The best 30-litre backpacks of 2024 for taking into the great outdoors

If you're heading for hills, make sure you've got the best backpack for all your equipment needs.

some of the best 30-litre backpacks in a forest

by William Austin-Lobley |
Updated on

There are quite a lot of specialist features to keep in mind when looking for the best 30-litre backpacks. Apart from making sure you can fit everything you need into it, it'll also need to be comfortable and practical – especially if you're thinking about backpacks to take hiking.

A 30-35 litre backpack is a high-volume 24-hour or low-volume overnight pack. So, it makes an ideal hiking-sized rucksack for those planning to head out for a day-long trek on the trails. As these packs are slightly larger than a standard 20-25 litre daypack, they can offer some extra space for warm or waterproofclothing, food, and water. The extra space will also allow you to accommodate a camping stove.

Best 30-litre backpacks at a glance:

• Best overall 30-litre backpack: Vaude Brenta 30 / Maremma 32 - View on Amazon UK
• Best 30-litre backpack for comfort: Mammut Ducan Spine 28-35 - View on Mammut
• Best 30-litre backpack with zip-top access: Regatta Blackfell III 35 - View on Amazon UK
• Best budget 30-litre backpack: EGOGO 30L Outdoor Cycling Hiking Water-resistant Backpack - View on Amazon UK

These backpacks, or daypacks as they're known, are also great for day-to-day use away from the trail. Therefore, they make great commuter bags with room for work essentials, electronics, and gym kits.

There's our expert guide to the features you’ll need to be familiar with at the bottom of the page to help you choose. After that, it's just a case of checking out which backpack meets your requirements - we've grouped them into useful categories, too. Our top recommendations for the best 30-litre backpacks lie just over the horizon.

Best 30-litre backpacks of 2024

Please note: All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best overall 30-litre backpack

Vaude Brenta 30 / Maremma 32Amazon
Price: $165.99

This is a great general-purpose hillwalking rucksack. The main compartment is top-entry, with a fixed pocketed lid. On the men's Brenta 30 there's a front zip opening, mesh wand pockets on the pack sides, a large front stash pocket (ideal for waterproofs), and quick-release buttons on the compression straps.

The women's Maremma 32 doesn't get the compression straps, wand pockets, and big front stash pocket; but these features are replaced with large side pockets and dedicated trekking pole straps. Both packs incorporate the Aeroflex ventilation system to provide space for plenty of airflow across the back, with the perforated shoulder straps and hip belt also promoting airflow. Raincover is included.

Pros

  • Great features
  • High build quality
  • Strong airflow

Cons

  • None at this price

Best 30-litre backpack for comfort

Mammut Ducan Spine 28-35Mammut

The ultimate in body contouring, the Mammut Ducan is a roll-top backpack. It allows the user to access between 28-35 litres of capacity, and the constructed shape of the pack dictates a more ergonomic and comfortable weight distribution. There are two mesh pockets, two trekking pole holders, and zipped pockets on the hip belt and shoulder straps.

The pack uses Active Spine Technology, a flexible and customisable back system, to evenly distribute a load's weight across the back, hips, and shoulder. This technology allows the body to naturally roll and flex as it walks, and the result is an extremely comfortable hiking experience. Here is the Mammut Ducan Spine 28-35L Backpack for women.

Pros

  • Excellent weight distribution and comfort
  • Great pockets
  • Customisable back length.

Cons

  • For some, the unconventional main compartment will be an issue
  • No waterproof stow pocket.

Best 30-litre backpack for back support

Gregory Zulu 30Alpine Trek

Excellent if you prefer a zipped opening and a supportive back system, the Zulu range is popular for other good reasons too. The 30 and 28-litre versions we've picked here have a zipped closure, rather than the buckle lid seen on the larger variants. The back ventilation is made up of a CrossFlo back system, providing airflow, structural stiffness, and padding for stability and comfort. It comes in two back lengths, and the body has a zipped main opening with a zipped, very large front pocket that's great for maps. The side compression straps are quick-release buckles, and the front pocket and wand pockets are constructed of stretch material. It's very comfortable at heavier weights, handling 14kg loads with ease.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Reliable
  • Well ventilated
  • Rain cover

Cons

  • Limited external pockets
  • Heavier than some

Best 30-litre backpack with zip-top access

Regatta Blackfell III 35Amazon
Price: $93.20

Zip-top fans will find it hard to argue with the features and pricing of this Blackfell II from Regatta. Undeniably affordable and surprisingly light for a 35-litre pack, the Blackfell II has a lot to offer. The body has a main compartment with a zipped opening, while elsewhere, there is an additional zipped pocket, mesh side wand pockets, compressions straps, and crossed bungee cords for quick, loose stowing.

The back system is a trampoline design, with a mesh panel holding the pack away from the body for maximum airflow. There's even a removable rain cover. Sadly, the pack's affordability has meant compromise. There's no women's option or back-length adjustment, and though the small zipped pocket will fit an OS map, this is the only external pocket.

Pros

  • Rugged build for the price
  • Practical and well-balanced
  • Good hip belt
  • Excellent airflow

Cons

  • A little lacking in external pockets and stowing options
  • No dedicated place for a hydration bladder

Best budget 30-litre backpack

This backpack is outstanding value giving hillwalkers, hikers and occasional users all the features they need. First and foremost the price is low for a bag with contours to the back support. The back ventilation system works to promote airflow, and the supportive hip belt is padded and has a very handy zipped pocket. The main compartment is easy to reach, and the pack also carries a front zipped pocket, a pair of side mesh pockets and a sternum strap with quick-release buckles.

It's a unisex design, with no back length adjustment. That said it'll be good for most, and at this price range it delivers a lot of features for the money. The backpack itself is water resistant, but thankfully there's a fully waterproof removable rain cover. A hole for a hydration tube really does show how well thought out this is for a budget backpack.

Pros

  • Rain cover included
  • Ventilated mesh back
  • Padded straps
  • Handy side pockets
  • Hip belt pocket
  • Reflective straps

Cons

  • The internal curved back support means large flat items don't store well

Best multi-use 30-litre backpack

Salomon Trailblazer 30 BackpackAmazon
Price: $124.51

The Trailblazer 30's strength is in its versatility when it comes to being light and adaptable. You can rely on this for a comfortable fit for hiking, cycling or even running. boasts a large main compartment which will carry your essentials plus a few more layers of clothing. The key holder in the zip pocket on the top is a nice touch so that you don't have to go digging in the bag when you get back to the car or home. two stretchable side pockets will hold water bottles to keep you hydrated throughout the day.

There are two more zip pockets on the lumbar belt, which are great for small items like your phone, wallet or snacks. An elasticated sternum strap and hip belt will give you comfort all day. Add to that a 3D mesh back system which is also super comfortable, adapting to your body shape for a superior fit.

Pros

  • Plenty of zip pockets
  • 3D mesh back system
  • Good-sized belt pockets
  • Very adjustable straps for the best fit
  • Multiple uses, including cycling and hiking

Cons

  • No rain cover
  • Only one main compartment means careful packing needed

Best rugged 30-litre backpack

This Highlander is a totally waterproof backpack for those who might find themselves hiking into difficult terrain in tough weather conditions. As a tactical backpack, it'll suit those who like the military aesthetic as well as the seriously high number of storage features on offer. The 600D polyester is rugged enough to take some punishment, and the accompanying ten (yes, ten) zippers are equally sturdy.

A padded back system and adjustable shoulder straps work with the hip belt help to evenly spread the weight, while the side and front compression straps come in very handy for larger items. There are also plenty of places to clip items to it. At 28-litre capacity, this is a little under the 30-litre category, but it more than makes up for this with the added flexibility and utility of all of those storage options.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Rugged material
  • Plenty of storage pockets and straps
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Military design

Cons

  • A little weighty, as you might expect

Best 30-litre backpack for hot weather

Osprey's super-lightweight AirSpeed ventilated trampoline suspended mesh back panel is well noted for keeping your back well ventilated all the while supporting the backpack. There are mesh pockets on the side of the pack, zippered scratch-free sunglasses and electronics pockets and a front shove-it pocket while there is also an internal key attachment clip. There is also an internal hydration sleeve and full routing compatibility for the Hydraulics and Hydraulics LT Reservoir.

A welcome addition here is the integrated, but still detachable, rain cover. This is a simple backpack that does what it does extremely well - plus you can carry it in warm weather without sweat making your back uncomfortable and hot.

Pros

  • Lightweight peripheral frame
  • Internal Hydration sleeve
  • AirSpeed ventilated trampoline suspended mesh back panel
  • Three colours to choose from
  • Compatible with Hydraulics and Hydraulics LT Reservoir

Cons

  • Limited external storage for quick access

Best 30-litre backpack for cyclists

Osprey Escapist 32 RucksackBlacks
Price: £129.00 (was £140.00)

www.blacks.co.uk

This again uses the Osprey AirSpeed as the Hikelite above, but this backpack is built with outdoor adventurers in mind. A Lidlock™ helmet attachment provides an external place to secure a helmet without compromising other important items in your pack. Storage pockets are aplenty on the hip, as compression pockets pack down bulkier items and also a scratch-free pocket for sunglasses or your tech. Internally, organised compartments mean you can carry tools, spares and bicycle pumps. When the weather turns nasty, simply deploy the built-in high-visibility rain cover and keep on going.

Pros

  • Plenty of storage options
  • Great for mountain bikers

Cons

  • Quite wide for hiking

Best 30-litre backpack for shorter backs

Deuter Futura 30Amazon

Rrp: $170.00

Price: $127.50

The Futura is comfortable and stable, particularly for female hikers or those who need a shorter back length. This particular entry in the Futura range has the Aircomfort Sensic back system that allows more ventilation and a closer, more comfortable fit - particularly around the hips, allowing the wearer to carry heavier loads with ease. The body has a main compartment with a zip-out divider so you can create a base compartment with an external zipped entry. You also get side wand pockets with quick-release compression straps, a stretch front stash pocket, and a fixed-buckle lid with external and internal pockets.

It's a slightly heavier bag than some, but that's down to the materials - which feel a little more robust than some lighter packs. It has no back-length adjustment, and there's no snow lock extension to the main compartment either, which means that overstuffing isn't an option. All that said, this is a compact design that still somehow manages to have a full 30-litre capacity.

Pros

  • Great internal and external features
  • Robust
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • A little heavy
  • No snow lock

Pro tip: How to pack a backpack for a hike

The first thing you need to know is that packing for a hike is all about keeping it simple. Layout the kit you think you need. Then go through each item individually and consider its use. In our experience with this process, you can usually reduce load weight by around 20%. If you’re heading out with others, discuss and plan together – there are some items you can share, such as stoves.

Even with the very best 30-litre backpacks, you’re not going to be carrying any tents, let alone a 6-man tent, or sleeping bags. If you need to carry this equipment, you’ll need a backpack with at least a 50-litre capacity.

How to pack a backpack for a hike
©What's The Best

Getting started

When you come to pack the backpack, you need to think about weight and convenience. The bottom of your pack is the place for medium-weight items that you won’t need in a hurry – this is typically where we store our Trangia stove, backup water bottle, and water purifier.

The middle section of the main compartment is where the heavy stuff goes, which if you’re out for a day hike, is going to be your hydration bladder. Therefore, keeping the heavier items close to your back is going to maintain your centre of gravity and help you keep balance.

The outer middle and top are where you’re going to want to keep your light gear. The more likely you are to need something, the closer to the top it goes. Outer-middle is where we keep our lunch, and maybe a fleece and waterproofing depending on the activity and weather. As we get closer to the top, we start to pack our essentials and emergency equipment – snacks, maps, first aid kit, survival bag, phones, and battery packs.

Pockets are relatively freeform for us, holding a mix of snacks, compasses, phones, baseball caps, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

If you're going on a slightly longer hiking trip, a 55-65 litre rucksack may be the better option for you. When you’re choosing your pack it's worth considering how you will be packing your equipment and supplies.

Best 30-litre backpacks: Buyer’s guide

Pockets

You’ll need at least one external zipped pocket – they’re useful for guidebooks, maps, and hiking gadgets, like GPS receivers, safe. Zipless stretch pockets are now a common feature, often being placed on the front of a rucksack and being used for stowing waterproof jackets and trousers between downpours. Hipbelts, other than offering support, can also provide extra pocket real estate which is ideal for storing snacks, smartphones, or sunglasses. Lid pockets are also a handy addition to any pack, offering up space for sunglasses, sun cream, guidebooks, and other such items.

Wand Pockets

These little pockets are commonly made of mesh or stretching fabric – they’re multipurpose, serving as a place to store trekking poles or water bottles.

Main Compartment Entry

Main compartment entry typically comes in two forms – a lid with buckles, or a zipped closer. Everyone has their preference. Lids are flexible, offering users the ability to overstuff their pack, and often have handy zipped pockets for some extra storage (plus, there's no zip to snag or break, and buckles are easily replaced). Zips are secure, simplify the back's design and help keep the pack's weight down.

Snow Lock Extension

Under a lid entry, and attached to the main compartment, this extension material offers up some extra protection. The drawcord closure allows the main compartment, and therefore your stored kit, to be sealed off separately from the lid.

Hip-belt

The hip belt is one of the most important aspects of the best 30-litre backpacks. Correctly adjusted, the hip belt will carry most of a pack's weight and stability, while significantly improving the wearer’s posture. Backache and shoulder strain is reduced to a minimum, and the belt often provides some extra pockets. Just make sure the hip belt is wide and has some nice padding to get the most comfortable experience possible.

Ventilated Back System

Sweat is the enemy – it keeps you cool, but it sure makes things uncomfortable. So, as you may expect, if not addressed it can lead to painful chafing. To help reduce perspiration, rucksacks will often employ mesh panelling and backpack sculpting to hold the pack away from the body, thus increasing airflow to the back and reducing moisture build-up. It’s a simple solution that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Compression Straps

Found on the side panels of some rucksacks, these straps help to compress the body of a rucksack to stabilise the load by keeping everything tight and compact. Thus, sway and pack movement are reduced, resulting in a more comfortable and less tiring hiking experience. Plus, they can double as extra stash points, keeping trekking poles, fleeces, or waterproofs close to hand.

Shoulder Straps

Shoulder straps, contrary to popular belief, are not their take-all of a pack's weight. They take some of the weight, but they’re largely there to hold and stabilise a pack's position. The best 30-litre backpacks should sit on your back, not hang from your shoulders – correct hip belt, sternum, and shoulder strap adjustment ensure that this is the case. Shoulder straps need to be carefully contoured and padded to make them comfortable.

Hydration Pockets

If you prefer to use a hydration bladder and hose rather than a traditional water bottle on your hikes, look for a pack with a hydration pocket. They’ll have a connection inside to keep the bladder upright, and the correct ports for getting the hose out of the bag properly.

A Backpack Buyer’s Guide

Best 30-litre backpacks: Frequently asked questions

Which is the best 30-litre backpack?

It's a tough call, as it all depends on your needs. Having said that, we'd happily pick up the Vaude Brenta 30 / Maremma 32. It's a versatile and quality pack that won't break the bank; plus it'll keep you cool and comfortable whether you're strolling through fields or over fells.

For those on a tight budget, or who are new to hiking and are reluctant to make an expensive commitment, theRegatta Blackfell II is the go-to. It's a good size, and it has all the basic features any newcomer could ever need. Either of these certainly fit the bill as some of the best 30-litre backpacks you can buy.

How much can I fit into a 30-litre backpack?

Well, this all depends on what you want to take with you of course. Although not everyone who buys one will be hiking in the wilderness, it still pays to be realistic about what you need to take with you. To start follow our packing guide above. Items like a foldable compact camping chair and essentials like food and a stove will be fine. Not to mention clothes to handle rough weather, such as Gore-Tex waterproof trousers. But you won't be packing in any camping beds or sleeping bags or tents into a backpack of this size.

William Lobley is the Editor for What's The Best. Here, he oversees, curates and researches listicles and reviews as many products as his home office can handle.

He has spent nearly five years writing about tech, audio, outdoors and fitness and has reviewed everything from smartphones to ice baths. In addition, he's well-versed in sniffing out the best deals and savings the internet offers.

When not at his desk writing, reviewing or deal-hunting, he'll be relaxing with Japanese crime novels, bingeing some classic anime, strolling the countryside or at the gym listening to the heaviest metal Spotify has to offer.

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