adequately padded to distribute the weight effectively.

Adjust the shoulder straps to fit snugly without digging into the shoulders, providing a comfortable, secure fit.

Are there specialized kids hiking backpacks for lightweight hiking?

There are specialized ultralight kids’ hiking backpacks designed with lightweight materials to suit the needs of young hikers.

These kids’ hiking backpacks prioritize weight reduction without compromising essential features, allowing kids to carry their gear comfortably and efficiently.

Also read: Top lightweight hiking boots for youth

Conclusion

Embarking on hiking and camping adventures is a thrill for kids and teens. While finding the perfect youth backpack isn’t always simple, the key is to ensure a snug fit that grows with them. 

Our list covers a range of options to suit every young adventurer. From the Osprey Kids Backpack Jet 18 for simplicity and comfort to the Deuter Pico Backpack, perfect for little explorers, and the Gregory Mountain Wander 50, which offers flexibility, this guide will help ensure each adventure is comfortable, exciting, and memorable. Happy hiking and camping!

Last update on 2024-02-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API