Best Hiking Daypacks 2019
Why a good daypack matters
Daypacks are some of the most useful and versatile pieces of gear you can have in your line up. They can be used not only for hiking, but also for mountain biking, ultra-light backpacking, catching a flight, or just taking it to work. Whether you want to use your pack for extreme outdoor adventures or to take it around the block, a good hiking daypack is a staple and will serve you well in many different occasions.
It is critical for daypacks to provide you with easy access to your gear and offer enough storage for everything you need to bring. From there, the variations and differences are endless. Each pack addressing different concerns or hobbies. With so many different packs, it is sometimes overwhelming to find the best one for you. To help narrow it down for you, we compiled this list of the best daypacks in the industry today.
We used a few key metrics to help us decide what made a pack better than the rest. These are not the only important things to consider when choosing a daypack, but they are a helpful guideline to weed out the less useful pieces of gear.
- Capacity – It is important that these daypacks can store and adequate amount of gear for a day full of activity. Having ample room to fit enough gear is essential.
- Versatility – Day packs are typically versatile pieces of gear. If a pack is too tailored to any specific activity, it starts to make it less useful in other situations. A good all-around day pack should be versatile for many use cases.
- Durability – A pack that can stand up to the punishment of an active lifestyle and to the test of time is an important feature.
- Organization – It is easy to just throw everything into one big pocket in a pack, but most people like to organize a little bit. The right number of organization options in a pack can make or break its utility.
- Comfort – For a bag that will be worn with some regularity, you want it to be comfortable to wear all day. Whether it be the type of padding or how it fits on the shoulders, a pack should be something that is not at all painful to wear for extended periods.
- Weight – Sometimes, more features in a pack can lead to extra weight as well. A lighter pack is better for longer hikes and helps reduce fatigue for the hiker.
- Price – Nice daypacks can come with it all: light weight, lots of features, and super comfortable. However, packs like that can run up the price. For the economically minded, the best bang for your buck might be more appealing than how many protein bars you can jam in the pack.
Best Hiking Daypacks
Everyone has different budgets, preferences, and needs. Keeping this in mind, we have selected the best day pack in several different categories to help you find the best pack to fit your needs.
Osprey Talon 22
Best Overall Daypack
- The Osprey Talon 22 is a long time recognized leader in the industry.
- Good price, very comfortable, great size, good organization, very durable.
- Definitely tailored towards hikers, but still remains a versatile option for other activities.
- Comes in 4 different volumes to suit your needs - 11, 18, 22, 33L
Osprey Daylite Plus
Best Bang For Your Buck
- Gets the job done without too many frills.
- Easy access to gear with reasonable amount of storage.
- Great durability and build quality
- Very comfortable with lighter loads.
- Great for short hikes and could act as a nice travel bag.
Best Minimalist Daypack
- Excellent price while still providing excellent value.
- With a top lid for small items, it offers more organization than the more popular REI Co-op Flash products.
- Extremely compactible. Entire pack can be stuffed into its own lid pocket.
- Can hold a surprising amount and offers compression straps to keep the pack at a manageable size
- This versatility does sacrifice comfort and durability, however. It is not a breathable pack and is made of a more flimsy material.
Osprey Stratos 34
Best High Weight/Capacity Daypack
- Great for lightweight backpacking or longer day hikes.
- Its full internal frame makes it more comfortable to carry heavier weights.
- This is a great backpack for hiking, and in that it sacrifices versatility, this pack is designed for outdoor adventures and not necessarily taking to work.
- Because of the frame and larger size, it does come in as the heaviest pack on the list.
CamelBak Rim Runner 22
- With good organization, size, and capacity, this is one of the most versatile hiking daypacks available.
- CamelBak is famous for their hydration equipment, and this pack is no different with a high-quality 2.5 liter hydration bladder included.
- Has 8 external pockets for your to be able to quickly access any of your gear.
Patagonia Black Hole
Most Durable Daypack
- Patagonia is famous for their durable duffel bags and this day pack carries on that legacy.
- It is water proof and extremely well built.
- Due to lack of a hip belt though, it may be a little bit less comfortable than some of the other options. Especially for extended periods of use.
- This is a great option for travel and daily use to and from work. It will stand up to the beating of daily use for a long time.
Side By Side
Take a look at all of the above packs in a side by side comparison of some of their key qualities.
|Osprey Talon 22||$110||1.7 lbs||22L||4||4.6|
|Osprey Daylite||$65||1 lbs||13L||3||4.5|
|Marmot Kompressor||$33||11 oz||18L||1||4|
|Osprey Stratos 34||$160||3 lbs||34L||5||4.5|
|CamelBak Rim Runner 22||$75||1.6 lbs||19.5L||8||4.3|
|Patagonia Black Hole||$240||1.5 lbs||25L||6||4|
Which daypack is right for me?
There are a lot of good daypacks available on the market. Many of them serve specific purposes for people who are into rock climbing, ultra-light backpacking, winter hiking, and countless other use cases. For the uninitiated, it can certainly seem like a lot of hard to decipher information.
If you are someone who is just looking for a nice and effective pack to take on a hike once in a while, any of the more affordable options on this list will serve you well. They may be slightly less comfortable or have less support than the more expensive options, but they will without question get the job done!
For those more avid adventurers who more regularly hit the trails, take more than the average amount of gear, and may want to do some light camping, it may be more advisable to spring for one of the more expensive options like the Osprey Stratos. This pack will offer more support, comfort, and to help you on those longer hauls or with more gear.
It is important to do research about the right pack for you, but if things really seem confusing or overwhelming to you, head to your local retailer and get your hands on some of these packs! That will help you narrow down even further what you like or don't in some of these great options.
How much volume do I need in a daypack?
It can be tempting to lean on the larger side of volume when picking out a hiking daypack. You never know what you might need to bring. However, it really is not necessary to have a lot of capacity for just a day hike.
For a 1-2 night camping trip, anywhere from 30-50 liters is an appropriate amount of space. An ultralight camper could make this amount of space work for 3 nights.
If your pack will primarily used for just single day activities (potentially into one night) no more than 20-25L is required. The only reason I would push into 30L or more for a dayhike would be if I had several people who could not carry their own gear (such as younger children). Too much more space than this you will find will leave a lot of empty room in your pack and may be uncomfortable on your back.
What do those numbers mean?
A lot of the daypacks on the list have a number after them like the Osprey Talon 22. So what does the 22 mean? That number is the volume, in liters that the backpack has in storage. These are generally pretty accurate, however you may lose a liter or two in actual usable volume. The one major exception on our list is the CamelBak Rim Runner 22. The reason that only has 19.5L of storage however, is that it comes with a 2.5L hydration pack included.
- 10 Hiking Essentials to know what you will need to put in your new daypack!
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- Hiking in the Winter can be a whole different ball game. Learn the best practices!
- National Park Services for more information on where to hike near you!