Best Backpacking Bags for Kids

Morgan Rogue   01.27.22

Best Backpacking Bags for Kids

When I took my firstborn on a camping trip, just the two of us, she was 18 months old. I packed a tiny little kid’s backpack for her that I found at some big box store for a few dollars. I didn’t expect her to wear it or carry it at all, but to my surprise, she walked quite a bit while wearing it.

Of course, she was only 18 months old, I’m surprised she walked with it on at all.

As my kids have grown, so have their hiking abilities and their desire to carry their own gear.

Kids are capable of so much and if they’re ready to carry their own gear on your next backpacking adventure, make sure they have the right pack to make the journey a pleasurable one.

Let’s take a look at the best backpacking packs for kids:

1. REI Co-op Tarn 12 Pack


REI Co-op Tarn 12 Pack

This is a kid’s pack offered by REI. It’s a real pack, definitely not a toy!

It’s 12 liters, weighs 12 ounces, is reservoir compatible, and has a hip and chest belt.

This pack is light enough and small enough that it’s easily doable for kids as young as 5.

It does not have a frame, but for a kid’s pack, I’m not sure it’s 100% necessary.

I do feel the hip and chest straps are necessary so I’m glad to see those on there.


Pros/Hip and chest straps, lightweight, comfortable


Bottom Line/Great starter pack at a great price

2. Osprey Ace 38 Kid’s Backpacking Backpack


Osprey Ace 38 Kid's Backpacking Backpack

I love Osprey, they put out fabulous products.

This pack is something for the very serious backpacking kid. If you’re planning a long hiking, backpacking or camping trip, this is the bag for your child!

Though this looks like a larger pack, it can fit a child as young as 5 and as old as 11. Though this will all depend based on the size of your child.

A few features:

  • Adjustable tension back panel.
  • Integrated raincover
  • Internal reservoir sleeve
  • Hip and chest straps
  • Plenty of straps and pockets for just about any packing needs

This is a 38 liter sized bag, but has a lot of adjustable options so it could grow with your child for at least a few years.

Pros/Adjustable, plenty of options, grow with your child

Cons/Hip strap is a little thin

Bottom Line/Great pack that will take a beating

3. Deuter Kikki Kid’s Backpack


Deuter Kikki Kid's Backpack

Deuter makes some amazing packs, especially for kids. This specific bag may not be the absolute best option for backpacking so I would suggest looking at their entire line of kids packs.

However, I wanted to show this one because of how adorable it is. Kids will really gravitate towards this pack, I know my kids do! There are several different animals and colors to choose from, as well.

This is an 8 liter so it’s the smallest of them all so far. Because of the size, though, this would be ideal for kids 3 years to 6 years of age.

However, the biggest negative to this pack is that it only has a chest strap. No waist strap. However, again, look to Deuter’s other bags as they do have packs made for older kids that are more suitable for long backpacking trips.

This pack is comfortable, compact, and has plenty of room for anything they may need or want.

Pros/Chest strap, comfortable, great for kids as young as 3

Cons/No waist strap

Bottom Line/Fantastic starter backpack for young kids

4. Gregory Mountain Products Icarus 40 Liter Kid’s Hiking Backpack


Gregory Mountain Products Icarus 40 Liter Kid's Hiking Backpack

This is the biggest pack of them all coming in at 40 liters. Gregory has fabulous products so you know if your child is sporting this pack, it’ll be able to take a beating or two and still look brand new!

It has a chest and waist strap and all the straps are thick and comfortable.

There are so many pockets and attachment points that your child will spend plenty of time making it their own.

Because of its larger size, this would be best for kids 7-11 years of age.


Pros/Adjustable, comfortable, plenty of storage

Cons/No bladder resevoir

Bottom Line/Fantastic pack for kids who are serious about the outdoors

5. CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids Hydration Backpack


CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids Hydration Backpack

So while this may not be something you’d take with you on long backpacking treks, this is a great pack to start kids out with on short hikes.

My kids have loved having their own water source that they can control. In addition, they have plenty of space for a few odds and ends, but mostly snacks.

It’s lightweight, even with the 50oz water bladder filled up.

It only has a chest strap, but that seems to be enough for the kids and the abilities of this pack.

Pros/Stay hydrated, great starter pack, simple

Cons/Bladder hose can kink sometimes

Bottom Line/Great intro pack to keep your kids hydrated

Which pack is right for your kid?

Fitting your child with a pack that is right for them is essential. If you can head to a store to size backpacks, that’s absolutely ideal.

Kids grow so fast so make sure their packs are growing with them and their interest.

About the Author

Avatar Author ID 703 - 665138188

Morgan Rogue

Morgan writes for OutdoorHub while also being the founder of Rogue Preparedness where she helps people get prepared for emergencies and disasters, as well as thrive any circumstances.

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