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Whether a casual hiker or a more seasoned one, having a good backpack should be a priority. Being able to comfortably carry essentials such as water for hydration, a waterproof jacket in case of weather changes, perhaps a tent if planning to be out for an overnight trip, maps etc. is important to ensure your safety while out hiking.A 40L hiking backpack is a good capacity for most hikers, it will allow you to fit in all the essentials without being so big that you start throwing in unnecessary items simply because you have the space to.

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But what should you look for when thinking about purchasing a 40L hiking backpack? Here are some important suggestions:


Depending on the length of your hike, you’re at least going to have this backpack on for a few hours, so comfort is key. Look for good shoulder and back padding for comfort, a lot of backpacks also come with hip belts, which are ideal for taking the strain off your back and legs and helping to more evenly distribute the weight of your backpack. Some also have straps that go across your chest to further aid with weight distribution. 


As mentioned above, you are likely to be wearing this for an extended period of time. You, therefore, want to look for something as lightweight as possible! The last thing you want is a backpack that is heavy before you have even put any of your belongings inside it!


While you want lightweight, you also want sturdy. This backpack is likely to be carrying a decent weight and also likely to be getting thrown down onto hard, rocky surfaces. Waterproof fabrics would also be a plus, however, a lot of backpacks do come with rain covers. Mesh ventilation on the back of the rucksack can also aid with comfort.


You don’t necessarily need to break the bank in order to purchase a backpack. However, if you are a regular hiker and you know you will get good use out of your backpack, it may be worthwhile going for one more high-quality. While pricier initially, it will last for many years and you will more than get your money’s worth out of it! 

There are many well-known backpack brands such as Osprey, Mountain Warehouse, and Nodland. They offer varying price ranges and varying designs and features with their backpacks.

Below are 8 of the best 40l capacity backpacks currently on the market. Most of these are unisex and easily adjustable to suit a variety of people of all different shapes and sizes.

MOUNTAINTOP 40L Hiking Backpack

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This is a fantastically priced unisex backpack at £46.98. It also comes in a wide variety of colours to suit every hiker. This rucksack is water-resistant and also comes with a rain cover for added protection. As well as the big main compartment, this backpack also has two front pockets, two side pockets, a bottom pocket and a hidden pocket, so all your hiking necessities can be safely stored in individual compartments. This backpack is great for comfort with its padded shoulder straps and chest and hip straps, to aid pressure relief on the shoulders and help with weight distribution. It also features an airflow channel back panel, ensuring no sweaty back when wearing this backpack!

POKARLA 40L Lightweight Packable

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This is a budget buy at only £22.99 and with a variety of colours and patterns! This is an extremely lightweight option, weighing only 0.9 pounds. It also has mesh shoulder pads to aid with breath-ability as well as a chest clip for weight distribution. It is made from lightweight rain-proof nylon and has enhanced bar racks at necessary points to ensure the strength of the backpack. There are also two side pockets that could be useful for water bottles or a GPS system to ensure easy access. The reflective strips are also a great feature.

Osprey Farpoint 40 Outdoor & Trekking Rucksack

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This is a bit more pricey at £84.44, available in either black or red. Osprey is a very well known, highly reputable brand. This backpack again features padded shoulder straps and chest and hip straps for added stability. It has a mesh back panel for breath-ability as well as mesh on the hip belt, which aids to prevent chafing when carrying heavier loads. This bag uses sliders to access the main compartment and these can be locked if you desire to create an added element of protection for your belongings when hiking.

NODLAND Light Weight Backpack

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This is another reasonably priced option at £33.99, also in a variety of colours. This too has breathable mesh padded shoulder straps and an adjustable chest strap. It has multiple compartments, meaning different things can be stored separately, making it much easier to find all your different belongings! It is made from strong rip free nylon and is reinforced at common stress points to ensure durability.

Mountain Warehouse Highland 40L Rucksack

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This is priced at £47.99. This has been designed with a mesh airflow back to ensure ventilation. One different feature of this backpack is that it features a compartment specifically for a hydration system and we all know how important it is to keep hydrated when out hiking! This backpack also has an all-important chest strap for weight distribution. A rain cover is included with this backpack for additional protection against the elements. This backpack also has bungee cords which can be useful for securing items such as hiking poles, flashlights and bottles.

Deuter Unisex Futura Pro 40 Hiking Backpack

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This is priced at £138.08-£153.22. This is a very well-known and established brand, however, known for their high-quality products. They are a very environmentally conscious brand and also a brand very interested in ensuring fair conditions during the production and trade of their products. The bag itself has movable shoulder straps and hip supports to best ensure comfortable, even, weight distribution. It’s well ventilated for comfort also. It too features a hydration system compartment, though the actual hydration bladder does need to be bought separately.

Montane Fast Alpine 40L Rucksack

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This backpack is available for £104. The athlete/climber Andy Kirkpatrick assisted with the design of this backpack. It is robust, yet comfortable, lightweight, yet strong. It has a back panel that ensures ventilation and is also moisture-wicking to ensure comfort. It has been built with strength in mind and features water-resistant materials as well as reinforced panels to ensure protection against tough, rocky surfaces.

Mooedcoe 40L Hiking Travel Backpack

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This is a great price at £39.99. It has similar features to the other backpacks with its padded shoulder straps and adjustable chest and hip straps. This bag also has a separate compartment for a hydration system (hydration bladder must be bought separately). It is made of a lightweight, rip-proof, water-resistant nylon fabric. It also has bungee cords that can be used to carry hiking poles. 

So there we have it, eight of the best 40L backpacks currently on the market, regardless of your experience with hiking and your price point, there is something here to suit everyone!

To recap, be sure to look for the necessary features to aid comfort – padding, ventilation, chest and hip straps. Look for a lightweight but water and rip-resistant fabric. Other features such as separate compartments are not necessary but are a nice bonus!

Overall, find one that suits you and your requirements, fill it up and get out there and enjoy the great outdoors! 

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