The best 30-40 litre backpacks for hiking and travelling

Hiking, flying, travelling - pack smart with one of the best 30-40 litre packs

The best 30-40 litre backpacks for hiking

by William Austin-Lobley |
Updated on

Backpacks with a capacity of between 30 and 40 litres are great hiking and travel options. Many will claim that you need to start hitting around 60L for long-period travel, and while this may be the case in some circumstances, the truth is that a 40L bag can do the job just as well. It forces you to pack smartly – you can focus on what you need, and nothing more. This increases your mobility and reduces fatigue, allowing to you enjoy your trip more - plus there is the added bonus that it’s easier to use transport with a smaller pack.

The 30-40L bracket size means they are capable of carrying changes of clothes in addition to food and liquids or camping equipment, and many are also suitable for overhead coach lockers and carry-on luggage for flights, too. (Though it's best to double check with your flight provider).

There are several key features to look out for and consider, and the usefulness of these will depend on your intended use and personal preference. Some packs which focus on airflow to ensure that your back remains cool, whereas others prioritise tough construction and larger capacities. Organisation is important too, with varying configurations of internal and external pockets offering up new ways of packing and organising your gear. For example, a front stowing or stuffing pocket is good for quick access to your waterproof or map storage, whereas side pockets are perfect for bottle carrying.

We’ve collected together the best packs on the market, all offering brilliants answers to the question, “what is going to work best for the user?” Whichever product you lean towards, you’re in for a real treat that’ll last you for years of happy travelling.

What's the best 30-40L backpack?

Fjällräven Abisko Hike 35 is a Swedish-designed solution which boasts padded shoulder pads, hip belt and various compression strap options on a lightweight frame. There's a zippered front stow pocket, an expandable side pocket and space for a hydration bladder and an included rain cover. This is the most eco-friendly pack on the list, being constructed from two extremely durable long-life materials comprising of recycled polyester and organic cotton - G-1000® Eco and G-1000® HeavyDuty Eco S.

The Deuter Act Trail Pro 34 is well pocketed and designed to stay stable during larger loads. The stiffened back panel reduces pack distortion and maintains comfort, while the shoulder straps offer adjustment options. The main compartment is accessed via top or side-zip, and the multitude of pockets means that you'll never be without place to stow quick access items. Rain cover included and hydration pack is accepted.

The Berghaus Freeflow 35 is all about airflow. The back is stiffened into a curve, keeping your back clear for ventilation while a suspended trampoline system maintains three points of contact, distributing weight and reducing muscle fatigue. The main compartment can be accessed via the pocketed flex top lid or side zip, and the mesh pocketed hip belt is supportive and offers up two quick access pockets. Rain cover included.

Osprey Kestrel 38

Rrp: $199.00

Price: $179.00

The Osprey Kestrel 38 is the largest pack on this list, and offers a back-airflow trampoline mesh, a top and zip accessed main compartment, pocketed lid and a generous pocket on the hip belt. A hydration bladder is supported and there're two stretch mesh pockets. The pack is extremely comfortable, very well designed and offers compressions straps and shoulder pad adjustment. The Osprey Kyte 36 is the women's version of this pack.

With the Altus 32, Lowe Alpine have focussed on bringing a clutter-free backpack that does what you need. The pack is comprised of a main compartment which has top and side entry, a zip pocket quick access lid pocket and one internal lid pocket, two bottle side pockets and two pockets on the padded hip belt. The shoulder straps can be adjusted to suit the user, and the back panel is trampolined for airflow. Rain cover included. The Altus ND30 is the women's version of this backpack.

The Vaude Brenta is a brilliantly equipped backpack. In addition to the main compartment (which has top and side-zip access) there is a lid zip pocket, front stretch stow pocket (perfect for waterproofs), two stretch side pockets and two attachment loops for trekking pole storage. There's a great airflow across the back, which can be refined with adjustable shoulder straps. Rain cover is included.

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