Last updated: August 24, 2021

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Sports backpacks are designed to carry items comfortably on the back, which is a great advantage especially for people who take care of their health. Unlike normal backpacks, they are usually equipped with a well-designed carrying system. These backpacks have a greater weight and are therefore heavier.

However, they offer a high level of comfort. With our large sports backpack test 2021 we want to help you find the best sports backpack for you. We have compared hiking, trekking and daypacks with each other and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. This should make your purchase decision as easy as possible.


  • Sports backpacks allow you to carry your belongings comfortably on your back.
  • Basically, a distinction is made between hiking, trekking and daypacks, with all variants available in different sizes and price ranges.
  • For those who will be buying a sports backpack for the first time, hiking backpacks are particularly suitable. They are lighter than trekking backpacks and have a lower volume.

The Best Sports Backpack: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for sports backpacks

In the next section we would like to show you which aspects are of great importance when choosing your backpack. The criteria that you can use to compare sports backpacks with each other include:

Below we explain exactly what these criteria are and what really matters.


The weight of a backpack is very important, because no one wants their backpack to be a burden. Some backpacks are heavy because of the material, even if you don't pack much. That's why the weight of a backpack is very important and varies between 200 grams and one kilogram.

The better equipped the backpack, the heavier it is.

It is also worth mentioning that the weight is directly proportional to the size. The bigger the backpack, the heavier it is.

It is therefore important to choose the right size when buying. Buy the backpack in the size you really need. If you buy a bigger backpack for nothing, you will regret it over time thanks to the weight.

Another important point about weight is the equipment. Additional equipment means an increase in the overall weight of the backpack.


The next criterion is volume. The volume of a backpack determines how many things you can fit in it. You should ask yourself what you need the backpack for and how much you want it to hold. The volume depends entirely on why you are buying the sports backpack and how many things you like to have with you.


Sports backpacks can be made of different materials. High quality materials prolong the life of a backpack. Most backpacks are made of polyester or nylon. For the most part, people prefer a waterproof material that protects against rain and sweat. The reason for this is mainly that consumers sometimes go on tours for days at a time. Outside, it can rain at any time. Of course, they don't want their things in the backpack to get wet. Furthermore, it is important for a backpack that the material is easy to clean. After all, you can't avoid getting the bag dirty outside. For this reason, it is also important that the backpack is easy to clean.

Back padding

Carrying comfort is one of the most important criteria. Especially if you are travelling with the backpack for a long time, back padding is a must.

When it comes to comfort, the padding of a backpack plays a major role.

Furthermore, you should also make sure that the back padding is air-permeable. Otherwise, you may end up sweating on your back. The back padding of cheap backpacks is usually not absorbent. For this reason, you should look carefully and possibly ask the manufacturer.


As with most products, sports backpacks come with a variety of features. The most popular feature is the bottom compartment. It is followed by the hip belt. The hydration system is also a popular feature. Additional storage compartments are always welcome.

Decision: What types of sports backpacks are there and which is the right one for me?

If you want to buy a sports backpack, there are three types of products to choose from: If you want to know more about each type of sports backpack, you can read more about them in the following sections.

Hiking backpack

Hiking backpack

Hiking backpacks are suitable for day trips. They have a volume of 15-30 litres. The carrying system is very important for hiking backpacks. Great importance is attached to back ventilation. Otherwise, heat can build up on the back. It is also very important that the backpack sits firmly on the back. This relieves the strain on the shoulders.

  • Back ventilation
  • good carrying system
  • relief for the shoulders
  • lid compartment
  • Loading from the top
  • heavy
  • not suitable for multi-day tours

Hiking backpacks are usually closed with a lid. This means that they have to be loaded from the top. With such a large backpack, however, it can cause a problem. If you want to get something out of the bag, it is usually very difficult.

For this reason, a lid compartment in which smaller items can be stowed is very desirable. Furthermore, side compartments for quick access are also very much in demand. They are particularly suitable for water bottles.

Trekking backpack

Trekking backpack

Trekking backpacks are designed for hikes lasting several days. They have a volume of 40-90 litres. There is room for all kinds of things in this backpack. This means that all your hiking equipment will fit inside. This also includes a tent and sleeping bag. Here, too, the carrying system is very important, because it leads to load distribution. This makes it possible to walk for several hours without getting tired quickly.

  • high volume
  • space for everything
  • good carrying system
  • load distribution
  • heavy
  • expensive
  • not suitable for one-day tours

The hip belt is also an important criterion for a trekking backpack. It shifts the weight from the shoulders to the pelvis. It is important that the hip belt is sturdy. We should also mention something important about the equipment. The lighter the equipment, the lighter the backpack. The price increases accordingly.



The daypacks are perfect for everyday use. They have a maximum volume of 15 litres. They can be carried everywhere. Sometimes you go to school with it, sometimes to the fitness centre. Of course, they are also very popular for leisure time. In a daypack you will find space for your most important things. Of course, this includes your laptop if you plan to take it to university.

  • suitable for everyday use
  • lightweight
  • has a laptop compartment
  • variety of models
  • no back padding
  • poor carrying system
  • no load distribution
  • not suitable for long hikes

The back section is usually unpadded and the carrying system rather weak. For this reason, the daypack is not at all suitable for long hikes. Furthermore, there is unfortunately usually no back ventilation. Daypacks are unthinkable for daily use.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about sports backpacks answered in detail

The following guide contains answers to the most important questions about sports backpacks. The questions we have selected for you will be answered shortly. After reading the guide, you will know all the important background information about sports backpacks.

In which size should I buy a sports backpack?

At this point, you should ask yourself what you need the backpack for. A sports backpack comes in many sizes and volumes. Furthermore, it is also important what you like to have with you when you are outdoors. Some people think of all situations and take all kinds of things with them. Others, on the other hand, don't like carrying heavy bags and therefore only pack the most important things in their backpacks.

Type Volume
Daypack 15-20 litres
Hiking backpack 20-30 litres
Trekking backpack 40-90 litres

It's just like school. While some students come to school every day with bags full of books, others only have a pen and a notebook in their bags.


Trekking backpacks can hold all the hiking gear.
(Image sources: S&B Vonlanthen / unsplash)

If you buy a backpack for everyday use, a volume of 15-20 litres is perfectly adequate. If you buy a hiking backpack, 20-30 litres would be ideal. A trekking backpack for day-long tours, on the other hand, can have a volume of 40-90 litres. The size of the sports backpack depends entirely on where you want to carry it and what you like to pack.

What is the difference between a sports backpack for women and one for men?

The fit of the backpack is very important for your comfort. Since women's bodies are different from men's, the backpacks need to be adjusted accordingly. A sports backpack for men would not fit a woman ergonomically. A woman has a different back than a man. Thus, the back padding must be adapted to her back.


Men and women have different bodies. That's why the backpacks have to be adapted accordingly.
(Image sources: Brevitē / unsplash)

Furthermore, the shoulder straps of a backpack should be shorter for a woman. Since women have a different hip shape than men, the hip belt must also be different.

Over time, you will see how important it is that the backpack fits well at the back.

If you think there is not much difference and buy the wrong backpack, you are making a mistake.

How can I clean a sports backpack?

It is usually very difficult to choose a sports backpack. On top of that, you spend a lot of money on it. So, logically, everyone wants to take good care of it so that they can use their dear backpack for longer. With a cheap backpack, it might not be a problem to wash the bag in the washing machine. You don't have much to lose.

However, you should be more careful with an expensive bag. So you can forget about the washing machine for the proper care of your backpack.

It's best to clean your backpack after every trip. In summer or winter, it doesn't matter. This will prevent dirt from accumulating and make it easier for you to clean.

Washing means hand washing, of course.

If your backpack is lightly soiled, it is enough to wipe it with a damp cloth inside and out. However, if you see that your backpack is quite dirty and wiping it down is not enough, you should wash your backpack. It is important that you don't waste a lot of time and start cleaning immediately. After a while, the dirt will get stuck in the material and your work will become much more difficult.

1. Preparation: Before washing, make sure you remove all the parts that can be taken out. The reason for this is that the water may damage some parts. You can wipe these off with a damp cloth. Then you can start washing.

2. Washing: The best way to wash your backpack is in a bathtub or in a large bowl. Fill it with lukewarm water and add detergent. You can then immerse your rucksack in the water and leave it like this for 10 minutes. You can clean places that are very dirty with a sponge or cloth.

3. Rinse: After all the dirt has been removed, rinse the backpack one last time and let it air dry. Again, you can forget about the tumble dryer. This last step is an important one, because if you use the backpack before it is completely dry, odours can develop. Of course, we don't want that.

How do I personalise a sports backpack?

Who wouldn't want a backpack with their name on it? There are several ways you can personalise your backpack.

1. Personalise when you buy: The easiest way is to buy a personalised backpack right away. This is already possible with some brands. When buying online, you can have your backpack personalised for an extra cost.

2. Personalise in a print shop: Another option is to visit a print shop after buying your backpack. Here you can have your backpack personalised in any way you like. It's also worth mentioning that printing your backpack can take a few days. So don't be sad if you have to say goodbye to your backpack for a few days.

3. Personalise it yourself: Of course, you can also design your backpack yourself. Just let your creativity run wild and you will have a backpack that is unique and cannot be compared to any other in the world.

How can I paint a sports backpack?

Whether and how you can paint a backpack depends entirely on the material of your backpack, because every material requires a different colour. The best thing to do is to ask at a craft shop. They will be able to tell you which colour suits your rucksack best. However, you should be aware that these colours can be quite expensive. Don't be shocked if you do.

Photo source: Gerasina/