Best Size Backpack for Camping

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Finding the right size of a backpack for any backpacking trip can be overwhelming and confusing because of the many different types and sizes that are available. It all depends on what you’re going to be using it for and for how long. Camping backpacks are generally a little easier to find than other packs; there are a lot more options.

Because you’re looking for compartment space when it comes to a camping backpack, technical things like suspension straps and the fabric it’s made from aren’t as essential as they would be as if you were going for a month-long hiking trip.

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For size, go by the model: 30-50 Liter backpack for a 1-3 night stay or 50-80 Liter backpack for a 3-5 night or higher stay. You also should consider what all you’re going to be packing, here are some of the bare essential items you might need for a 3-night backpacking camping trip:

camping trip essential items

These items should all be able to fit into your backpack-plus some. There are usually side pockets for any water bottles and containers and then smaller pockets on the front of the hip belt for small items like the pocket knife, matches, and flashlight. Since we’re only talking about a 3-day backpacking trip, you won’t need tons of food or many hygiene products.

Backpack Size

A small-sized backpack or around a 40-liter size is recommended. Smaller is better. Camping will be more of a task than a vacation if you’re lugging around a giant bag and extra unnecessary items that increase your pack weight.

The Kelty Redwing 50 is the best size backpack for your money. If you plan on camping for a week or longer, consider using the Osprey Aether AG 70. It has a bigger compartment on the inside so you can bring more stuff with you. It’s more expensive, but that’s because it holds 70 Liters rather than 50, you’ll need the extra storage space for a longer trip.


Size Weight
Kelty Redwing 50 50 Liters 3 lbs. 11 oz.
Osprey Aether AG 70 70 Liters 5 lbs. 3 oz.

Comfortable Fit

When you go camping, you will want a backpack that fits comfortably but one that is also significantly durable. You may not be using it for much besides storage space for your stuff, or you may be using it regularly through lots of hiking, either way, durability is never a bad thing.

Camping is usually about being able to relax and enjoy the outdoors, so if your mind is preoccupied with how uncomfortable you are, it’s going to be pretty hard to relax. You might even get annoyed by it, so do your research before making a final decision on which backpack to purchase. Both of the packs listed (in the table above) had several customer reviews complementing their comfortable and snug fit.

Good Ventilation

Camping and hiking can be seemingly daunting tasks. You’ll most likely get tired and sweaty due to the exercise, and humidity depending on what type of climate you’re in. It helps to buy clothes, shoes, and a backpack that is well-ventilated. That way, you can stay reasonably comfortable.

The Redwing backpack features a Hex Mesh back panel that keeps your back well-ventilated and cool. Not all camping backpacks out there have this feature, making this one even more desirable.


The Kelty Redwing backpack has a volume of 3100 inᶟ or 50 liters. It’s slightly more significant than it seems in the picture and weighs 3lbs. 11oz. The internal frame is made of light-weight aluminum, which helps lessen the pack weight. The dimensions are 26” x 16” x 12” with a torso fit range of 15.5-21 in.

Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack, BlackIt also has the following features:

  • Ice ax and loops for trekking poles
  • Side compression straps
  • Top and front stash pockets
  • Dual side pockets
  • Water bottle pockets
  • HDPE frame sheet
  • Hex Mesh back panel, shoulder straps, and waist belt
  • Load lifter straps
  • Sternum strap
  • Removable waist belt
  • Reinforcement fabric – Poly 75x150D Tasser Coal
  • Hide-away daisy chain and handle
  • Key fob


The customer reviews on this bag are very favorable. Most people loved how durable the fabric of the bag is and how well it held up through lots of wear and tear; they also complimented comfortable straps.

customer reviews

Check customer reviews on Amazon

It was designed to be a bag for short weekend-type trips and light loads, a customer said that he tried using it with a load of 50 pounds and had to take off weight because the back-support bar was digging into his spine. Although, it can be adjusted to where it’s top-loaded or opened up for more of a front-load, which would help with heavier-weighted loads. Altogether it is a very reliable and durable camping backpack.

In Conclusion

The size of the backpack you want to get for camping all depends on how long you’re planning to spend on your trip and what all items and tools you need to pack. It helps first to make a list of the things you’re bringing and what you want to carry, and then use that to decide what size of backpack you’re going to need.

Typically, for regular camping and weekend trips, a backpack that is 30-50 Liters big is the size you’ll want for one person. The Kelty Redwing 50L is the best bag to get for that size and will last for a long time. Anything more significant than that, you’ll want to Osprey Aether AG 70. The Osprey is better for longer camping trips.

1 Comment
  1. oh perfect timing! We are looking at backpacks for camping/hiking weekends away and didn’t know what size would be best for our son and then for us adults. We want to get away for weekends hiking trips and would love one that our son can wear easily but also have enough room to carry water, clothes, and food along with camping equipment.
    We have a weekend in mind where we want to hike up a National Park area – its not an easy climb as it takes about 3 hours. And we are aware we need to be carry enough water each. Thanks for sharing your Best size Backpack

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