Best 30-35 litre backpacks reviewed

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

Best 30-35 litre backpacks reviewed

by William Lobley |

If you’re looking for a 30-35 litre backpack, you’ve found the right place. We’ve tested and reviewed some of the most popular solutions in the market. Check out our findings below to see how offerings from the likes of Regatta, Low Alpine, Vaude, and Highlander, fared.

What’s a 30-litre backpack for?

There are a lot of specialist features to bear in mind when looking for the right 30 litre backpack. We’ve included a guide to the features you’ll need to be familiar with at the bottom of this page. After that, it's just a case of checking out which backpack meets your requirements.

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

Related: The best camping chairs

These packs are also great for day-to-day use away from the trails, as they make great commuter bags, with room for work essentials, electronics, and gym kits.

Pro tip: 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. Check out the packing guide at the bottom of the page for some quick tips.

Here are our recommendations for the best 30-35 litre backpacks:

Jump to best 30 litre backpacks:

The best 30 litre backpacks in detail

Vaude Brenta 30 / Maremma 32

Best for general-purpose hillwalking
Vaude Brenta 30 / Maremma 32
Amazon

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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, and strong airflow | Cons: None at this price.

Specifications
Capacity 30 litres (Brenta) / 32 litres (Maremma)
Back size One size, adjustable on both
Weight 1108g (men’s)

Mammut Ducan Spine 28-35 (Women's pack)

Best for comfort and contoured fit
Mammut Ducan Spine 28-35

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The ultimate in body contouring. The Mammut Ducan is a roll-top backpack, allowing 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 natural 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 men.

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.

Specifications
Capacity 28-32 litres
Back size One size
Weight One size

Gregory Zulu 30 / Jade 28

Best for supportive back system
Gregory Zulu 30 / Jade 28
Amazon

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Excellent if you prefer a zipped opening and a supportive back system. The Zulu and Jade range is popular for good reason, and 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 both airflow, structural stiffness, and padding for stability and comfort. Both the men's and women's styles come 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 a stretch material. It's very comfortable at heavier weights, handling 14kg loads with ease.

Pros Comfortable, reliable, and well ventilated.

Cons No raincover, limited external pockets, and heavier than other models.

Specifications
Capacity 30 litres (men’s Zulu) 28 litres (women’s Jade)
Back size M and L (men’s Zulu) S and M (women’s Jade)
Weight 1257g (men’s M)

Regatta Blackfell II 35

Best for zip-top access
Regatta Blackfell II 35
Amazon

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Zip-top fans will find it hard to argue with the features and pricing. 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 raincover. 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. The Regatta Blackfell II has now been replaced by the Regatta Blackfell III. The Blackfell II is available in larger sizes.

Pros Affordable, and covers the basics.

Cons Heavy, and severely lacking in external pockets and stowing options.

Specifications
Capacity 35 litres
Back size One size
Weight 1235g

Highlander Rocky 35+5

Best for value
Highlander Rocky 35+5
Amazon

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Outstanding value giving hillwalkers all the features they need. First and foremost u2013 the price is low and the capacity high. The back ventilation system works to promoting airflow, and the supportive hip-belt is capable of easing even the heaviest of loads. The main compartment is topped by a convention lid, and the pack also carries a front zipped pocket, a pair of zipped side pockets and compression straps with quick-release buckles that work well with the mesh wand pockets. It's a unisex design, offering no women's specific pack and no back length adjustment u2013 so, while it'll be okay for most, some will find the pack's fit to be wanting. The shoulder straps are less contoured than other options here listed, the overall weight is a little high (though it is one of the bigger packs reviewed and does carry a removable raincover).

Pros High-capacity, affordable, great hip-belt.

Cons No contouring and a heavy weight.

Specifications
Capacity 35-40 litres
Back size One size (unisex)
Weight 1413g

Lowe Alpine AEON 35 / AEON ND33

Best lightweight option for hillwalking
Lowe Alpine Aeon 22

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Light and ideal for hillwalking (with careful packing). Lowe Alpine's AEON pack manages to be both lightweight, and larger than much of its competition. It fits nicely too, with stiffened cutaways, mesh trampolining, and adjustable shoulder straps working to hug the pack snuggly to the body. The main compartment is simple, with a single buckle holding the pocketed lid in place. The side compression straps and mesh wand pockets work well and there is a large, side zipped mesh front stash pocket for quick-access items. However, the close-fit comes at a cost u2013 there's limited airflow across the back and the soft walls of the main compartment require precise packing to prevent contents from poking the wearer. Heavy packers, look elsewhere.

Pros Lightweight and tight-to-body fit.

Cons Poor airflow, and careful packing needed.

Specifications
Capacity 35 litres (men’s Aeon) 33 litres (women’s Aeon ND33)
Back size M-L, L-XL (men’s) One size (women’s)
Weight 912g (men’s M-L)

Vango Ozone 30

Best for features
Vango Ozone 30

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A lightweight pack for the quick-footed. Vango's lightweight Ozone pack is a well-featured pack. The 6mm aluminium frame and well-padded hipbelt helps to evenly spread a load's weight, while the X-Air back system keeps air flowing across the back. The main compartment is accessed via the pocketed bucket lid, and the front of the pack carries a large storage pocket, ideal for waterproof stowing. There are two large mesh pockets on the sides, and walking pole storage. The contoured shoulder straps are welcome, though greater padding is missed during the heaviest loads.

Pros Lightweight, pleasant weight distribution and well-ventilated.

Cons Some padding is missed from the shoulder straps.

Specifications
Capacity 30 litres
Back size One size
Weight 980g

Osprey Porter 30L Travel Rucksack

Best carry-on for travelling
Osprey Porter 30L Travel Rucksack

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The ideal backpack for plane travel. This backpack from one of the leading backpacking brands, Osprey, is perfect for travelling as it can be used as a carry-on bag for most airlines. If you are looking for a good travel pack that will save you extra costs on hold baggage, then this 30L bag will work nicely. Crafted with a 420HD Nylon Packcloth fabric for sturdiness, this pack has lots of storage space for a short trip away. If this isn't enough for you, the pack can be clipped together with the Daylite series backpack for some extra space so you can keep all your baggage attached. It can be easily placed into the overhead compartment when you tighten the StaightJacket compression straps and stow your harness and hipbelt in the back panel to keep everything in place when in transit. The Osprey Porter also contains a dedicated zippered laptop and tablet pocket and practical storage options for items. Additionally, the internal and external pockets are padded to protect your valuables. The best part is that it opens much like a suitcase so you can access all your belongings quickly without pulling everything out.

Pros Carry-on size, easy access to items and compatible with Daylite, Daylite Plus & Daylite Travel

Cons Laptop sleeve is not padded, and straps are not as comfortable as the Osprey Farpoint backpack.

Specifications
Capacity 30 litres
Back size One size
Weight 1.28kg

Osprey Stratos 34 / Sirrus 36

Best for extra support
Osprey Stratos 26 and Sirrus 26
Amazon

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Great pack, but lighter and lower-priced packs offer most of what many hillwalkers will need. Osprey's Stratos and Sirrus are very comfortable - the Airspeed back venting system provides extensive meshing, helping to support even the lowest parts of the back. In addition to the main compartment, you have access to a zipped top pocket, front pocket, and base compartment, plus a zipped pocket for a raincover. There are mesh wand pockets and quick-release compression straps, too. The stiff and supportive construction, heavy-duty material, and extensive zipping does increase the weight of the bag u2013 if you feel you need these features, then this is a great pack.

Pros Well featured with excellent back support.

Cons Loads of zips and a heavy weight.

Specifications
Capacity 34 litres (men’s Stratos) 36 litres (women’s Sirrus)
Back size adjustable SM and ML (men’s) adjustable SM (women’s)
Weight 1426g (men’s ML)

Deuter Futura 30 / Futura 28SL

Best for carrying heavier loads
Deuter Futura 30 / Futura 28SL

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The Futura is comfortable and stable. This particular entry in the Futura range has the Aircomfort Sensic back system that allows more ventilation and a closer, more comfortable fit u2013 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 heavy bag, though the materials 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, means that overstuffing isn't an option.

Pros Great internal and external features, robust and comfortable.

Cons Heavy, and no snow lock.

Specifications
Capacity 30 litres (men’s Futura) 28 litres (women’s Futura SL28)
Back size One size adjustable (men’s) One size (women’s)
Weight 1507g (men’s)

Fell-runners, take only what you need. The Fast Hike 32 is a unique pack, allowing the user to strip out the compression straps and backpack when the weight needs to be lowered. The pack is constructed with 100D Robic Alkex material, which is strong, thin, and lightweight. The backpack incorporates a breathable honeycomb mesh to keep sweat to a minimum, and while it isn't as effective as a trampoline system, it is comfortable and keeps the load close to the back. A handy little feature is the shoulder strap mesh pockets, which are perfect for phones, rehydration gels, and small bladders. Though the minimalism will appeal to some, barebones construction requires thoughtful packing to avoid discomfort. This pack isn't ideal for most hikes, but will appeal to some circumstances.

Which is the best 30-35 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, and 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, the Regatta Blackfell II is the go-to - it's a good size, and it has all the basic features any newcomer could ever need.

A Backpack Buyer’s Guide

A Backpack 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.

Related: Best Gore-Tex waterproof trousers

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 of separately from the lid.

Hip-belt

The hip-belt is one of the most important aspects of a backpack. 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.

Related: The best 6-man tents for camping in the UK

Ventilated Back System

Sweat is the enemy – it keeps you cool, but it sure makes things uncomfortable, and when not addressed, leads to painful chafing. To help reduce perspiration, rucksacks will often employ mesh paneling 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 – this reduces sway and pack movement, 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. A backpack 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.

Related: The best camping beds

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 be around 20%. If you’re heading out with others, discuss and plan together – there are some items that you will be able to share, such as stoves.

With a 30-35 litre backpack, you’re not going to be carrying tents and 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

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. Keeping the heavier items close into 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 up 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.

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William Lobley is a Content Writer and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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