About Daypacks

Whether you’re hitting the outdoors for a day hike, trail running, or just out of the house working or running around town, a daypack can be a great asset for keeping your stuff together and easily accessible.

On the trail, a daypack is a great place to store things like water, snacks, phone, and any other knick-knack you need to carry.

As opposed to a bigger, more robust camping backpack, a daypack can be more convenient for shorter trips.

There are plenty of great daypacks to choose from, many of which we rank and review below.

You are sure to find a nice variety of sizes and styles to choose from.

Even if you’re not on the trail and just traveling around a good daypack can work well as an on-flight carry on, or just toting around the city running errands.

For more information on daypacks along with tips on finding the best daypack for your next adventure check out “Best Ultralight Packable Daypack For Hiking and Living in 2019“.

Best Daypacks 2020

    Weight 2.7
    Capacity 30L
    Cubic Inches 1830"
    Torso Length 21.5"
    Current Price Price not available

    The Gregory Mountain Products Zulu 30 Liter Men’s Day Hiking Backpack is a dependable lightweight backpack perfect for the hiker who does a lot of day and overnight minimalist hikes. The bag itself is lightweight and will comfortably hold up to 25 pounds.

    Pros
    • Ultralight at just under 3 pounds
    • Crossflo suspension for better weight distribution
    • integrated rain cover
    Cons
    • Not enough space for longer treks
    • Not great for taller backpackers

    Read our full review of the Gregory Mountain Products Zulu 30 Liter Men’s Day Hiking Backpack


    Weight 3.5 lbs
    Capacity 41L
    Cubic Inches 2501"
    Torso Length 21"
    Hydration Pack No
    Current Price $149.00

    The North Face Router Daypack is a great backpack to use as a flight carry-on or for the student who needs space and durability. The outer material is made from 500D Cordura® nylon matte ripstop fabric. This will add some toughness to the bag’s frame to help better secure all your stuff inside.

    Pros
    • Made with tough rip stop fabric
    • Plenty of pockets
    • dedicated laptop compartment alone with other separate compartments
    • Great backpack for travelers
    Cons
    • If the laptop compartment is full the space inside becomes limited.

    Read our full review of the The North Face Router Daypack


    Weight 4 lbs
    Capacity 21L
    Cubic Inches 1950"
    Torso Length 21"
    Hydration Pack Yes
    Current Price $199.99

    The Badlands Superday Camouflage Hunting Backpack Daypack is a great pack for the lightweight hunter who wants comfort in a backpack along with a place to carry a bow or rifle. There are built-in holsters for a pistol on both sides.

    Pros
    • Plenty of space for gear
    • Room for a 2L Hydration Pack
    • Great weight distribution
    • Comfortable ergonomic design
    • Convenient firearm compartments
    Cons
    • Pistol holders a bit far back making them reaching them difficult

    Read our full review of the Badlands Superday Camouflage Hunting Backpack / Daypack


    Weight 1.75
    Capacity 18L
    Cubic Inches 1098"
    Torso Length 15"
    Hydration Pack Yes
    Current Price Price not available

    The Osprey Escapist 18 Daypacks is a daypack built with the outdoorsman in mind but also integrates city-folk’s needs just the same. The bag isn’t large, however, if you only need it for a short hike or an airplane carry-on it will work perfectly.

    Pros
    • Plenty of well-placed pockets
    • Great pack for bikers with plenty of reflectivity and biking convenience
    Cons
    • Zipper problems
    • Some don't like the small shoulder harness pocket

    Read our full review of the Osprey Escapist 18 Daypacks


    Weight 1.85 lbs
    Capacity 15L
    Cubic Inches 915"
    Torso Length 17"
    Hydration Pack No
    Current Price $96.40

    The Pacsafe Venturesafe 15L GII Anti-Theft Daypack is a great pack for traveling and working outside the office. Especially if security is your number one concern then this bag has your back. There’s a front pocket with RFID technology that will fit your wallet, passport, etc, along with the eXomesh Slashguard to protect the frame of the pack.

    Pros
    • Good backpack for working outside the office
    • Secure technology to secure valuables
    • Good amount of internal space and pockets
    Cons
    • Not waterproof
    • Stiffer than most bags

    Read our full review of the Pacsafe Venturesafe 15L GII Anti-Theft Daypack


    Weight 1.7 lbs
    Capacity 26L
    Cubic Inches 1586"
    Torso Length 19"
    Hydration Pack Yes
    Current Price Price not available

    The The North Face Jester Backpack is a nice daypack that will work for both the dayhiker and college student. The 26L bag includes a spacious main compartment along with several spacious interior pockets to fit smaller items. Students love the space for notebooks, textbooks, and a laptop although there are no pockets specifically for a laptop.

    Pros
    • Good daypack for holding smaller laptops and books
    • Bungee cords on the outside to carry extra easy external storage items
    Cons
    • Weight distribution is inconsistent/can be uncomfortable,
    • Doesn't stand up straight when on the ground

    Read our full review of the The North Face Jester Backpack


  1. Osprey Escapist 32 Daypacks
  2. Editors Rating:
    (4.1 / 5)
    Weight 1.7
    Capacity 32L
    Cubic Inches 1952"
    Torso Length 21"
    Current Price Price not available

    The Osprey Escapist 32 Daypacks is a great daypack for any short distance hikers, cyclists, and travelers who need a bigger, robust bag to fit everything while keeping all your stuff organized and in a specific place. Inside the pack, there are also specialized storage compartments to help keep things organized.

    Pros
    • Ultralight 32L pack
    • Comfortable hip belt makes the daypack easier to lug
    • Can hold a lot of gear
    Cons
    • Hip Belt clip sometimes sticks and makes it hard to detach

    Read our full review of the Osprey Escapist 32 Daypacks


  3. Osprey Packs Pixel Daypack
  4. Editors Rating:
    (4.1 / 5)
    Weight 1.9 lbs
    Capacity 22L
    Cubic Inches 1342"
    Torso Length 19"
    Hydration Pack No
    Current Price Price not available

    The Osprey Packs Pixel Daypack is a stylish backpack for the 21st-century long-haul commuter, photographers, or anyone carrying a laptop and cords around. The pack is built with storing your tech in mind. There’s a specific compartment that fits a laptop, another for a tablet and even a tiny compartment that can fit a smartphone.

    Pros
    • Good space for laptops
    • Good bag for students and photographers
    Cons
    • Tablet pocket only big enough for a smaller 10" tablet
    • Bottom pocket hard to get to

    Read our full review of the Osprey Packs Pixel Daypack


  5. Thule Subterra Daypack 25L
  6. Editors Rating:
    (3.9 / 5)
    Weight 2.35 lbs
    Capacity 25L
    Cubic Inches 1525"
    Torso Length 18.5
    Hydration Pack No
    Current Price $108.25

    The Thule Subterra Daypack 25L is a great daypack for city slickers who have a lot to lug and are sticklers for organization. At 25L this bag is perfect for photographers, architects, and anyone who needs a sizable amount of space. This bag will provide comfort for your shoulders.

    Pros
    • Great city slicker bag
    • 25L with lots of pockets
    • Padded side pockets
    • Comfy and stylish to wear
    Cons
    • Shoulder straps are too thin and can break easily if bag is too full

    Read our full review of the Thule Subterra Daypack 25L


Daypacks Buying Guide

Everything you need to know before purchasing Daypacks

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