If you’re heading out on a single day adventure, you won’t necessarily need a pack that is as large or bulky as those you would use for a long weekend. That said, you still want to find something that has enough room for all your essential items as well as being affordable, durable and lightweight.
Once you start looking for a hiking daypack, you’ll quickly notice just how many options are at your disposal. While this can feel like something of a minefield when trying to find the best quality daypack, our top picks will help you to ensure you get something that is right for you.
Latest update: May 2021
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What To Look For In A Hiking Daypack
Every daypack will have something different to offer and this means that you need to whittle down your choices according to how you intend to use the pack, and what you expect from it. Take a look at our tips for choosing the right daypack for your needs.
What Will You Be Doing?
The type of hiking daypack that you will need will largely depend on the things you are planning to do. For example, if you’re heading off on a rugged, remote trail with a lot of climbing involved, you’re going to benefit from a much more durable pack. Conversely, those who are taking it easy and spending a few hours meandering a gentle trail may do well with a lightweight daypack for their essential items.
It also pays to think about whether the pack is waterproof or water resistant. The weather may impact your choice here and if you don’t mind heading out come rain or shine, a water resistant pack may serve you well for times when the heavens open. Moreover, people who will be hitting demanding trails that involve water crossings will almost certainly need something that will keep their belongings from becoming soggy and damaged.
Comfort And Weight
It’s important to keep in mind that you could quite easily choose a very lightweight hiking daypack in order to avoid being unnecessarily weighed down. However, the problem with this is that, in some cases, being lightweight comes at the sacrifice of durability. This isn’t always the case but it is something worth looking out for.
Weight plays a part in how comfortable a daypack is to wear but there are other factors that will affect this. For example, having secure straps that don’t chafe is a must, particularly if they will be making direct contact with your skin. Padding is essential for comfort but not so much that the pack feels too bulky.
If you are hiking in warmer weather, having a pack on your back can cause you to sweat and this will make you dreadfully uncomfortable. For this reason, we would always suggest investing in a daypack that is made from breathable materials which promotes better airflow.
Storage And Accessibility
Even though you are only heading out on a day adventure, that doesn’t mean that you won’t need a wealth of things to help you throughout your hike. A good daypack will have enough storage for everything you need with a little bit over, just in case.
Moreover, it is important to look at the layout of the storage. Daypacks that feature several pockets along with their main compartment are great because you can put things in these pockets that you need quick access to. With one large main compartment, you certainly have space but if you need something that has fallen to the bottom of the bag, you’re out of luck!
You can pick a hiking daypack up for as little as a tenner whereas others can go into triple figures. The secretary to success isn’t necessarily buying the most expensive pack; because sometimes you’ll be paying for the brand reputation more than the quality of the pack.
Regardless of your budget, you will be able to find high quality hiking daypacks that come with everything you would expect. What’s important is that you do your research to find the best one.
Top 7 Hiking Daypacks
While everyone has different needs, we believe that there is a hiking daypack for everyone. We have spent some time researching and checking out some of the most impressive hiking daypacks on the market and have compiled a list of our top picks.
With a middle of the road pricetag, the TOMSHOO cycling backpack is ideal for all outdoor adventures. Whether you are hitting the trails for a gentle stroll or spending a long day hiking cross country, this daypack gives you everything you need.
One of the most outstanding things about this daypack is how secure it feels. Some packs will move around which can be distracting at best, infuriating at worst. However, the TOMSHOO comes with a series of adjustable straps around the shoulders, chest and waist. Not only will it stay in one position but you can adjust it to feel comfortable for you.
Not only this but with a breathable material and an ergonomic design that will take pressure off your back and shoulders, this is one of the most comfortable options on the market today. You won’t struggle for storage space either because not only does the TOMSHOO feature a very large main compartment but there are several outside pockets and a detachable phone holder.
Carrying a water bottle can be a pain when you’re on the go and so the fact that this pack comes with a built-in hydration system is great. This is a feature you see on a lot of packs but not all, so if you’re keen not to have to keep stopping, it’s an essential feature.
Best Daypack for Climbing
If your hike is going to involve some tricky terrain then you need gear that is going to stand up to the challenge. While the TOMSHOO does offer great durability, it is nothing in comparison to that of the Berghaus Arrow 30 rucksack. This pack is not only made from high quality polyester that is designed to withstand everything a tough hike throws at it, but it has break-resistant zips and fastenings too.
But the interesting features certainly don’t stop there; this daypack boasts a very aesthetically pleasing design and has an enormous 30L capacity. Now, if you were going on a longer adventure, 30 litres might not seem like much but for single day use, this is more than enough.
What also jumped out at us immediately about the Berghaus Arrow 30 is that it is extremely comfortable. Having straps that rub or weigh down on your body can turn an enjoyable hike into a nightmare. Fortunately, the manufacturer sees this issue and as such, has created a strap system that spreads weight evenly and remains secure at all times. This is imperative if you are going to be physically exerting yourself on a challenging trail.
You don’t need to break the bank to find an excellent hiking daypack. This one from MAXTOP is a prime example of this and with a massive 30 litres of space in the main compartment, you won’t struggle to fit everything you need inside for a long day of hiking. What’s more, there are as many as 13 additional pockets making up a further 10 litres of space which is great for those bits and pieces you need easy access to.
You could be forgiven for thinking that a less pricey daypack might not come with all the features you would expect, but this one is bursting with them! If you’re heading out on hikes that involve water, the MAXTOP offers great water resistance and the reflective strip and strap whistle are nice additional safety touches.
What’s great about this backpack and not something that we have yet seen in our other top picks is that it can be worn and carried in various ways making it one of the more versatile daypacks out there. The top will fold down for times when you don’t need to fill it to capacity but even when it’s fully extended, the bag only measures 12 inches so is pretty compact.
The MAXTOP is also very durable. If you’re looking for something to take on demanding trails, this is an excellent option. Not only is it made from high-quality materials that won’t tear but it has reinforced stress points and robust zips. Moreover, all of this comes as a very lightweight package. However, we should point out that owing to the foldable design, this daypack doesn’t have much in the way of structure which can be a hindrance when packing and removing items.
If you’re willing to invest a little more in your hiking daypack, there are plenty of options. But you don’t need to spend too much to get a good product. We found hiking daypacks that cost in excess of £500 but at this price, the Kelty ZYP offers just as many exciting features.
One of the most notable things about this women’s hiking daypack is how lightweight it is. Even if you’re only out for the day, the last thing you want is something weighing you down. But unlike the MAXTOP, this lightweight design doesn’t come at the cost of solid structure. The Kelty ZYP boasts a large main compartment with several other pockets making this a great choice for whole day hikes.
What stands out most about this daypack is how comfortable it is to wear. It is made from breathable fabric which is excellent in itself but by no means a unique feature to this bag. But what does set the Kelty ZYP apart from the rest is its innovative design that fits to your body contours effortlessly. Not only this, but it can be adjusted whilst wearing without being too fiddly. The padded straps add to the comfort, and the pack feels very secure once in place.
Since this daypack does require a little more of an investment, it’s good to know that it comes with a lifetime warranty. For serious hikers who want high-end equipment that will stand the test of time, a bag like this is a must.
BEST COMPACT HIKING DAY PACK
For anyone that is going on a much shorter day hike or even for teenagers, this compact 12-litre daypack is ideal. But small certainly means mighty in this case and the Dipsea backpack is crammed with handy features. For starters, you cannot ignore the fact that this daypack feels incredibly secure. With padded, adjustable shoulder straps and a well-fitting back strap, once it’s on, it won’t move around.
We’d also recommend this for wet adventures since the durable outer material is fully waterproof. Moreover, on challenging hikes, this tear resistant pack with extremely reliable and robust fastenings will not let you down. What’s more, with a stylish design, the Dipsea daypack functions off the trails too and can be used on your commute, easily fitting a laptop inside.
While this is only a 12-litre pack, which is considerably smaller than some of the others we looked at, it does come with a good selection of pockets, both inside and on the exterior.
BEST DAYPACK FOR TECH LOVERS
If you can’t leave the house without your laptop, smartphone or other device then this solar powered 5v backpack could be a lifesaver when the charge runs out. That said, on days where you’d rather leave your tech at home and simply get back to nature, the solar panel can be removed. But this isn’t the only thing that impressed us about this pack.
The ECEEN solar folding backpack is beautifully compact and will fold in on itself for storage. That said, it still boasts a good 30-litre capacity so there’s plenty of room for everything you’ll need on your day out. But with a larger pack like this, you need to ensure that the bag will do most of the work in carrying the weight. This has been made easy with the ECEEN since it features strong padded shoulder straps and a chest strap for better weight distribution.
It’s breathable and incredibly durable being made from tear-resistant fabric making it perfect for demanding hikes where things like climbing are involved. But best of all, this robust design doesn’t come at the cost of remaining lightweight; weighing just half a kilo this isn’t a daypack that’s going to weigh you down.
BEST HIKING DAYPACK FOR KIDS
Getting kids out on the hiking trails and away from their screens is an essential part of modern life. However, you can’t expect a child to take the weight and size of an adult daypack but this 10-litre mini pack from One trail is the perfect size for younger people. It comes in a choice of six colours giving your child the opportunity to show off their style and boasts a stylish design that is just as good for school and day to day life.
The Mini Me from One Trail features a lot of adjustable straps which is great if you’re looking for a daypack that will grow with your child. Moreover, you needn’t worry about it becoming damaged since it is made from robust, kid-friendly materials. In addition to this, the zips and fastenings have been designed with little hands in mind and as such, are larger and easier to grip.
If your child is going to be carrying their pack all day, you need to ensure that it will be comfortable and the Mini Me really lives up to this expectation. The chest strap helps to more evenly distribute weight while the padded shoulder straps offer comfort and a secure fit.
Finding a hiking day pack that is comfortable, secure and durable is essential if you want to enjoy regular day hikes. However, not all packs are made equal so it is important to look at what features a bag offers before making a decision. Whether you are looking for an affordable hiking daypack for occasional adventures or something robust for lengthy days on a rugged trail, our top picks will have something for you.