Proper Backpacks are necessary for anyone who is planning to go on a backpacking trip. Backpacks, these days, have tons of different features that could make your trip much comfortable. But selecting a backpack with features that are right for you could get tricky. So I have made this post in which I will review 7 Best backpacking backpacks under $200 (for men and women) and give you a detailed guide about how to select the correct one for you.
1. The North Face Terra 65 Exploration Review
If you are not familiar with this brand, then let me tell you that The North Face is one of the most reputed sports brands in the world. In fact, most of the hikers and trekkers prefer The North Face Products because of its high quality.
The North Face Terra 65 Exploration is an ideal choice for every backpacker. It is spacious and is not overloaded with features. It’s hip belt has Zipper Pockets which I really adore in bags. The best feature of this bag is Adjustable Torso length. Not many bags have this feature making this one unique and extremely adjustable.
Waterproof is not listed as one of its features but it is extremely water-resistant. I have used this bag in rain and I would say it is almost waterproof. It is available in Blue and grey variant.
|Adjustable Torso length||Not completely waterproof|
|Zipper Pockets in Hip Belt||Could get a little uncomfortable|
If you are looking for something smaller than huge backpacks, then you can consider Scrambler 20 Outdry Backpack. The back has a capacity of just 30 liters, making it small and compact as compared to other backpacks.
The back is structured in a way that will distribute weight suitably and won’t stress your shoulders or back. It has Side Compression Straps which will keep the pack stable while hiking.
The best thing about Scrambler 30 is that it’s 100% waterproof which makes it an optimal choice for your monsoon backpacking trip.
|Small and Compact (30 liters)||Not recommended for Long Treks|
|Side Compression Straps||Little Pricy|
|Side Compression Straps|
|Distributes weight evenly|
3. MOUNTAINTOP Backpack 55L/65L – Review
Mountaintop is not as reputed as The North Face but its not local either. The brand is known for providing decent quality at a reasonable price. And this backpack stands well on Mountaintop’s moto.
The backpack is made of good quality material, has lots of features, and the price is kinda cheap for its worth. You are getting 55l/65l capacity backpacks for around $60-$70 plus they are of decent quality. If you are a beginner trekker you can conveniently cover 2-3 long treks with this bag. Plus it comes with a Rain Cover.
I would like to share my brother’s experience of using this bag. On his first long trek, he decided to go with this back. The bag as good as new at the end. But on his second trek, he discovered a minor tear near the shoulder strap. The first thing he did when he reached home, was placed a complaint on Amazon.com. The company replaced his backpack for a new one. I don’t recall any backpack brand who would provide this type of amazing service to their customers.
Update: Many people complaint that this backpack gets a little uncomfortable after a while.
|Comes with a Rain Cover||Could get a little uncomfortable|
|90 Days Warranty|
4. Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack Review
All the other backpacks in this list are multi-sports and not specifically made for backpacking except this one. Kelty Redwing is the optimal Backpacking Backpack under 200 Dollars. The backpack is not designed for trekking mountains so if you are a trekker you can skip this.
Hybrid-loading makes it relatively easy to access all your things. It has LightBeam Single Aluminum stay which distributes the load making it more stable and comfortable.
One thing I love about this pack is that its highly customizable. You can customize mostly every fit on this bag and make your load as close as possible to the center of gravity.
However, this bag is not waterproof so you will have to purchase a Rain Cover.
|Highly Customizable Fits||Not Waterproof|
|Stable and Comfortable||Not Recommended for Mountain Trekking|
|Removable Hip Straps|
|Built-in hydration pack compatibility|
|Decent Number of Compartments|
As we all know, Amazon Basics Products are durable and for a cheaper price, this backpack is no different. I won’t say that this backpack is the best but it’s great for its price. For less than $70 you can get a good quality backpack with decent features.
Lets quickly go through its features. The pack is made up of durable polyester. It comes in three variants: 50l, 60l and 70l and in two colors: Green and black. The backpack has a water-repellent exterior coating and also comes with an integrated rain cover. The pack also has a Sleeping Bag Compartment. It has many storage pockets and all its fits are adjustable.
My personal review: I have used the bag and its great for beginners. Although if you are looking for a backpack suitable for mountain trekking, I won’t suggest it. It is not at all comfortable for climbing mountains and hiking on steep terrains. Its load distribution towards a person’s center of gravity is not good. But for a backpacking trip, the pack won’t let you down. It is durable, has a rain cover, and reasonable.
|The backpack is Durable and won’t tear off easily||Not for long mountain treks|
|Water-repellent exterior coating + Integrated Rain Cover||Gets uncomfortable on steep terrains|
|Many Storage Pockets||Poor Load distribution|
Best Backpacking Backpacks under $200 for Women
Backpacking backpacks specially made for women are uniquely shaped according to the curves of the female figure. These backpacks utilize one of the strongest parts of their body, ie Hips. So if you are a woman and going to carry 40-70 liters of weight on your body you will need to purchase a backpack constructed specially for women. I have listed 2 best backpacking backpacks under $200 for women, go through their features and pros and cons and select accordingly.
6. Deuter Aircontact Lite 60+10 SL Review
Deuter is by far the best brand I know that makes Backpacking/trekking/hiking backpacks, especially for women. In fact, this backpack’s tag line is: BY WOMEN, FOR WOMEN.
The pack is super breathable, which means it won’t sweat up your back while wearing it, which is an important feature than you think as sweating can cause dehydration.
The backpack has Ergonomic Comfort Lock hip fin/belt that will drastically reduce weight stress by properly distributing the load. This will also make you feel more comfortable and stable while hiking. The fits are fully adjustable for better load management.
This backpack is a little over $200 but worth every cent. Also, the backpack is highly durable and could last easily for 3-4 years even after rough use. I would say, if budget is not an issue then Deuter Aircontact Lite is an optimal choice.
|Great Ventilation/Breathable||Little costly|
|Ergonomic Comfort Lock hip fin|
|60l + Extendable 10L pack collar|
|Great Weight Management|
7. Osprey Packs Kyte 46 Women’s Backpack Review
Another great company that constructs the ideal women’s backpacking backpacks. Osprey Packs Kyte 46 have all those features that make a backpack perfect. It has a comfort-molded frame, smart design, great weight distribution, it is breathable. The shoulder straps and hip belt have extra padding making it comfortable to carry. It also has a rain cover that is easily accessible. It even has a waist pocket, how great is that.
This backpack looks so minimal and elegant that even after being male I am seriously considering to buy it, lol. Okay, I got a confession. The reason I love this backpack so much is that my Major Crush has this backpack. I met her on a trek last year in mid-2018, and she is the girl I always imagine to marry. But sadly she has a boyfriend so I couldn’t express my feeling. Anyway, let’s continue to Pros and Cons
|Integrated removable rain cover||The backpack without the rain cover is not that water-resistant|
|Stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment|
|Stable and Comfortable|
How to Choose your Backpack for Backpacking?
You can just buy a random backpack, or you can get a perfect backpack suitable for you. There are quite a few factors that you need to consider before buying a backpacking backpack for you. I have listed each one of them. Go through them and then make a choice.
How large you need your backpack to be?
Usually, backpacking trips are of 10-20 days, so you need a backpack large enough to hold your essential items. It is always recommended to carry as less as possible while backpacking, but even if your backpack is large enough, it will never be enough. You will easily need a 60l-70l capacity backpack for 10-20 day long trip.
But what if you usually do 3-5 days trips? Then you should go with a 40l-50l backpack. These backpacks are medium sized and compact and they look kinda stylish too. They are lightweight making you stress less.
If you ask me I would say, Excess space is better than less space.
Let me introduce you to Suspension of a backpack, it is a magical way that can lift you in the air and help you fly, Nah just kidding. Suspension in the backpacking world is referred to as a backpack’s adjustable nature to make it fit your body as per your center of gravity.
So basically suspension in a pack will help it to distribute weight evenly on your body. It is more important than you think, especially if you hike a lot during your trips.
Rain Covers are real lifesavers. No backpack is completely waterproof, as water will always manage to find a way inside your backpack. I bought a backpack which claimed to be 100% Waterproof, I was so confident in that rain trek. But later realized that all my clothes got wet. So I will stick to my words, NO BACKPACK IS COMPLETE WATERPROOF.
Integrated Rain Covers is one of a factor I always consider before buying a backpack. Although you can get always get a rain cover separately. Consider purchasing: Joy Walker Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover (15l-90l). It is a sizable waterproof cover that could be attached to backpacks of 15 l to 90l. I have one of these and it’s really convenient and inexpensive.
The weight of the backpack
Initial Weight of the backpack matter because you don’t want to add up extra load to your already heavy backpack. Usually, weight is an essential factor for mountain trekkers, as they try to cut-down load as much as possible. Having an ultralight backpack is always great even for backpackers.
But there are downsides of buying an ultralight backpack. To cut-down the weight, manufacturers choose to compromise with foam layer of straps making the backpack light but less comfortable.
Ease of use
I remember, my friends gifted me a backpack on my birthday which was like solving a puzzle while opening it. I might have exaggerated that a bit, but the backpack was really complicated and messy with all its zippers. It was so frustrating.
It’s necessary to get a backpack which is easy to use.
Waist Pocket and bottle holder
I don’t know about others, but Waist pocket is the priority I give. It’s just so convenient to have a waist pocket in which you can keep your phone for quick photos, you earphones, some money, a couple of energy bars. It’s like: it’s okay if you don’t have it in your backpack, but once you have it, you won’t be able to live with it. Again, exaggerating, but kinda true.
And a bottle holder or bottle pocket is like backpacks basic criteria to be a backpack. Every backpack has one bottle holder, but you always need to be hydrated so having two bottle holders on both the sides is just cherry on a cake. There are backpacks out there that are so small that it’s just impossible to put a bottle in it, not even kidding. So make sure your backpack has a working bottle holder.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I frequently go on one-day hikes and treks, how many liter backpack is suitable for me?
A: For one-day hikes and trips 15l-25l backpacks are enough. I would advice getting a 20 liters backpack, you can use it for your hikes, gyms, school, college or daily travel. They look just perfect and they are so stylish. You get to choose from a huge variety of colors and shapes.
Q: How a backpacking backpack should Fit?
A: The backpack should not be loose or rely just on your shoulders. It should be close to your back and should not wobble.
Q: How to Wear a backpack?
A: A lot of trekker and hikers don’t have knowledge of how to wear your backpack correctly, people just usually wear it and strap up. It is very necessary to wear your backpack correctly.
Make sure to pack your backpack as guided above, ie. making your backpack’s bottom heavy and top lighter. Now always remember that your shoulder won’t be carrying your backpack, your hips will. Yeah, you read it right, your hips should carry the maximum load (60%) of your backpack with the help of your backpack’s waist-strap. Your shoulders will be carrying only 10% of your backpacks load. The remaining 30% of the load will be distributed evenly on your back. This will put a minimum strain to any one part of your body. And this is why it is very necessary to select a backpack that can distribute its load properly on your back, shoulder, waist, and hips.
Q: How to pack a backpacking backpack?
A: You cannot just put anything anywhere in a backpacking backpack. You need to follow a system. Put all your heavy things in the bottom. Then put your clothes in the middle and keep things that you will frequently in the top layer. Pack your bottom tightly, make the bottom part of your pack as heavy as possible. And make the upper part as light as possible.
Q: How to clean your backpack with Washing Machine?
- Of course, remove all your items before washing.
- Unzip all the pockets.
- Run an empty wash on your Washing machine to remove any leftover detergents
- Check if your backpack can fit into your washing machine, don’t force it if it doesn’t.
- If feasible, put your pack in a laundry bag to avoid possible damage to the straps or simply tie them with rubber bands.
- Put shampoo in your machine instead of detergent. DO NOT USE DETERGENT. Detergents could react with the waterproof/resistant coating of your backpack and cause permanent damage.
- Wash it in cold water
- Remove your pack and hang it upside down. Let it dry naturally. If possible, open your back and keep it in the exposed sun. Sun will dry your backpack, kill germs, and also remove any weird smell from it.
Q: How to clean your backpack – Hand Wash?
- Fill up your bathtub or basin or a bucket with cold or lukewarm water. Don’t use hot water, it could fade your bags color.
- Add shampoo or detergent-free soap to the water
- Scrub it with love, just kidding. Scrub it lightly with a soft brush or a clean cloth.
- Run it through water
- Put your backpack upside down and let it dry naturally.
ALSO NEVER PUT YOUR BACKPACK IN DRYER, NEVER.
Q: Can I carry my backpack on an airplane or I will need to put it in the luggage?
A: You can carry the backpack if its weight is under your airline’s minimum carry weight. Although I always prefer putting it in the luggage.
So that was my Detailed Guide of getting your best backpacking backpacks under $200. I really hope my article helps you. I will be signing off now. If you have any questions put them in the comments down below and I will try to solve them. Adios.