Backpack Guide Part Α’ 10 – 30 L

by Nikos Mitsakis

Why buy a hiking backpack?

A 10-30 liter hiking backpack is a must for any nature lover who wants to escape for a few days trips. The contrast to classic backpacks is specially designed to safely and comfortably carry the equipment and food you need for your expedition. It may have a separate pouch for a water bottle or water bag as well as straps to add your gear.

What should you look for when buying a 10-30 liter hiking backpack?


Mountaineering backpacks come in a variety of capacities, from 10 to 90+ liters. For short-day trips, a 20-30 liter backpack is the ideal choice. It will hold the necessary clothing, food, equipment and personal belongings for 2-3 days. For one-day trips, a backpack of up to 20 liters is always enough depending on the season, the type of activity we will do, and what kind of equipment we will carry. For example, if it is winter and we are carrying a thick jacket, crampons, ice ax and rope in our backpack, we will definitely need a bigger backpack than if we were going on a one-day hike to the refuge.


Generally, mountaineering backpacks come in various configurations, such as hard back, soft back, or a combination of hard and soft back. The best choice for you will depend on your personal preferences and the type of hiking you will be doing. The soft back is lighter but the hard back provides better support.


Mountaineering backpacks have several features that make it easier to carry your gear. These include external pole or ice ax pockets, straps for ice skates or crampons, and adjustable shoulder and waist straps to distribute weight evenly.


Mountaineering backpacks are made from a variety of materials, including nylon, polyester, and waterproof polyester. The material of your backpack should be wear and water resistant. If its material is not waterproof be sure to get a waterproof cover in case it is not built into the backpack.

How to choose the right size?

The right backpack size is one that allows you to wear it comfortably and maintain your balance during your hike. Sizes are usually divided into XS/S, M/L, L/XL. To choose the right size, follow these steps:
  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart.
  2. Put the backpack on the back and pull the waist and shoulder straps tight.
  3. Do a few movements, such as bending down or standing up, to see if the backpack is comfortable and fits the body well. You should feel that it hugs you evenly.
  4. If the waist strap does not rest firmly on the waist, the backpack is too big. If the waist strap is too tight, the backpack is too small.

A few popular hiking backpacks 10-30 L

Osprey Daylite Daypack 13L

Osprey Hikelite 18L

Osprey Daylite Plus 20L

Osprey Escapist 20L

Osprey Mutant 22L

Osprey Escapist 25L

Osprey Hikelite 26L

Osprey Talon 26L

Osprey Escapist 30L

Lowe Alpine Klettersack 30L Daypack

Osprey Hikelite 32L

Black Diamond Speed Zip 33L

Additional advice

  • Don't forget to try the backpack before you buy it. Put it on your back and walk around a bit to see if it's comfortable.
  • If you plan to hike in mountains or rough terrain, choose a backpack with good lumbar support.
  • Don't forget to add weight to the backpack when testing it to see if it's comfortable with a load.


There are a number of different hiking backpacks out there, each specifically designed to accommodate your individual needs. Make sure you know what kind of hike you are going to do, what kind of terrain and weather, what kind of equipment you will be carrying, and most importantly try on different backpacks to see which one fits you the best. Considering backpacks are one of the most important pieces of equipment, make sure your buy one that minimizes back and shoulder pains, so price should be considered second.