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The Best Hiking Daypacks In 2021: How To Choose A Proper Hiking Backpack

Choosing the best daypack for hiking involves weighing options such as weight, capacity, comfort, and more. Our guide to the best hiking daypacks will help you know the options to make your decision easier.


Best Daypack for Hiking

There are few pieces of gear that are more important to outdoor lovers than hiking daypacks. Whether you are hiking, biking, or skiing, the best daypack will stay with you wherever you go.

Daypacks are used for hauling food, water, gear, first-aid kits, and so much more. And picking up the best daypack for hiking means putting a whole list of factors into play.

Most outdoor lovers are looking for something comfortable enough that they can wear it all day, yet durable enough that it won’t wear and tear with a lot of use.

And, of course, there’s the price factor.

Daypack prices can vary widely depending on brand, features, material, and accessories. And while some people can get by with a cheap daypack for carrying light gear on short trips, those who are looking for daypacks for hiking, biking, and hauling expensive gear on big trips might be looking for something a little more high-end.

Jump To Our Quick Daypack Recommendations

Check out this quick list of our favorites if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.

Best Overall Mens Daypack
Osprey Talon 22
Osprey Talon 22 Best Hiking Daypack
Weight: 2.3 lbs
Comfort: 5/5
Capacity: 22L
Durability: 5/5
Hydration Reservoir
Dual-Zipper Panel
Easy Gear Storage
Best Overall Mens Daypack
Osprey Tempest Womens daypack or hiking
Weight: 2.24 lbs
Comfort: 5/5
Capacity: 20L
Durability: 5/5
Hydration Reservoir
Dual-Zipper Panel
Easy Gear Storage
Best Ultralight Daypack
Weight: 1.25 lbs
Comfort: 4/5
Capacity: 25L
Durability: 4/5
4L Expandable Collar
Hydration Bladder
Sit Pad Frame
Best Packable Daypack
Weight: 0.15 lbs
Comfort: 3/5
Capacity: 20L
Durabilty: 3/5
Reinforced Stitching
Fits In Your Pocket
Water Resistant

Why Should You Trust My Opinion On Hiking Daypacks?

Through 43 countries and countless miles of hiking, I’ve tested out hiking daypacks of countless makes and margins.

I’ve hiked through Iceland and the Petra Mountains in Jordan. I’ve even used hiking daypacks on animal safari’s through Patagonia.

I’ve brought that knowledge together to pick through some of the top hiking backpack brands on the market in order to help make it easy to choose your perfect fit and style.

Best hiking daypack

What Factors Should You Consider When Shopping For A Hiking Daypack?

Picking the best hiker’s daypack isn’t too difficult if you know the features which you are looking for.

If you want to jump straight to our pick of the best daypack for hiking in 2021, you can hop right on over to that one here.

To help you buy the best daypack for hiking, here are the top hiking daypack features to consider:

  • Price – A great daypack needs to be unaffordable. It’s easy to splurge on high-end brands without knowing what makes them so expensive. We’ll talk about the price and whether it’s worth it.
  • Durability – A great hiking daypack can be worn for years. So spending a little extra money on a daypack that best fits your long-term needs can be an investment.
  • Activities – Know what your main activities will be before buying a hiking daypack. If you’re focusing on short day trips, a lightweight pack may be all that you need. But, if you love going on technical trails, climbing, or long days on the trail, you might need a hiking daypack that has more features or packing capability.
  • Weight – Weight is one of the biggest factors when choosing a hiking daypack. However, often even a lightweight daypack can easily be dwarfed by the gear you put inside it. Weight is important, especially for technical hikers. However, it shouldn’t overshadow comfort and functionality.
  • Comfort – The most comfortable daypacks have great airflow and ventilation on your back, high-quality shoulder and waist support, and a structure that allows for proper weight distribution, even when fully loaded.
  • Capacity – Backpack capacity is measured by the number of liquid liters that will fit within. Most hiking daypacks capacity ranges between 10-35 liters.
  • Features – Choosing the best hiking daypacks isn’t all about capacity and comfort. The pack needs to have the organization and features that you need to spend a day on the trails comfortably. Daypack features such as hip belts, sternum straps, and hydration compartments can mean all the difference when you are hiking.

The Best Hiking Daypacks For 2021

Whether you are out on a short hike or a long day on the trails we’ve got you covered. From budget packs to high-end daypacks, these are our favorite daypacks for hikers.

We’ll be going through

Best All-Around Hiking Daypack For Men – Osprey Talon 22

Osprey Talon 22 Best Hiking Daypack

Weight: 2.3 lbs | Capacity: 22L |

The Talon 22 by Osprey is a smaller hiking backpack that offers one of the best combinations of comfort, convenience, and functionality.

This lightweight daypack has a well-ventilated padded foam back with extremely comfortable hip and shoulder straps.

Osprey daypacks are highly trusted for their excellent build quality and strong warranty coverage.

The Osprey Talon has a good amount of room for light trails. The storage compartment is conveniently arranged for easy access.

Click below to find the current price.

Best All-Around Hiking Daypack For Women – Osprey Tempest 2o

Osprey Tempest Womens daypack or hiking

Weight: 2.24 lbs | Capacity: 20L |

The Osprey Tempest 20 is very similar to the Talon 22, but its shape and contours have been designed to better accommodate womens body types and weight distribution.

The Tempest is slightly smaller, with a 20-liter capacity, but it still has an excellent combination of comfort, convenience, and functionality.

This lightweight design of this womens hiking daypack features a well-ventilated padded foam back with comfortable hip and shoulder straps.

Osprey daypacks are highly trusted for their excellent build quality and strong warranty coverage.

The Osprey Talon has a good amount of room for light trails. The storage compartment is conveniently arranged for easy access.

Click below to find the current price.

Best Ultralight Daypack For Hiking – Six Moons Design Daybreaker

Weight: 1.25 lbs | Capacity: 25L

This year the Six Moons Design Daybreaker is taking over as our best ultralight hiking daypack from last year’s winner, the Deuter Speed Lite 24.

 The Daybreaker is nearly half a pound lighter AND has an additional 5 liter carrying capacity. And, while I’ve always loved Deuter backpacks, especially their Kid-Comfort child backpack carriers and their kid’s backpacks, the Six Moons Designs takes the prize.

This model is very light and incredibly durable. It has a more back-to-basics design than the Speed Light and isn’t as streamlined or stylish, but its built to high-quality.

The wide EVA padded shoulder straps help distribute the load, making it very stable and comfortable even at full capacity. A unique feature is that the back pad can be removed and used a seat pad. A nice little feature for a comfy tush.

Best Packable Hiking Backpack – Sea to Summit Ultra Sil

Weight: 0.15 lbs | Capacity: 20L

Weighing a diminutive .15 lbs, the Sea to Summit Ultra Sil is hands-down the lightest hiking daypack on our list. Sometimes it helps to have a packable backpack.

While a collapsible hiking backpack isn’t going to be as tough or comfortable as a purpose-built one, the Sea to Summit Ultra Sil still does an excellent job on all accounts.

The entire backpack can be collapsed so small that it can fit in a standard pocket. This means that you can have a backpack with you any time that you need.

The unit doesn’t come with padded shoulder straps or a waist belt. But, it’ll do the job in a pinch.

You can check out the current price below.

Best Budget Hiking Daypack – Osprey Daylite

Osprey Daylight Budget hiking backpack

Weight: 1.1 lbs | Capacity: 10L

The simple, sleek design of the Osprey Daylite makes it easy to love. And although this hiking daypack only has a small 10 liters of storage, that might be perfect for those who love to travel light.

The Daylite is an excellent option for solo hikes or short trips where you don’t need heavy-duty capacity.

The simple, removable nylon hip belt is a nice touch, although I didn’t find myself using it very often. But there is a sleeve that can fit a hydration bladder, which is wonderful for a hiking backpack of this size.

At just over 1 lb, this backpack won’t strain you. And the smart design, and usual Osprey durability and warranty, makes this a solid choice for a budget hiking backpack.

You can check out the price below.

Other Great Hiking Backpacks That We Recommend

Best Heavy Duty Daypack – Osprey Stratos 34

Osprey Stratos 34 High-Capacity hiking backpack

Weight: 3.25 lbs | Capacity: 34 L

Not everyone is looking for a small, flexible daypack for hiking. Some hikers, myself included, like something with more room, flexibility, and features.

The well-designed frame of the Osprey Stratos 34 can handle heavy loads, which is good for parents, such as myself, who act as pack mules.

The excellent mesh-back ventilation keeps all that heat away from your body. This combination makes the Stratos my go-to all-around hiking backpack.

The panel-loading design makes the Stratos great for organization. If you don’t mind the high weight-to-volume ratio, the Osprey Stratos 34 offers one of the best lineups of features, a great build quality, and the versatility to carry as much or as little hiking gear as you need.

If you want similar durability in a smaller pack, you may want to consider the Osprey Stratos 24.

Best Long-Haul Lightweight Daypack – Granite Gear Crown2 38

Granite Ridge Crown2 38 Hiking backpack

Weight: 2 lbs. 4 oz. | Capacities: 38L

If you want capacity, but aren’t willing to sacrifice weight, you might want to consider the Granite Gear Crown2 38.

This cavernous pack is as large a pack as I would consider for day hiking. But, if you’re a photographer, hiking with kids, or doing any number of things that may require you to carry gear for more than just yourself, this is a great pack to consider.

The Granite Gear Crown2 has a super-supportive and comfortable hip belt. And coming in nearly a full pound below the Osprey Stratos, its capacity is really impressive.

If you do a lot of short day hikes, the Crown2 might be overkill. But, if you are looking for something that can handle long days, and even the occasional overnighter, the Granite Gear Crow2 38 might be perfect for you.

Best Hydration Daypack – Camelbak Fourteener 24

Amazon fourteener hydration daypack

Weight: 2 lb. 10 oz. | Capacity: 24L

One thing that none of the other hiking daypacks listed here include (with the exception of the Sky Moons Designs Daybreaker) in their price is a an included hydration bladder.

All of the models integrate well with hydration systems that you purchase separately, however, the Camelbak Fourteener 24 comes fitted with an excellent hydration system. And that saves you having to purchase one extra.

The Camelbak Fourteener 24 isn’t light compared to some other daypacks of a similar size. But the pack is quite comfortable with a sturdy hip belt and an additional water bottle holster for those who, like me, tend to drain their hydration bladder dry.

If you love the Camelbak hydration system, this one may be for you. If you find it too large, you may want to consider the Camelbak Fourteener 20 instead.

You can check out the Camelback price below

Final Thoughts On Choosing The Best Daypack for Hikers

Ultimately, the main factor to consider when choosing the best hiking daypack is your personal taste. Every body is different, and every hiker has a unique style.

It doesn’t hurt to try a few out before settling on the perfect one for you. But, all of these daypacks are tested and true. And I’d be more than happy to hit the trails with any of them.

Have you found a hikers daypack that works really well for you? Make sure you share it in the comments. You can also visit us on Twitter and share your thoughts on the best daypacks there.

This post may contain compensated links. Find more info in our disclaimer. Wandering Wagars is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

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Best Hiking Backpack

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