best daypack for hiking

Whether you are new to hiking or an old pro, you will want the best daypack for your local and short hiking trips.

Having the right daypack can really make or break your hike. If it is too heavy, not sturdy enough, or a drag to carry around, you may end up with either a sore back or scattered stuff that you have to pick up (because your bag broke).

This is why it is important to do your research to find the best daypack for your needs.

First, What Exactly is a Daypack?

If you are an experienced hiker, you might want to skip this section. However, whether you are new or experienced, you may still be confused as to what exactly is a daypack? Is it the same thing as a backpack?

In the world of “regular people” (not hikers) a backpack is any sort of bag you carry on your back, typically using two straps. A daypack would still be a backpack using this definition.

In hiking, a daypack is separated out from what is considered to be a “backpack.” Yes, a daypack is still technically a backpack, but it is a smaller, lightweight bag that is meant for day hikes.

The term backpack is more typically reserved (at least in hiking or camping parlance) to mean to bag use for overnight or multi-day trips. They need to be large enough to carry food, clothes, and a sleeping bag. They might even carry a tent. Because of the extra weight carried, a backpack will have a lot more support, including frames, to provide a rigid structure.

A daypack usually won’t have that rigid structure, which makes it lighter and more comfortable to carry. Why put on extra weight if you don’t need it?

Check Out These Great Daypack Options

We think all these daypacks are terrific options for a daypack. The exact one you choose will depend upon your individual needs.

1. Osprey Daylite Daypack

The Osprey Daylite was originally an accessory pack that attached to larger packs. It can still be used as an attachment for other Osprey bags, but now, as a standalone, it is a lightweight and popular daypack that provides a lot of durability. It comes with a large main compartment and side mesh pockets. The front pocket includes a key clip.

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2. Osprey Stratos 24 Daypack

The Osprey Stratos is a ventilated bag designed explicitly for day hiking. It offers adjustable torso lengths with panel loading for organization. It will work well in wet conditions to keep your stuff dry. It comes in Beet Red, Gator Green, Eclipse Blue, and Black.

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3. Osprey Talon 22 Daypack

The Osprey Talon daypack is designed to be simple and incredible light while offering versatility. It offers 22L of capacity and ventilation. The trademarked “BioStretch” harness works with a continuous wrap hip belt to provide security and stability no matter how you are moving.

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4. Deuter Speed Lite 20 Daypack

The Deuter Speed Lite is designed to minimize extraneous weight while providing exceptional comfort and functionality. The V-shape is designed to allow for freedom of movement. It comes in a variety of colors, including red, blue, and green.

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5. CamelBak Fourteener 24 Daypack / Hydration System

CamelBak is best known for its portable hydration systems that offer water through a flexible straw. It combines this water hydration system with a daypack that allows you to carry all the gear you’ll need for your day hike. It comes in two color combinations: Grecian Blue/Pumpkin and Black/Fiery Red.

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6. Granite Gear Virga 26 Pack for Women

The Granite Gear Virga is not just a daypack – it has enough room in it for overnighters and multiple day trips. However, it is extremely light and works well as a daypack because of its lack of framesheet. You can actually roll this pack up and put it in your suitcase to bring with you on trips.

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What is the Best Hiking Daypack?

Ultimately, the best hiking daypack for you will depend on what your needs are. Are you the kind of person who really likes to travel light, and you want to carry as little as possible with the most freedom of movement? Or, do you want to be able to carry more stuff but still have enough flexibility, so you don’t feel like you are boxed in?

Choosing the best daypack for your needs will require some research and possibly testing. The good news is that you have lots of great options to choose from. Enjoy your hike!

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