For everyday hiking or commuting, you can’t go wrong with a daypack – that small but perfectly formed rucksack that’s tough enough to weather a day on the trail but can also get you around town with some outdoor style.
Our review of the best daypacks whittles the list down to the top 10 that we think are the backpacks capable of standing up to all the rigors of both the outdoor and urban life.
Need a lightweight, low-key carrier with enough space for your gadgets, keys, wallet, water, snacks and outdoor spares? Then one of our best daypacks is for you. Let Gear Hungry take the weight off your shoulders and help you to find the perfect pack to carry all your essentials.
The Best Day Pack
Straight in as our Best Choice is the good-looking Venture Pal daypack which combines urban-cool styling with the features you would expect from a more rugged outdoor travel backpack and all for a fantastic price. This is one of the largest daypacks in terms of volume in this review – coming in at an impressive 35 liters at its maximum size, it is not a day travel bag to weigh you down. Made from superlight nylon, the Venture Pal tips the scales at a little over 11 ounces.
But this isn’t a lightweight daypack when it comes to overall performance. Tear and water resistant, the Venture Pal also has a double-layered bottom panel to take the weight when you need to max its load. Plus, it comes with breathable and padded shoulder straps to keep you comfortable as you walk.
Breathable mesh shoulder straps
Heavy duty two-way SBS metal zippers
Main compartment extends to 35l capacity
Two zipped front pockets and two side pockets
Packs away into a zipped pocket for storage
- Weight11.2 ounces
Super comfortable for long day hikes
Easily folds away for storage
Impressive 35 liter internal capacity
Nylon material can wear a bit at the bottom
If you are looking for a hardy outdoor day backpack for a serious day out on the trail, then check out the Oasis from outdoor gear specialists, Teton Sports.
With a built-in two-liter hydration bladder plus a sewn-in rain cover, the Oasis is a hardy soul and perfect for hiking, biking, and climbing. Coming in at a good sized 18 liters, there is enough space in this tough-looking daypack for your trail survival essentials and, with a low-profile cut, it stays comfy on your back all day long.
Internal pocket with hidden-teeth zipper
2-Liter Hydration Bladder Included
Bungee cord system for bike helmet
mesh back panel with foam pads
Safety whistle and reflective trim
- BrandTeton Sports
- Weight2 pounds
Super-handy built-in 2 liter hydration pack
Adjustable shoulder, waist and chest straps
A tad on the small side, compared to other daypacks in this review
We love the stealth, military look of the Ninja daypack from SOG, that combines smooth styling with all the features and space you need for an everyday shoulder bag.
It’s a flexible day backpack that is as good on a casual weekend hike as it is on the school run or work commute. Its extra plus point is its easy organization, putting everything you need quickly at your fingertips. With a large main compartment offering up to 24 liters of capacity, there are also enough accessory pockets plus a soft-lined section for your gadgets, meaning everything is kept secure and easy to find.
24.2 liter internal capacity
Internal pocket for water bladder
Padded compartment for gadgets
Adjustable shoulder straps
Bottom grommet drainage holes
- Weight1.94 pounds
External Molle webbing for fitting extra attachments
Comes with a lifetime warranty
Water-resistant rather than waterproof
This is a quality daypack from popular outdoor specialists Osprey who have managed to create a versatile, high performing outdoor day backpack that is just at home on the city streets.
Originally designed to be an additional zip-off space accessory to be attached to their larger rucksacks, Osprey found they had a demand for the Daylite as a standalone pack, thanks to its size and versatility. Lightweight, durable, and really comfortable to wear, the Osprey is now the go-to daypack for the man about town (or on the day trail).
Large panel-loading main compartment
Attaches to compatible Osprey backpacks
Spacermesh shoulder straps with handle
Multi-function interior sleeve
Removable pack-stabilizing hip belt
- Weight1.19 pounds
Versatile – attaches to larger Osprey backpacks
Great size for airplane carry on
Rigid frame helps it to keep its shape
Side panel water bottle holders a little tight on space
Sea to Summit’s Ultra-Sil daypack is certainly a little rucksack with a big heart! It can hold a remarkable amount of everyday essentials for when you are out and about but can then be reduced to the size of a tennis ball when you need to pack it away as you continue on your travels. With no bulky frame, this neat day backpack folds down with the minimum of fuss into its own small stuff sack, making it small and light enough to stow in your travel backpack.
The material used to make this daypack may feel super light, but it’s not flimsy either. Made from rip-stop siliconized Cordura, it’s tough enough to be used out hiking or sightseeing and is also coated with polyurethane to make it remarkably water resistant.
Simple, streamlined design
Reinforced should straps
Made from water-resistant Cordura
20 liter internal compartment
Folds down into a small stuff sack
- BrandSea to Summit
- Weight2.4 ounces
Compresses down really small for easy storage
Small pack with an impressive 20 liter capacity
Only one internal compartment and no external pockets
Taking the classic JanSport day backpack look and totally pimping up all the internal space, the Cool Student laptop daypack will get you around college in easy style. The space this robust daypack offers is impressive, with room for a 15-inch laptop, all your day gear, gadgets, lunch box and essentials as well as space for a water bottle to keep you topped up. It’s also ‘school sturdy’ and made from 600 denier polyester with a synthetic leather scuff base to cope with the demands and rigors of campus life.
JanSport have been producing high quality, affordable travel backpacks and outdoor gear since 1967 so you know you are on to a winner with this urban daypack that still retains a nice sense of laid-back adventure. It would also look good as a work backpack and could hold its own on the daily commute or general use out and about around town. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty so the makers are confident it can cope with the student life!
600 denier polyester and synthetic leather
Compartment space for 15-inch laptop
External water bottle holder
Three front zipper pockets
Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Weight1 pound 8 ounces
Tough but student cool styling
Large laptop/gadget compartment
External zips can be a little cumbersome to use
If you like Eagle Creek’s Travel Gear but want something a bit more urban and street-wise, then their Packable Backpack version could be the daypack for you.
The Eagle Creek packable backpack is the perfect size for everyday use, whether it’s out on the trail, a busy city tour, or on the daily commute. It also works perfectly as a college backpack. Similar in design to the Travel Gear, this slightly more heavyweight version has a few more security features to keep your belongings safe. With two-way lockable zippers on the main compartment, this travel daypack will keep all your precious gear safe and secure. With the front pocket doubling up as a stash pocket when you need to fold way your daypack to store inside your larger luggage, there’s also an easy to reach side pocket for a water bottle.
Made from durable 70D heathered nylon
Two-way lockable zippers on main compartment
Front pocket key fob doubles as an attachment clip
Side water bottle holder
Comes with lifetime warranty
- BrandEagle Creek
- ModelPackable Daypack
- Weight7.2 ounces
Made from lightweight but robust material
Great security features
Water bottle holder only on one side
One of the heavyweights in our best daypack review, the Burton is also one of the hardiest, with its spec and styling taking you from the mountain or snow trail to city street with ease. The Burton Day Hiker nicely blends outdoor functionality with the needs of the digital guy, with enough internal space and protection for your gadgets as well as all your essential survival gear!
It’s a cavernous daypack too, providing up to 25 liters of internal capacity in its main compartment, which includes both a laptop and tablet sleeve for all your gadgets. The larger laptop sleeve can also be used for your hydration bladder, while there’s also two external water bottles to stop you from getting thirsty.
100% polyester with 25L capacity
Internal space includes laptop and tablet sleeves
Laptop sleeve can also be used for a hydration bladder
Ergonomic adjustable shoulder straps
Fleece pocket for goggles or phone
- Weight1.4 pounds
Great daypack for skiing and boarding
Plenty of space and secure pockets
Lightweight, low profile design
Side water bottle pockets are a touch on the small side
For a great value backpack that all the family can use, then this 20 liter daypack from outdoor clothes company, Eddie Bauer, could well be your everyday go-to.
From use at school by the kids to going out on a day hike, this is a daypack that is tough enough without being too heavyweight. It is certainly easy and comfortable to carry around and being made from 200 denier ripstop, it can take whatever you throw at it. It is also treated with storm repellent that helps it to shed moisture and keep your belongings nice and dry when the weather suddenly takes a turn.
100% polyester with 20L internal capacity
Made from durable 200 denier ripstop fabric
Folds away inside small external pocket
Padded shoulder straps for added comfort
Two mesh side water bottles
- BrandEddie Bauer
- Weight11 ounces
Great value for a 20 liter daypack
Easily folds away for simple stowing
When full can be a little hard on your back
We’ve often found that daypacks don’t provide the same comfort and stability that large hiking and traveling backpacks offer. The Osprey Talon 22 Men’s Hiking Backpack is the exception to that rule. Designed for one-day hikes, this ultra-comfortable backpack feels like it’s hugging you from behind, thanks to the BioStretch harness and continuous wrap hipbelt. It also features an AirScape back panel to keep the air flowing around your body.
If you’re on the smaller side, you might find this backpack a little too big for day hikes. It’s definitely designed for larger builds. In terms of space, it offers a total of 22 liters and has an external hydration sleeve that can accommodate a 3L reservoir (sold separately). It also has a bunch of small storage solutions you might not notice on the product picture. For example, the hipbelt features two zippered pockets, there are two stretch mesh pockets on the sides of the pack, and it has a LidLock helmet attachment for cyclists and climbers.
External sleeve for 3L reservoirs
Dual-zippered main compartment access
Continuous wrap hipbelt
Available in four colors
AirScape back panel
- ModelTalon 22
- Weight1.34 pounds
Made from super high-quality materials
Amazing support system
Lots of internal space
It’s kind of expensive
- How To Wash A Backpack – Wikihow