best daypack for hiking

A daypack is a versatile kind of backpack as you can either carry it around with you as your daily driver or use it for day hikes and small trips. Many daypacks seem to look alike but there are many finer differences in their functionality which make them better at specific applications. If you would like to know more about daypacks click here or scroll down to the appropriate section. Otherwise,  you can find the reviews of the best daypack for hiking down below.

Name Osprey Packs Exos 48 Fjallraven Rucksack No.21 Kimlee Water Resistant Hiking Daypack Osprey Daylite Osprey Packs Talon 22 Osprey Escapist 32
Osprey Packs Exos 48 Fjallraven Rucksack No.21 Kimlee Water Resistant Hiking Daypack Osprey Daylite Osprey Packs Talon 22 Osprey Escapist 32
Pockets 3L hydration, mesh on front and sides, dual zippered hip belt pocket 1 large front, 2 side pockets Side hydration, 2 front, hip belt pocket Zippered front pocket 3L hydration, stretch front 2 mesh side, zippered external non-scratch
Chest Strap Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hip Strap Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Material 100D Nylon 65% Polyester 35% Cotton 210D Nylon 210D Nylon 70D x 100D Nylon Check 210D Nylon
Volume 48 L 20 L 40 L 12 L 22 L 32 L
Weight 2.3 lb. 2.1 lb. 2.4 lb. 1 lb. 1.5 lb. 2.3 lb.
Price $$$ $$ $ $ $$ $$
Amazon Average Review 4.6 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.7
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Top Recommendations


Osprey Packs Talon 22

best daypack for hiking

This backpack is great for those that are looking for a nice small hiking daypack and is certainly a strong contender for the best daypack for hiking. Just under the sweet spot with 22L /1343 cubic inches of space available, you should have enough room to pack what you need. The rated weight load for it is 15-20 lb. and while you can go over, the Talon shines the best when it is at or below the recommended max load. Since it has no frame, stuffing heavier things in it can make it slightly less comfortable if worn over long periods.

A useful feature that we found is the fact that it also has a separate hydration sleeve that is capable of holding up to 3 L. If that is not enough for you, you also have a stretchy water bottle pocket on each side. We’ve found that while you cannot really fit a 1 L water bottle into it, anything under that should be able to fit comfortably. Speaking of comfort, this backpack also puts the load closer to you with a snug fit which makes it comfortable for prolonged wear.

best daypack for hikingNot to be excluded are the hip pockets which can come in very useful. Their material is stretchy so you should be able to put many reasonably sized items into them. Quite frankly, this is a feature that should always be present for daypacks but is not and for this Osprey gets bonus points for.

The Osprey also has a zipped gear pocket which is separated from the larger gear compartment so that you can keep your things more organized. It is also very light – lacking a frame, this makes the backpack a total of only 1.5 lb. Some other noteworthy features include loops for hiking poles, a bike helmet stash cord at the front and a gender specific hip belt (doesn’t make too much of a difference but a worthy effort).

The cons of this are, as expected, the fact that you can’t really pack for any long trips. Not only does the size limit you to do so, but the lack of a frame will make the weight annoying to carry with you. But for light loads, this pack does exactly what it is supposed to do.


Osprey Packs Exos 48

best daypack for hikingOnce again another Osprey bag but can you blame us? There is a reason why they are one of the most recommended and praised bag makers and that is because they know their target audience well and design good products. The Exos 48 has, as its name implies, is a top-loaded, 48L/2929 cubic inches of space, which is more than enough space for pretty much all hikers. If you find this size a little bit too big, Osprey also carries a 36L variant, 34L variant and a 30L variant. It’s not a little light backpack that you carry with you – this is the type of bag you bring with yourself for long trips or on trips where you need to carry a lot of things with you. This pack features a frame made with a 6065 aluminum alloy which helps to stabilize the weight and make it more comfortable to carry with you.

As with most Osprey packs, the Exos feature a hydration pocket supporting up to 3L. It also has hip belt pockets and stretchy side pockets. The stretchy side pocketbest daypack for hikings, like the ones on Talon 22, will have a hard time fitting a 1L water bottle but should be fine with anything under that. Since this bag is so big, it also offers plenty of straps which will help you to make the load more stable. This pack is also really light for its size, coming in at roughly 2.3 lb. The 100D high tenacity nylon is also pretty durable, and should last you a long time.

Now, for the cons, the first one that comes to mind is the price. It is obviously a premium product with premium features and as such comes with a premium price. Is it worth it? In our opinion, if you have the money, it’s better to get something that does its job well as opposed to saving a couple of dollars but then struggling when you are actually using it. But that is up to you to decide.

What Kinds of Daypacks Are There?

To start us off, there are 2 main kinds of day packs: panel loading and top loading. Panel loading daypacks have a main storage compartment which is usually accessed by a U shaped zipper. You will recognize this as the one that many school and university students use. A benefit of this type of pack is that once you open the zipper, the panel will open like a flap exposing all of its contents and thus enabling you to access whatever you want quickly. This is the type of bag that parents, students and trip leaders would find the best.

Top loading daypacks, on the other hand, usually simpler in the way they are designed and tend to be lighter than a panel loading daypack which is similarly sized. These kinds of daypacks offer a couple of advantages over the panel loading daypacks. They usually have a top lid which can come in useful if you want to overstuff your daypack. The lid is closed by some kind of drawstring and this enables it to go beyond the volume specified if needed. Some of the daypacks also offer side compression straps which are helpful if you want to stabilize the contents. However, you would have to dig through the pack to find something if it is deep in the bag – something that panel loading daypacks do not suffer from.

What Volume Should I Look For?

For most people, especially for those that hike, the recommended volume is around 25 liters which translates to 1,525 cubic inches. With this volume you should have no problem fitting in the essentials in addition to a couple of extra things.

If you are the leader of your trip or are carrying some gear for your children in addition to your own, you should look for something in the 40 liter+ range. Finally, if you are looking for a trail-running pack, you should look for something around 10 liters (610 cubic inches) and for climbing around 40-55 liters (2440-3360 cubic inches)