Whether you are planning a short day hike, a summit scramble or an all-day adventure into the backcountry, having the right backpack is essential. A good backpack should be able to carry all the necessary essentials such as water, food, a layering piece, rain shell, and other accessories like a first-aid kit or headlamp. As the duration of your hike increases, so does the need for a backpack with more capacity, comfort, and features.
To help you find the perfect backpack for your needs, we have compiled a list of the best top rated hiking daypacks. Our selection includes simple and affordable models suitable for casual hikes, as well as more advanced and feature-packed options for longer excursions. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced hiker, there is a backpack on this list that will meet your needs.
Top Rated Hiking Daypacks 2023
- Best Overall Daypack: Osprey Talon 22
- Best Budget/Lightweight Daypack: REI Co-op Flash 22
- Best Hydration Pack for Hiking: Teton Sports Oasis 1100
- Most Comfortable for Heavy Loads: Osprey Stratos 36
- Best for Fast-and-Light Mountain Missions: Black Diamond Distance 15
- Best of the Rest: Osprey Daylite Plus
Best Overall Daypack: Osprey Talon 22
Best Overall Daypack
Osprey Talon 22
- Weight: 1.98 pounds
- Dimension : 9.84 x 22.05 x 9.06 inches
- Capacity: 22 L
- External hydration access
- Stretch Mesh Side Pockets
- Stretch front pocket
- Twin zippered Hipbelt Pockets
- Internal key attachment clip
- Stretch pocket on harness
- Injection moulded Aircape HDPE back panel with EVA form padding
If you are searching for a daypack that can handle any adventure, the Osprey Talon is the perfect choice. With a capacity of 22 liters (and larger options available up to 44 liters for those who require more space), the Talon strikes an ideal balance between comfort and features.
One of the standout features of the Talon is its hipbelt, which has light cushioning, providing greater comfort than the simple webbing you get with more streamlined packs. Additionally, the pack has a well-designed mesh backpanel, functional organization, a nice stretchiness, ample attachment points for trekking poles, a helmet, and a bike light.
The Talon comes in two sizes, allowing for a better fit. Whether you are going on a day hike, traveling, or using it for everyday purposes, the Talon 22 is an excellent choice.
If you require even more padding and carrying comfort, Osprey’s more expensive Stratos collection is an excellent option. The Stratos has a more substantial hipbelt and a suspended mesh backpanel for superior support and ventilation. It’s built more like a backpacking pack than a daypack, making it perfect for heavy loads and long days on the trail. However, the Talon is lighter, cheaper, and more than enough daypack for most people and uses.
Keep in mind that the thinner backpanel on the Talon may make it less comfortable when loaded down, as you can feel the contents of your bag on your back. Read in-depth review: Osprey Talon 22
Best Budget/Lightweight Daypack: REI Co-Op Flash 22
Best Budget/ Lightweight Daypack
REI Co-op Flash 22
- Weight: 14 ounces
- Dimension : 19 x 11 x 8 inches
- Capacity: 22 Liters
- Breathable, stretch-mesh shoulder straps
- Mesh back is soft, breathable and lightly padded for comfort
- Back panel pad can be removed for use as a sit pad
- Waistbelt and sternum strap can be detached to save weight
- Drawcord closure is covered by a lid with zippered pocket; 1 additional zippered pocket on front
- Stash side pockets
- Price : $60
For those on a tight budget or looking for a lightweight option, REI Co-op’s Flash series of daypacks have been a reliable choice for hikers and travelers alike. The most recent addition to the line, the Flash 22, is now even more appealing after being updated.
The pack is designed without a frame, which makes it more flexible than other daypacks, and reduces weight considerably, weighing just 14 ounces. Although it does not have a padded hipbelt or shoulder straps, the padded mesh on the back and shoulders makes it comfortable to carry lighter loads. Moreover, the price point of $60 is hard to beat for the value it provides, and it has enough capacity for a full-day hike if packed relatively light.
The latest version of the Flash 22 boasts some impressive improvements, including a switch to more eco-friendly materials like bluesign – approved and recycled nylon.
Additionally, the top lid now features two buckles to secure it more efficiently, and the Packmod bungee can be adjusted to accommodate gear of various sizes. A hidden zippered pocket adjacent to the backpanel is a fantastic feature for storing small items like phones and wallets.
However, the Flash 22 does have some drawbacks: it is not the most comfortable or supportive option for carrying a heavy load over extended distances, the materials are not as durable as other models, and it only comes in one size. Nonetheless, if you keep the weight down, the Flash 22 is an excellent choice for budget-conscious hikers looking to move quickly and lightly.
Best Hydration Pack for Hiking: Teton Sports Oasis 1100
Best Hydration Pack for Hiking
The Teton Sports Oasis 1100
- Lightweight and compact design
- Ample storage space
- Adjustable straps and padded back panel for added comfort
- Water-resistant and tear-resistant materials
- Durable construction with a 600D diamond ripstop shell that is highly resistant to tears and abrasions
- Comfortable Design
With a total capacity of 1100 cubic inches, the Teton Sports Oasis 1100 offers ample space for all your essentials. You can store your clothes, snacks, and other accessories without feeling burdened thanks to its lightweight design. The hydration system comes with a 2-liter hydration bladder that is BPA-free, making it safe and healthy for you to use.
One of the standout features of the Teton Sports Oasis 1100 is its ergonomic design. The mesh back panel is padded for added comfort, allowing for airflow to keep you cool and dry on hot days. The shoulder straps are also padded and adjustable, making it easy to find the perfect fit for your body type. This means you can hike with ease, without worrying about discomfort or chafing.
But what sets the Teton Sports Oasis 1100 apart is its focus on the benefits for the user. For instance, the hydration system keeps you hydrated on long hikes, reducing the chances of dehydration and fatigue. The lightweight design means you can carry more gear, and the ergonomic design helps to reduce the strain on your back and shoulders.
In summary, the Teton Sports Oasis 1100 is the perfect hydration daypack for any hiking enthusiast. It is designed to offer you maximum comfort, convenience, and hydration, making your outdoor adventures enjoyable and stress-free. So, whether you’re planning a long hike or a short walk in the park, the Teton Sports Oasis 1100 is the ideal daypack for you. Read in-depth review: Teton Sports Oasis 1100.
Most Comfortable Daypack for Heavy Loads: Osprey Stratos 36
Comfortable Daypack for Heavy Loads
Osprey Stratos 36
- Weight: 3.17 Pounds
- Dimension : 27 x 13 x 13 inches;
- Capacity:: 36 Liters
- Comfortable to carry with heavy loads
- Easy to load
- Hydration compatible (3L)
- Well ventilated
- Exterior pockets
The Osprey Stratos 36 is a highly recommended daypack for those who prioritize comfort or need to carry heavy loads. It is packed with features, including a full metal frame and a substantial hipbelt that distributes the weight effectively, as well as a large mesh panel that offers excellent ventilation and conforms well to the back.
The organization of the Stratos is also impressive, with two hipbelt pockets, zippered side panel access to the main compartment, a sleeping bag compartment, and pad straps for minimalist overnight trips. T
he built-in rain cover is another useful addition.Osprey recently updated the Stratos and women’s Sirrus collections, and most of the changes are positive. The latest packs are made with more eco-friendly materials and have a backpanel design that offers better breathability.
Although Osprey eliminated the multiple sizing options, the new ladder-like system at the back is a decent replacement that allows users to quickly adjust the torso length by up to 4 inches. However, the Stratos 36’s primary drawbacks are its weight and price; weighing over 3 pounds, it is even heavier than some backpacking packs and is expensive for its capacity at $220. Nonetheless, those who want a premium and luxurious pack will appreciate the Stratos’ support and build quality.
Best Pack for Fast-and-Light Mountain Missions: Black Diamond Distance 15
Best Pack for Fast-and-Light Mountain Missions
Black Diamond Distance 15
- Weight: 1 pound
- Dimension (LxWxH) : 4.72 x 14.17 x 9.45 inches
- Capacity: 15 L
- Innovative harness layout with Stitch-less Edge Taping Technology for superior shoulder strap comfort, movement, and weight reduction
- On-the-go Z-Pole storage and secure Z-pole sleeves built into the pack
- Dual side compression
- Custom developed UHMWPE ripstop body fabrics
- Dual piolet storage
- Two soft flask pockets (soft flasks not included), one zip and two stretch shoulder strap pockets
- Two side stash pockets and one internal zip pocket with key clip
While traditional daypacks are suitable for moderate day hikes, Black Diamond’s Distance 15 is designed specifically for mountain athletes who want to travel quickly and lightly. The hybrid pack/vest design weighs only 12.7 ounces but can hold a day’s worth of supplies, including a streamlined climbing helmet.
The Distance 15 has a zippered chest pocket, trekking pole sleeves, ice axe holders, side compression straps, and multiple chest pockets for convenient access to essentials without removing the pack.
The body-hugging shape of the pack has been improved in the 2023 version, making it easy to move quickly and efficiently with a day’s worth of gear. However, the Black Diamond Distance 15 is not suitable for everyone. While it is reasonably durable with UHMWPE ripstop body fabrics, it is important to be careful around sharp rocks or equipment and avoid overpacking, as we had a shoulder strap detach almost entirely after carrying too much weight.
The pack also rides a bit low on the back and can feel heavy at the end of a long day, and the lack of a hipbelt only exacerbates the issue. The revamped Distance 15 now comes in three sizes for both men and women, which is an improvement over the outgoing unisex pack.
While traditional day hikers may prefer more support, the Black Diamond Distance 15 is a lightweight and thoughtfully built option for those looking for a step up from a running vest. Additionally, the pack now comes in a 22-liter model, which adds a considerable 7 liters and a large stretch woven pocket at the front.
Best of the Rest: Osprey Daylite Plus
Best of the Rest
Osprey Daylite Plus
- Weight: 1.29 pounds
- Dimension (L X W x H): 11.02 x 18.9 x 9.45 inches
- Capacity: 20 Liters
- Price :
- Large panel-loading main compartment
- Attaches to a variety of compatible Osprey packs
- Multifunctional interior sleeve for hydration reservoir, 15” laptop or tablet
- Dual stretch mesh side pockets
- Dual side compression straps
- Dual water bottle side mesh pockets
- Front pocket with organization and key clip
- Front panel zippered slash pocket
- Front panel shove-it pocket
- Harness grab handle doubles as a luggage pass-thru
Osprey’s Talon and Stratos are popular options, but the Daylite Plus is a cheaper and simpler daypack that is still built with the same high-quality construction. It weighs just over a pound and has a 20-liter capacity, making it ideal for shorter hikes or as a companion pack for travel. It can be attached to the outside of Osprey’s larger travel bags.
One of the main drawbacks of the Daylite Plus is its lack of support and limited sizing options. The shoulder straps are thinly cushioned, and the waist belt is made of simple webbing. This makes the pack less comfortable for longer hikes or heavier loads. However, as a streamlined and affordable option that is still made by a reputable pack manufacturer, the Daylite Plus is an excellent choice for those looking for a grab-and-go pack or for shorter outings.
After conducting thorough research and analyzing various factors, it is evident that investing in a high-quality hiking daypack is essential for any hiking enthusiast. Our top-rated hiking daypacks offer comfort, durability, ample storage space, and are designed to withstand the elements.
Whether you’re going on a day hike or a multi-day backpacking trip, having the best daypack for hiking can make all the difference in your overall experience. From the Osprey Talon 22 to the Daylite Plus, each of our recommended daypacks has its unique features that cater to specific hiking needs.
Remember, the right daypack can enhance your outdoor experience, so choose wisely. With the above recommendations, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle any hiking trail with ease and comfort.