15+ Best Backpacking Pack and Hiking Backpacks for Kids

By Joshua Davis •  Updated: 11/22/22 •  16 min read

One of my favorite memories is of the first backpacking trip my firstborn son Luke was big enough to carry his own backpack.

Only 6 years old and he was a trooper! I was so proud of him … and relieved that I could finally divvy up the load!

Luke field testing his new Osprey in the woods near our home.

Today, with all the choices out there, finding the right pack for your child can be overwhelming. There are so many brands, styles, features (both practical and superfluous), and price ranges … it’s hard to know where to start.

After 25+ years of camping, hiking, and backpacking (13 years with young children), I feel qualified to simplify your search and provide some helpful guidance.

I’ve owned multiple packs on the market over the years and can easily say these are my picks for the best backpacking packs and hiking backpacks for kids.

OFHQ’s Favorites

If you need to cut to the chase, these are our top picks.

Yes, Osprey took the cake. And for darn good reasons.

Osprey Jet 18 Kid’s Hiking Backpack (8 -14 years)

In my estimation, it is the best of the best hiking backpacks: a balanced combination of quality, craftsmanship, kid-friendly features, and style. Boom.

Best Kid's Daypack
Jet 18 Kid's Hiking Backpack
$65.00
  • Top load access to main compartment with external reservoir sleeve (reservoir sold separately)
  • Dual stretch mesh side pockets and large front pocket
  • Small external zippered pocket for small items
  • Lower web-loop daisy chain attachment points
  • Contains GRS certified recycled materials
  • Recommended Age Range: 8-14
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11/27/2022 11:00 pm GMT

Osprey Ace 38 Kid’s Backpacking Pack (5-11 years)

The kid’s backpack for multiple-day trips I personally chose for my son Luke when he outgrew his day pack, the Ace 38 is perfect for elementary-aged kids working their way towards a full-sized backpacking pack.

Fully outfitted for back country backpacking with an integrated torso adjustment, the pack “grew” with him until he turned 13.

The pack is still in excellent condition and is proudly being passed down to his little brother, Jack.

Best Smaller Kid's Backpacking Pack
Osprey Ace 38 Kid's Backpacking Backpack
$149.95
  • 4" of torso length adjustability and an extendable Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt with 3" of adjustment
  • Sleeping pad straps and lower zippered sleeping bag access
  • Zippered hip belt pockets for easy access to small items on the trail
  • Top load access to main compartment with full-length vertical side zipper access to main compartment
  • Integrated removable rain cover and internal reservoir sleeve (Fits up to a 3L reservoir, sold separately)
  • Recommended Age Range: (5-11 Y/O)
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11/27/2022 11:37 pm GMT

Osprey Ace 50 Kid’s Backpacking Pack (8-14 years)

For the older kids who have developed their resilience and stamina and are prepared to begin shouldering heavy loads in the back country, the Ace 50 is a fully outfitted, full-sized trail pack built like Osprey’s adult packs. Solid.

Best Full-Size Kid's Backpacking Pack
Osprey Ace 50 Kid's Backpacking Pack
  • 5 in. of torso adjustability and a lengthening Fit-on-the-Fly ™ hipbelt
  •  Ventilated Airspeed™ suspension transfers the weight of the pack's contents off the back
  •  3.5mm LightWire peripheral frame effectively transfers load weight from the harness to the hip belt
  •  Zippered sleeping bag compartment with divider
  •  Internal reservoir sleeve for up to 3L reservoir (sold separately)
  •  Under-lid pocket; dual access fabric/mesh side pockets; large front panel fabric/mesh shove-it pocket
  •  Zippered hip belt pockets
  • Included rain cover
  •  Dual lower side compression straps


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REI Tarn 40 Kid’s Backpacking Pack (8-12 years)

Proof that a child’s backpack can be well-designed and of sturdy construction without breaking the bank, REI Co-op’s family of Tarn kid’s backpacks are a great option for those of a more frugal disposition.

Complete with daisy chains, side pockets, padded hip belt, and easy access throughout, it’s a a great first pack for any aspiring adventurer.

Best Budget Kid's Backpacking Pack
REI Co-op Tarn 40 Kid's Backpacking Pack
  • Adjustable back panel and side compression straps combine to provide a customizable fit
  • Padded shoulder straps and hip belt provide a comfortable carry; hip belt pockets keep snacks or a phone at hand
  • Large stuff pocket in the front provides quick-access storage for an extra layer
  • Removable top-lid pocket allows options for organization
  • Loops on the front allow bungees or clips to be attached
  • Recycled materials keep waste out of landfills; bluesign®-approved materials conserve resources and protect the health of the environment, workers and wearer (your kiddo)
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A Quick Note: How Old Is Old Enough to Carry a Pack?

It is my experience (and of many other trail-loving parents out there) that children under the age of 5 or 6 are not quite ready for hiking with a pack.

Even with the lightest of loads, the strain of having to carry something on their backs can be too much for young children who are still developing their resilience and stamina.

Luke with his Osprey Jet 18 in Colorado Bend State Park, TX

Aside from the fact that kids 4 and under are still learning to pick their feet up (lots of face plants at this age), they are not quite able to adjust to the feeling of shoulder straps and pack weight.

That said, my recommendations for the best backpacking (as well as day hiking) packs for kids start around age 6.

So, let’s get to it!

The Best Backpacking Pack for Kids

Straight up, we’re a hard-core Osprey family … with a side of CamelBak.

While other brands of packs have populated our hiking gear arsenal at one time or another, there is a unique innovative quality and ruggedness inherent in Osprey’s design and craftsmanship that I simply have yet to find in other brands. I firmly believe Osprey makes the best backpacks available.

Heading down the North Kaibab, Grand Canyon, AZ.

Oh, and with their Almighty Guarantee, they will replace “Any Product. Any Reason. Any Era.” While other backpack manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee of sorts, they all have the word “Limited” tucked in there somewhere.

Not Osprey.

If it’s broken, torn, or otherwise annihilated, Osprey just replaces it. Period.

Helpful Tip: The following packs are organized by brand first, then by pack size/recommended age group. Use the QUICK LINKS in the intro to jump to a section you are interested in.

1. Osprey Daylite Kid’s Everyday Pack (4-12 years)

No, it’s not technically a hiking backpack. Classified as an “everyday pack” for elementary school and road trips, the Daylite is our recommendation for short day hikes along the trail (1-4 hours) for kids who are hiking with a pack for the first time.

Osprey Daylite Kid's Everyday Pack
  • Panel-loading main compartment
  • Dual side mesh pockets
  • Small front pocket with key clip
  • Multi-functional interior sleeve for hydration
  • Internal name tag
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It’s simple, lightweight (just over half a pound), and not overly technical. It has just enough pockets to keep things organized yet is still small enough for kids to maneuver easily.

The pack is equipped with a safety whistle and hydration reservoir sleeve (reservoir not included) and ventilated back panel making it easily convertible into a full trail pack (minus the hip strap).

2. Osprey Tempest Junior (girls 4-12 years)

Here’s a loaded little pack for the little ladies.

Engineered specifically for young girls’ physiology, the Tempest Junior is everything you’d expect from an Osprey daypack — a pack that looks good and performs even better.

Osprey Kid's Tempest Junior Pack
  • Provides stable fit while offering flexibility and ventilated airflow channels for active use
  • Maximum flexibility without sacrificing stability for dynamic body movement
  • Harness system easily adjusts to fit various torso lengths
  • Adjustable sternum strap with safety whistle buckle
  • Seamless lumbar-to-hipbelt body wrap and BioStretch seams offer maximum flexibility and stability
  • Spacer mesh over die-cut foam provides breathable, comfortable contact surface
  • Dual-zippered panel access to main compartment and internal zippered pocket
  • Stretch mesh front panel pocket and side stretch mesh pockets
  • Top panel zippered slash pocket
  • External hydration reservoir sleeve
  • Easy-access, expandable stretch mesh harness pocket
  • Dual mesh hipbelt pockets
  • Blinker light attachment
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The Tempest’s specialized attribute is its ability to flex and bend comfortably with an energetic child’s dynamic movements.

It also has a bit more room than the Daylite and comes with all of the necessary features for a day of hiking, including a safety whistle, hydration reservoir sleeve (reservoir not included), and adjustable sternum strap.

3. Osprey Jet 18 Hiking Daypack (8 -14 years)

The Jet 18 was my personal choice for Luke when he first carried his own hiking backpack. He was 6 years old and adjusted to the pack quickly.

Yes, he was younger than Osprey’s recommendation, but he was tall for his age and had been hiking with me for a while.

Best Kid's Daypack
Jet 18 Kid's Hiking Backpack
$65.00
  • Top load access to main compartment with external reservoir sleeve (reservoir sold separately)
  • Dual stretch mesh side pockets and large front pocket
  • Small external zippered pocket for small items
  • Lower web-loop daisy chain attachment points
  • Contains GRS certified recycled materials
  • Recommended Age Range: 8-14
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11/27/2022 11:00 pm GMT

While not large enough to carry overnight gear such as a sleeping bag, the Jet 18 enabled him to carry his own food, water, clothing, toiletries, and small gear items … which made my load just a bit lighter.

I purchased the Osprey 1.5L reservoir to convert it into a hydration pack; however, aside from that, it comes fully outfitted for the trail.

4. Osprey Ace 38 Kid’s Backpacking Pack (5-11 years)

As Luke built his resilience and stamina and we began to take on longer backpacking adventures, I upgraded him to the Ace 38. This pack accommpanied him to the bottom of the Grand Canyon when he was 8.

Again, I purchased the Osprey 3.0L reservoir and the Ace 38 became a fully outfitted hydration trail pack.

Best Smaller Kid's Backpacking Pack
Osprey Ace 38 Kid's Backpacking Backpack
$149.95
  • 4" of torso length adjustability and an extendable Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt with 3" of adjustment
  • Sleeping pad straps and lower zippered sleeping bag access
  • Zippered hip belt pockets for easy access to small items on the trail
  • Top load access to main compartment with full-length vertical side zipper access to main compartment
  • Integrated removable rain cover and internal reservoir sleeve (Fits up to a 3L reservoir, sold separately)
  • Recommended Age Range: (5-11 Y/O)
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11/27/2022 11:37 pm GMT

Some additional improvements were made to the Ace over the Jet: 4 inches of torso length adjustability so that the pack “grows” with the child, an integrated rain cover that stashes in the lower-most pocket, and more pockets for increased organization.

Although 13 years old, the pack still fits him … but, we’ll be upgrading again soon and his little bro will inherit another family heirloom.

5. Osprey Ace 50 Backpacking Pack (8-14 years)

Built for kids but meeting the same standards of quality and craftsmanship as Osprey’s adult line, the top-loading Ace 50 is a fully-outfitted kids’ backpacking pack.

Best Full-Size Kid's Backpacking Pack
Osprey Ace 50 Kid's Backpacking Pack
  • 5 in. of torso adjustability and a lengthening Fit-on-the-Fly ™ hipbelt
  •  Ventilated Airspeed™ suspension transfers the weight of the pack's contents off the back
  •  3.5mm LightWire peripheral frame effectively transfers load weight from the harness to the hip belt
  •  Zippered sleeping bag compartment with divider
  •  Internal reservoir sleeve for up to 3L reservoir (sold separately)
  •  Under-lid pocket; dual access fabric/mesh side pockets; large front panel fabric/mesh shove-it pocket
  •  Zippered hip belt pockets
  • Included rain cover
  •  Dual lower side compression straps


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It comes with a fully adjustable torso length (up to 5 inches) and hip belt, multiple compartments and pockets (including a bottom-access sleeping bag compartment), an integrated rain cover, and a tensioned mesh back panel to keep the back cool and dry.

This will be Luke’s next pack. I’m saving my pennies.

6. Osprey Ace 75 Kid’s Backpacking Pack (12-17 years)

Introducing the largest backpack for kids that remains practical.

This leviathan of a backpack is for the longest of trips (multiple weeks); however, great care must be taken to avoid overloading the pack and risking injury and exhaustion (see the section titled Safety Tips for Packing a Kid’s Backpack in the QUICK LINKS).

Osprey Ace 75 Kid's Backpacking Pack
  • Top load access to main compartment with underlid pocket
  • Dual lower side compression straps
  • Large front panel fabric/mesh shove-it pocket and dual access fabric/mesh side pockets
  • Daisy chain for additional gear
  • Lower zippered sleeping bag access with divider
  • Removable sleeping pad straps
  • Zippered hipbelt pockets for easy access to small items on the trail
  • Integrated removable raincover
  • Internal reservoir sleeve
  • Adjustable ice tool or fishing rod
  • Dual Upper side compression straps
  • Full-length vertical side zipper access to main compartment
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As with all other Ace models, the 5 inches of adjustable torso length allows the pack to keep up with a few years of growth spurts.

It also comes with all the other features mentioned above with the addition of 25 liters of space.

7. CamelBak Scout Kid’s Hydration Daypack (4-7 years)

The Scout by CamelBak featured prominently in our recent post on Best Kids Hydration Packs.

It is CamelBak’s response to Osprey’s Daylite daypack with the added bonus of having the water reservoir included; HOWEVER, the $20 price hike of the Scout over the Daylite makes them the same price.

CamelBak Scout Kid’s Hydration Daypack
  •  New Crux reservoir delivers 20% more water per sip, with an ergonomic handle for easier refilling, and a leakproof on/off lever
  •  Safety whistle included on sternum strap
  •  Breathable air mesh back panel for a lightweight, comfortable fit
  •  Reflective accents for visibility in low-light environments
  •  Transparent external pocket lets you personalize your pack
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So which is better? Well, the CamelBak provides 2.5L more volume making it a slightly heavier pack while the Osprey Daylite boasts the ability to meet the needs of a wider age range of user (4-12 years as opposed to the Scouts 4-7).

Plus while CamelBak offers there Limited Lifetime Guarantee, Osprey wins out with their Almighty (Unlimited) Guarantee.

Still, the Scout is a great pack made by a reputable, experienced company.

8. CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kid’s Hydration Pack (8-11 years)

Predominately a hydration pack for bicycling, the Mini M.U.L.E. has just enough volume for a day outing (1-8 hours) and still performs well as a daypack (I day hiked with my adult-sized M.U.L.E for years and it performed admirably).

CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Hydration Kid's Pack
  •  Crux reservoir delivers 20% more water per sip, with an ergonomic handle for easier refilling, and an on/off lever that makes it easy to prevent leaks
  •  Breathable air-mesh back panel for a lightweight, comfortable fit
  •  Stretch overflow storage compartment lets you easily stash a rain shell or extra layer
  •  Safety whistle built into sternum strap
  •  Reflective accents add visibility in low light
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Its lightweight and sporty design is perfect for kids who are looking to stay hydrated and carry just enough to satisfy most of the day on the trail.

The 50 oz (1.5 L) reservoir is the largest available in CamelBak’s Kids line and features an adjustable shoulder harness, sternum strap, reflectivity, and emergency whistle.

9. Gregory Icarus 30 Kid’s Overnight Backpack (6-10 years)

Gregory backs their packs with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. They are solid-built packs with thoughtful designs backed by 45 years of experience.

Adjustable for torso lengths from 13-18 inches, the Icarus 30 is perfect for kids that are ready to step up their game.

Gregory Icarus 30 Kid's Overnight Pack
  •  VersaFit suspension with adjustable torso length
  •  Sternum strap with integrated emergency whistle
  •  Dedicated lower compartment for quick access to sleeping bag or extra layers
  •  Top pocket with dual pockets to provide a dedicated area for a headlamp or snacks
  •  Dual side mesh pockets with pass-through for over or under compression
  •  Hydration sleeve with universal hangar and exit port (reservoir not included)
  •  Trekking pole/tool attachment point with bungee closure system
  •  Reflective loops for add hits of visibility at night
  •  Custom comfort-grip molded zipper pulls
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Loaded with features like a padded back panel, adjustable hip belt, multiple pockets, and gear loops make it great for overnight trips.

It’s also equipped with an internal hydration reservoir sleeve (reservoir not included).

All these features combine to make this pack an excellent choice for kids ready to take on longer adventures. As always, safety

10. Gregory Icarus 40 Overnight Backpack (8-12 years)

If 10 more liters of packing space is needed, it’s a short hop from the Icarus 30 to 40.

The Icarus 40 is an excellent pack for older children and those that may be wanting to tackle long trips.

Gregory Icarus 40 Kid's Backpack
$129.95 $119.95
  • Adjustable Suspension - VersaFit adjustable suspension with 4" of adjustment and Perforated breathable backpanel
  • Bottom Access - Dedicated bottom zipper access for sleeping bag of extra layers
  • Integrated Safety Whistle - Sternum Strap with integrated Safety whistle
  • Durable front stretch mesh stuff pocket for quick access to a rain jacket or sandals.
  • Front U-Zip access for easy access and unloading when you get to camp.
  • Floating top pocket allows for stowage under the lid and oversized loads.
  • Adjustable attachment loop and hook-attach shock lock for trekking poles or ice axes.
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11/26/2022 03:45 pm GMT

Offering more than the 30, this model offers a padded back panel, adjustable torso length (13-18 inches), adjustable waist belt, multiple pockets, gear loops, and internal hydration reservoir sleeve.

11. Gregory Wander 50 Kid’s Backpacking Pack (8-14 years)

Packed with all the features of its bigger 70-liter brother (see below), the Gregory Wander 50 is great for backpacking trips or even simple camping trips, or even sleep overs.

The adjustable torso length from 13-18 inches makes this a great pack for kids that are still growing.

Gregory Wander 50L Kid’s Backpacking Backpack
$179.95 $128.53
  • Adjustable attachment loop and hook-attach shock lock for trekking poles or ice axes.
  • 4 inches (10cm) of back height adjustment allows for a wide range of fit options and for the pack to grow with young adult hikers.
  • Duel side stretch mesh pockets fro easy access to water bottle or provide a great way to secure a fishing rod.
  • Adjustable hip belts for custom fit with large zippered pockets.
  • Rain cover included with dedicated zippered pocket behind front pocket for added organization.
  • Durable front stretch mesh stuff pocket for quick access to a rain jacket or sandals.
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11/27/2022 12:15 am GMT

It also features dual upper-side compression straps, an adjustable waist belt, and sternum strap, and an internal hydration reservoir sleeve with hose ports on either side.

12. Gregory Wander 70 Kid’s Backpacking Pack (12-17 years)

The feature-loaded Gregory Wander 70 is fully-fitted for long distances in the backcountry.

This pack boasts an adjustable torso length (13-18 inches), a padded back panel, multiple pockets with water-resistant zippers, and a top-loading compartment.

Gregory Wander 70 Kid's Backpacking Pack
  •  VersaFit adjustable wishbone torso suspension and plush, fully adjustable harness
  •  Airwave back panel with 3D foam provides enhanced airflow
  •  Active Wrap hip belt with adjustable belt lets them get a secure, comfortable carry
  •  Internal hydration sleeve (reservoir sold separately)
  • Included raincover
  •  Full length U-zip main pack access
  • Multiple front webbing attachment loops
  • Front heavy-duty stretch-mesh stash pocket
  • Floating top pocket with upper and underside zippered pockets
  •  Dual side stretch-mesh pockets
  •  Adjustable bungeeto carry trekking poles or ice axes
  •  Lower side compression pass-through helps in securing and balancing their load
  •  Sternum strap buckle features a safety whistle
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A great feature is the integrated rain cover that helps protect your gear from the elements and much, much more that just can’t be covered here.

Click the link to get the full details.

13. REI Tarn 12 Kid’s Daypack (5-8 years)

REI Co-op’s line of hiking and backpacking packs offers outdoor enthusiasts a selection of quality packs at a more affordable price point. They back their packs with a Limited Lifetime Guarantee.

REI Co-op Tarn 12 Kid's Daypack
  •  Sized to fit kids 5 to 8 years old
  •  Made from recycled ripstop nylon with a durable water repellent finish
  •  Large main zippered compartment; front stuff pocket with stretch mesh side panels is great for a light jacket; zippered front pocket stores essentials securely
  •  Padded shoulder straps are comfortable and a padded back panel
  •  Sternum strap keeps shoulder straps from sliding off small shoulders
  •  Buckled hip belt distributes the weight on longer journeys; belt stows away in hidden pocket when not being used
  •  Large mesh water bottle pockets make it easy for kids to stay hydrated
  •  Compatible with a hydration reservoir (not included)
  • Made of recycled nylon and bluesign®-approved materials
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An excellent daypack for little ones adjusting to carrying their own load, the Tarn 12 is fitted with two large water bottle pockets; however, with the integrated reservoir sleeve, it can be easily converted into a true hydration pack.

The sternum strap keeps the shoulder straps in place on small shoulders and the padded back panel keeps thier backs comfortable.

14. REI Tarn 40 (8-12 years)

The REI Co-op Tarn 40 pack is the perfect backpack for growing kids, as it features compression straps, a removable top lid and an adjustable back panel to accommodate various torso lengths.

Best Budget Kid's Backpacking Pack
REI Co-op Tarn 40 Kid's Backpacking Pack
  • Adjustable back panel and side compression straps combine to provide a customizable fit
  • Padded shoulder straps and hip belt provide a comfortable carry; hip belt pockets keep snacks or a phone at hand
  • Large stuff pocket in the front provides quick-access storage for an extra layer
  • Removable top-lid pocket allows options for organization
  • Loops on the front allow bungees or clips to be attached
  • Recycled materials keep waste out of landfills; bluesign®-approved materials conserve resources and protect the health of the environment, workers and wearer (your kiddo)
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It comes with a built-in hydration sleeve and can hold up to 40 liters of gear. It’s also fitted with waist belt pockets, making it easy for kids to stash snacks and other small items.

Best of all, this pack is more affordable than many others — an excellent value for your money!

15. Deuter Junior Pack Daypack (5-8 years)

Honestly, I feel the Deuter Junior is more of a glorified kindergarten backpack than a pack designed for the trail; HOWEVER, some elements make it worth considering for youngsters learning to shoulder their share of the trail burden.

Deuter Junior Kid's Backpack for School and Hiking
$45.00 $42.50
  • Adjustable S-shaped Soft-Edge shoulder straps are ergonomically designed to relieve neck strain; Chest strap helps kids manage load
  • Deuter's Airstripes System is secure and snug, while offering effective ventilation
  • Mesh side pockets and 2 front zip pockets are perfect for snacks, flashlight, compass and other gear
  • Crafted from 600D PES, the Junior Backpack is robust and lightweight
  • Name label on the inside for school use; 3M reflector for visibility
  • Kid-friendly buckles for little hands
  • Easy-to-use compression straps in contrasting colors
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11/26/2022 07:31 pm GMT

First, the price is an easy pill to swallow and, secondly, it procures a pack that is built to Deuter’s high standards and backed by their Limited Lifetime Warranty.

It’s a baseline model: no hydration sleeve, one zippered pocket, and three exterior stuff pockets for stowing outerwear, snack wrappers, or water bottles.

It may just be the perfect balance between price and function for your little trail hopper.

16. Deuter Fox 40 Kid’s Backpacking Pack (8-12 years)

The Deuter Fox 40+4L backpack has been revamped to offer the same great technical design and functionality as Deuter’s adult backpacks, but customized specifically for kids and teen adventurers who are ready to hit the trail for an overnight camping trip.

Deuter Fox 40 + 4L Kid's Backpacking Pack
  •  Adapted for children and features 2 body-hugging soft stripe pads with a channel in between that works like a chimney to vent away warm air
  • Adjustable torso length from 11 in. to 18 in.
  • S-shaped shoulder harness includes ergonomically shaped padding with soft edges and an airy 3D mesh lining
  • Compact and supple hip fins
  • Load-adjustment straps on the hip fins allow for precision load control
  • Includes extra gear loops on the hipbelt, top lid attachment loops, 2 daisy chains, and ice tool and hiking pole attachment loops
  •  Also comes with side compression straps for regulating pack volume
  • Side bellow pockets, an external lid pocket, valuables pocket on lid interior and stretch side water bottle pockets
  •  Height- and width-adjustable chest strap comes with a signal whistle
  •  Compatible with hydration reservoirs (not included)
  • Top-loading design with a drawstring and zippered bottom opening
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Locked, stocked, and loaded with features such as an adjustable torso length from 11-18 inches, an integrated rain cover and zippered access to the top and bottom of the pack, side compression straps, gear loops, and more; this pack is ready to take on any adventure!

The Fox 40+4L also has a built-in hydration sleeve and comes with Deuter’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.

17. North Face Youth Terra 55 (9-15 years)

Another good pack backed by a Limited Lifetime Guarantee.

Although the Terra is comfortable and reasonably priced, it falls short when compared to other packs in its price range, granting it the last spot in our lineup.

A good pack. Not great. It’s just missing the innovative flare so predominant in many of the others we’ve recommended; but …

The North Face Youth Terra 55 Kid's Backpacking Pack
$158.95
  • Easy-to-adjust OPTIFIT suspension
  • Patent-pending Dyno Lift System is self-equalizing with on-the-fly, adjustable load lifters
  • A full J-zip opening allows for quick access to the pack's contents
  • Separated compartments help them organize their essentials
  • Hydration reservoir compatible
  • Designed to help them carry a heavy load, this backpacking backpack features an ultra-comfortable, cushioned back panel and breathable mesh for outdoor travel
  • Supportive and comfortable molded hip belt offers extra support.
  • Fabric: body: 210D nylon with durable water-repellent (DWR) finish; boot: 600D polyester.
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11/26/2022 08:10 pm GMT

The product is versatile and can handle different types of trips, whether you’re going backpacking for the weekend, or just need an overnight bag.

The Terra has enough features to help organize your gear, without being complicated.

Not only is this product a relatively inexpensive option, but it’s also made from durable material, meaning it will last you a long time.

Overall, the Terra backpack is a great choice for anyone looking for good quality without breaking the bank.

What to Look for in Kids Backpacking Pack

Less is more.

I can’t stress this enough when it comes to selecting a pack for young kids. Yes, it’s important to purchase a pack with the right fit; however, more features don’t necessarily equate to better performance in the backcountry.

An abundance of pockets, compression straps, panels … and more straps …

It’s too much for an adult hitting the trails for the first time, much less an elementary-aged human.

Stream Crossing in Loss Maples State Park, TX with our Ospreys.

Look for lightweight packs, that have an adjustable torso length and waist belt, and come with a few pockets for carrying snacks or extra clothing. A hydration sleeve and reservoir is also nice to have.

Give them time to adjust to this before harnessing them to a back-borne Taj Mahal.

Lastly, make sure the pack you choose comes with a minimum of a Limited Lifetime Guarantee — this will ensure your investment won’t be wasted in the event of an unexpected accident or malfunction.

How to Find a Best Fit Backpack for Your Child

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. Selecting a backpack that provides a stable and comfortable fit for your child requires a tape measure and a few simple steps.

Check out REI Co-op’s tutorial on How to Size and Fit a Backpack.

Then, consider yourself a pro.

Safety Tips for Packing a Kids Backpack

One word: Weight.

The quality and craftsmanship of the backpack have no bearing here. Too heavy is too heavy.

Placing too much weight on a child’s back to carry over rough terrain can cause serious, lifelong injury.

Luke with his Osprey Ace 38 along Grand Canyon’s North Rim, AZ

A child aged nothin’ to 18 should never carry more than 10-20% of their body weight in a backpack.

A good way to tell if a backpack is too heavy for your child is by using the bathroom scale. For example, if your child weighs 80 pounds, their backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 8-16 pounds.

Always, always, always, err on the side of being too light.

Time to Pack It Up!

Now that you know what to look for when selecting a kid’s backpacking pack and how to fit it properly, it’s time to get your young adventurer outfitted with the right gear.

Remember, if they’re just starting out, take it easy, keep the pack light, take lots of breaks … and always have fun.

After all, if you (and they) aren’t having fun out there, what’s the point?

Good luck on your search for that new backpack!

Now, get out there!

Joshua Davis

Being outdoors is freedom! Being outdoors with my wife and two boys is LIVING! Whether in my backyard or getting lost in a National Park, there’s nothing I’d rather do than explore, discover, and experience the paradise that surrounds us. Give me my family, a backpack, and a trail and my life is full!