Best Knee Braces For Hiking and Backpacking

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Here is a scenario for you. You have been hiking for more than an hour and you start noticing some pain building up in your knees. If you have experienced this before, then there is a chance that you might be suffering from a case of hikers knee. Before you become too alarmed, here are a few things that you should know about this condition. 

The primary symptoms of hikers knee is a slow build-up of dull pain around your knee caps. And as you keep exerting more pressure on it by hiking, especially when you go up and down steep terrains, the pain gradually becomes unbearable. Unfortunately, there is no cure for it. It could originate from a previous knee injury, strenuous activities, muscle deterioration, etc. 

The best you can do is manage the pain and discomfort. And to do that you can wear a knee brace. However, you should consult with your physician or doctor first before you go and buy it. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind before getting one:

  • Support: Depending on the sort of issue you are facing, you need to get a knee brace that can provide adequate support. Just getting any knee brace isn’t going to solve your problem. Hence, consult your doctor first.
  • Fit: After choosing a knee brace that gives you appropriate support, the next step is to get the correct size. If the knee brace doesn’t fit you properly, then it won’t be very effective.
  • Comfort: One of the most important aspects to consider when you are buying a knee brace is how comfortable it is. If your brace is not comfortable to move in, then what’s the point of getting one?

Why Should You Wear A Knee Brace For Hiking?

Outdoor activities like hiking and trekking are one of the main reasons for developing knee issues. So, if you are suffering from knee-related problems while hiking, then getting a knee brace is a must. A lot of people have a misconception that they can simply power through the pain. But that will lead to further issues in the future. Knee braces help to reduce the physical stress on your knees during activities. They provide comfort and support so that you can move freely. It also helps to accelerate your recovery time and reduce further injury to your knee. 

There are a few types of knee braces available that serve different purposes. Here are a few:

  • Functional Braces: If you had a knee injury in the past, functional braces help to stabilize the knee to prevent further damage.
  • Prophylactic Braces: They are designed to protect the knee while you are hiking or doing any other activities. 
  • Unloader Braces: These braces are for people who have arthritis. It works by shifting the load from the knee to a stronger part of the leg.

The core functions of a knee brace are:

  • It protects your injured knee.
  • It reduces the pain and pressure exerted on your knee. 
  • Enables people to keep on hiking.
  • If you have a healthy knee, then it can prevent future damage.

Top 8 Best Knee Braces For Hiking and Backpacking

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
  • Material: Neoprene and SIlicon
  • Size available: M – XXL (10’’-24’’)
  • Colors available: Black
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  • Material: Unspecified
  • Size available: Small to XXXL
  • Colors available: Black
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  • Material: Neoprene
  • Size available: X-Small to XX-Large (10’’-22’’)
  • Colors available: Black, Tan
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  • Material: Neoprene
  • Size available: X-Small to XX-Large (10’’-22’’)
  • Colors available: Black, Tan
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  • Material: Neoprene & Nylon
  • Size available: One size (10” to 18”)
  • Colors available: Black, Blue, Pink, White
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  • Material: Neoprene
  • Size available: One size (12.5” to 18”)
  • Colors available: Black, Grey
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  • Material: Nylon-spandex
  • Size available: XS to XXL (13” to 32”)
  • Colors available: Black, Grey
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  • Material: Nylon
  • Size available: Small to X-Large (14.5” to 24.5”)
  • Colors available: Black/Grey, Charcoal/Red
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1. TechWare Pro Knee Brace

Specifications:

  • Material: Neoprene and SIlicon
  • Size available: M – XXL (10’’-24’’)
  • Colors available: Black

The best feature of the TechWare Pro Knee Brace is its bidirectional support as it provides evenly distributed support on both sides of the knee. It has three adjustable straps and four stabilizers to get the best possible fitting and stabilization. It helps to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation while providing adequate freedom of movement. 

The TechWare Pro Knee Brace is made out of breathable neoprene material which makes it comfortable. It keeps your knee caps dry by wicking away any excess sweat. On the other side, silicon is used to prevent your brace from slipping off. It has an open patella design which means that the knee cap is kept exposed to help with ventilation and compression. 

Its size ranges from medium to XXL which covers the majority of people. However, the Velcro strap can wear out with use. But that is more of a nitpick. Overall, the TechWare Pro Knee Brace is the best knee brace for hiking when it comes to all of its features, comfort, and affordability.

Pros

Excellent comfort and compression
Moisture-wicking technology is used
Four stabilizers are used
Comes with three adjustable Velcro straps
Provides bidirectional support

Cons

Straps can wear out with heavy usage

2. Shock Doctor Maximum Hinged Knee Brace

Specifications:

  • Material: Unspecified
  • Available size: Small to XXXL
  • Colors available: Black

People suffering from hyperextension, ACL, or MCL tears can benefit vastly from the Shock Doctor Maximum Hinged Knee Brace. It provides excellent protection to your injured knee while you are hiking. The outer shell has a premium durable design while the inside is soft and comfortable. The material has excellent sweat absorption and remains odorless. 

It is equipped with dual hinges that provide great support and excellent compression around the knee. This is further reinforced with side stabilizers. That way you can participate in outdoor activities without having to worry about aggravating your knee.

There is no doubt that it is a quality knee brace. But for that, you must pay a premium price. It also has no color options other than black. That is a fair exchange as there aren’t many quality hiking braces that offer this much durability without compromising on other features.

Pros

High-quality materials and construction
Excellent support and stabilization
Dual Hinges
Breathable and odorless
Hinge prevents hyperextension

Cons

Pricey

3. Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Strap

  • Material: Neoprene
  • Available size: X-Small to XX-Large (10’’-22’’)
  • Colors available: Black, Tan

If you are looking for the best knee strap in the market then look no further. The Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Strap is a simple straightforward knee strap that gets the job done. It has simple adjustable straps with a hook and loop style closure system. Its design is intentionally kept basic so that it can fit any type of knee.  

This open patella knee strap provides excellent support both above and below your knees. It is very light as it has a one-piece construction. Its simple yet effective design makes it a great pickup if you are confused about which knee brace would be the best for you.  

It is a neoprene knee brace and is available in X-Small to XX-Large sizes. However, it doesn’t have the best moisture-wicking capability. But as it covers only a small surface area of your skin, that is not much of a problem.

Pros

Excellent top and bottom knee support
Simple design
Lightweight
Adjustable straps
Provides a lot of dexterity and maneuverability

Cons

Not the best at moisture-wicking

4. Powerlix Knee Compression Sleeve

Specifications:

  • Materials: 80% nylon and 20% spandex
  • Available size: Small to XXL (11.5’’-26’’)
  • Colors available: Black, Blue, Pink, Orange, Nude

As mentioned before, when choosing the best knee braces for hiking, you should not compromise on comfort. And that is exactly what the Powerlix Knee Compression Sleeve offers. 

It is made out of 80% nylon and 20% spandex making it one of the most comfortable knee sleeves for hiking. It has four-way compression without restricting any movement. The material has great moisture-wicking capabilities to keep your knee and patella dry. And it is slip-resistant, which means you don’t have to continuously adjust it from time to time. 

The Powerlix Knee Compression Sleeve is available in five different colors and offers sizes between Small and XXL. The only drawback is that it is not adjustable. But for the price you are paying for this, this is the best knee support you can get!

Pros

Exceptionally comfortable
Breathable fabric
Slip-resistant
Great price point
Odorless

Cons

Lacks adjustability options

5. IPOW 2 Pack Knee Pain Relief Brace

Specifications:

  • Materials: Neoprene & Nylon
  • Available size: One size (10” to 18”)
  • Colors available: Black, Blue, Pink, White

The IPOW 2 Pack Knee Pain Relief Brace is an excellent pair of patella stabilizers. People suffering from hikers knee usually feel discomfort below their knee caps. The IPOW patella stabilizers provide that extra support by exerting just enough pressure to relieve any pain. 

It comes with adjustable straps with an anti-slip design. The fabric is made out of Neoprene and Nylon, which makes it very breathable and comfortable to wear long-term. Since the brace is worn beneath the knee caps, it does not restrict any movement. However, it is available in only a single size. But the adjustable strap makes it possible to compensate for any size between 10 to 18 inches. 

The main drawback of the IPOW is that it does not cover the upper part of the knee. Thus limiting its functionality. On the other hand, getting a quality knee brace is very tough for under $20. Especially one that comes in a pair. So, if budget is an issue for you, then you can go for the IPOW 2 Pack Knee Pain Relief Brace.

Pros

Very affordable
Great maneuverability
Adjustable straps
Soft breathable fabric
Comes in a pair

Cons

Does not provide upper knee support

6. Bracoo Adjustable Knee Brace

Specifications:

  • Material: Neoprene
  • Available Size: One size (12.5” to 18”)
  • Colors available: Black, Grey

If you are looking for a brace for hiking that provides all-around support, then the Bracoo Adjustable Knee Brace can be a good pickup. It has an open patella design with a great compression system that helps aid blood circulation. 

Neoprene is used to make this brace comfortable and breathable. The three individual straps make it very adjustable even though it is only available in a single size. But the standout feature is it has a stabilizer ring that is used to ensure that your knee cap is properly adjusted when you move.

The annoying thing about this brace is that you will need to keep readjusting it from time to time as it keeps slipping out of place. But if you are looking for the cheapest knee braces, it’s an issue that can be overlooked for a good all-around brace for hiking.

Pros

Durable

Affordable
Adjustable
Breathable material is used
Stabilizer ring keeps knee in place
Has a good range of motion

Cons

Need readjustments frequently

7. Crucial Compression Knee Brace Compression Sleeve

Specifications:

Material: Nylon-spandex
Available size: XS to XXL (13” to 32”)
Available colors: Black, Grey

If your priority is ease of use, then the Crucial Compression Knee Brace will come in handy. It’s easy to carry around as it is very lightweight. And you don’t have to worry about any straps as you can just slide it onto your knees.

Crucial Compression uses nylon-spandex to make these knee sleeves. So, it’s comfortable and breathable to wear. The spandex helps to stretch around your knees and thighs. They have used their own ComfortFlex design to further enhance the level of comfort and breathability. In addition, their Power Support Technology heats up your muscles so that it can keep your knees warm to prevent any cramps.

The best thing about the Crucial Compression is it’s range of sizes. It supports sizes anywhere between 13 inches to 32 inches. However, the Power Support Technology causes your knee area to retain more heat than necessary. This can be uncomfortable for some. However, it does make up for it in other areas, so it’s worth the purchase.

Pros

Easy to use
Comfortable
Prevents cramps
Lightweight
Great compression

Cons

Can be a bit too warm around your knees

8. SB SOX Compression Knee Brace

Specifications:

Material: Nylon
Available Size: Small to X-Large (14.5” to 24.5”)
Colors available: Black/Grey, Charcoal/Red, Solid Black

Joint pains are the root cause for bad knees. To prevent it in the future, you can get the SB SOX Compression Knee Brace. It is so lightweight that you won’t even notice them while you are wearing it. And it keeps your knees dry during warm weather. 

If your daily activities require a lot of strenuous leg work, then you will need adequate compression around your knees to avoid future chronic knee pain and relief from arthritis. The sleeve knee brace is made out of nylon for comfort. And it is quite affordable too which means you don’t have to spend a fortune looking for quality knee sleeves. 

However, the biggest drawback is that the fitting is very hit or miss. If you somehow end up with the wrong fitting, then there is a chance that these knee sleeves would need to be replaced. Even if it is affordable, that is a hassle no one wants.

Pros

Excellent range of movement
Very light
Breathable brace
Keeps your knees dry
Stretchy

Cons

Poor-fitting can cause it to be unusable

Buying Guide: How To Select The Best Knee Braces For Hiking

Here are some of the key factors that you should consider when buying the best knee braces for hiking.

Size

Size is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a hiking knee brace. If the brace does not fit you well, then it can lead to more complications. Poor-fitting can lead to further damage and injury which is why you need to take fitting seriously. When buying a hiking knee brace for the first time, consult with a professional first. Don’t just directly order online if you don’t have any idea about your required size. Compare with a sizing chart first. 

Support

Knee braces compress the different zones of your knee to enable healthy blood flow, provide stabilization, and relieve pain from your tendon. However, different braces are designed for different knee types. Meaning not all of them will work the same way. So, in order to make sure that you are getting the right support, check out the type and features of the knee brace before buying. 

Material

Traditionally knee braces are made out of spandex. But other materials are used too which determine the features of the brace. For example, nylon-spandex has excellent breathability and wicking properties. They are also very stretchy so they can fit around your knees snugly. That means if you want to keep your knees cool and dry with proper fitting, then you could get a hiking knee brace made out of nylon-spandex.

Design

The design of the brace plays an important role in how it functions. For example, if you are hiking downhill, then you should consider getting a brace that has side support with an open patella design. For uphill hiking, consider getting a compression knee brace that keeps your blood flowing throughout your leg. 

Adjustability

Adjustable straps are quite convenient as you can decide how tight or loose you like your knee braces around your legs. That way you can always make sure that your knee brace is properly placed in the correct position. If you suffer from weak knees then you should look for braces with adjustable straps. That way you can determine how much support you require. 

Comfortable

Lastly, if your hiking knee brace isn’t comfortable to wear or move in, then you should not wear it. Just features alone don’t make it worthwhile to get a knee brace. If you have a damaged knee, then hiking can cause a certain degree of strain on it. You don’t want to further add to it by wearing an uncomfortable brace. Issues like these are usually caused by poor fitting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is hiking bad for your knees?

No, hiking is not bad for your knees. However, if you are suffering from knee pains, then hiking can aggravate it. In order to avoid that, stretch well before your hike. And if you do end up coming back with a sore knee, consult with your doctor.

Q: Is wearing a knee brace beneficial while hiking?

Absolutely! If you need some extra support for your knees whether it is due to knee pain or if you are going for a long hike, then wearing a hiking knee brace will be very beneficial to you. It helps to stabilize your knee as well as ensure a healthy flow of blood throughout your leg.

Q: Will a knee brace help when going downhill?

Yes, a knee brace will help when you go downhill. As you move down a steep incline, most of the pressure is being exerted on your knees. A knee brace prevents that by deviating the pressure from your knees to other stronger muscles on your legs.

Q: How to keep your knee braces from slipping down?

If you want to prevent your knee braces from slipping down then you can use self-adhesive bandages. These are a kind of bandage that you can wear underneath your knee brace to lock it and keep it in place.

Q: How tight should a knee brace be?

Your knee brace shouldn’t be so tight where it restricts your movement, or too loose where it feels like it can fall off. You can check if it’s too tight by inserting two fingers in between your brace and leg. If you can’t get your finger in, then that means your brace is too tight.

Q: How to care for your knee brace?

Inspect your knee brace regularly for any wear and tear. If your brace is too worn out, then it could potentially be compromised and will be unable to give you proper protection. Also, when you are washing and cleaning your brace, do check the instructions first. And dry properly before you store it.

Final Verdicts

Getting the right brace for hiking is essential. If you are suffering from knee pains then do not ignore them. Consult with a doctor and find out which hiking brace is suitable for you. However, if you are recovering from a serious knee injury then you should postpone your hiking trips for a while. But when you do get back to it, you can use this article to see what your best options are and determine what aspects you should be looking for when buying the best knee braces for hiking. 

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