There’s no such thing as a perfect travel daypack, but we know which ones come really close. You see, it largely depends on your definition of a travel daypack – maybe it’s a bag that will fit everything you need, from a bulky DSLR to all the little lens filters.
Or maybe it’s just a packable daypack that fits into your jacket pocket, which you can use to carry all the souvenirs you buy along the way.
At A Glance: Our Top Travel Daypacks
Whichever it is you are looking for, we’ve got your back. Scroll down to see the ten favorite daypacks for travel, from anti-theft to off-road options!
Best Small Travel Daypack
|SEE ON OSPREY →SEE ON AMAZON →|
Most Secure Daypack
|SEE ON PACSAFE →SEE ON AMAZON →|
Best Packable Daypack
|SEE ON 4MONSTER →SEE ON AMAZON →|
|SEE ON REI →SEE ON AMAZON →|
Best For Women
|SEE ON REI →SEE ON AMAZON →|
Best Hiking Daypack
|SEE ON MYSTERY RANCH →|
|SEE ON OSPREY →SEE ON AMAZON →|
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
Best Sling Daypack
|SEE ON PACSAFE →SEE ON AMAZON →|
|SEE ON REI →SEE ON AMAZON →|
The Daylite and the Daylite Plus are both made from polyester. They are small and lightweight backpacks, with padded and ventilated back panels and harnesses for great carrying comfort. The only difference between the two is that the Daylite Plus has two extra pockets – one is a stretchy shove-it pocket, and the other is a small zippered pocket.
Both daypacks have an internal laptop sleeve that will fit devices up to 14”, as well as an external hydration sleeve that is just behind the back panel. Both Daylites come equipped with a thin webbing hip belt and a chest strap, in case you ever need that extra support. Which shouldn’t happen too often, since they are incredibly lightweight packs.
They both have a small front compartment with two slip pockets and a key clip, as well as two side water bottle pockets. And let’s not forget about those side compression straps, that will help you cinch in the backpack if you decide to use it for just your phone, sunglasses, and wallet.
If I had to choose, I would go with the Daylite Plus. The difference in size between these two is not remarkable, but the difference in their capacities is actually pretty big.
The larger Osprey daypack offers 7 liters more, which is a big deal when talking about a small daypack for travel. And since the difference in price is also barely noticeable (some $15), I think it just makes sense to go for the larger daypack. But it is entirely up to you, and your personal preference.
I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories at one point in your life, about friends or acquaintances who had their belongings stolen while they were in a foreign country. And I’m not talking about just their phone or camera – I mean their wallet, IDs, credit cards, and passports.
While there are many cheaper options out there, Pacsafe Metrosafe daypack will forever be one of my favorite anti-theft packs. The simple design is suitable for everyone, from teens to seasoned business travellers. It is made from polyester and entirely cut-proof materials, meaning that its straps, body and back panel are 100% slash-proof.
This backpack has lockable zippers, which include both the zippers to the main compartment and to three external pockets. But the thing I love most about is the Turn and Lock security hooks.
They’re a great day trip backpack – for when you’re riding the metro or sitting at a crowded restaurant – you can put the backpack down on the floor, secure it to the nearest fixture (chair leg, pole, etc.) and have peace of mind that no one will run away with it while you’re not looking.
And if someone does try to tamper with the lock, you will most definitely notice them.
This anti-theft backpack is carry-on sized and features a spacious main compartment that can fit 15” laptops, a change of clothes and a few other items. There are also several exterior pockets for all your smaller travel accessories, as well as an RFID safe pocket inside the main compartment.
The shoulder straps and the back panel are padded, for your carrying comfort.
Here’s another great option for all of you on a budget – the 4Monster packable daypack is only around $20, depending on the size. This makes it one of the most affordable travel backpacks out of the bunch.
It comes in 3 different sizes, 16L, 24L and 32L which range in weight from 3.7-4.4 oz. So, yes, this pack is incredibly lightweight! It is made from water-resistant, ripstop nylon, which is very durable. And the zipper is water resistant YKK as well, making it high quality indeed.
Another things I love about this daypack is its packability. It squeezes into 5-6 inch pouch (depending on which size you get). Making it ultra-portable. You can throw it in your luggage, bigger pack or pocket and use it whenever you want while traveling.
Other decent features include the shoulder straps are covered with breathable mesh, for good ventilation on really hot days. But since this is a packable backpack, there is no padding in it whatsoever. Considering the small capacity of the bag; it shouldn’t get too heavy, so you can still stay comfortable while wearing it.
It has a spacious main compartment that can actually hold a decent amount of your gear. If you want to go ultralight get the 16L, but if you prefer more space for a rain jacket, laptop or other gear you can size-up to the 32L. There is one small front pocket and two stretchy side pockets for water bottles and the like.
Just keep in mind such packs are not super comfortable when loaded with a lot of heavy gear. And it does not have a sternum strap or hip strap, so you will need to improvise if you want it to stay put on your body while you’re walking around for hours.
Herschel backpacks are hip and trendy – perfect for the young traveller who wants to be stylish and cool. They’re also really good travel backpacks, made from great materials with excellent features.
Their travel daypack is a great choice both for people who need a simple pack for day-to-day outings and also for those that are looking for a good carry-on.
It has three main compartments, one of which is a TSA-friendly padded laptop compartment designed to fit devices up to 15”. The interior of this compartment is also lined with fleece and features a protective strap, to ensure that your computer doesn’t just slip out when you’re unzipping the compartment.
The main compartment of the daypack is quite spacious, and can easily fit enough clothes for shorter trips. And it can fit even your bulkiest gear – DSLRs, lenses, tripods, drones, etc.
The travel daypack also has a front compartment with an organizer panel, perfect for all of your smaller items you like to keep separate and have easy access to. In addition to all that, this backpack also features a side water bottle pocket, as well as a luggage strap in the back.
That luggage strap is actually a padded and ventilated insert that will keep your lower back cool and dry even in scorching summer heats. The airmesh of the luggage sleeve is also found on the padded shoulder straps, ensuring your carrying comfort.
In addition to all that, the Herschel travel daypack also features a hidden top pocket, with hook and loop closure.
The Kanken is one of the most iconic backpacks ever. Still sporting the same style from the 70s, it’s one of the most popular daypacks with teens and young adults all over Europe.
Part of that is because it’s a hip and trendy backpack, and the other part is that it’s sort of a status symbol – these packs aren’t cheap at all.
But they’re worth every single penny, because of their amazing durability. They can easily survive more than a decade of use, which is mostly due to the tough and abrasion-resistant Vinylon fabric.
And while this travel backpack is most popular with high schoolers and college kids, I’ve also seen it on numerous travelers and digital nomads all over the world – specifically because of its excellent style and durability. And, it makes perhaps the best bag for sightseeing because it’s so light and fashionable (so it’s a great daypack for women too).
There’s also the really spacious main compartment, which can fit enough clothes for shorter trips, and not to mention all the travel gear you might need to put in a daypack.
There’s the smaller front pocket for any accessories you want to have easy access to, and the internal sleeve that’s just the right size to hold a 14” laptop. The backpack itself can contain a 15” device, but it won’t fit in the sleeve.
The shoulder straps aren’t padded, but they are really tough and convertible. In addition to that, the sleeve in the main compartment of the Kanken has a foam insert – this is supposed to keep it comfortable against your back, but also doubles as a sitting pad. A useful thing to have if you wind up in a pub with uncomfortable wooden stools.
Plus, if you don’t take it out of the sleeve, it will do a great job at protecting your laptop.
If you are looking for the best packable backpack for your next city trip then the Mystery Ranch In and Out 19 might be the ticket. It is ultra-packable without compromising on many of the features you expect in a travel daypack. Especially since it is made from 100D Cordura, which is super-durable.
Although it is not quite 3 ounces in weight, it’s just under a pound, it’s still a pretty small pack, so it won’t weigh you down in your adventures. With a total capacity of 19 liters, this will easily hold your must-have gear, but still, stay lightweight enough that you don’t really feel it on your back.
I really like that this day backpack for travel comes with its own outside mesh zippered pocket that it is designed to pack down into. So, there are no bags to lose when it’s unpacked. There is also a stretch side pocket for your water and compression straps in case you don’t fill it completely. This makes it far more comfy to wear in my experience as your gear does not swing when you walk!
Mystery Ranch has also included space for a 2L water bladder inside in case you want to use it for sports, hiking or prefer that to carry a water bottle (I know I do). And there is a sternum strap to secure it better to your chest for those long days out while you travel.
If you’re interested in a packable daypack, Osprey’s Ultralight Stuff Pack is a really good option. It’s quite affordable, although still not as cheap as I would have liked. But, you’re paying for the brand name, so it’s expected.
The foldable day pack is made from ripstop nylon, a material with amazing durability, abrasion and water resistance. It is not entirely waterproof, so don’t go running in the rain with it just yet – unless you decide to get a rain cover for the daypack.
One thing that makes this bag stand out from most other packable daypacks is the presence of breathable mesh on its shoulder straps. That’s not really something you expect from a daypack that folds down to a size of a pen, and a really big plus when it comes to your carrying comfort.
When I opened it completely I found its main compartment to be very spacious. Not only that, but I was surprised to see that it features an internal security pocket that is just the right size to fit your smartphone or a smaller wallet.
On the outside, it was also great to see that Osprey had added an external zippered pocket, perfect for any items you want to have more easily accessible, like your sunglasses. And there’s one stretchy exterior mesh pocket, which will easily fit your water bottle.
The only downside of this daypack is that it does not have a chest strap. Not that I would expect one from a foldable bag, but they make things more comfortable from my experience. I never walk long without putting mine on.
Now, there are ways to create your own if you really need one, so don’t skip the backpack just because of that. A cheap mattress cover clip can work just as well as a chest strap, and ensure that those lightweight shoulder straps stay put on your chest.
Are there cheaper options out there? Yes, absolutely. But will they hold up as well as this one? Probably not. The thing is, if you want a cheap packable solution, you can grab pretty much just any daypack for $10-15. But there’s a good chance it won’t survive more than one or two trips.
But if you want a lightweight, packable travel daypack that you will be able to use for a long time, Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack is the one for you.
If you’re looking for a quick and cheap solution, the AmazonBasics packable daypack is a great option. With a price point under $20, it’s a pack anyone can afford, so easily one of the best options for people on a really tight budget.
And it’s going to perform really good, as long as you know exactly what to expect from a travel daypack. It is made from durable nylon, so it’s a very sturdy bag. I actually love it for travel because it is so small, and it can easily fit into the inner pocket of your jacket.
And then when you need an actual backpack, just take it out and transform the little square of fabric into an amazing portable travel backpack.
With breathable mesh on the straps, the AmazonBasics packable daypack does a good job at keeping you cool and dry during hot weather. But keep in mind that this doesn’t have a chest strap – if you move around a lot, the straps will fall off your shoulders.
So, just be careful not to make the backpack too heavy, since it’s not going to be the most comfortable to wear.
Its main compartment is very spacious and can fit a lot of travel gear. In fact, you can choose between two sizes – a 25-liter bag and a 35-liter bag. I would personally go with the smaller one since the 35-liter bag can be really uncomfortable at full capacity.
In addition to that large main compartment, this travel daypack also features two mesh exterior pockets and an external zippered pocket. Both sizes have the exact same features, and the only difference is in their size and capacity.
Even though the daypack doesn’t have a dedicated laptop sleeve, you will be able to fit a computer inside the spacious compartment. But I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that, seeing how there’s no padding to prevent the device from poking you in the back when you travel.
The Vibe anti-theft backpack by Pacsafe is an amazing option for people who really don’t carry a lot of stuff. If you need something to keep your phone, wallet, and maybe a tablet safe, this is a really good option for you.
It’s a crossbody travel daypack, so you actually have multiple ways of carrying it. And with ventilated and padded shoulder strap and back panel, you will stay comfortable regardless of how you decide to carry this travel bag.
This daypack is made from cut-resistant fabric, and it features lockable zippers. The main body of the bag is made from water-resistant ripstop nylon, with steel mesh inlay that makes it slash-proof. Its interior is lined with polyester, and there’s thick padding all around the backpack.
It is designed to keep all your belongings safe, no matter where you are in the world – perfect if you’re traveling to an area that has a reputation for being a bit unsafe for tourists. The internal RFID safe pocket will protect you even from those that are trying to illegally scan your credit card or ID, which is a big bonus.
And this travel backpack is actually a lot bigger than it looks. Yes, it is small and slim, but it can easily fit a 13” MacBook or an iPad – not bad for such a compact daypack.
On top of that, there is a dedicated padded laptop sleeve inside the bag, as well as an organizer panel for your phone, wallet, and other smaller items.
This packable daypack also features an exterior zippered pocket, which is lockable just like the main compartment. Overall, if you’re leaning towards a smaller bag but would like to have the option of carrying your (13”) laptop, consider getting the Vibe.
If you’re looking for one of the most spacious and comfortable travel daypacks, the Jester by TNF is another option worth considering. With a capacity of 28 liters, it’s one of the largest daypacks featured in this review.
And with a sturdy polyester body, comfortably padded and ventilated backpanel, and harness, it’s a backpack that you’ll be able to use both abroad and home.
The Jester is equipped with the FlexVent suspension system, which includes breathable mesh and a spine channel for optimal ventilation. It has a sternum strap that ensures the padded shoulder straps don’t slip, for ultimate carrying comfort.
This bag features a floating laptop sleeve inside the main compartment – floating means that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the bag, which protects your laptop from any bumps at the bottom of the bag. In addition to that, the main compartment is quite spacious and has more than enough space for all your necessary travel gear.
The Jester is one of the best travel daypacks for those that don’t travel light. If you’re carrying a lot of equipment when you’re traveling, you will need all the extra space you can get.
And with multiple compartments and exterior pockets, including an organizer pocket for all your smaller travel accessories, this daypack can really hold it all.
On top of all that, the Jester travel backpack also features side pockets and a bungee cord on the front panel for quickly stashing away your jacket or hoodie. The only thing it’s missing are compression straps – I would have loved to see some above the side pockets so that you could put bulkier items inside them.
|Osprey Daylite (Plus)||20L||1 lb. 4.6 oz (584g)||18.9 x 11.02 x 9.45 inches||No||$$|
|Pacsafe Metrosafe||25L||1.84lbs (834g)|| |
18.9 x 11.8 x 6.7 inches
|Fjallraven Kanken Classic||16L||10.6 oz (300g)||15 x 10.6 x 5.1 inches||No||$$|
|AmazonBasics Ultralight Packable Day Pack||25L||0.35lbs (280g)||17.5 x 17.5 x 11.5 inches||Yes||$|
|Pacsafe Vibe 325 Crossbody Daypack||1oL||1.23 lbs (557g)||15.7 x 9 x 3.1 inches||No||$$|
|4Monster Packable Daypack||16L||3.7oz (105g)||16.5” x 9” x 6”||Yes||$|
|The North Face Jester Backpack||28L||1 lb. 12.9 oz (819g)||19.75 x 13.25 x 7.5 inches||No||$$|
So, the two main types of daypacks I’ve shown you here are regular and packable daypacks. Regular daypacks are just classic backpacks designed to hold your must-have travel gear while you are exploring new and unknown cities. They usually feature some padding in the bag and harness, and some will even have great ventilation in this area.
These backpacks are a great option for people who want to have a daypack they can use even when they get back home. Maybe you need a new everyday carry backpack, or maybe you want to give up on a messenger bag in favor of a comfortable backpack.
Packable daypacks are those that can fold into their own pocket, and that take up no space in your luggage. If you properly fold one of these, you can pretty much just keep in the pocket of your jacket – a pretty cool option to have, especially if you’re dealing with lack of space in your luggage.
However, the thing to keep in mind about these is that you are giving up on padding. While they might be great for carrying your wallet, chargers, cameras and whatnot, they’re not going to be that comfortable to wear – these packs normally feature really thin shoulder straps, which can cut into your shoulders.
But they’re a great thing to have handy – maybe you’ve gone crazy shopping and you don’t want to carry all those heavy books and souvenirs in your hands. Take out your packable daypack and stuff it with all the items that you don’t want to carry in your hands.
The choice is entirely yours, but it’s important to know exactly what to expect from a pack before you actually buy it.
A travel daypack only makes sense for people who are used to carrying a lot of items while they’re out and about exploring new cities. If you’re used to just carrying your wallet, smartphone and keys, maybe think about getting an RFID safe wallet or a travel fanny pack – they’re actually making a comeback, and they’re all the rage right now.
But if you’re anything like me and don’t like being weighed down by your heavy DSLR, tripod, laptop and a zillion different chargers, a travel daypack is a good investment. However, not just any pack will work – really think about the number of items you carry around, what it is you don’t leave the house without and how much space you need.
Maybe it’s an exterior pocket or a padded laptop sleeve. In any case, make sure that you are getting a daypack that is the right size for you – anything too small, and you won’t be able to get enough use out of it. Anything too big, and you’ll be annoyed that you’re carrying a half-empty pack everywhere.
In any case, I’d say it’s better to get a pack that’s slightly bigger than you need, because you never know when you might need that extra space. Maybe you just bought a snowball or a bottle of liquor, and you don’t feel like carrying it in your arms for the rest of the day – just throw it in your daypack and problem solved!
Do you normally carry a lot of gear while you are travelling? If so, you will need a backpack with multiple compartments and pockets, which will let you organize your gear and have everything handy.
If you’re used to carrying your laptop everywhere, look for a daypack with a padded sleeve or compartment that can actually fit your device. The same goes if you usually carry your tablet everywhere.
Also, what do you usually do with your jacket? Do you always wear it, or do you wind up carrying it in your arms most of the time? If it’s the latter, look for a daypack that has bungee cords on the front panel – these are great for stashing away a spare layer of clothing. And since they’re flexible and stretchy, they can normally fit even really bulky winter jackets.
You can usually tell from the photos of each backpack how many exterior pockets and compartments it has. And if you’re wondering about the pockets inside the bag, you’ll have to check out the mini-reviews to find out.
Not entirely sure which of these daypacks is best for you? That’s okay – pick up one of our favorites, and it should be the perfect fit!
The overall best daypack for travel is for anyone who loves to wander around unknown streets is the Osprey Daylite Plus. It’s the backpack that has everything, from the padded shoulder straps to the internal laptop sleeve.
It is made from rugged materials, which have excellent water and abrasion resistance to protect your gear in all circumstances. On top of that, it’s a backpack you can use for multiple purposes, from traveling to light hikes and even everyday commutes. Talk about value for money!
If you’re mostly looking for a packable daypack, your best option is the 4Monster Packable Daypack. It’s very affordable, fits into a jacket pocket when folded and it’s still a great bag. With a spacious main compartment and two zippered pockets, this pack will easily fit all of your must-have travel gear.
And the ventilated shoulder straps will help keep you cool even during really hot days, while the double fabric at the bottom ensures the pack doesn’t rip no matter how much you stuff it.
And if you’re the kind of traveler that likes to step off the beaten path, pick up the Mystery Ranch In and Out. With a hydration bladder pocket, this pack is perfect for all travelers who prefer the outdoors to the urban jungle.
Its made from durable materials and it features a padded and ventilated backpanel that will keep you comfortable throughout your adventures. Plus, the multiple external compression straps let you control the shape and size of the bag, allowing you to customize it to your needs.
You can check out all of the daypacks for travel featured in this review on Amazon, including our three favorite ones. Head over there to see their prices and color options.
If you still haven’t found the perfect daypack for you, check out our related posts. We’ve done reviews on most of the backpacks worth buying, and one of them has to be right for you!
Now, you might be wondering where is the best place to buy a daypack for travel. After all, it can be quite confusing figuring out which travel daypack to buy, but then you have to figure out which store to get it from!
From my experience buying dozens of backpacks for my travels over the years, I would recommend the following options:
The ideal size for a travel daypack is between 20-30 litres. This gives you enough space to carry around your daily essentials like water, food, a rain jacker or umbrella, a laptop or camera and a book. If you tend to carry even more, then start with 30+ litres.
Some of the best items to pack in your daypack include:
- a water bottle
- umbrella or rain jacket
- charging cable & battery
- camera or drone
- tickets, cash, credit cards, id
A backpack can qualify as a personal item on a plane if it is small enough to fit under the seat in front. I usually carry my travel daypack on internal flights and have never had a problem.