Best Color for a Hiking Backpack?

When working out what color hiking backpack you should choose, there are a few key things to consider. How big do you want the backpack to be, does it have enough compartments, and is it strong and safe enough? One element that people seem to forget about is choosing the best color for a hiking backpack, as this should play a role in the decision-making process. With so many different options and shades out there, the decision can be a bit overwhelming, which is why I am here to help. Let’s concentrate on what color backpack should you buy?

Does hiking backpack color matter?

Many people wouldn’t think twice about picking a backpack color. They would just go with one they like the look of and buy it. However, the color of a hiking backpack should be thought about carefully. Each color comes with its own pros and cons and will help you either stand out or blend into your environment. It makes a difference when hiking in a desert landscape or a lush green forest.

A Hiker with a bright blue backpack ready to hike a small lush green hill
A bright blue colored backpack can be a good option for you to be easily be spotted in the wild

Get a color that you think you like best and serves your purpose

Different colors affect emotions in different ways, and everyone has different preferences in the type of colors they like to wear. As you will be wearing your backpack for most of the time you are hiking, there is no reason this should be any different, so you should pick a color that you like best and serves your purpose. Blue, for example, is often associated with calmness and tranquillity, and red is for adventure and excitement. The color you choose may work for you, but not for others.

Choosing the best color for a Hiking Backpack. 
A couple of backpacks with a valley view in the background

Pros and Cons of Bright colors


One of the most significant benefits of having a brightly colored backpack is visibility. When hiking in darker areas, it is good practice to be seen, especially when walking through hunting grounds. Hunters will be able to quickly and effectively identify you as a human rather than an animal, reducing the risk of getting shot at.

When traveling with a group, a bright color backpack will easily allow other group members to identify where you are. This is especially helpful in areas with low visibility, such as darker areas, in a snowstorm or the rain.

Many people just prefer a brighter color backpack. Similar to choosing what to wear, it comes down to personal preference, and people believe that a brighter backpack is just more cheerful and friendly than darker, muted and earthy tones.

In the event that you lose any gear, you will have a much easier time finding brightly colored gear compared with bags that you have purchased specifically to blend into the environment. It will take you much longer to find something if it blends into the ground, grass or surrounding trees.


One thing that many people may not think about when buying a bright-colored backpack is the fact that the brighter the color, the more insects it is going to attract. This is especially true when hiking through areas where bugs are abundant.

The brighter the color, the more likely it will clash with clothing that you own. Bright colors complement a few other colors, so this may restrict what color hiking gear you can then wear.

A Green colored Hiking Backpack
Photo by Ali Kazal on Unsplash

Pros and cons of Muted colors


Many people feel that getting a subdued color backpack offers a little more respect for nature and seeing garish colors when hiking through the natural wilderness is disrespectful and ruins their experience. Some hikers may even go as far as to say it is a principle of “leave no trace”. 

Low visibility means low impact. The appearance of an empty wilderness is desirable, and this vision can be strengthened if people comply with wearing gear that helps to blend them in with their surroundings.  Human presence can ruin the allure of nature for many, and although it is a small thing, muted colored clothing lends itself to the effect that the area is more untouched by human presence. 

By choosing a muted color, you could help someone else have a better experience in the great outdoors. Noise pollution in the wild provides a bad experience, so why would ‘loud’ colors be any different.

Muted colors tend to go with pretty much everything. No matter what color clothes you wear, a muted color will look inoffensive and not draw any attention.


Muted, lighter colors will show dirt and stains much more quickly than darker or brighter colors. When hiking in the wilderness, it won’t be long before your backpack is stained with dirt and dust.

One color to avoid on Hiking backpacks : black

If possible, black backpacks should be avoided. Any black material, be it a car, clothes or a backpack absorbs heat, and this can have an impact on whatever you are carrying with you. Electrical equipment can be damaged, drinks and snacks will get warm and go bad.

Another aspect many people don’t think about is how easy it is to find things inside a pack. When scrabbling around for something in a black backpack, it is tough to find and identify different items. Light colors make it much easier to find things, and when traveling or hiking, these small tips can make or break an adventure.

If you are hiking at night, a black backpack and gear can make you almost impossible to see, posing safety risks.


The best color backpack for hiking depends on many factors. It comes down to personal preference in many ways. For an avid hiker, it makes sense to make an informed decision on shape, size and color of a backpack. You will need to decide if you would rather blend in with the environment or stand out, and once you have decided that, picking your backpack should be a lot easier. The best color depends on how you want to approach your hiking trip and the location of your hiking adventure, but there are plenty of colors out there to suit your needs.

Emily Winters

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