A solid daypack should be a staple of every outdoor enthusiast's gear collection. Whether you’re hitting the trail for a hike, biking to work, or even hopping on a flight, a great daypack will serve you well for many years.
With hundreds of daypacks out there serving up a range of functional differences, it can be hard to determine which one will work best for you. We researched and tested dozens of daypacks to create this list of the best hiking packs with a good balance of comfort, convenience, weight, and cost.
You will find that most of our choices are around Osprey and that is for one good reason: Osprey has proven to make reliably good backpacks.
Check out this quick list of our favourites if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full top 8 list with in-depth reviews.
Best ultralight budget daypack: Berghaus TwentyFourSeven 15 Litre
Best hydration daypack with comfortable ventilation: Osprey Hikelite 26 Daypack
Small & durable hiking daypack with comfortable padding: Montane Mezzo 16L
Affordable daypack with a minimal but functional design: Quechua NH100
Ultralight & packable daypack for short hikes: Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack
Ultralight daypack for long day hikes & quick overnights: VANGO Ozone 40 Backpack
Critical Daypack Considerations
Want to know if a hydration pack is right for you? Curious about what pack capacity you’ll need to ensure you have room for your essentials? Scroll to the bottom of this post for our Critical Considerations section where we cover everything you need to know.
Best Hiking Daypacks
BEST DAYPACK OVERALL FOR COMFORT & FUNCTIONALITY PRICE: £100 WEIGHT: 600 g CAPACITY: 22L / 20L
PROS: Comfortable, padded/ventilated back panel, supportive hipbelt, good pocket arrangement, helmet clip for commuting, good value for the price, durable
CONS: Heavier than some other daypacks, hipbelt isn’t removable
BOTTOM LINE: The Osprey Talon 22 (men’s sizes) and Tempest 20 (women’s sizes) provide an exceptional balance of comfort, convenience, and functionality. Our favourite feature of these packs is how they form to our bodies. With cushy hip belts, padded shoulder straps, and ventilated back panels, the Talon and Tempest ride very comfortably on the trail. These packs have plenty of room for a full day adventure and convenient storage compartments to keep our gear organised nicely.
BEST ULTRALIGHT BUDGET DAYPACK
PRICE: £30 WEIGHT: 300g CAPACITY: 15L
Keep drinks handy in the side bottle pocket
Never lose your keys thanks to a handy key clip
Stay organised with internal pockets
Kinder to the environment with PFC-free water repellent
Dimensions: 42cm(H) x 24cm (W) x 16cm (L)
PROS: Affordable, ultralight, good pocket organisation, comfortable, compact
CONS: Not as supportive as some others
BOTTOM LINE: Weighing as little as two smartphones, this great rucksack is the smallest of the Twentyfourseven range, but is deceptively roomy. Strong and durable you'll be surprised how much you can pack in, which means it's perfect whether you're going to the gym, or for a day out in the country. Every detail's been carefully considered, including internal pockets and an external carabiner, so you can keep everything you need organised, and at your fingertips.
Plus, you can give feeling hot and bothered the heave-ho thanks to the vented foam and air mesh back system, which will keep you comfy on the way to work, or on the hill.
BEST HYDRATION DAYPACK FOR HIKING
PRICE: £80 WEIGHT: 730g CAPACITY: 26L
Fabric: 100D nylon mini diamond shadow Frame:
Lightweight peripheral frame
Back system: AirSpeed
Integrated & detachable raincover
Front shove-it pocket
Stretch mesh side pockets
Internal hydration sleeve
Removable webbing hipbelt
Side compression straps
Sternum strap with emergency whistle
Zipped panel access
Trekking pole attachment
Zipped scratch-free sunglasses & electronics pocket
Max Dimensions: 46 x 28 x 28cm
PROS: Raincover included, internal hydration pocket, front pocket for your jacket, very comfortable, supportive, transfers weight to hips well, good pocket organisation, durable CONS: Side pockets fit narrow water bottles great but are tight for wide bottles BOTTOM LINE: The Hikelite 26 Rucksack from Osprey is a lightweight, well-ventilated hiking backpack that is ideal for day trips. With plenty of pockets, there is room for a map, your phone and wallet, and everything else you could need for day out and about. If you get caught in the rain, there is a detachable raincover integrated into the bag so all your stuff stays dry even if you don't.
SMALL & DURABLE HIKING DAYPACK WITH COMFORTABLE PADDING
PRICE: £45 WEIGHT: 430g CAPACITY: 16L
Fabric: RAPTOR Grid 210D
CONTACT Air Mesh Plus on harness & back pad
Extremely comfortable, padded and highly breathable air mesh back panel
Ergonomic, padded and highly breathable yoke style shoulder straps
Chest harness strap
Top compression straps with compression wing
LED light slot and reflective detailing
Side stretch mesh wand pockets
Internal zipped organisation pocket with key clip
Hydration bladder compatible
PROS: Affordable, durable, comfortable, lightweight, padded back panel, hipbelt, large/convenient opening for main compartment CONS: Front stash pocket is somewhat inconvenient to access, chest harness clasp a bit clumsy BOTTOM LINE: The Mezzo 16L rucksack from Montane is an everyday multipurpose daypack. It features their Contact Air Mesh on the back system and ventilated hipbelt, meaning you get excellent ventilation without sacrificing performance where you need it most and makes it an ideal choice for both hot and cold climates.
The ergonomic and padded harness offers great support and breathability whilst maintaining a comfortable temperature so you don't have to worry about readjusting the pack whilst out on your adventures. With two side stretch mesh pockets and an internal organisational pocket you'll know where everything is when the time calls.
The Mezzo rucksack is compatible with hydration packs and has also been designed with reflective detailing with a LED light slot, making it an ideal for longer runs and cycling trips.
ROOMY PACK THAT’S GREAT FOR TRAVEL & LONG DAY HIKES
RRP: £200 (£135 at GoOutdoors) WEIGHT: 219g (men's) 208g(women's) CAPACITY: 50L PROS: Ice Axe Attachment, Padded Shoulder Strap, Raincover included, Walking Pole Holder, Adjustable Back System, Emergency Whistle, Hipbelt, Hydration Compatible CONS: Heavy, more room than necessary for short hikes BOTTOM LINE: Designed for longer trips and larger loads, the Artmos 50 cleverly distributes weight and ventilates the back in the process.
The AG AntiGravity™ back system and ExoForm™ are responsible for this – lifting the rucksack from your back whilst transferring the load through the large muscle groups in the legs, making a light load of even the most demanding bulk.
With multiple access points, the bag makes a breeze of locating those buried items, and the separate sleeping bag compartment with separate zip entrance, alongside the internal divider, allows you to keep things nicely organised. Twin front zipped pockets, base pocket and a top loading compartment make accessing your gear simple.
With numerous other considerations and clever design points that range from integrated rain covers and Stow-on-the-Go™ trekking pole attachments to InsideOut™ compression and removable sleeping bag straps, the Ariel 65 is a great choice for anyone who is planning a longer trip or adventure. MORE: If you’re looking for something larger, the Atmos also comes in a 65L and Large size
Osprey Stratos 26 (men’s sizes) and Sirrus 26 (women’s sizes)
COMFY & SUPPORTIVE HIKING DAYPACK FOR LONGER HIKES
RRP: £120 (£85 at GoOutdoors) WEIGHT: 1.26g CAPACITY: 26L
Adjustable AirSpeed™ trampoline suspended mesh back system
Adjustable torso length
Base zip entry
External hydration access
Integrated & detachable raincover
Internal key attachment clip
Removable sleeping pad straps
Side compression straps
Single ice axe loop
Single vertical zippered side access point
Sternum strap with emergency whistle
Stow-on-the-Go™ trekking pole attachment
Top lid access
Twin zippered hip belt pockets
Under lid zipped mesh pocket
Vertical centred zippered pocket
PROS: Very comfortable, supportive, transfers weight to hips well, good pocket organisation, rain cover included, durable CONS: We would prefer a mesh front pocket over the front zippered pocket, a little heavier than some others BOTTOM LINE: The Osprey Stratos 26 (men’s sizes) and Sirrus 26 (women’s sizes) have some of the most comfortable frames of any daypacks we’ve tested, hands down. Their stretch-mesh back panels feel cushy against the back and seamlessly transition into their hip belts for excellent weight transfer. These packs have a solid organisational system too, with a variety of convenient gear storage pockets, two hip belt pockets, and easy-to-access water bottle holsters.
Osprey Farpoint 40 (men’s) and Osprey Fairview 40 (women’s)
STYLISH DAYPACK WITH LARGE CAPACITY FOR HIKING OR COMMUTING
RRP: £120 (£69 at GoOutdoors) WEIGHT: 1.4kg CAPACITY: 40L PROS:
Conforms to EU maximum carry-on luggage size
ID Card holder
Low profile padded carry handles on top and side
Panel zip access to main compartment with lockable zippers
Light weight peripheral frame
Dual front mesh pockets
Zip-away die-cut spacer mesh hipbelt and harness
Detachable padded shoulder strap
Padded laptop and tablet sleeve
Zippered scratch-free sunglasses and electronics pocket
CONS: Expensive, some people warn about quick wear and tear around handles, flimsy laptop sleeve. BOTTOM LINE: The Fairview and Farpoint 40 are light travel backpacks that conforms to maximum EU carry-on dimensions.
Featuring a zip-away spacer mesh ventilated backpanel, these can be carried like a backpack but packed like a suitcase.
Fairview’s Farpoint's backsystem offers an impressive gender specific fit, with an ergonomically shaped hipbelt, harness, yoke and backpanel. The strong and durable backsystem means you can carry your gear comfortably when travelling between hotels, the airport or beyond.
Cushioned carry handles on the top and the sides and the removable shoulder strap allows you to easily grab the travel pack off airport baggage carousels and carry quickly with ease. Your gear is readily to hand, with the inclusion of a large zippered opening that allows access to the main compartment, featuring lockable zips for increased security. The inner compression straps allow you to fully maximise the capacity whilst securing your belongings. Look a little closer and you'll also find a top stash pocket for electronics and sunglasses, dual mesh front pockets for water bottles and a padded internal laptop sleeve.
AFFORDABLE DAYPACK WITH A MINIMAL BUT FUNCTIONAL DESIGN
RRP: £7.99 WEIGHT: 470g CAPACITY: 20L PROS: Foam back, chest straps, 2 zipped compartments, 2 bottle holders, 10-year warranty, 2 pads providing some ventilation of the back
CONS: Not as supportive as some others, the price reflects the cheaper material, so keep your receipt BOTTOM LINE: The Quechua NH100 is a simple, sleek, and affordable daypack that has similar features to the Berghaus TwentyFourSeven, but with slightly more capacity. The NH100 is a great option for short trips while carrying light loads. This pack is a bit small for full day adventures, but for short hikes it’s often all we really need to carry our gear comfortably. MORE: If you want a quality upgrade go for the Quechua NH500, which has a bladder pocket and comes with a raincover. Beware that people reported the raincover not giving good water protection.
ULTRALIGHT & PACKABLE DAYPACK FOR SHORT HIKE
WEIGHT: 90g CAPACITY: 18L PROS:
Deluxe AirMesh™ harness for comfortable carry
Zippered panel access
Fully waterproof coated fabric and seams
Zippered stash pocket
Stretch side pocket
Internal security pocket
Packs into its own carry case
CONS: No frame, can be uncomfortable if not packed well
The Osprey highly innovative Ultralight Stuff Pack does exactly what the name suggests. Within seconds, the 18 litre bag can be stuffed away into its own carry case which is no larger than the size of an apple.
Built with a Deluxe AirMesh™ harness the backpack offers a comfortable carry unusual for a compressible pack of this size. Fully waterproof coated fabric and seams mean you won’t get caught out in the event of a light drizzle or sudden downpour either.
For organisation and easy access Osprey have included a zippered stash pocket, internal security pocket and stretch side pocket. Reflective graphics mean you’ll also always be seen.
All of these features and more make this a perfect daypack that won’t take up any room in your luggage and won’t weigh you down whilst on holiday.
ULTRALIGHT PACK FOR LONG DAY HIKES & QUICK OVERNIGHTS
RRP: £85 (£69 at GoOutdoors) WEIGHT: 1.06kg CAPACITY: 40L PROS:
X-Air mesh back system - enhanced ventilation
Unique load stabilising compression - reduces strain
6mm aluminium frame
Large mesh side pockets - easy to access on-the-go
Hip belt zip pockets - safely store possessions within easy reach
Large front storage pocket
Walking pole storage
CONS: Wide shoulder straps don’t sit well on all body types, more room than necessary for short hikes BOTTOM LINE: The ideal companion for ultralight trekking, the Vango Ozone 40 backpack is made from lightweight 200D Nylon Ripstop PU fabric and boasts a compact yet spacious design.
The X-Air mesh back system keeps the back away from the body to promote ventilation, whilst the unique load stabilising compression keeps the pack closer to your centre of gravity for improved stability.
Mesh side pockets and hip belt zip pockets mean your phone, map, water bottle and snacks are within easy reach without having to take the pack off, and the large front storage pocket is an ideal place to keep your waterproof so you don’t have to open the main compartment during a shower.
The lid helps to keep moisture from getting in but can be stored away in the main pocket on a dry day for convenience. There is also easy-to-use walking pole storage that keeps your poles secure and out of the way when you’re not using them.
CRITICAL DAYPACK CONSIDERATIONS
CAPACITY - The capacity of a daypack is measured by the amount of litres it will carry. Generally speaking, most daypacks range from around 10L-35L, but the most popular daypacks usually have a 20-30L capacity. We prefer daypacks with a 20-30L capacity as well, because they offer enough room for a variety of outdoor adventures and give us plenty of space for the essentials.
ORGANISATION - Most daypacks have a large top-loading compartment for storing the majority of your gear. In addition, we like daypacks that have additional organisation spaces to make compartmentalising and accessing gear easy. Many daypacks also have a front mesh stash pocket, which we find very convenient for storing gear on the go, like a raincoat, water filter, or hat and gloves.
FRAME - Some ultralight daypacks with lower capacities are frameless, meaning they have little to no structure for carrying weight on your back. This can be a portable style for light loads and quick trips, but frameless packs tend to be a poor choice for longer adventures. In general, we prefer daypacks with a comfortable frame that will allow us to carry a full day’s worth of equipment comfortably along the trail. That said, minimal frameless packs tend to be affordable, portable, and useful too, so we recommend a variety of frame options.
BACK PANEL AND VENTILATION - Some daypacks have a suspended mesh back panel design (ex: Osprey Stratos 26 and Sirrus 26 ), which allows for more airflow and ventilation on the trail. Though the difference is usually minimal (your back is still going to get sweaty), many hikers find those types of frames to be more comfortable. Packs with simple back panel designs (ex: Osprey Talon 22 & Tempest 20) usually incorporate foam padding for comfort and add grooves to help with ventilation. Both designs work well in our opinion.
HIP BELT - A hip belt’s primary function is to distribute the weight of your pack to your hips, which helps alleviate strain on your shoulders. In addition, some hip belts have convenient pockets, which provide easy access to items you’ll want readily available on the trail (snacks, sunscreen, lip balm, wallet, phone, etc.) Most minimalist daypacks forego hip belts, though some provide simple nylon straps that add a small amount of stability and weight transfer. For full day excursions where we’ll be spending a lot of time on the trail, we generally prefer daypacks with more substantial hip belts (ex: Osprey Talon 22 & Tempest 20).
STERNUM STRAP - Sternum straps, which clip across your chest, are included on almost all daypacks these days. They give you the option to connect your shoulder straps across your chest for a more secure feel. It’s a nice touch when the sternum strap has an elastic section for a little give and the clip has an emergency whistle built in.
HYDRATION COMPATIBILITY - Water bottles and hydration bladders (ex: Camelbak
Crux Reservoir (1.5L)) are the two most common ways to stay hydrated on the trail. If you prefer drinking from a water bladder, a pack without a hydration port (opening for a water hose) could be a dealbreaker. Almost every daypack on our list has a hydration port and reservoir pockets for water bladder storage.
WATER BOTTLE HOLSTERS - Hydration is key while hiking, so if you're not using a hydration bladder, your water bottles should always be easy to access from your side pockets. Some minimalist ultralight packs don’t have water bottle pockets which is far less convenient, in our opinion.
WATERPROOFING - In general, it’s not a good idea to rely on any daypack for water protection. True, your pack will likely shed a light drizzle no problem, but in a downpour water will seep through your backpack’s seams and work its way into your gear. Some daypacks come with pack covers, but they don’t provide full protection and will eventually fail in heavy rain too. That’s why we recommend packing your gear in waterproof stuff sacks or ziploc bags inside your pack. Additionally, you can line the inside of your backpack with a strong bin bag to keep all your stuff dry.
BUYING ONLINE - Check the seller's return policy before you buy, but you can almost always return an unused pack within a certain time frame after purchasing. We recommend buying your top choice, trying it on at home when you get it, and returning/exchanging it if it doesn’t fit quite right.