ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST HIKING BACKPACKS FOR KIDSCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST HIKING BACKPACKS FOR KIDSKIDS BACKPACKS REVIEWSDEUTER FOX 30OSPREY ACE 38OSPREY HYDRAJETDEUTER FOX 40REI CO-OP TARN 18GREGORY WANDERREI CO-OP TARN 65THE NORTH FACE TERRANORTH FACE YOUTH RECONHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HIKING BACKPACKS FOR KIDSSIZE AND CAPACITYFITWEIGHTPOCKETSHYDRATION SYSTEM Giving a kid a hiking backpack is like giving them a room of their own. It’s an exciting introduction to a larger life, but one that comes with responsibilities — a budding hiker’s first lesson in the ethos of the trail. Luckily, the best hiking backpacks for kids are variously adjustable. A quality backpack will be useful for several years even if your child grows like a weed during the off-season. It’s a big first purchase and one that will have a lasting influence on your own hiking experiences. So how do you know what to look for? The Adventure Junkies will help you choose the perfect pack for any occasion, whether it’s a Saturday morning hike with mom and dad or two nights in the forest with a scouting troop. For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Tents | Hammocks | Bivy Sacks | Tarps Sleeping Bags | Sleeping Pads | Stoves Backpacks | GPS | Headlamps | Poles| Watches Boots | Shoes | Sandals | Pants | Shorts Base Layers | Fleeces | Down Jackets | Rain Jackets QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST HIKING BACKPACKS FOR KIDS 1. DEUTER FOX 30 VIEW AT REI 2. OSPREY ACE 38 VIEW AT REI 3. OSPREY HYDRAJET VIEW AT BACKCOUNTRY 4. DEUTER FOX 40 VIEW AT REI 5. REI CO-OP TARN 18 CHECK ON REI 6. GREGORY WANDER VIEW AT REI 7. REI CO-OP TARN 65 VIEW AT REI 8. THE NORTH FACE TERRA VIEW AT AMAZON 9. THE NORTH FACE YOUTH RECON VIEW AT BACKCOUNTRY COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST HIKING BACKPACKS FOR KIDS PICTUREHIKING BACKPACKS FOR KIDSBEST USEVOLUMEWEIGHTPRICERATING PICTUREHIKING BACKPACKS FOR KIDSBEST USEVOLUMEWEIGHTPRICERATING Deuter Fox 30Backpacking30L2 lbs$$4.5 Osprey Ace 38Backpacking38L2 lbs$$$5.0 Osprey HydrajetDayhiking50L12 oz$$5.0 Deuter Fox 40Overall40L2 lbs$$4.8 REI Co-op Tarn 18Overall18L17 oz$4.8 Gregory WanderBackpacking70L4 lbs $$$4.5 REI Co-op Tarn 65Backpacking65L4 lbs $$$4.8 The North Face TerraBackpacking55L4 lbs $$$4.5 The North Face Youth ReconBudget17L15 oz$4.5 MULTI-DAYHIKING PACKING LISTDon't forget important gear at home!Print out this free hiking packing list to prepare for your next adventure.Plus, you'll get exclusive content in our newsletter to help you make the most of your time on the trail!UNLOCK THIS LIST* You will get weekly emails with practical hiking advice that complement the information contained in the packing list. 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KIDS BACKPACKS REVIEWS DEUTER FOX 30 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: 1-2 day backpacking trips, ages 6-10 CAPACITY: 30L WEIGHT: 2 lbs, 7 oz PROS: Good size for smaller hikers, big pockets for easy access to snacks and gear, bottom compartment for sleeping bag CONS: Sleeve for water reservoir may be hard to access with full pack OSPREY ACE 38 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: 1-3 day backpacking trips, tweens and young teens CAPACITY: 50L WEIGHT: 2 lbs, 15 oz PROS: Big mesh side pockets, built-in rain cover, hydration sleeve CONS: No front-panel access to the inside OSPREY HYDRAJET Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Day hikes CAPACITY: 15L WEIGHT: 12.32 oz PROS: External hydration sleeve fits 50.7 fl. oz, easy to refill without spilling CONS: Expensive for a small pack DEUTER FOX 40 Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: 1-3 day backpacking trips, tweens and young teens CAPACITY: 40L WEIGHT: 2 lbs 14 oz PROS: Perfect size for young adventurers, easily adjustable, several big pockets for high-use items, hydration-system compatible CONS: Might be too tall for smaller kids in age-range REI CO-OP TARN 18 Check out the latest price on: REI BEST FOR: Day hikes, 8-12 years old CAPACITY: 18L WEIGHT: 17 ounces PROS: Nice size for all the stuff kids need for a day on the trails, includes padded hip belt with pockets CONS: Hydration-system compatible but doesn’t include built-in reservoir GREGORY WANDER Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Multi-day backpacking adventures, teenagers CAPACITY: 70L WEIGHT: 4 lbs, 3.2 oz PROS: Removable day pack also fits hydration reservoir, built-in rain cover, lots of outside pockets CONS: Size and weight limits use to bigger trips REI CO-OP TARN 65 Check out the latest price on: REI BEST FOR: Multi-day backpacking adventures, tweens and young teens CAPACITY: 65L WEIGHT: 4 lbs 5 oz PROS: Converts into day pack, big outside pocket, very breathable CONS: Might be too big for smaller kids in age range THE NORTH FACE TERRA Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: 1-3 day backpacking trips, tweens and young teens CAPACITY: 55L WEIGHT: 4 lbs, 1 oz PROS: Seven easily accessible pockets, built-in hydration sleeve CONS: Reservoir sleeve sold separately NORTH FACE YOUTH RECON Check out the latest price on: Amazon | Backcountry BEST FOR: Short day hikes, tweens and young teens CAPACITY: 17L WEIGHT: 14.5 oz PROS:Doubles as book bag when not on trail, mesh external pockets for water bottles CONS: Very basic, no hydration sleeve LEARN HOW TO CHOOSE HIKING GEAR FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTUREJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSEJOIN THE FREE HIKING GEAR COURSE HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HIKING BACKPACKS FOR KIDS SIZE AND CAPACITY First, consider the type of hiking your kid will be doing. Is it a day hike with the family at a national park or an overnight adventure with their class or club? For day hikes up to five miles, most tweens and young teens should carry a small pack with a capacity of between 10 and 18 liters. For trips lasting one to three nights, they’ll need a pack with an internal frame and a capacity between 40 and 70 liters. So that’s the pack, but what about the kid? What’s their size and capacity? First and foremost, you must know your child especially their limitations. While some kids will want to carry their own gear from an early age, others may find it too strenuous. You shouldn’t force a backpack on them when they’re just starting out; let them ask for one. Start slow, with a light load, and try not to overwork or overburden kids who are just beginning to love the trail and the outdoors. According to the Pacific Coast Trails Association, children as young as four can start carrying some of their own stuff especially water. By age six or seven, they can carry their own sleeping bag and other gear on an overnight hike. Remember, though, that it’s really more about the individual child rather than a hard-and-fast age range. No matter the length of the hike, your kid’s backpack should include water, food, extra clothing and other hiking essentials. The Wilderness Society also recommends packing in a variety of “kid-friendly” supplies, such as wet wipes, safety whistles, and even magnifying glasses for getting up close and personal with the flowers and bugs. FIT Many of the top gear companies design backpacks specifically for kids, with adjustable shoulder harnesses, suspension systems and hip belts that allow the pack to grow along with its young owner. To find the right fit, the most important things to know are the length of your child’s torso and the position and feel of the shoulder straps. Make sure to take the child with you when you’re shopping for a backpack, even if it ruins the surprise of a birthday or holiday gift. A hiking backpack must fit comfortably or else it becomes a burden rather than a beloved tool. And the only way to make sure is to try it on. WEIGHT For tweens and younger kids, try to keep backpacks as light as possible. Most of the larger backpacks designed for young hikers weigh about 2 – 2.5 lbs empty. For bigger tweens and teenagers up to about 16, look for multi-day backpacks that weigh about 4 – 4.5 lbs empty. Kids’ day packs should weigh under 1 lbs empty. POCKETS When you’re out on the trail and you’re feeling at one with your trusty backpack, the last thing you want to do is take it off and rummage around for your snacks or your camera. Kids especially may find the frequent taking off and putting on of a heavy backpack quite tiresome. This is exactly the kind of potentially tantrum-causing fatigue you want to avoid when you’re two miles in from the trailhead with another mile to go. A backpack with several large mesh and zip-up pockets within easy reach will save time, energy, and maybe even a few tears. HYDRATION SYSTEM Consider choosing a kids’ backpack with a built-in hydration system, or at least one with a pocket designed to hold a water reservoir. It’s easier and safer for kids to drink through a tube than to use multiple water bottles, which could fall out of their backpack or be left behind accidentally. HIKING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSHIKINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. FUNDAMENTALS 5. HIKING TRAILS 2. HIKING GEAR 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 3. HIKING CLOTHING 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 4. CAMPING 8. WOMEN'S HIKING 1. FUNDAMENTALS 2. HIKING GEAR 3. HIKING CLOTHING 4. CAMPING 5. HIKING TRAILS 6. HIKING WITH KIDS 7. HIKING WITH DOGS 8. WOMEN'S HIKING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.