The 12 Best Daypacks for Hiking, Touring, and Exploring
There's no more convenient way to carry your day-to-day belongings than a backpack. Having your hands free while traveling, hiking, commuting, or shopping makes things like using your phone, grabbing a child’s hand, or handing over your boarding pass so much easier.
Especially when you're on the go, carrying the right daypack not only keeps you hands-free but also distributes the load evenly and saves your shoulders or arms from bearing the weight. When a well-made pack is adjusted and worn properly — not slung over one shoulder — there should be little to no strain on your back.
So why a daypack? Daypacks are more compact with less capacity than a pack intended for multi-day trips or overnight camping. Some manufacturers simply use the term “backpack” for all of their products, so our descriptions will provide you with the information you need to evaluate them for your own requirements. You'll want to take a look at storage compartments, materials, weight, weather-resistance, and, of course, looks as you shop for a daypack.
We’ve researched all the categories we could think of to create this list of the best daypacks for every type of traveler's needs. From minimal to stylish, sturdy to lightweight, structured to packable, here are the 12 packs that came out on top.
Best Hiking Daypack: Deuter Airlite 28
Designed to provide maximum ventilation and comfort for day hiking, the Airlite series includes low profile shoulder straps, a detachable rain cover, trekking pole attachment loops, stretch side pockets, and space for a hydration system. The pack — which is made of Deuter Ripstop nylon — weighs two pounds and four ounces and comes in two color options.
To buy: ebags.com, $120
Best Packable Daypack: Eagle Creek Packable Daypack
At only four ounces, this convenient daypack folds into its own pocket and will easily fit into your luggage or hang from its attached hook. Mesh shoulder straps, a side water bottle pocket, and a lockable main compartment make it easy and safe to carry for extra capacity on a day of shopping or sightseeing.
To buy: amazon.com, $32
Best Daypack Under $50: Osprey Packs Daylite Daypack
Weighing just over a pound, this versatile daypack has a ton of features for its price. It can be used on its own or attached to the front of a larger pack. The interior sleeve holds a tablet or the Osprey Hydraulics reservoir, and mesh side pockets stretch for additional storage. Plus, it's available in 12 color choices.
To buy: amazon.com, $50
Best Lightweight Daypack: Hikpro 20L Backpack
This daypack, made of water-resistant nylon, weighs less than eight ounces but boasts a large main compartment, two zipper pockets, and two mesh side pockets. Its adjustable padded shoulder straps make it comfortable, and it folds down into its own loop-topped pouch for packability.
To buy: amazon.com, $16
Best Waterproof Daypack: Showers Pass Transit Waterproof Backpack
This 100 percent waterproof bag features fully welded seams and TPU-coated durable ballistic nylon fabric. Fleece-lined compartments fit up to a 17-inch notebook and 10-inch tablet and there are additional organizational sections to accommodate your water bottle and more travel accessories. Four red LED lights and a reflective trim are included for safety, and there’s an adjustable waist strap for stability.
To buy: ebags.com, $264
Best Men’s Daypack: Thule Subterra Daypack
This good-looking daypack is roomy and convenient, with two-way access through the top and side zippers. It can accommodate a laptop and tablet, and it has a removable protective compartment for fragile items (no more sitting on your sunglasses). A hidden pocket and several interior and exterior pockets make packing and organizing easy.
To buy: ebags.com, $120
Best Urban Daypack: Samsonite Pro 4 DLX Urban Backpack
Tailored and compact yet roomy and organized, this pack can accommodate a 15-inch laptop and accessories as well as a tablet and more. Leather trim, black fabric, and refined style make it appropriate for business and travel. For convenience, this three-pound bag also has a sleeve to slip over rolling luggage handles.
To buy: ebags.com, $128
Best Backpack With Detachable Daypack: Eagle Creek Doubleback
This Eagle Creek bag a backpack, a duffel bag, and a rollaboard all in one — and at only five pounds. Both the main bag and the detachable daypack have backpack straps, and the main bag has multiple grab handles, oversized wheels, and a telescopic handle. Water-repellent nylon, kick plate protection, and sturdy construction make this pick as durable as it is versatile.
To buy: ebags.com, $299
Best Daypack with Hydration: Red Rock Outdoor Gear Drifter Hydration Pack
Room for 2.5 liters of liquid, multi-compartment design with optional expansion, and zippered pockets on the waist strap make this bag both convenient and practical. It's made of a rugged polyester and the padded shoulder and sternum straps ensure comfort even when it's filled to the brim.
To buy: ebags.com, $55
Best Stylish Daypack for Men: Tumi Harrison Webster Backpack
Neat and classic, this nylon and calfskin dual-compartment pack boasts a padded sleeve fit for a 15-inch laptop. Interior sections and zippered pockets will keep you organized while adjustable shoulder straps and a top carry handle make it versatile. For travel, it easily slips over telescoping luggage handles.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $395
Best Stylish Daypack for Women: Tumi Voyager Halle Backpack
With leather trim and metallic hardware, this black nylon bag by Tumi is understated and attractive. The interior features a section for a small, 12-inch laptop, and exterior zip pockets accommodate phones and other daily necessities. It's also got a handle sleeve for easy travel.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $235