Anytime the family goes out and does something, it never fails that the kids want to do what the adults are doing. Camping and hiking are no different. If mom and dad are both carrying a backpack on a family hike, then the kids will want their own backpacks too. Kids hiking backpacks are made exactly for this.
Many of the big camping equipment makers also carry miniature versions of their best selling gear that are made just for kids. Most have a large central compartment that can carry some clothing or some lighter pieces of camping gear. Each will also have an assortment of smaller pockets that are perfect for a water bottle, flashlight or any other compact items. Chances are, these backpacks will hold more than any kid would want to carry. When you buy a hiking backpack for kids, stick with well-known brands. Kids can be tough on gear. You want to make sure that you get your money’s worth out of any backpack you buy.
Here are some of my top picks for a kid’s hiking backpack:
Deuter Junior Backpack
This bag is made out of a microrip nylon and polytex material that is rip resistant and will hold up to some abuse. Is it small enough for a 7-12 year old to use, but large enough to serve as a day pack for an adult. The top of the main pocket on the bag closes with adjustable straps, so you can really pack it full if you need to. At $36.99 on Amazon, this backpack is a steal of a deal.
Mountainsmith Youth Scout Backpack
For a “real” hiking backpack, check out this bag from Mountainsmith. With 3,356 cubic inches of space inside, you can fit everything you need for a backpacking trip into the back county. This backpack is made to grow with your child. All of the strap adjust to fit most kids from 8 to 18. It may be overkill for a family camping trip to the lake, but if you need to carry all of your gear on your back, then this is the bag for you. It is currently listed for $102.36 on Amazon.
REI Comet Pack
The Comet Pack from REI is a mix between the first two bags mentioned above. With a volume of 2,250 cubic inches, your child will still have plenty of room to pack all of his gear. One neat feature of this bag is that it is made for a hydration pack. This bag is made to fit kids from 6 to 10 years old. You can get it directly from REI for $89.50.