Looking for the best hiking daypack? Then get excited because we’re about to show you ten bags you’re absolutely going to love. And we got options for everyone, whether you’re looking to get a small-capacity pack for easy hikes or the biggest daypack there is since you’re the one carrying all the technical equipment.
At A Glance: Best Hiking Daypacks
This detailed review of the best hiking daypacks includes only bags from trusted and established brands, with options from the likes of Deuter, Osprey, Kelty, etc. And we’ve included options for different budgets, so even if you’re looking for something more affordable, you can still find a bag for yourself here.
Read on to see our picks for the best hiking daypacks and choose the best bag for you!
Best Small Capacity Daypack
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Best Large Capacity Hiking Backpack
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Best Medium Sized Hiking Daypack
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Best Ventilation For Warm Weather
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Best Hydration Backpack For Hiking
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The Talon 22 from Osprey is a great lightweight daypack for easy hikes. It has plenty of space for your essentials and its multiple compartments design is quite versatile. Also, this is a very comfortable bag to wear thanks to the thick padding in the backpanel and shoulder straps, as well as the inclusion of a wide hip belt.
Smaller backpacks rarely include a hip belt, and that’s fine – you can get by without one with small capacity bags since they rarely get so heavy that you’ll be very uncomfortable without a hip belt. The Talon bag includes Osprey’s standard hip belt with padding and breathable mesh, allowing you to pack some heavier items in the bag without worrying about how you’re going to get through the hike.
Also, this backpack features attachment points for a helmet and an LED light on the front panel, so it’s a decent option for someone who rides a bike on a daily basis. However, it lacks attachment points for other gear, so you are pretty much limited to the 22-liter capacity of the backpack.
The LED light attachment point can be used for a carabiner, but it’s not designed for that. This means that if you were to attach something quite heavy to this part of the bag, you might rip the fabric.
Osprey makes up for the lack of external attachment points with the number of pockets. There are two on the sides, two on the hip belt, and a stretchy front pocket that can easily fit a lightweight down jacket.
Also, the hydration sleeve is external, just behind the backpanel. It can double as a laptop sleeve, and arguably this can be considered an anti-theft feature. This sleeve is invisible when you’re wearing the bag, and no one can reach it while the backpack is secured to your torso.
The Raven is a tactical backpack from Kelty that is great for demanding hikes in rough environments. It’s a big bag and it has so many external attachment points that you could easily pack for a week in it. This bag actually has multiple MOLLE panels, allowing you to attach dozens of carabiners to its exterior.
And it has several external pockets so you will be able to keep the most important stuff at your fingertips. There’s even a dedicated pocket for satellite radio on one of the shoulder straps, and you can easily use it for your GPS or even phone.
Keep in mind that this is a tactical backpack, so it’s actually designed for the military and police. However, that’s exactly what makes it great for hikes – you can be certain that it is extremely tough and durable, and that’s it’s comfortable after long hours on the trail. Also, the capacity of the bag is more than enough to fit everything you need on your hikes, especially with all those MOLLE panels.
This backpack also has multiple internal pockets, in addition to all those external ones. And it comes with a rain cover, so your gear can be protected from the weather. It also has a hydration bladder sleeve and a port that lets you pull the hose through, for easy hands-free hydration on the go.
Overall, the Raven is an excellent backpack for advanced hikers, since it has pretty much every feature they could hope for. And its back system is incredibly comfortable, ensuring you can conquer some longer and more demanding trails without any major issues. The way I see it, the only problem with the bag is the price point – it is quite expensive but worth every penny if you need it.
Gregory Mountain Products is another brand loved by outdoor adventurers because of the quality they offer. They’re not exactly cheap, but that’s because all of their bags are made from premium materials and they come with extensive warranties. If you want a hiking daypack you will be able to use for years to come, the Miwok 32 is one of the best options for you.
This is a mid-sized backpack, so it’s great for people who like to carry everything they might need on a hike. It has a spacious main compartment, several external pockets, and attachment points, so plenty of space for the gear you might need on your adventures.
Those external pockets include hip belt pockets, stretchy side pockets, a stretchy front pocket, and a scratch-free zippered pocket for your phone and sunglasses. The bag also has an internal hydration sleeve with a SpeedClip attachment system, which is compatible with Gregory’s reservoir.
Unfortunately, you won’t get a hydration bladder with the backpack, so if you want to fully utilize all of these features, you’ll have to spend extra on that.
The Miwok backpack from Gregory also features a comfortable back system with breathable mesh and lots of padding. Its hip belt is thick with foam padding and a mesh cover, for premium carrying comfort even on longer adventures. Overall, if you’re looking for a 30-35 liter bag, this is easily one of the best things you could buy.
The Airlite 28 is a medium-sized backpack great for people whose priority is carrying comfort. If you want a bag that you can wear for an entire day without getting too tired, this is a great option thanks to the excellent back system. It is padded and ventilated throughout, with reinforced padding in the lumbar region, for improved load distribution.
There’s also a wide waist belt that is made just from breathable mesh. It doesn’t have any padding apart from the one in the lumbar region, which means it is exceptionally breathable. And that’s one of the reasons why the Airlite is an excellent bag for adventures in warm weather, particularly if you want to avoid being a sweaty mess after just an hour of the hike.
Apart from the excellent back system, the Airlite also performs as expected in terms of storage and organization. It has a single main compartment with generous capacity and an internal sleeve that works for either a hydration reservoir or a laptop.
The breathable hip belt has two zippered pockets, and the front panel features a stretchy pocket for bulkier items. There are also stretchy pockets on either side of the backpack, as well as a zippered rain cover compartment at the top.
There’s room for improvement with the organization features for sure, but when it comes to comfort in warm weather, you’ll have a hard time finding a better option than Deuter Airlite.
If you are looking for a backpack with excellent hydration features, an option from CamelBak is something you should definitely consider. The brand is known for excellent hydration packs in many different shapes and sizes. Their Crux reservoir is one of the best ones you can get your hands on, thanks to the quality construction and ease of use.
It doesn’t leak, it’s extremely durable and it’s super easy to set up hands-free hydration with the reservoir.
The Rim Runner backpack from CamelBak is a hiking bag with a focus on hydration. The total capacity of this bag is 22 liters, which is divided into 2.5 liters for the hydration bladder and 19.5 liters of cargo capacity. The backpack includes a CamelBak Crux reservoir, so you should get everything you need when you purchase the Rim Runner.
Apart from the excellent hydration system, the bag also boasts a comfortable backpanel that distributes load evenly across your torso. The backpanel, hip belt, and shoulder straps are all heavily padded and covered with breathable mesh, promising to keep you comfortable regardless of how much time you spend on the trails. And it doesn’t hurt that the pack weighs only 1.6 lbs.
There’s more to love about the CamelBak backpack, from the stretchy front and side pockets to the external attachment points on the front panel. The main compartment is roomy, with plenty of space for your hiking essentials. And the hip belt pockets let you keep certain items handy, so you can get to them without taking off the bag.
The Rim Runner is one of the more expensive bags featured here, so it’s not a great option if you’re on a tighter budget.
That’s the case with all CamelBak packs – they’re never cheap but they make up for the price with excellent value for money, great warranty, and superb quality.
The Hikelite 26 should be Osprey’s ideal small-mid sized hiking backpack. It features a great AirSpeed backpanel that offers excellent ventilation, as well as ergonomic shoulder straps for premium carrying comfort. It’s a great bag indeed, but in some areas, it falls short, and it’s actually worse than Osprey’s other alternatives, like the Talon 22.
The main issue I have with this bag is the webbing strap hip belt. Osprey included a proper padded hip belt with pockets on a backpack that is lighter and smaller than this one – why on Earth couldn’t they do the same for the Hikelite?
The bag has one main compartment, so it’s not the best if you’re looking for premium organizational features. There’s a hydration sleeve inside the main compartment, as well as a key attachment clip, so you will be able to keep some stuff organized. Also, the hydration sleeve can double as a laptop sleeve, but it lacks protective padding to excel in that role.
The Hikelite does have a variety of external pockets though, including a scratch-free zippered pocket for sunglasses or a smartphone, as well as a front shove-it pocket for bulkier gear. I really like this pocket on Osprey bags since it lets you keep your phone secure, but also very easily accessible.
There’s also a stretchy water bottle on either side of the bag and with the top and bottom side compression straps, you can easily use those pockets for some bulkier items.
On top of that, this bag has a built-in rain cover compartment, as well as trekking pole attachment points. What it lacks in terms of internal organization, it makes up for with external pockets and gear attachment points.
The Pursuit 2000 from Teton Sports is a great medium-sized hiking daypack. It is made from durable polyester ripstop and it weighs just a little over 2 lbs, which is pretty good for its size. When fully packed, this bag remains under 21” tall, making it a versatile option you could also use for travel.
The total capacity of the bag is 33 liters, which should be more than enough for a day on the trail. Especially with the external attachment points that allow you to attach bulkier gear to the exterior of the bag, but also a smaller daypack!
The four neon loops on the Pursuit 2000’s front panel can be used to secure a detachable daypack, allowing you to use this bag even for some longer adventures. And when you’re not using them for an extra backpack, they’re great for attaching bulky items with a carabiner.
This Teton Sports backpack features thick padding and breathable mesh in the backpanel, for great carrying comfort. The hip belt is wide and adjustable, so it will be easy to make it fit you just right. And it has zippered pockets on either side, for those items you always want handy.
The bag has two spacious compartments for easy organization, as well as a zippered pocket on the front panel and two stretchy side pockets. It’s worth noting that there are compression straps above and over the side pockets, allowing you to store bulkier items (like trekking poles and tripods) inside them.
The main compartment features a hydration sleeve that doubles as a laptop sleeve, and the bag even comes with a sewn-in rain cover. Not a bad deal for some $70 if you ask me!
Kelty Zyp 38 is one of the bigger hiking daypacks you can get, and it’s an excellent option for people who normally carry quite a lot of gear on their hikes. The main reason for that is the insanely comfortable back system with plenty of thick padding and breathable mesh.
In fact, this bag features NadaTech suspension which maximizes breathability and manages moisture, while Kelty’s signature PerfectFIT technology makes on-body adjustments as easy as they should be.
The Zyp is a top-loading backpack, so you will have to think about the order when you’re packing. Put the stuff you’re not sure you will need first, and the items you want most easily accessible should be at the top of the bag.
The pack does have several external pockets including stretchy water bottle pockets, hip belt pockets, and a dual-access front panel pocket, so you do have space for the items you want handy no matter what.
And the bag has a few external attachment points, for that bulky stuff that can’t actually fit inside the backpack. Also, the top lid has an extra pocket, and it’s just the right size for the most important items that should be easily accessible.
The bag even has an internal hydration sleeve with a hole for the tube, making it the ultimate large-capacity daypack. If you’re the one that’s always stuck carrying the technical gear, at least you can make your life a bit easier if you get a bag that’s comfortable at high loads as this one.
Patagonia’s Nine Trails backpack is a good versatile option for people who want more than just a simple hiking daypack. The sleek design, roomy interior, and great organizational features make this bag a good option for daily errands as well as hikes, while the durable Cordura nylon ripstop construction guarantees you will be able to use the bag for years to come.
The back system features thick padding and breathable mesh for excellent carrying comfort. Even the hip belt is heavily padded, which helps you stay on your feet longer without getting tired. And the side compression straps allow you to adjust the width of the bag, so you can make it more stable when it’s not fully packed.
There’s one main compartment on the backpack and it’s quite spacious. Also, it features multiple internal pockets and sleeves for easy organization, ensuring you can easily find whatever you need in the bag. The largest sleeve works for hydration reservoirs and laptops – not at the same time obviously – which further reinforces the versatility of the bag.
The Nine Trails Bag is available in several different sizes, so it should be easy to pick up the one that is just the right fit for you. I’ve listed to specs for the 20-liter bag below, which is the best small capacity option for easy day hikes. There are also two smaller and two larger bags and all of them offer the same quality and durability.
On top of that, this bag also has several external attachment points on the shoulder straps. These are great for smaller stuff you want within hand’s reach and they also work for the bulkier items you can’t fit inside the bag. Just make sure that whatever you attach to that webbing doesn’t make you uncomfortable while you’re hiking.
The Speed Lite 20 is a good backpack if you want something lightweight with a smaller capacity. The 20-liters that you get in this bag are enough for the essentials, especially for people who don’t carry too much gear on hikes anyway. This is one of those bags that you can forget you’re wearing because of the lightweight construction and great load distribution.
This Deuter backpack features an exceptionally comfortable backpanel with thick padding and breathable mesh. And it’s spacious mesh with big holes, so you can count on superb ventilation during hot summer hikes.
Also, the hip belt does a great job with load distribution, but bear in mind that it’s a simple webbing hip belt. It’s not as comfortable as wider belts with extra padding, but you honestly don’t need that on a small capacity bag like this one.
The bag has one main compartment with an internal hydration reservoir sleeve, as well as several external pockets. You get two stretchy ones on the sides and an extra zippered pocket at the top. The smaller zippered pocket is great for items you want to keep easily accessible and secure.
Also, this bag has an additional stretchy compartment on the front panel. It’s great for smaller stuff that easily gets lost in the main compartment like gloves and hats.
The Speed Lite bag also has several external attachment points, including one for an LED light. You can use this for whatever you like, but they are particularly convenient for bulkier items that don’t fit inside the bag.
On top of that, you should be able to secure trekking poles in the stretchy side pockets, thanks to the compression straps that can hold them in place. This is useful to know since the bag doesn’t have dedicated storage for hiking poles.
It goes without saying that you should always expect to get the best value for your money, which means the best materials and performance you can get for the amount you’re prepared to pay. I did my best to include only backpacks from trusted brands that are known for outstanding quality and great warranties, so no matter which bag you end up getting at least you know it won’t disappoint.
But it doesn’t end there. Your usual hiking routine dictates just how tough and durable the ideal bag for you should be, so make sure you’re getting something that’s up to the task.
If you’re a casual hiker that goes on short hikes in nice weather, you’re fine with anything featured here. But if you’re an advanced hiker who is no stranger to the occasional via ferrata and scrambles, you’ll need a more durable bag.
Look for something that’s made from super durable fabrics that can easily withstand the occasional scrape from a rocky surface. The tougher the fabric the longer you’ll be able to use the bag, which ultimately translates to better value for your money.
The average hiking daypack has a capacity of 25-35 liters, with some options going as high as 40 liters. If you were hoping for something bigger, then you’re not actually looking for a daypack! You can find great options in our posts on packs for hiking and backpacking bags, so don’t miss out!
And if you definitely want a daypack, you should go with something that has enough space for all the items you consider necessary during your hikes. Smaller daypacks (20-25 liters) are better for people who don’t carry too many items with them, as well as those who have no need for a lot of technical gear.
It makes no sense to get a 40-liter backpack if you’re just going to use half of its capacity – it won’t feel as comfortable to wear and you’ll most likely end up replacing it with something that’s a better fit.
On the other hand, if you’re used to carrying a lot of stuff when hiking and if you’re the one who always carries the technical equipment, then grab the largest bag you can find. A lot of the packs featured here have external attachment points as well, meaning you can just secure the bulkier gear to the exterior of the bag, without sacrificing any of the space inside.
Another thing to keep in mind is that smaller bags are generally better for summer hikes since you’re not carrying as much equipment. And since winter gear is heavier and bulkier, bigger backpacks are usually recommended for those adventures.
Do you want to use this backpack just for hiking or would you like something that would work for other scenarios? Maybe you want to use it as a travel backpack or just as an everyday bag?
If you want a more versatile bag, look for something with multiple compartments. Ideally, the hydration bladder sleeve can double as a laptop sleeve, and the front compartment will have an organizer panel that will work for your everyday stuff. In case you want to use the bag for travel as well, just make sure that it’s small enough to pass as a carry-on.
Depending on where you live and your habits, you should look for some other features. If you live in an area where it often rains, look for a backpack that has good water resistance at the very least. Ideally, you would get a fully waterproof bag with waterproof zippers, but that’s usually not a priority in hiking daypacks.
If your daily commute includes public transport, look for a bag with features that can pass as anti-theft. That can be anything from compression straps that go over the zippers to a hidden compartment in the backpanel.
Still not sure which hiking daypack is the best option for you? Then pick up one of our favorites, depending on the size and capacity you are looking for!
If you want a small hiking daypack, you can’t go wrong with Osprey Talon 22. The brand is a champion of hiking backpacks, and the Talon is just one of the many awesome options they offer. It is lightweight, comfortable, and features thick padding and lots of breathable mesh in the back system for superb ventilation.
Plus, this small 22-liter bag has several compartments and pockets for effortless organization.
Out of the medium-sized backpacks, the best option is Miwok 32 from Gregory Mountain Products. The 32-liter capacity is generous for a hiking daypack and it should be enough for most people. The bag has a large main compartment, several external pockets, and even some external attachment points.
It features a comfortable back system covered with breathable mesh, as well as a wide and padded hip belt that guarantees that the load of the bag is evenly distributed over your torso.
And if you need all the space you can get, go with the Kelty Raven. This is a large-capacity tactical daypack with enough MOLLE panels to fit all the stuff you need for a week. The bag is exceptionally durable and tough – it was designed for military personnel after all.
The main compartment is very spacious, with plenty of internal sleeves and pockets for easy organization. And there are several external pockets as well, for all the smaller items you want easily accessible.
You can see the prices of the bags featured here on Amazon (or Patagonia.com), so head over there to check the cost of your favorite daypack. And if you want to see other options, you can find more great hiking backpacks in our related posts!