A hiking backpack is probably the first piece of gear one starts searching for after getting bit by the hiking bug. No wonder, it’s also the most important one after the rather obvious pieces of clothing and boots. The reasoning is quite simple too: no matter how much effort and money you put into your hiking gear it’s no good unless you have an appropriate backpack to carry them in.

Considering this huge responsibility it makes sense to invest in a backpack that you can trust. But can you get quality if you are operating on a tight budget? Yes you can!

Best Cheap Hiking Backpacks Comparison Table

  Capacity (liters)Height (and adjustability)RatingPrice
High Sierra Appalachian 75High Sierra Appalachian 75 Backpacking Pack7534", adjustable for 15"-20" torso$129.99
Mountaintop 75-80LMountaintop 75L-80L Internal Frame Backpack8033", adjustable in 1-8 steps (exact torso measurements unknown)Out of stock
TETON Sports Fox 5200TETON Sports Fox 5200 Internal Frame Backpack75+1034", adjustable for 15.5" - 23" torso$84.99
TETON Sports Hiker 3700TETON Sports Hiker 3700 Ultralight Internal Frame Backpack6033", adjustable for 16" - 21.5" torso
TETON Sports Explorer 4000TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack6532", adjustable for 19" - 23" torso$74.37
TETON Sports Scout 3400TETON Sports Scout 3400 Hiking Backpack5530", adjustable for 15" - 19.5" torso$59.99
AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking BackpackAmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack with Rainfly55/65/75Model dependant$54.99
WASING 55L Internal Frame BackpackWASING 55L With Rain Cover5527", adjustable$49.99
TETON Sports Oasis 1100TETON Sports Oasis 11001818.5"$38.99
OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50LOutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L5023", adjustable$36.99

Hiking Backpack Buyers Guide - Look For These

Before you put on your buying pants it’s wise to find out what you should be looking for. If you have already thought about your criteria for a backpack you can skip this part.

Price

Given that you are reading an article about hiking backpacks that cost no more than 100 dollars, this is quite obvious. But then again, even within this range there is a lot of variety. Generally speaking you want to stay away from the cheapest alternatives (unless you find a great sale), this will save you from a lot of headache in the future. In this case we should probably say backache, though.

Fit

This is ultimately the single most important factor you have to consider, as hiking with improperly sized backpack can be extremely wearing for your back. Most manufacturers will provide good guidelines for proper sizing, but if you are still uncertain your safest bet would be getting an adjustable backpack.

Measure your back from your shoulder line to the top of your hip.

  • Small: 16”-17+”
  • Medium: 18”-19+”
  • Large: 20+”

Size, Capacity & Weight

Ultimately the optimal size of your backpack depends on what kind of hikes you are planning to use it on. The longer the hike the more equipment you’ll likely need to be carrying. It also depends on the season: winter and cold seasons in general require more volume as the gear will also be bigger (tents, sleeping bags, clothes etc). You will probably get a good hunch of the volumes after you browse your options for a while.

Generally speaking weight is something you just have to deal with when shopping on a tight budget, but we managed to fit in a few lighter alternatives too. Backpacks sized like our picks with ultralight materials will lighten your wallet A LOT more, and the benefit is minimal. You are not going on a hike with an empty backpack anyways.

  • Dayback: 0-1 nights, 20-30L
  • Weekend: 1-3 nights, 30-50L
  • Multiday: 3-5 nights, 50-80L
  • Extended: 5+ nights, 70+L

Frame

As a rule of thumb you don’t need to put too much focus on the frame unless you are planning to carry heavy weights with you. Most of the backpacks we listed have internal-frames, which are optimal for most hikes. External-frames are usually only used with heavy loads and frameless backpacks are those who are looking for an ultralight experience and have no need for proper load-support on their back.

Design

Having a general idea of what you’d like to fit in your backpack will help with picking the properly designed one for you.

Features & Accessories

Once you start browsing through different options you will quickly notice that there are LOTS of different features to choose from.

Waterproofing and proper ventilation via hydration ports to help with back sweating are also features that are found from most hiking backpacks.

Pockets & Pouches

Even though you don’t really NEED anything else than a properly sized main compartment, most hikers will enjoy the accessibility that additional pockets will provide. They range from hip belt pockets (for stuff you need often like your phone) and front mesh pockets (for airing out wet socks for example) to all kinds of side pockets.

Straps & Belts

A hip belt is an absolute necessity if you are planning to carry any noticeable weight for long trails. It will reduce a lot of strain from your shoulders and back by holding some of the load on your hips. It’s also a feature found on pretty much all hiking backpacks on the market worth considering.

Shoulder straps are something you won’t have to worry about as quite naturally we would not recommend you a hiking backpack without comfortable shoulder straps. Other additional straps like the sternum strap (the one on your chest that connects the shoulder straps together) are not necessities but something you might want to keep an eye on depending on your criteria.

 

Best Hiking Backpacks Under $100 - Our 10 Quick Reviews

Sierra Appalachian 75 Review

High Sierra Appalachian 75 Backpacking Pack
  • 34" x 14.25" x 10.25" / 75L / 5.8 lbs
  • Adjustable top lid
  • Drop-bottom sleeping bag compartment with divider
  • Front access to the main compartment
  • Dual contoured aluminum frame
  • Keeps your back dry - molded foam back panel with airflow channels
  • All the straps, load-lifters and stabilization features you can imagine
  • Water bladder compartment

Excellent durable materials (even the zippers!)
Extremely adjustable
Great air ventilation at back
Water resistant and an additional rain cover
Takes a few hikes to fit perfectly
No front webbing
5
Summary
An excellent, versatile and huge hiking backpack with incredible features and well-thought design.

Mountaintop 75L-80L Review

Mountaintop 75L-80L Internal Frame Backpack
  • 32.7" x 13" x 11.4" / 80L / 4.4 lbs
  • Six compression straps for additional gear
  • Water bladder sleeve with hydration access
  • Adjustable in 8 steps, frame goes from small to large
  • Latching loop (front webbing)
  • Bottom compartment with divider for sleeping bag
  • Side mesh pockets, suitable to be used as a water holster for example

Build-in raincover included
Incredibly adjustable for maximum comfort and minimized fatigue
All the extras (hip belt pocket/side pockets/hydration access etc) are functionally designed
Gets clumsy if you have anything heavy at the top lid
Hip straps are too big for extra small people
5
Summary
Super comfortable hiking backpack with unbeatable value for money.

TETON Sports Fox 5200 Review

TETON Sports Fox 5200 Internal Frame Backpack
  • 34" x 16" x 13" / 75+10L / 5.5 lbs
  • Top & bottom compression straps for additional carry
  • Sleeping bag compartment at bottom
  • Bright yellow water-resistant rainfly
  • Open-cell foam and molded channels provide comfort and ventilation
  • Plenty of functional compression straps
  • Fully adjustable torso and waist belt

Top is detachable to be used as a daypack
Plenty of space
Big sleeping bag compartment
TETON has excellent customer support (applies to all their products)
Water-repellent instead of fully waterproof (but the rainfly is)
Raincover is too small if you have any gear attached to the backpack
Zippers and clips feel weak (especially the sternum strap)
3.5
Summary
Good adjustable backpack with a lot of adjustable straps.

TETON Sports Hiker 3700 Review

TETON Sports Hiker 3700 Ultralight Internal Frame Backpack
  • 33" x 15.5" x 12.5" / 60L / 4 lbs
  • Lightweight
  • Multi-position torso adjustments
  • Molded channels for air circulation at back
  • 7 pockets, 2 pouches, compression straps
  • Sleeping bag compartment
  • Lumbar support

Ultralight for the size and price
Can fit a 3L water bladder easily
Built-in fainfly
Very adjustable
Sleeping bag compartment is a bit cramped
Side pockets open from bottom to up (stuff tends to fall off when you open them while the backpack is standing)
The included raincover seems more water-repellent than waterproof – depends on your standards
4.5
Summary
A great option for those who want a bit lighter backpack.

TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Review

TETON Sports Explorer 4000 Internal Frame Backpack
  • 32" x 18" x 12" / 65L / 5 lbs
  • Multi-position torso adjustments
  • Pass through side pockets for tent poles and such
  • Hydration system built-in (bladder not included)
  • Sleeping bag compartment
  • Multi-directional compression straps
  • Multiple side pockets and pouches

Suits pretty much all body types
Enormous amount of pockets and pouches (both visible and hidden)
The overall quality does not fall short of even more expensive models
All the straps you need
Not at its best with exceptionally heavy loads
Main compartment could be a little wider
4
Summary
Explorer 4000 is a serious contestant for those who need a lot of side pockets.

TETON Sports Scout 3400 Review

TETON Sports Scout 3400
  • 30" x 17" x 12" / 55L / 4.5 lbs
  • Multi-position torso adjustments
  • Hydration system built-in (bladder not included)
  • Sleeping bag compartment
  • Multi-directional compression straps
  • Multiple side pockets and pouches

Front webbing and mesh pocket
Beginning to sound like a broken record but… extremely adjustable
Sturdy design
Sleeping bag compartment could be bigger
Side pockets become hard to fill when the main compartment is fully packed
Zippers seem relatively weak
The mesh pocket on the front could a lot looser
4
Summary
TETON Sports Scout 3400 is a lot like the Explorer 4000, only a bit smaller.

AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack Review

AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack
  • 3 different sizes: 55/65/75L
  • Large sleeping-bag compartment
  • Adjustable straps & compression straps for extra carry
  • Open-cell foam lumbar pad and molded channels for lower-back support and airflow
  • Material: durable polyester
  • Multiple side pockets

Comes with two rainflies: one for light and one for heavy rain
The simplistic design is not only suited for hiking but also for travelling
Easy adjustability
Not ideal for extremely heavy loads for two reasons:
Carry weight distributes unevenly
Shoulder straps loosen under heavy weight
No front webbing or mesh pockets
3.5
Summary
We didn’t expect much but the AmazonBasics hiking backpack surprised us all! Superior bang for your buck. Not recommended for heavy loads however.

WASING 55L Review

WASING 55L Internal Frame Hiking Backpack
  • 27.1" x 12.5" x 9.8 / 55L / 2.8 lbs
  • Material: water resistant rip-stop polyester
  • Molded foam back panel for ventilation
  • Adjustable aluminum frame bar
  • Water bladder sleeve
  • Hip belt pocket and additional pouches
  • Lot of options for extra carry

Lightweight for the size
Hip belt is very comfortable and has a pocket
Flexible sternum strap that even has an integrated loud whistle for emergencies
Sturdy buckles
The hip pocket could be a bit bigger
Quality of the zippers seem to vary
Not recommended for heavy users
4.5
Summary
All in all the Wasing 55L hiking backpack is up to par with our other picks. Good, solid piece of gear which is perfect for the occasional hiker.

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Review

TETON Sports Oasis 1100
  • 18.5" x 10" x 7" / 18L / 2 lbs
  • 2L water bladder included
  • 4 zipper pockets (including the one for the water bladder)
  • Bungee cord system for bike helmet
  • Front webbing
  • Comfort-taped shoulder straps
  • Raincover

Water bladder has 2-inch mouth which is enough to fill it with ice cubes
The straps can be adjusted even for taller people
The hydration bladder doesn’t seem to be the most durable
It also needs a few washes to get rid of the plastic taste
4
Summary
Overall a great cheap backpack not only for hiking but for sports in general. We recommend that you get another water bladder for it, though.

OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L Review

OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack 50L
  • 23" x 15" x 8.6" / 50L / 2.4 lbs
  • Breathable mesh for back sweat reduction
  • Waterproof rain cover included
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps
  • Plenty of pockets and pouches
  • External attachment points for additional gear

Lots of loops for external gear attachment
Water bladder pocket
Comes with a rain cover
Zippers aren’t the most durable
No top lid for easy access
Could be lighter
The price is reflected on the durability
3.5
Summary
Good allround budget backpack for multiple purposes. Either as a hiking daypack or for travel, school, work… you name it.