Camping, hiking, exploring the world. All of these things require a good amount of gear and a backpack is one of the most convenient and comfortable ways to transport this. For people that have a lot of gear a big 50 litre backpack is ideal.
But with so many to choose from, you can often feel as though you’re swimming in a sea of backpacks. Knowing which one is best can be confusing, especially when there are so many things to consider.
But don’t let that put you off. We’ve got everything covered in this guide to the best 50l backpacks. We’ll show you some of our favourite products and give you some helpful advice on choosing the right backpack for you.
Do You Really Need A 50l Backpack?
Backpacks come in a range of sizes and 50l is a popular choice especially for things like outdoor pursuits and travel. However, they might not be suitable for every need so it’s worth looking at the other options just to make sure.
The problem with using a 50 litre backpack is that it’s quite large. If you’re looking for something you can use as hand luggage on a flight, this will normally be way outside the permitted size. While you might be able to get the bag in the overhead locker, the airline might say the dimensions are too big.
If you’re choosing a 50 litre backpack to go on a hike or a trek then you’ll probably only need something this large if you’re going on a multi day adventure. Anything less than around three days and you’ll probably get away with something smaller. That said, you’ll need to think about the weather as this will affect how much gear you have to take so consider each trip on its own before deciding on the right size bag.
Something between 30 and 45 litres will usually be best for a multi day hike especially if you’re hiking in warmer weather when you don’t need to take as many layers. These bags are also ideal for use as carry-on luggage.
If you’re only going on a day hike or perhaps a weekend away then even 30 litres might be too big and you’ll likely get away with something even smaller.
Top 5 50l Backpacks For Hiking, Camping and Travel
Take a look online or in stores and you will find a huge range of 50l backpacks. Most of these will provide you with everything you need but there are some that are substandard. The last thing you want is a dodgy backpack when you’re in the middle of nowhere. But that won’t happen if you choose one of the best 50l backpacks, like the ones we have listed here.
OUR TOP PICK
The HOMIE backpack is a great all round choice whether you want something for the great outdoors or something for air travel. It’s got a whole host of features such as a built in hydration system and an array of smaller pockets outside of the main compartment so you can have easy access to all of your most important bits and pieces.
This stylish backpack comes in a choice of four colours, so there’s something for everyone. What’s more, we love how comfortable it is to wear. The ergonomically designed shoulder straps can be easily adjusted and they feature a mesh material to promote breathability, even when you're working up a sweat. There’s also an adjustable chest strap for added support.
What really caught our attention was how durable the material was. Even better, this is a water resistant backpack that comes with a rain cover so you won’t need to worry about your belongings being damaged by the elements.
Choice of colours
We couldn’t find anything wrong with this backpack
Durable and water resistant
Very comfortable thanks to multiple adjustments
Two large main compartments
Sometimes, you need a backpack that’ll be able to stand up to much more than normal. If you’re off out into the wilderness and need something waterproof and durable then we would highly recommend the G4FREE backpack.
This heavy duty backpack won’t tear or scratch and the thick material offers superior support for your belongings. Add this to the reinforced seams and you’ve got one of the strongest backpacks on the market. All of that and it’s super stylish so there’s no need to compromise.
The G4FREE backpack comes with a lot of added extras such as a hydration system, trekking pole attachments and several other attachments and straps making it beautifully versatile for all outdoor activities.
However, while it is advertised as being waterproof, many users have noted that this doesn’t perform as well as you might expect which is a shame as everything else about this pack really is superior.
Correct size for hand luggage on BA
Waterproof feature isn’t very good
Heavy duty and durable material
Adjustability is great for improved comfort
Lots of extras
Lightweight at just 2.6lbs
Sometimes, you might not need a 50l backpack but you may also not want to buy several bags. That’s why we love the Nicgid as while it does function as a large 50 litre pack, it can also fold in on itself to make a smaller bag when the moment calls for it. The super lightweight material is flexible and will totally fold away making the backpack easy to store when not in use.
Moreover, this backpack is really durable, even though it might not look like it. The nylon material is highly resistant to things like tears and scratches. The backpack is advertised as being water resistant but we have to say that this one doesn’t perform as well in this aspect as some others we have looked at.
The main compartment is large enough for all of your gear and there is a zip pocket at the front of the backpack so you can have easy access to your most important items.
Folds away for storage and to make the backpack smaller
Water resistance isn’t great
Very durable yet lightweight material
Adjustable straps for comfort
Breathable shoulder straps
BEST FOR COMMUTING
If you’re looking for a large backpack for commuting then the LIWAG is a brilliant option. Not everyone needs something as big as 50 litres for work, but there are professionals out there with more demanding needs.
This backpack is designed to hold up to a 17 inch laptop. The standard for backpacks is that they'll hold a 15 inch laptop so this is a nice touch. What’s more, there are plenty of compartments including three large ones and a selection of smaller ones.
The LIWAG backpack is very comfortable to wear thanks to several straps that can be adjusted. It’s also water resistant so, if you get caught in a shower you won’t need to be concerned. Plus, with an anti-theft pocket at the rear of the backpack, your most precious belongings are safe.
But while this is a great backpack for commuting, there aren’t any features that make it ideal for outdoor use. It’s missing things like attachment straps so we wouldn’t suggest it if you’re headed off on a multi day hike.
Large laptop compartment
Not ideal for hiking or camping
Adjustable straps for comfort
Mesh panel makes it very breathable
BEST FOR OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
The Mountaintop hiking backpack is perfect for anyone going on a long outdoor adventure. It’s great for multi day hikes and camping and provides you with more than enough space for all of your most important gear, and then some!
It comes with a top opening main compartment that’s amazingly roomy as well as a smaller bottom compartment; ideal for shoes or dirty clothes. There are also a number of attachment points and compression straps so you’re not limited to carrying things inside the bag only.
This backpack is incredibly durable and comes in a choice of stylish colours. What’s more, the reflective strips make you visible in low light meaning it’s a safe option too!
In terms of comfort, the Mountaintop backpack is incredibly supportive with an adjustable waist strap which will really take the load off. Moreover, it has padded shoulder straps and a brilliant airflow system to improve breathability.
There’s not much about this backpack that we didn’t like. Although if we were forced to choose a downside then we’d have to say that the Mountaintop backpack is a little heavier than some of the others on this list. If you’re looking for something super lightweight, this might not be right for you.
Top opening large main compartment
Lots of attachment points
Made from durable materials
How To Choose The Best 50l Backpack
You may have seen a backpack in our list that really takes your fancy, and that’s great. But before you settle on one, it’s worth looking a little more closely at the features. This will help you determine whether the backpack is right for you and how easily it will meet your needs. Here are some things you’ll want to look at.
Materials - Are They Durable And Waterproof?
How you use your backpack will determine how resistant it needs to be. If you’re using it outdoors then you’ll want to choose something that can stand up to the elements. The last thing you want is for your belongings to get soaked in a rain shower. What’s more, if you’re hiking through an area with a lot of water crossings, waterproof material is a must!
You’ll also want to consider the quality of the materials in terms of durability. They should resist rips and tears and be strong enough to cope with whatever you throw at the backpack.
But it isn’t just the main backpack material you’ll want to think about. Things like zipper quality are really important. Nobody wants a zip that gets stuck easily or breaks if you accidentally yank it a bit too hard.
How Many Compartments Does The Backpack Have?
Large backpacks are designed for more demanding needs but you probably won’t want to shove everything into one large compartment. That’s why it’s really important to look at how many pockets and compartments the backpack has.
Most of the time, they’ll come with one large main compartment and several others in different sizes. There might be a lunchbox compartment that is insulated for keeping food or you may find pockets for smaller items like your phone and wallet.
What you choose will depend on your needs but take the time to figure this out otherwise you may find yourself rummaging around a cavernous main compartment for a small item and that’s nothing but annoying!
Is The Backpack Comfortable?
It’s a good idea to choose a backpack that’s as lightweight as possible. However you don’t want this to compromise quality but having something light means that, one it is full, you won’t feel weighed down.
In terms of comfort, you will also want to look for something that features padding. This should be in the shoulder straps to minimise pressure on your shoulders as you carry the backpack. If you are carrying a heavier load then you might also want to look for additional support such as a lumbar pad and a hip belt.
Whether you are hiking in warm weather or working up a sweat in cooler weather then you need a backpack that’s going to let you breathe. Most good backpacks will have a mesh panel at the back to improve ventilation and breathability and this is something we would highly recommend looking for.
What Type Of Frame Does The Backpack Have?
Some backpacks come with frames to make them more stable and this is ideal if you’ll be using the backpack on uneven ground. An internal frame backpack has a stable structure on the inside so it’s totally hidden. The frame contours to your body so it won’t feel uncomfortable.
There are also backpacks that have an external frame which is outside the backpack. These are normally made from lightweight aluminium and the design makes them more suitable for heavy loads such as if you are carrying a tent or kayak, for example.
Of course, you might not need the extra stability that a framed backpack has and there are those without frames which are perfect for fast-paced hiking and those who want something ultimately lightweight. However, you should note that, when you are carrying a heavier load, a frameless backpack won’t be anywhere near as comfortable.
Do You Have Easy Access To Your Belongings?
As we mentioned earlier, you don’t want a backpack that requires you to dig around for the smallest of your belongings. But even where there are lots of compartments, you’ll want to make sure that you have easy access to everything you need.
A lot of backpacks have their opening at the top and this allows you to get into the bag with ease. However, if there are items that you need at the bottom then this can be tricky so you might want to look for a backpack that opens from a panel at the front.
Does The Backpack Have Attachment Points?
As well as a good amount of storage and various pockets, some backpacks come with attachment points. These are perfect if you need to add anything to the outside of the backpack such as a sleeping bag or large gear that won’t fit inside.
Daisy chains are lengths of webbing that are sewn to the outer part of the backpack. They have several different loops for attaching gear such as tools, helmets and anything else that doesn’t fit in the main part of the bag.
You might choose a backpack with a reinforced crampon patch which is a thick piece of fabric designed to stop crampons from creating holes in your backpack.
There are a number of different gear loops for a backpack that allow you to attach everything from wet clothing to larger items like skis. It’s important to take a good look at what’s available and choose something that will most conveniently help you to transport your gear.
A good backpack is one of the most important items that a hiker or camper can have. They’re also perfect for when you’re travelling by air or train and are even excellent for your daily commute. However, if you have more things to carry or are going on an extended trip then you’ll need something bigger which is why 50 litre backpacks are really popular.
There are lots on the market to choose from but always make sure to look over the features in order to choose something that’ll work for you. Remember that not all situations call for a large 50 litre backpack so if you need something smaller, keep in mind that there are plenty of options including best 30 litre backpacks.