Unlike camping backpacks, daypacks should be first and foremost comfortable to wear, easy to use, and to be able to accommodate all your valuables and hiking gear. They also have to possess an above average ventilation because they are intended to be worn in weather conditions that might cause you to sweat even without all the gear you have to carry around on your back as you hike.
Although optional, some of these daypacks can also have built-in hydration reservoirs to clench your thirst during the day, a much valuable feature to have. With this in mind, let us find out what are the ten best daypacks the market has to offer at this point in time.
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10Thule Capstone 32
The Capsule is a heavy but large (32-liter) capacity hiking backpack. It features innovative features such as a buttonhole characteristically webbing on its front for security, a typical VersaClick pole holder embedded on its adaptable hip belt, well-angled side meshes pockets for easy access when wearing your bag, and a shove-it front stretch pocket that can accommodate either a jacket or extra layers. Additionally, it also includes a detachable, but integrated rain cover, aside from its original tensioned back panel mesh that makes it both ventilated and breathable.
9Kelty Redtail 27
The Redtail is a wonderful daypack designed to suit all your hiking needs ideally. It has a 7-liter storage space, and come with a Hex Mesh back panel plus shoulder straps (padded) for added comfort. With Kelty, it has a panel loading option for its main pocket which allows easy fitting in large items and not to mention retrieval and removal. And lastly, to backpack comes with a front-zippered pocket that features internal mesh pocket.
8Arcteryx Arro 22 Backpack
This is a feature-packed hiking backpack that not only enjoys a highly durable construction but also exhibits a unique design. It is characterized by various vital features including a reasonable weight of about 905g, with the extra weight offering comfort and stability, Aeroform hydrophobic, thermoformed padding which boosts air flow, and a removable lightweight hip belt. What’s more, this bag includes discrete, yet simple features like SwiftClip bungee straps for securing trekking poles and deal daisy chains embedded on its front.
7Marmot Kompressor Plus
At just 370g, the Kompressor Plus Marmot backpack has a lightweight and simple design. This pack can pack itself entirely into its pocket once the internal foam back sheet gets withdrawn off its hydration pocket, and better yet, it has an exceptionally compressible nature that renders it ideal for backpacking or traveling. Furthermore, its compression straps maintained the bag stable and clinched down, while its back panel and Airmesh shoulder straps offer adequate comfort once loaded.
6Osprey Stratos 26
The Osprey although slightly massive is a well-fashioned backpack that features exceptional ventilation levels courtesy of its AirSpeed mesh back system and a seamless hip belt to back panel design that makes this bag a comfortable hiking option. Stratos 26 comes with a large storage pocket (front) whose access features a vertical zip. What’s more, it also includes a Stow-on-the-Go provision for the attachment of your trekking pole ensuring convenience when you are carrying them. Furthermore, its detachable and integrated rain cover is a significantly appealing provision that many daypacks simply do not have.
5CamelBak Fourteener 24 Hydration Pack
Fourteener 24, like the name suggests, has a 24-liter capacity space, an exclusive Camelbak Crux LR reservoir that evenly distributes the weight across your body for smooth and proper carrying, and also compression straps that prevent water in your possession from jiggling too much. This bag features a hydration system that includes a typical magnetic tube trap which maintains the hose in place if it in use and once you are through with sipping, it quickly snaps back. Moreover, it comes with pockets galore, two attachment options for trekking poles, not to mention Air Suspension (trampoline-style) back panels that offer adequate airflow on difficult climbs during hot seasons.
4Gregory Mountain Products Zulu 30
Zulu 30 is not only among the most comfortable but also among the best all-around high performing hiking bags. The comfort is courtesy of its FreeSpan ventilation suspension which ensures proper air flow on challenging hikes without encroaching its interior volume space. This combined with its lumbar pad (ventilated); shoulder and hip belt straps offer an ideally comfortable pack for great hiking expeditions. This Gregory backpack also includes several user-friendly inclusions such as quick-release buckles both on the bottom and side compression straps and sunglass stash loop embedded on its shoulder strap. It also features attachment loop for the trekking pole not to mention an accessories pocket featuring a soft fabric lining that safeguards either your sunglasses or phone.
3Deuter Speed Lite 20
Speed lite 20 is a 20-liter versatile daypack that features a compression strap system which is useful in securing trekking poles and skis or even in sizing the pack to hiking more than a hydration pack for easy portability. The backpack also includes four small-sized gear attachment loops used for attaching to a helmet. Deuter has equipped it with a spacious compartment that offers adequate storage space, and a simple to use design. What’s more, it is made using a 210D ripstop nylon that makes it a rough and resilient hiking option and also includes 70D nylon material that makes it quite durable.
2Osprey Packs Daylite Daypack
Osprey Packs Daylite Daypack is a suitable hiking backpack option for typical minimalist hikers. It features a lightweight nylon build that renders it’s among the lightest bags at just 411g. Moreover, aside from offering adequate padding on its back panel and shoulder straps for comfort, this is a highly functional bag. For a greater convenience, Osprey has equipped it with detachable sternum and waist belt straps that further customize its functionality and adds to its versatility. Flash comes with substantial side pockets (mesh) that allow you to carry your water bottle and better yet, a price tag that is both affordable and offers excellent value.
1Osprey Packs Talon 22 Backpack
The Talon 22 is a compactly designed hiking backpack that features numerous features such as an ax not to mention an expedient LidLock attachment where you can attach your helmet. It comes with a Stow-on-the-Go attachment for trekking poles, an exclusive accordion foam AirScape back panel which when combined with a unified lumbar-to-hip belt body wrap that enhances air flow. Last but not least, combined with its flexible torso length, this bag can offer optimal comfort and spread the load weight across your hips for added comfort.
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What To Look For In A Daypack
The road to getting your hands on a quality daypack starts with understanding the nature of these backpacks and what to expect from them. To be more precise, you’re going to have to figure out how far you plan on hiking with such a daypack on your back and in what conditions. At the same time, you should consider how much gear you are likely to pack and whether not you will be using trekking poles in your journey. So if you’re in the market for a daypack, here is what you need to consider before making a purchase:
Most daypacks have a total capacity that ranges between 10 and 40 liters. Whether you choose a smaller or larger daypack is entirely up to you, especially if you’re the type of person who spends a lot of time planning every hike thoroughly. While larger daypacks are indeed better at carrying big loads, smaller daypacks are better when it comes to ventilation, portability, and overall comfort. Keep in mind that hiking during the summer will require that you also carry a lot of water and you don’t want to leave important equipment behind just so that you can carry more water.
If we are to speak in broad terms to best describe daypacks in general, we should point out that larger backpacks are almost always heavier than smaller ones regardless of construction and fabrics. In this regard, you should perhaps invest in a lightweight daypack, even at the cost of sacrificing some of its capacity. That said, let us also point out that some of these larger daypacks are heavy for a reason. We say this because some of these backpacks are equipped with safety elements that even though they make the daypacks heavier, they definitely make up for this in strength and durability.
A good daypack should also be comfortable to wear, not just over short periods but during long journeys as well. For this reason, you want a daypack that is easy to wear, but one that doesn’t sacrifice any of its sturdiness in favor of a more comfortable fit. You want a comfortable daypack not only because of the convenience such a daypack can offer but also because of the safety elements they tend to have.
Waist belt – It is important for a quality daypack to have a reliable waist belt. This belt should be fully padded and easily adjustable, not to mention how accommodating it should be for people of all sizes.
Shoulder straps – You want a daypack that has flexible yet sturdy shoulder straps, along with them being fully adjustable to some extent. These straps should also take some of the weight away from your lower back whenever you carry a lot of gear. The most important feature of shoulder straps, however, is how tightly they can fit onto your torso so as to reduce excess movement of the bag.
Back panels – Another thing to consider is the back panels. Some of these daypacks have an extra bit of padding around the lumbar area along with a specially designed suspension to allow air to flow freely between the backpack and your back to prevent excessive sweating.
Sternum straps – With the help of sternum straps, you get the benefit of a much better stability on uneven ground, This is because sternum straps act as stabilizers by giving you full control over how loose the backpack should be on your back.
Length adjustment – You also want to check if the daypack you’re thinking about buying has a torso length adjustment feature. This enables you to adjust the height of the shoulder straps to fir your torso as tightly as possible without being too uncomfortable.
If you get a daypack from a reputable brand, chances are that you will also get quite a lengthy warranty to go with it. This is particularly important when it comes to backpacks in general, not just daypacks. We say this because your gear has to be able to withstand a lot of abuse during your hiking journeys, whether from the environment or from the wear and tear you provide yourself over time. As a rule of thumb, the more you spend on a daypack, the more you can expect it to last.
Bear in mind that not all daypacks are created equal, at least not as far as their features go. Some are built with a lot of pockets that you can use whereas others focus on a sturdier overall built for added durability. Among them, daypacks with plenty of storage options that you can use are quite popular. Then again, so are daypacks with built-in hydration reservoirs and the ones that are waterproof.
Hydration reservoir – It is very important for a hiker to stay properly hydrated at all times, which is where daypacks with built-in hydration reservoirs come in handy. These backpacks usually have a separate sleeve within the main compartment to hold the water (or any other liquid for that matter) that you can occasionally take small sips from as you hike. You do this via a Hydration port that can be accessed through the shoulder straps.
Waterproof cover – Another great feature to look for in a daypack is the waterproof cover. Although some backpacks are fully waterproof themselves, they do tend to be a lot heavier than most, which is the exact opposite of what you want from a daypack. With a waterproof cover, on the other hand, you get all the benefits of a waterproof backpack while still enjoying the lightweight construction of a traditional daypack.
Pockets – Needless to say, backpacks with lots of pockets are quite practical, thus highly sought-after by experienced hikers. They not only enable you to safely store your valuables but to better organize your gear for a more efficient hiking experience. In this regard, daypacks can have top pockets, side pockets, internal pockets, external pockets, or hip belt pockets for you to choose from.
Compression straps – The purpose of compression straps is to tighten your pack to ensure a better fit. This makes your hiking experience on uneven ground much more enjoyable on account of your backpack staying safely in place. At the same time, these straps enable you to attach extra gear to the outside of your pack without soiling or damaging any of the items inside the backpack. This is a particularly useful feature to have if you’re a fisher and you don’t want the smell to spread to your clothes or valuables inside the daypack.