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A hiking daypack serves a lot of purposes. In this article, we lay out some things to look for when shopping for a new hiking daypack, along with some of our top lightweight pack picks! As opposed to a regular backpacking backpack, a good hiking daypack can work in many different scenarios.

It can work in the backcountry for a few hours of trekking or in the city while you run errands.

Many people take their hiking daypack to work. Need a new flight carry-on bag? The hiking daypack works perfectly.

These lightweight packs are built tough enough to handle mother nature, but can also blend into modern life.

Best Lightweight Daypacks Reviewed

[su_spoiler title=”Click Here To Reveal The Best Lightweight Daypacks Of 2024” style=”simple” icon=”caret-square”]{div id="bullet_points"} {/div}

[su_tabs style=”wood”][su_tab title=”Best Of List” disabled=”no” anchor=”” url=”” target=”blank” class=””]

    Weight 5.1 lbs
    Capacity 48L
    Cubic Inches 4576"
    Torso Length 31.5"
    Current Price [amazon fields="B00HPM4RGY" value="price"]

    Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack is a great pack for those making the transition to ultralight backpacking. Although this pack is a bit on the heavier side for a lightweight pack, it makes up for this weight with the 6065 aluminum alloy peripheral frame that helps the weight sit evenly on your back and helps to eliminate any muscle tightness or back soreness.

    Pros [su_list icon="icon: star" icon_color="#ffde0f"]
    • Lightweight/durable materials
    • Tough 6065 aluminum alloy peripheral frame
    • Breathes very easily
    • Top loader allows essential items to get easily buried
    • Shoulder strap material chafes arms and elbows

    Read our full review of the Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack

  1. Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack
  2. Editors Rating:
    (4.8 / 5)
    Weight 4.6 lbs
    Capacity 65L
    Cubic Inches 3967"
    Torso Length 23"
    Current Price [amazon fields="B00U3O8GRW" value="price"]

    Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack is a good backpack for the thru-hiker who needs a sturdy pack that is made with high-quality materials inside and out that won’t tear in the first 1000 miles.

    Pros [su_list icon="icon: star" icon_color="#ffde0f"]
    • Just under 4 pounds
    • Anti-Gravity suspension system
    • Lots of pockets
    • Removable floating lid
    • If not sized properly the water bottle side holder can be uncomfortable
    • The load lifters seem oddly placed

    Read our full review of the Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack

  3. Osprey Women’s Tempest 20 Backpack
  4. Editors Rating:
    (4.8 / 5)
    Weight 1.4 lbs
    Capacity 20L
    Cubic Inches 1220"
    Torso Length 16"
    Current Price [amazon fields="B00E0LHCKG" value="price"]

    The Osprey Packs Women’s Tempest 20 Backpack is a women’s specific bag that will work perfectly for day hikes or even for just getting around town. The Osprey Tempest has a ton of space in the main compartment including an external hydration sleeve, which also unzips all the way to easily locate everything inside.

    Pros [su_list icon="icon: star" icon_color="#ffde0f"]
    • Lightweight bag that can handle a number of different scenarios for either day hiking or overnight adventures
    • Plenty of storage room inside
    • Airspace mesh stitching for ventilation
    • Material can chafe a little
    • Color is kind of loud

    Read our full review of the Osprey Women’s Tempest 20 Backpack

  5. ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag
  6. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)
    Weight 7.5 lbs
    Capacity 86L
    Cubic Inches 5250"
    Torso Length 15.4"
    Current Price [amazon fields="B004R7L7YU" value="price"]

    The ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag is a monster of a bag, built for hunters. The OutdoorZ Commander works best for longer outings, especially where you need to tote a lot of gear over the course of days or weeks.

    Pros [su_list icon="icon: star" icon_color="#ffde0f"]
    • Great value bag for hunters
    • Rifle specific side pocket
    • Enough pockets to carry all of your essentials
    • Lashing straps give more external space for larger cargo
    • Not waterproof
    • Shoulder straps were kind of uncomfortable

    Read our full review of the ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag

  7. Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Hiking Backpack
  8. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)
    Weight 4.6 lbs
    Capacity 65L
    Cubic Inches 3967"
    Torso Length 33"
    Current Price [amazon fields="B07CMBJB1T" value="price"]

    The Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Hiking Backpack is an extremely comfortable backpack. The Aircontact lite back suspension system of the pack really helps to evenly distribute weight so it doesn’t feel like your walking with 30 pounds of gear on your back.

    Pros [su_list icon="icon: star" icon_color="#ffde0f"]
    • 65L with extra 10L bottom storage
    • Aircontact lite back suspension system evenly distributes weight
    • Plenty of Straps for sleeping pad or poles
    • Not waterproof
    • Straps a bit too long

    Read our full review of the Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Hiking Backpack

  9. Osprey Men’s Aether 60 Backpack
  10. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)
    Weight 4.45 lbs
    Capacity 60L
    Cubic Inches 3661"
    Torso Length 29"
    Current Price [amazon fields="B008RAXI40" value="price"]

    The Osprey Men’s Aether 60 Backpack is a super durable 60L backpack made for the ultralight backpacker hitting the trail for a longer amount of time or for anyone who needs just needs a bigger bag that can take a beating.

    Pros [su_list icon="icon: star" icon_color="#ffde0f"]
    • Excellent back and hip support through the LightWire™ peripheral frame weight distribution
    • Plenty of strong compression straps
    • Llots of space inside
    • Shoulder straps feel a bit stiff to some

    Read our full review of the Osprey Men’s Aether 60 Backpack

  11. TERRA PEAK Hiking Backpack
  12. Editors Rating:
    (4.7 / 5)
    Weight 4 lbs
    Capacity 65L
    Cubic Inches 5186"
    Torso Length 17"
    Current Price [amazon fields="B075FV8TYR" value="price"]

    The TERRA PEAK Adjustable Hiking Backpack is a great bargain backpack with a ton of storage space no matter which size you get. There are a number of well-placed pockets for easy to and go including side pockets which help get things in and out faster and more orderly.

    Pros [su_list icon="icon: star" icon_color="#ffde0f"]
    • 85L of storage space still rides like a 65L bag
    • Easily adjustable weight distribution
    • Good For Longer Trips
    • Bag weight under 5 pounds
    • Integrated built in rain cover,
    • Shoulder strap can chafe if adjusted too tight

    Read our full review of the TERRA PEAK Hiking Backpack

    Weight 4.5 lbs
    Capacity 55 L
    Cubic Inches 3400
    Torso Length 19.5 in
    Hydration Pack No
    Current Price [amazon fields="B000F34ZKS" value="price"]

    The Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack is a high performance, robust backpacking backpack built for the backpacker looking for a large backpack that can hold lots of cargo without weighing them down.  This is a 55L (3400 cubic inch) capacity backpack that weighs 4.5 pounds empty.  The Teton Sports Scout 3400 also can be purchased in multiple colors to give you more selection.  The shell of the bag is made from 600D diamond ripstop and 600D Oxford canvas that will help this bag withstand all the rigors of the trail.

    Pros [su_list icon="icon: star" icon_color="#ffde0f"]
    • Lots of zippers and organized storage
    • Fully adjustable torso and straps
    • 55L for plenty of storage space
    • Made from 600D diamond ripstop and 600D Oxford canvas
    • 4.5 pounds, kind of heavy
    • Top loader so a little harder to pack

    Read our full review of the TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack

  13. TETON Oasis 1200 3L Hydration Backpack
  14. Editors Rating:
    (4.3 / 5)
    Weight 2.45 lbs
    Capacity 22L
    Cubic Inches 1342"
    Torso Length 19.5"
    Hydration Pack Yes
    Current Price [amazon fields="B00NP6SXNW" value="price"]

    The TETON Sports Oasis 1200 3 Liter Hydration Backpack is perfect for several outdoor needs. Whether you hike, run, bike, ski, fish, etc. you’re going to find this bag is ideal for you. It’s super lightweight at just over 2 pounds for a 20L backpack.

    Pros [su_list icon="icon: star" icon_color="#ffde0f"]
    • Lightweight bag
    • Enough room for a hydration pack and lightweight supplies or gear
    • Plenty of padding and added cushioning for comfort
    • Included hydration pack can leak
    • With the hydration bladder in there's not a lot of space room

    Read our full review of the TETON Oasis 1200 3L Hydration Backpack

  15. Gregory Baltoro Hiking Backpack
  16. Editors Rating:
    (4.1 / 5)
    Weight 5.1 lbs
    Capacity 75L
    Cubic Inches 4580"
    Torso Length 31.5"
    Current Price [amazon fields="B00PUI4JFO" value="price"]

    The Gregory Mountain Products Baltoro 75 Liter Men’s Multi-Day Hiking Backpack is a very durable lightweight pack capable of handling very heavy loads for long periods of time. Gregory backpacks are some of the best on the market and the Baltoro is no exception having been named Winner of Backpacker Magazine’s 2015 Editor’s Choice Gold Award and the winner of Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year Award.

    Pros [su_list icon="icon: star" icon_color="#ffde0f"]
    • 75L and lots of space
    • Easy access to the inside
    • Award Winning backpack
    • Lightweight at only 5 pounds
    • The load lifter and shoulder straps come undone easily on some bags
    • Chest buckle can break easily

    Read our full review of the Gregory Baltoro Hiking Backpack

[su_tab title=”In-Depth Comparison Chart” disabled=”no” anchor=”” url=”” target=”blank” class=””]{div id="bullet_points"} {/div}
ImageNameOur RatingCapacityCubic In.WeightTorso Lnth.PriceWhere to Buy
[amazon fields="B00NP6SXNW" value="thumb" image_size="small"]TETON Oasis 1200 3L Hydration Backpack[usr 4.3]22L1342"2.45 lbs19.5"[amazon fields="B00NP6SXNW" value="price"][amazon fields="B00NP6SXNW" value="button"]
[amazon fields="B00E0LHCKG" value="thumb" image_size="small"]Osprey Women’s Tempest 20 Backpack[usr 4.8]20L1220"1.4 lbs16"[amazon fields="B00E0LHCKG" value="price"][amazon fields="B00E0LHCKG" value="button"]
[amazon fields="B001947FG8" value="thumb" image_size="small"]TETON Explorer 4000 Backpack[usr 3.6]65L4000"5 lbs32"[amazon fields="B001947FG8" value="price"][amazon fields="B001947FG8" value="button"]
[amazon fields="B00PUI4JFO" value="thumb" image_size="small"]Gregory Baltoro Hiking Backpack[usr 4.1]75L4580"5.1 lbs31.5"[amazon fields="B00PUI4JFO" value="price"][amazon fields="B00PUI4JFO" value="button"]
[amazon fields="B075FV8TYR" value="thumb" image_size="small"]TERRA PEAK Hiking Backpack[usr 4.7]65L5186"4 lbs17"[amazon fields="B075FV8TYR" value="price"][amazon fields="B075FV8TYR" value="button"]
[amazon fields="B01MSYU4W4" value="thumb" image_size="small"]Mountaintop 60L Hiking Backpack[usr 2.9]60L3661"4.3 lbs31.9"[amazon fields="B01MSYU4W4" value="price"][amazon fields="B01MSYU4W4" value="button"]
[amazon fields="B004R7L7YU" value="thumb" image_size="small"]ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag[usr 4.7]86L5250"7.5 lbs15.4"[amazon fields="B004R7L7YU" value="price"][amazon fields="B004R7L7YU" value="button"]
[amazon fields="B00HPM4RGY" value="thumb" image_size="small"]Osprey Packs Exos 48 Backpack[usr 5]48L4576"5.1 lbs31.5"[amazon fields="B00HPM4RGY" value="price"][amazon fields="B00HPM4RGY" value="button"]
[amazon fields="B00U3O8GRW" value="thumb" image_size="small"]Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Backpack[usr 4.8]65L3967"4.6 lbs23"[amazon fields="B00U3O8GRW" value="price"][amazon fields="B00U3O8GRW" value="button"]
[amazon fields="B00HA3EMBI" value="thumb" image_size="small"]High Sierra Appalachian 75 Backpacking Pack[usr 4.1]75L4580"5.8 lbs34"[amazon fields="B00HA3EMBI" value="price"][amazon fields="B00HA3EMBI" value="button"]

Last update on 2023-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Last update on 2023-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Hiking Daypack Versatility

Thule 3203037 Subterra Daypack-Dark Shadow
The Thule Subterra Daypack 25L is comfy and stylish to wear with lots of pockets

Everyone should own at least one nice lightweight hiking daypack.

Call us bias, but a light pack on your back is essential these days any time you step out of the house. Whether you’re hiking a foreign backcountry trail or taking a stroll through your local park, you probably have the stuff to carry.

And there’s no reason you should be forced to be without any of it. Even if you don’t think you need a daypack, once you get one you’ll be surprised how often you use it.

Do you really want to be the guy on a long bike ride holding all his valuables in a plastic bag? At that point, you start to look suspicious.

A hiking daypack can hold everything you need while at the same time keeping you from looking like a vagabond.

[su_youtube_advanced url=”https://youtu.be/C7uRJ-2qrmg” rel=”no” modestbranding=”yes” https=”yes”]

Hiking Daypack Features

The most important part about looking for a new daypack is figuring out what it will be most used for.

The beauty of a lightweight pack is its flexibility to be used for anything from lightweight hiking to carry-on luggage.

Osprey Packs Escapist 32 Daypack
The Osprey Escapist 32 Daypack includes a comfortable hip belt makes the daypack easier to lug

Are you going out for a few hours, or are you an ultralight animal staying out for a few nights? Is this a bag for the beach or are you trekking through snow and need to lug snow gear, poles, and extra layers?

There’s enough variety of lightweight hiking daypacks available that can handle all of this.

Here are a few features that you may find useful in a daypack:

  • Hip Belt – Make the bag work for you while not exhausting yourself. Let the belt ride just above your hips for better weight distribution while your legs do most of the hauling. Extra padding is preferred.
  • Shoulder Straps – I recommend padded shoulder straps, especially if you’re planning on adding some weight to your pack.
  • Water Resistance/Rain Cover– Rain can be a bummer, even more so if it soaks the goodies inside your pack.
  • Front Loading– Being able to open your pack from the front is almost like having x-ray vision. While a lot of old school backpackers stick with their old top loaders, I’m not a huge fan of blindly feeling around my bag for something I need at that moment. At that point, it’s almost easier to just dump everything out and repack.
  • Stretch Mesh Side Pockets– Perfect for holding water bottles. Unless you get daypack with a hydration bladder, easy access to water bottles is essential.
  • Front Stash Pocket– It’s almost like having a second backpack

Hiking Daypack Weight

The ideal weight for a good daypack should be no more than 2 pounds. Remember that you’re not using this pack to lug anything more than what you need at the moment.

Unlike a heavy duty backpacking travel bag where you plan on lugging around gear for an actual camping trip. Some of the best hiking daypacks even actually weigh less than a pound.

Osprey Packs Escapist 18 Daypack
The Osprey Escapist 18 Daypacks is a great pack for bikers with plenty of reflectivity and biking convenience

Your daypack should keep you lean and mean to avoid unnecessary strain so you can focus more on enjoying your time outside.

Hiking Daypack Load Capacity

A good lightweight hiking daypack can be anything from a tote bag to an overnight pack.

Variety is king in this genre so it’s good to know what’s available out there. At 15- 25L you’re going to find limited space, but for a short day trip, it may be all you need.

A pack somewhere between 25-35L is where you’ll find a good daypack that will give you flexibility between day hikes and an overnight ultralight adventure.

Having a nice collection of lightweight backpacks to avoid buying a different backpack for different occasions is never a bad idea.

This will give you enough room to pack some more gear, clothes, etc.

While at the same time staying compact and comfortable enough for a shorter trip.

Badlands Superday Camouflage Hunting Backpack - Rifle and...
The Badlands Superday Camouflage Hunting Backpack Daypack is built with a comfortable ergonomic design and includes convenient firearm compartments

Proper Fit and Ergonomic Suspension

Once you decide on the capacity of your pack, choose a pack that gives you maximum comfort by finding your perfect fit.

Over the course of even an hour, you begin to feel the sheer force of gravity using your backpack to work against you. By the time you stop to rest you’re sore in places where you didn’t know you could be sore.

You can choose to fight gravity, or you can make your bag work with you.

Osprey Pixel Daypack (Prior Season)
The Osprey Packs Pixel Daypack is a good bag for students and photographers

How To Measure Torso Length for Best Backpack Fit

Do your hips and back a favor and treat them to a lightweight hiking backpack that properly fits your body. The first thing you need to do is find a bag that fits right along with your back.

Do this by having a second person measure the space between the top of your back and your back hipline.

  1. Start by finding your C7 vertebrate which is the bump at the top of your spine closest to your neck.
  2. Then run measuring tape down your back to the invisible line which connects the top of your hips. Make sure the bag rests close to your body and provides an even weight distribution.
  3. Even if you have the right size bag, if it doesn’t rest correctly on your back you can end up with unnecessary straining.
  4. Once you have that measurement you can properly decide what size pack fits you correctly.

Hiking Daypack Breathability

Also, watch out for the quality of ventilation. If you spend all day sweating all over your pack, you may begin to notice your pack returning the sweat back onto you. After a while, your pack may even start emitting a not-so-fresh odor. Many daypacks on the market today provide extra mesh around the touch points to keep your pack airy and cool. This will help ensure the longevity and pleasantness of your gear.

Pockets And Attachments

“A backpack without pockets is made for garbage.” – unknown Nothing could be truer when it comes to lightweight hiking daypacks. Especially considering the things we bring along with us get smaller and smaller and it seems that we need them even more urgently than ever. How often do you stop to pull out your phone, your camera, chapstick, GPS, a map, dental floss, headphones, etc? Easy access to your stuff is paramount out on and off the trail. Today’s backpacks are designed to make finding your stuff as easy as possible while keeping you on the move. Some good pockets and attachments to look for on a bag include:

  • Hip Belt Pocket – Keep your most essential items within a short grab. Perfect for your phone, keys, and chapstick.
  • Front Stash Pocket – Store bigger, more urgent items separate from your main load. Flashlights, headlamps, GPS, maps, and hats.
  • Top Slash Pocket – Keep your smaller less urgent items stored in this tiny top pocket. Great for keys, pocket knives, first aid supplies
  • Internal Pockets – Keep important items stored in a more organized fashion inside your pack
  • Side Pockets – Hold your water bottle on the side for easy access
  • Adjustable External Bungee Straps – Use these attachments for hanging sleeping bag, mat, hammock, tripod, shoes, and other gear


Last update on 2023-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Erik

Erik grew up as a desert rat in Arizona. After exploring the backcountry of the west coast he came east for a job but still finds time to explore the beauty of the northeast.