Recently, we received a request to find and review children’s backpack suitable for backpacking adventures. A couple things that we kept in mind during our search was cost, functionality, and similarities to an adult backpack. The problem with a children backpack is outgrowing the backpack in several years, leaving the backpack with minimal use.
It is important to keep in mind the general rule, “never carry more than a quarter of your own weight.” If you are planning to backpack traditionally, with everything but the kitchen sink, your maximum carrying capacity per backpack will roughly be 1 pound per liter (50L pack = 50 lb). Know this is a general rule and depending on the equipment, this can vary greatly.
Over the years, backpacking increasingly has become more lightweight due to the use of goose down and other synthetic materials as insulators, along the use of smaller equipment. This typically results in pack sizes staying the same, but the overall weight decreasing. It will be important to take into consideration the sleeping bag and other equipment a child is going to carry before picking a backpack.
To make the trip as enjoyable as possible for a child, we recommend a child carries no more than 20% of their body weight (100 lb = 20 lb). When searching for a backpack, the following are key features to be on the lookout for:
Internal Support, Hipbelt with Pads and Pockets, Shoulder Cross Strap, Padded upper and lower back support, Water Bladder pouch or Side pockets for bottles, strap to tighten and secure contents.
Here’s a short list of backpacks suitable for children.
Gregory – Wander: 70L, 50L and 38L – $139.00-$190.00
Deuter – Climber: 22L – $69.00
Deuter – Fox: 40L, 30L – $99.00-$109.00
Osprey – Ace: 75L, 50L, 30L – $139.95-$159.95
The North Face – Terra Youth: 55L, 33L – $103.73-$118.99
If you’re looking for a backpack for a Boy Scout trip or other serious backpacking adventures the list above is a great place to start.
If you are looking for a backpack for curious child seeking for an adventure into the woods for the first time with an adult, I recommend the backpack below as a simple solution. This pack has a lot of the same features with a more affordable price point.
Paladineer Backpack: 25L Youth Backpack with soft internal support, water bladder pocket inside, Hip Belt and Hip Pockets, 2 Water Bottle pockets and 2 external pockets.
Average price $30