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Hiking is basically a way of life up here in Alaska. With so many amazing trails, lakes, and mountains, the scenery is absolutely incredible. There’s no better way to see Alaska (or any gorgeous location!) than exploring while taking a nice hike.
It’s also vital to be prepared, as the weather can turn suddenly. What started as a nice, sunny summer day can quickly drop to below-50 degree temperatures.
The need to stay safe and make sure we have everything needed for a fun day of hiking inspired me to share some of the best hiking backpacks and accessories. Read on to see our favorites!
CamelBak Fourteener 20 Hydration Pack
I’m sure you’ve heard of Camelbak hydration packs, as they’ve become quite popular over the years. If you’re unfamiliar with them, it’s a backpack with a sturdy water bladder inside and a conveniently placed straw for easy drinking.
Camelbaks have varying water capacities that can last for short day trips to lengthy marathons. For hikes when you’re not likely to come across clean water sources, the Camelbak will keep you well-hydrated.
They have a bit of room to stow some supplies and snacks, too! The Camelbak Fourteener also has a place to store trek poles.
AmazonBasics Hiking Backpack with Rainfly
I gotta say, the AmazonBasics hiking backpack seems to be anything BUT basic! With padded shoulder straps, bunches of compartments for storage, and a sleeping bag compartment, it’s pretty well-equipped!
The backpack exterior coating is water-resistant to light rain. For heavier rain, you can pull out the included waterproof cover.
Orca Tactical Military Molle Backpack
For a durable, military-style back, Orca Tactical’s got your back – get it?! It’s scratch- and water-resistant, making it nice and tough.
Since this bag doesn’t have a sleeping bag compartment, it’s ideal for day hikes. It even has a back compartment that can have a water bladder added inside.
Lewis N. Clark Packable Backpack
This Lewis N. Clark packable backpack is awesome for short, unanticipated excursions. I mentioned how awesome it is in Perfectly Packable Travel Accessories to Save Luggage Space, and wanted to highlight it again here!
The backpack folds up into a tiny pouch, making it perfect to keep in your vehicle so you’re ready to get out there on a moment’s notice. It’s ultralight and weighs less than an ounce when empty.
Osprey Exos 48
Osprey is well-regarded in the hiking world, and the Exos 48 is one of their very popular options. The Exos is a lighter weight pack, at just over 2 pounds. It can hold up to 30lbs of gear, which is perfect for multi-day hikes or even while backpacking overseas.
It’s available in three sizes, so you get the optimal fit for your body, instead of the one-size many backpacks offer. The hip belt takes some of the pressure off your shoulders, making it more comfortable for longer adventures.
WATERFLY Water Resistant Waist Bag
Guys, I’m declaring fanny packs back in style. Okay, so maybe they were never truly stylish, but this waist bag from Waterfly is actually pretty nice! I mean, just look how happy this guy looks with it!
It’s ideal for short walks where you want to bring your phone, wallet, and have a place for your keys. It would also be great for theme parks!
Just attach a water bottle with a carabiner – like the Lifestraw Go, mentioned below – and you’re good to go! Plus, it has the option of being worn as a crossbody bag if you’re just not feelin’ the fanny pack. It comes in a range of colors to match any outfit!
What Accessories Do I Need For Hiking?
The ideal accessories for hiking can vary depending on when, where, and for how long you are planning to hike. There are a few essentials that everyone should bring with them to stay hydrated, safe, and have a fun hike.
LifeStraw and LifeStraw Go
The Lifestraw is an essential addition to any hiking backpack. It filters out 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. It also filters out 99.999% of parasites.
They have the straw as a standalone option, which is awesome for those who want to have it in case of emergency. It’s small and lightweight, so it doesn’t add much bulk to your supplies.
Personally, I prefer the Lifestraw Go water bottle. It’s durable and tough, with a sturdy carabiner clip to attach to any backpack.
It’s super convenient, and makes it so I don’t have to plan to bring so many water bottles. Any body of water will suffice for the Lifestraw. Even a puddle will do!
While Alaska’s water is very clean, the idea of a bear or moose pooping upstream is quite unappetizing! The Lifestraw helps filter out all the grossness. It does take a little more force to drink than traditional water bottles.
It’s totally worth it to not worry about running out of water as long as there are lakes, rivers, and glaciers nearby!
Even better, for every LifeStraw product purchased, a school child in need receives safe drinking water for an entire school year!
A bit of advanced preparation is key to having fun, safe hikes. An emergency kit with some matches, kindling, and mylar emergency blankets can be lifesaving.
You can DIY and assemble your own kit, or you can grab this packaged emergency hiking kit with all kinds of essentials here.
A Dry Bag
A reliable dry bag is a must-have if you’re going to be around any body of water, or in an area where storms can occur suddenly.
Stick your phone, camera, car keys, and anything else that could be damaged by water inside and you’ll be good to go for any weather!
A Bear-Proof Food Canister
Okay, so most of you don’t have to worry about this one, but if you’re hiking in Alaska, or other bear-prone habitats, a bear-proof canister is important! It stores your food securely, and keeps smells from attracting hungry bears that may be nearby.
In some parks, such as Denali National Park, hikers are actually required to use them! Those parks sometimes have them available to rent, but they do have limited availability. Plan ahead and get one of your own just in case.
P.S. Don’t forget to add bear spray to your hiking essentials!