are hiking backpacks allowed as carry on

are hiking backpacks allowed as carry on

Hiking backpacks have become an essential accessory for adventure seekers and travelers alike. Their spacious design and comfortable fit make them ideal for carrying all the necessities needed for a memorable journey. But a common question that arises among travelers is are hiking backpacks allowed as carry on luggage on flights. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of using hiking backpacks as carry-ons, along with the guidelines set by airlines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

are hiking backpacks allowed as carry on

TSA Regulations

Before you decide to take your trusty hiking backpack on board, it’s crucial to understand TSA regulations. TSA has specific rules regarding the size and weight of carry-on luggage, and hiking backpacks are no exception. Most airlines follow the TSA guidelines, which generally allow carry-on bags with dimensions up to 22″ x 14″ x 9″ and a maximum weight of 40 pounds.

However, TSA and airlines also prohibit certain items in carry-on bags for security reasons. Sharp objects, flammable materials, and liquids exceeding 3.4 ounces are some of the commonly restricted items. So, before you pack your hiking backpack, ensure that you do not have any prohibited items.

Features of Hiking Backpacks

Hiking backpacks come with several features that make them stand out from regular luggage. Their durable construction using robust materials ensures they can withstand the rigors of travel. Additionally, the ergonomic design and padded straps provide utmost comfort during long journeys.

Another advantage of hiking backpacks is their organizational features. Multiple compartments and pockets allow travelers to keep their belongings well-arranged and easily accessible, making it convenient to find items without rummaging through the entire bag.

Benefits of Using Hiking Backpacks as Carry-on Luggage

Using hiking backpacks as carry-on luggage offers several benefits that can enhance your travel experience. Let’s explore these advantages in detail:

Convenience and Time-Saving:

One of the primary benefits of using a hiking backpack as carry-on is the convenience it provides. Instead of waiting at the baggage claim after your flight, you can simply take your backpack with you and head straight to your destination. This saves valuable time, allowing you to start your adventure or business trip without unnecessary delays.

Cost-Effective Travel

Most airlines charge fees for checked baggage, and these costs can quickly add up, especially if you’re a frequent traveler. By using your hiking backpack as carry-on, you can avoid these additional expenses and allocate your travel budget to other important aspects of your journey.

Peace of Mind

When you keep your hiking backpack with you throughout the journey, you can rest assured that your essential items, valuables, and important documents are safe and easily accessible. Unlike checked baggage, which you cannot access during the flight, having your backpack by your side provides peace of mind.

Avoiding Lost Luggage Risks

One of the biggest concerns with checked baggage is the risk of it getting lost or mishandled during transit. While airlines take measures to avoid such incidents, it’s not entirely uncommon for luggage to end up in the wrong place. By carrying your hiking backpack as carry-on, you eliminate this risk and ensure that your belongings stay with you at all times.

Flexibility and Mobility

Hiking backpacks are designed with mobility in mind. They often come with padded shoulder straps and hip belts, distributing the weight evenly and making it easier to carry the backpack for extended periods. This is especially beneficial if you have connecting flights or need to navigate through crowded airports.

Packing Efficiency

Hiking backpacks usually have multiple compartments and pockets, making it easier to organize your belongings efficiently. Packing cubes and dividers can further enhance your ability to stay organized, ensuring that you can quickly find what you need during your travels.

Environmental Consciousness

Opting for carry-on luggage contributes to a more sustainable travel approach. Checked baggage requires additional handling and transportation, leading to increased fuel consumption and carbon emissions. By reducing the number of checked bags, you are indirectly helping to minimize your environmental impact.

Avoiding Long Queues

Waiting at the baggage drop-off and collection points can be time-consuming, especially during peak travel seasons. By using a hiking backpack as carry-on, you can bypass these long queues and proceed directly to the security checkpoint or the boarding gate, saving you both time and frustration.


Hiking backpacks are not just for hikers; they can be versatile companions for all types of travelers. Whether you’re going on a short weekend getaway or embarking on a longer adventure, these backpacks can adapt to your needs, ensuring you have everything you require for a successful journey.

Staying Active

For outdoor enthusiasts who plan to hike or explore their destination immediately upon arrival, having their hiking backpack as carry-on allows them to hit the ground running. There’s no need to wait for baggage delivery; you can start your exploration right away.

Osprey Tempest 20 women’s Hiking Backpacks as Carry On

Customer reviews

The Osprey Tempest 20 Women’s Hiking Backpack is a top-notch choice for female hikers seeking a reliable and comfortable backpack for their outdoor adventures. With its medium/large size and attractive Jasper Green color, this backpack offers both functionality and style. It is known for being one of the best hiking backpacks that can also be used as a carry-on for travel.

The backpack’s medium/large size offers ample storage space for all your hiking essentials, including clothing, snacks, a hydration reservoir, and more. This versatility makes it suitable for day hikes, overnight trips, and various outdoor activities.

The Jasper Green color adds a touch of style and elegance to the backpack, making it a fashionable choice for female hikers.

Aside from hiking adventures, the Osprey Tempest 20 is also perfect for travel as it meets hiking backpacks as Carry-On size restrictions for most airlines. Its versatility allows you to use it as a reliable travel companion on your adventures around the world.

Key Features

  • Designed for women’s comfort with an adjustable harness.
  • Medium/large size for versatility and ample storage space.
  • Attractive Jasper Green color for a stylish look.
  • Hiking backpacks as carry on compatibility for travel convenience.

Tips for Packing a Hiking Backpack as Carry-on

To maximize the utility of your hiking backpack as a carry-on, follow these packing tips:

  • Pack light and prioritize essential items. Only carry what you genuinely need to avoid exceeding weight restrictions.
  • Comply with TSA’s liquid restrictions. Carry travel-sized toiletries and ensure they are packed in a clear, resealable plastic bag.
  • Consider signing up for TSA Precheck or Global Entry. These programs can expedite the security screening process, reducing time spent at airport checkpoints.

Airlines’ Policies on Hiking Backpacks as Carry-on

Airlines often have specific policies regarding carry-on luggage, including hiking backpacks. Major carriers usually adhere to TSA guidelines, but it’s essential to check individual airline policies to avoid any surprises at the airport.

Low-cost carriers, on the other hand, may have more stringent rules, including charging extra fees for carry-on luggage. Be aware of these policies and plan accordingly to avoid unexpected expenses.

Preparing for Security Check

To make the security check process smooth and stress-free:

  • Remove any restricted items from your backpack before reaching the security checkpoint.
  • If you’re traveling with a laptop or other electronics, keep them easily accessible, as they may need to be screened separately.

Handling Oversized Hiking Backpacks

In some cases, your hiking backpack may be slightly larger than the allowed dimensions. If this happens, you have a couple of options:

  • Check in your oversized backpack. Some airlines allow slightly larger carry-ons to be checked at the gate, free of charge.
  • Consider shipping your backpack to your destination in advance. This option might be more expensive but can save you from potential headaches at the airport.

Airlines That Allow Hiking Backpacks as Carry-On

Several airlines recognize the convenience of allowing hiking backpacks as carry-on luggage, understanding the needs of adventurous travelers. While policies can vary among airlines and may change over time, here are some examples of airlines that generally permit hiking backpacks as carry-on:

Delta Air Lines

Delta is known for its relatively generous carry-on policies, and they typically allow hiking backpacks as long as they meet the size requirements. They also have a reputation for accommodating outdoor enthusiasts.

American Airlines

American Airlines generally permits hiking backpacks as carry-on, provided they comply with their carry-on size restrictions. It’s essential to check their specific guidelines before your flight.

United Airlines

United Airlines is another carrier that often allows hiking backpacks as carry-on luggage. As with other airlines, size restrictions apply, so double-check their guidelines.


Lufthansa, a major European carrier, is known to be backpacker-friendly and typically allows hiking backpacks as carry-on, given they meet the size requirements.


Emirates, a popular international airline, usually permits hiking backpacks as carry-on, as long as they adhere to their carry-on size limitations.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways generally allows hiking backpacks as carry-on luggage, making it a suitable choice for travelers who want to carry their outdoor gear with them.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest is known for its straightforward and accommodating baggage policies, making it likely that they would allow hiking backpacks as carry-on items.

Air New Zealand

As a carrier with strong ties to outdoor-oriented destinations, Air New Zealand typically allows hiking backpacks as carry-on, although size restrictions apply.

Remember that policies can change, and airlines may update their regulations, so it’s essential to verify the specific rules for each airline before booking your flight. Additionally, some smaller regional airlines or budget carriers might have more restrictive policies, so always check with them in advance if you plan to use your hiking backpack as carry-on.

Airlines That Don’t Allow Hiking Backpacks as Carry-On

While many airlines are generally accommodating towards hiking backpacks as carry-on luggage, some carriers have stricter regulations and may not permit them as carry-on items. Here are a few examples of airlines that might not allow hiking backpacks as carry-on:

Spirit Airlines

Spirit is a budget carrier known for its no-frills approach and low fares. They have strict size restrictions for carry-on bags, and larger hiking backpacks may not meet their guidelines.

Frontier Airlines

Similar to Spirit, Frontier is a budget airline with limited space in the cabin. They have specific dimensions for carry-on bags, and larger hiking backpacks might not be accepted.

Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air is another budget carrier that may have more stringent carry-on policies. It’s essential to check their guidelines and be prepared for potential fees for larger carry-on items.


As a European budget airline, Ryanair has strict rules for carry-on bags, and larger hiking backpacks might not be allowed without additional fees.

Wizz Air

Wizz Air is a budget carrier based in Europe that also has specific size limitations for carry-on bags, which may not accommodate larger hiking backpacks.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines is known for its low-cost approach and may have strict size restrictions for carry-on luggage, potentially excluding larger hiking backpacks.

Alaska Airlines

While Alaska Airlines is generally accommodating, they do have size limits for carry-on bags. Larger hiking backpacks might not be allowed without being checked in as baggage.

JetBlue Airways

JetBlue is known for its customer-friendly policies, but they also have specific size restrictions for carry-on luggage, which might not accommodate all hiking backpacks.

Remember that airline policies can change, so it’s essential to verify the specific rules for each airline before your travel date. If you’re unsure whether your hiking backpack will qualify as carry-on, it’s advisable to contact the airline directly or consider alternative packing solutions to comply with their regulations.

Best Practices for Traveling with a Hiking Backpack

To ensure a smooth travel experience with your hiking backpack, consider the following best practices:

  • Preparation: Make sure your backpack is clean, and all zippers and straps are in good condition.
  • Organization: Keep your essentials easily accessible by organizing your backpack effectively.
  • Post-Flight Care: After your flight, inspect your backpack for any damage that may have occurred during transit.

FAQs – are hiking backpacks allowed as carry on

Conclusion – are hiking backpacks allowed as carry on

Hiking backpacks are indeed allowed as carry-on luggage on most flights, subject to TSA and individual airline regulations. Their durability, comfort, and organizational features make them an excellent choice for travelers looking to travel light and avoid checked baggage fees. By following TSA guidelines, being aware of airline policies, and packing smartly, you can have a smooth experience using your hiking backpack as a carry-on.

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