Are Hiking Backpacks Allowed As Carry-On?

Backpacking is a great way to see the world on your own terms. It’s a bit of an art form, however, and knowing how to pack your hiking backpack effectively can make or break your trip. The first step is knowing which airlines allow backpacks as carry-on luggage. 

Then it’s just a matter of packing smartly!

How to prepare your backpack for air travel | Fly with confidence!
Hiking backpacks can typically be carried on airplanes as a carry-on item.
It’s important to check with the specific airline for any size restrictions or guidelines.
Packing hiking gear in the backpack as a carry-on is generally allowed, but be aware of prohibited items.
Weight restrictions for carry-on luggage may apply, so check the airline’s requirements.
Consider TSA regulations and ensure the backpack is packed securely and without any prohibited items.

How Should I Pack My Hiking Backpack?

You should pack your hiking backpack in layers, with the items you’ll need first at the bottom and the items you’ll need later near the top. 

Pack items that are light and bulky on the outside, while placing heavier items in between them on the inside of your bag. If you have any clothing or toiletries that could leak, place them in zip-top bags to avoid ruining anything else inside your pack.

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Is It Ok To Take A Hiking Backpack On An Airplane?

It’s important to know how much space you have in your backpack, as well as how many people are traveling with you. 

You need to make sure everyone has room for their belongings, even if they exceed the recommended size requirements. It’s also helpful to consider whether there are any special items that will be going along on your trip. 

For example, if one of the passengers has an item that can break easily or needs extra protection from being crushed (like a laptop), it may be best to check that item rather than take it as carry-on luggage.

If possible, it is always better to check any items that exceed airline regulations as baggage instead of taking them on board and risking having them confiscated or possibly damaged during flight.

Airline PolicyCarry-On AllowanceChecked Allowance
DeltaYes, as a carry-on itemYes, within size and weight limits
UnitedYes, as a carry-on itemYes, within size and weight limits
American AirlinesYes, as a carry-on itemYes, within size and weight limits
SouthwestYes, as a carry-on itemYes, within size and weight limits
JetBlueYes, as a carry-on itemYes, within size and weight limits

Can I Take A Hiking Backpack As Carry-On Luggage?

Most airlines allow you to bring a hiking backpack as carry-on luggage, however this will depend on the airline’s size restrictions for carry-on bags. 

You should check with your airline for more information about their specific rules regarding this policy.

What Size Hiking Backpacks Are Allowed For Carry-On Bags?

As with other types of luggage, there are two restrictions on carry-on bags: size and weight. In order to be considered a carry-on item, your backpack must fit within the following parameters:

  • Height (bottom of bag) – 22 inches (56 cm)
  • Width (side to side) – 9 inches (23 cm)
  • Depth (front to back) – 7 inches (18 cm)
  • Weight – 45 pounds (20 kgs), or less

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What Are The Dimensions Of A Hiking Backpack?

You can find the dimensions of a hiking backpack on the product information page. These are usually listed in inches or centimeters and include the height, width and depth of the bag. 

For example, if you’re looking at an Osprey Porter 46 Backpack (which is a popular option for travel), you will see that its dimensions are 19″ x 14″ x 9″.

If you want to measure your own backpack for comparison purposes, use a measuring tape to find out how tall your bag is from top to bottom (including any handles), how wide it is across its widest point and how deep it is from front to back (this measurement can be tricky).

BrandModelDimensions (in inches)
OspreyAether AG 7034″ x 15″ x 14″
DeuterACT Lite 50+1029″ x 12″ x 10″
GregoryBaltoro 6532″ x 15″ x 14″
The North FaceTerra 6531″ x 12″ x 9″
KeltyCoyote 6534″ x 15″ x 13″

What Is The Maximum Weight Of A Hiking Backpack?

The maximum weight of a hiking backpack on an airline depends on the airline you are flying with. 

Some airlines allow a maximum weight of 50 pounds, some allow 55 pounds and some even go up to 60 pounds! 

Make sure you check with your airline before heading to the airport so that you don’t get in trouble for trying to pack too much into your bag.

Where Can I Find A List Of Approved Hiking Backpacks?

You can find a list of approved hiking backpacks on the website of the airline you are flying with. 

For example, here is how American Airlines lists their guidelines: “Backpacks must be no larger than 45 linear inches (L + W + H) and weigh less than 40 pounds.” If your backpack does not fit within these requirements, it will not be allowed as carry-on luggage.

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How Much Does It Cost To Check A Hiking Backpack?

As with most airline-related questions, it’s best to check with the airline directly. Most airlines have their own website where you can find information about baggage fees and maximum weight limits. 

Alternatively, you can call them directly and ask! If you do go that route, be sure to have your confirmation number handy so that they don’t charge you twice (or more) for the same flight.

It’s also worth mentioning that some airlines offer free checked baggage on international flights but charge for domestic ones; others only allow one piece of carry-on luggage as well as a personal item like a purse or briefcase. 

The cost of checking in your backpack will vary depending on which airline you’re flying with and what type of ticket/passport combination (domestic vs international; economy vs business class)

What Are The Size Requirements Of Hiking Backpacks?

Hiking backpacks can be large, but there are some size limits for carry-on luggage. The maximum length is 45 inches and the width cannot exceed 21 inches. 

As far as weight goes, you can’t bring anything over 50 pounds or 100 linear inches for example, if your backpack measures 50 x 20 x 10 inches (20 linear inches), it would be too heavy to bring on board. 

If you’re unsure whether your bag will fit into these requirements, check with the airline before boarding so you don’t have any surprises at the gate!

Can I Check A Hiking Backpack As Luggage?

Yes, you can check a hiking backpack as luggage. Hiking backpacks are allowed as carry-on bags, but you may have to pay additional fees if your bag is too large for the airplane’s overhead bin.

Hiking backpacks can be heavy and difficult to maneuver through security checkpoints, so they should be checked into the baggage area whenever possible. 

The best way to do so is by placing them in a garment bag or wrapping them in plastic wrap before handing them over at the airport check-in desk.

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Is There A Maximum Weight Limit For Luggage?

Most airlines have restrictions on the amount of weight you can take with you in your carry-on bag. The maximum weight ranges from 10 kilograms up to 20 kilograms depending on the airline, so make sure to check their website before heading off on your trip. 

If your hiking backpack is approved as carry-on luggage and you must check it, make sure that it weighs less than 23 kilograms (50 pounds).

Is There A Maximum Size Limit For Luggage?

You may not know it, but there are actually some size and weight limitations for carry-on luggage. 

The good news is that these are pretty lenient so you don’t need to worry about having to check your hiking backpack as luggage.

The maximum size limit for carry-on luggage is 62 inches (157 cm), while the maximum weight limit is 50 lbs (23 kg).

The maximum size limit for hiking backpacks is also 62 inches (157 cm). However, because they’re so heavy and bulky, many airlines have a lower weight limit than what they allow with other types of bags.

Domestic AirlinesVaries by airline
International AirlinesVaries by airline
Carry-On LuggageTypically 22″ x 14″ x 9″ (varies by airline)
Checked LuggageTypically 62″ total dimensions (varies by airline)
Oversized LuggageUsually larger than 62″ total dimensions (varies by airline)
Weight LimitVaries by airline and class of service

Good Planning Can Help You Pack More Efficiently

Packing your hiking backpack can help you avoid a lot of trouble. Think about how you want to use your backpack, where you’re going, and how much gear you want to bring along. Once this is done, it’s time to start packing!

First things first: plan ahead! Start by making sure that your bag has enough space for everything that needs to fit inside it. 

Next up: use packing cubes or other organizing systems so that every item gets its own space and won’t get lost in the shuffle. 

One last thing: don’t try to overpack! If possible, keep an empty spot for any additional items that might need more room as the journey continues.

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We hope the information in this article will help you decide if you should bring your hiking backpack as carry-on luggage.

 Remember that if you’re flying with an airline, you should check their website for more specific details about their policies on hiking backpacks. And don’t forget: good planning can help you pack more efficiently!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for further reading on the topic of carrying hiking backpacks as a carry-on:


Here are some frequently asked questions about carrying hiking backpacks as a carry-on:

Can I bring my hiking backpack on an airplane?

Yes, you can typically bring a hiking backpack on an airplane as a carry-on item. However, it’s important to check with your airline for any specific size restrictions or guidelines they may have.

What are the size restrictions for a hiking backpack as a carry-on?

Size restrictions for carry-on backpacks can vary among airlines. It’s advisable to review the airline’s website or contact them directly to determine their specific size limitations for carry-on luggage.

Can I pack my hiking gear in my backpack as a carry-on?

In most cases, you can pack your hiking gear, such as tents, sleeping bags, and camping equipment, in your backpack as a carry-on. However, certain items like camping stoves or sharp tools may be prohibited, so it’s important to review the TSA guidelines and check with your airline.

Are there weight restrictions for hiking backpacks as carry-on luggage?

Weight restrictions for carry-on luggage usually apply to the overall weight of your bag and can vary by airline. Check the specific weight limitations imposed by your airline to ensure your hiking backpack meets the requirements.

What should I consider when using a hiking backpack as a carry-on?

When using a hiking backpack as a carry-on, consider the size restrictions, weight limitations, and any prohibited items. Additionally, ensure that your backpack is packed in a way that complies with TSA regulations and doesn’t contain any items that may raise security concerns.