Kids’ Hiking Backpacks

Getting your child a hiking backpack is a big step and is also an exciting introduction to a larger life, the great outdoors.

What to look for when purchasing a kids’ hiking backpack?

Picking the right pack for your child may be a challenge: sizing; colours; fit; and price all play a roll in making the right decision an epic all-day adventure.

So how do you know what to look for? We are here to help. ROI Recreation Outfitters represents Deuter in Canada. In this article, we are going to teach you what features to look for and suggest some packs for your consideration.

Backpack Features to Look For

A quality backpack will be useful for several years even if your child grows like a weed. It’s a big first purchase and one that will have a lasting influence on your own hiking experiences.

Here are the features to look for and to consider when purchasing a kids’ backpack:

  1. Size: This is where it’s crucial to consider intended use. Are they doing a day trip or an overnighter? For kid’s, we recommend up to 24 liters as a day pack and 40 liters for an overnighter. This should be sufficient for all their needs.
  2. Adjustable straps: Kid’s come in different shapes and sizes, and a lot of them grow quickly, so you will want to be able to adjust the pack accordingly. For larger multi-day (40+ liter) packs, which tend to be more expensive, this is essential. Most packs will have adjustable shoulder straps and waist belts. You’ll want to keep an eye out for adjustable back length as well. This is what you will adjust as your child grows in height. You can see the Deuter Vari-Quick System on the Deuter Fox 40 pictured above.
  3. Back system: This will primarily help with carrying comfort, stability, and ventilation. Deuter uses air channels with durable mesh fabric to achieve this.
  4. Hip belt: This suggestion is especially important for larger overnight packs. Making sure that the pack you intend to purchase for your kid has a sturdy waist belt is critical. When they are carrying a pack filled with all their gear most of the weight of the pack (70%) should be sitting on their hips. If they have a flimsy waist belt this will be an uncomfortable experience. If it has no waist belt at all, the weight will be sitting on their shoulders (via shoulder straps) and will cause neck/ back pain.
  5. Pockets: The pack should have a sufficient amount of pockets to store all their gear.
  6. Hydration system compatibility: A special pocket for the hydration bladder and an entry/exit point for the hose are features to look for.
  7. Weight: You will hear a lot of people say light weight is important. With lighter weight packs sacrifices need to be made. This is often done in back systems which affect comfort. Companies may also use thinner padding on waist belts and shoulder straps. All of these will affect your kid’s comfort and experience while out and about. If the pack weighs a pound more but offers features that make the load carry well the trade-off is worth it.

Packs we suggest

(30-40 Liters, Age 7 and up)
(18- 22 Liters, Age 5 and up)
For the early explorers
(8L, Age 3 and up)


Hopefully, these tips will help you make a more informed decision when purchasing a hiking bag for your kid. As always if you are still uncertain or have any questions please feel free to contact us. We are here to help. Thank you for reading!

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