Best Daypacks for Hiking of 2018 (+ Buying Guide )

It is something you have been planning for weeks; you are ready to hit one of the best hiking locations this coming weekend with family. As a tradition, you have shopped for every possible item and gear that would need. You have them safely packed in your garage. However, the whole process has not been all rosy; the process has been quite involving. There are some things you have not been able to buy and one of them is a day hiking backpack.

The amounts of choices you have on the market are virtually endless and this being your first time shopping for these types of backpacks, you have been completely lost. You have even gone ahead and sort ideas from friends but that has made things even more complicated. Each of them seems to come with varying opinions and nailing down which works and which doesn’t has been quite difficult.

We truly understand how the process can get and for that we are going to come for you help.  We know how important that backpack is and with that in mind, we are going to walk you through the shopping process. What to look out for and what to avoid when it comes to these hiking backpacks. We are not even going stop there; we are going to recommend 4 of the best daypack designs out there. They are not only built to withstand and conditions out there, but they also come packed with an avalanche of features. They are the best and we just want you to try one of them.


  1. Osprey Daylite
  2. Marmot Kompressor 18
  3. CamelBak Rim Runner 22
  4. TETON Sports Oasis 1100
  5. Deuter Speed Lite 20
  6. CamelBak Fourteener 24
  7. Gregory Zulu 30
  8. Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30
  9. Osprey Packs Manta AG 36
  10. Kelty Redwing 50

How To Choose The Right day Hiking Backpack That Suits Your Needs

As when you are buying and other hiking gear or item, there is a lot that go into choosing the right backpack. The industry is packed, but if you know what to look out and what actually suits your needs, there is no way you are going to go wrong with the choice you make today. Here is a quick look into some of the things you need to keep in mind at all times. It is important you do this for a wrong choice could leave you with an avalanche of issues and regrets in the long run.

Styles Of Packs

The market has consistently grown in the recent months and there are plenty of styles of packs way.  Each style has been created to suit a specific area. There are quite a number of things you could search for as an outdoor enthusiast and for this reason; you may want a pack that would work for that specific activity. In any case,  what you will be actually doing with the pack will dictate what you are going to buy in the long run. Here are different pack styles you probably didn’t know about.

  • Backpacking Packs

These packs have been designed to carry large loads. Coming with a capacity of around 50-80 liters, we could say these types of packs are good to go if you are going to hike for days. They usually come with an internal frame and normally offer suspension with several adjustment points. That alone will make the pack very comfortable on your back. That is not the only best part; packs that come with this style are huge and often come with separate compartments for things like sleeping bag. They can carry a lot of items all at once.

  • Ultra light Packs

As the name suggest, these are meant for experienced hikers that are looking at reducing weight and carry only the basics and essentials. Most of them coming under 20lb, we could say they are some of the most lightweight packs you can lay your hands on today. However, before you get all excited, keep in mind that theses minimalist packs is often uses thinner and less durable materials than those heavier designs. However, the amount of strain on your shoulder you avoid is probably worth it. Pretty much like most hiking packs, these ultra light models also come in multiple sizes and most come equipped with a hole for a hydration bladed hose. They are just so cool and worth checking out.


What is that you will be carrying in your backpack? It is important you answer this as it will help you figure out the size of a backpack you actually need. If you know want something that can carry everything all at once, you may want to settle for a larger bag. On the other hand, if you just need something to carry only an extra pant and base layer, something small will make a lot of sense. In short, when it comes to capacity of your backpack, what you intend to carry in there will decide what you are going to go for. However, people are always advised to go with something bigger.  Although that would cost you extra money, the amount of benefits you can net in the long run will simply your mind off.

Weight Vs Features

If you take a quick scan on the industry, you will realize that a number of day hiking backpacks are a bit minimalist and simple; they are straight forward while others come packed with a full range of features. While extra features will make your life a bit easy, be ready to sacrifice convenience. Extra features on your day hiking backpack mean more weight. This can be tricky but there is a way out. Ideally, you need to figure out what your needs. Once you have an idea, try to balance. You need to know how much weight you want to carry. There is no way round it.

Ventilated Back Panels

During the day, temperature can soar through the roof and for this particular reason; you need something that works for that particular weather. After all, we know the last thing you want is feeling like you are wearing a down jacket on your back that is just collecting sweat. It is because of that that you may want to consider features like ventilated back panels. This is an amazing technology. It sits on your back and pushes the load slightly away from your back, leaving a space in between for air. Nevertheless, while this will ensure a steady flow of air, there is a trade off. The backpack may start to pull you back ways , especially when you are carrying heavier loads.

Adjusting Your Backpack

While some packs may not come with adjustability features, you may want to go for pack that comes with adjustability features. This is really critical for it is really important to adjust your pack every time you throw it on your back, as you double check if the load sits comfortably on your back. Here are some of the things you may want to look out for when it comes to adjustability.

  • Hip Belt: This is a very useful feature. So when buying a pack, make sure it can straddles your hips and that padded sections wrap centered over your iliac crest.
  • Shoulder Straps: Just like your hip best, shoulder straps also do great work. They normally hold the pack close to your body. However, make sure the anchor point sits one to two inches right below the top of your shoulder. It is as simple as that.


How the pack fit your body is important and must be considered at all times. So once you have chosen a backpack, you may want to try it out before leaving the store. You must perfectly fit into your backpack. It is important you do that for the right fit comes with a number of benefits. First you will get a size that is appropriate for your torso. Secondly, you will get a comfortable grip on your hips. In short, you will have fun walking for extended periods with the bag on your back.

Top Rated Day Hiking Backpacks


See this product on:


  • Quite cheap
  • Lightweight
  • Removable waist belt and sternum strap
  • Frame support
  • Air mesh back panel and shoulder straps for ventilation
  • Mesh side pocket for water bottles


  • Not waterproof
  • Waist strap in unpadded
  • Mesh side pockets are too small for large water bottles

Bottom Line: Despite coming with a minimalist design and pretty much lower capacity, the Deuter Speed Lite 20 Backpack is still a versatile daypack you could lay your hands on today.

If you are out there looking for a minimalist design, the Deuter Speed Lite 20 Backpack is exactly what you should be going for real soon. This daypack is ridiculously lightweight and on top of that, you get plenty of features. With this daypack, we are talking about U shaped frame for great support, padded back panel and quick access mesh pocket along the front. It is evident this daypack has been designed for moving fast as you keep the weight down. It currently comes highly recommended.


See this product on:


  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Removable hip belt
  • Ventilated shoulder straps and back panel
  • Multifunctional interior sleeve
  • Sternum strap


  • Small capacity
  • Water resistant but not waterproof
  • Mesh side pockets are not good for water bottles

Bottom Line: If you are out looking for something with a very small capacity, just perfect for few essentials, the Osprey Daylite Backpack is what you should be going for. It is small, but comes packed with plenty of features.

Osprey has in the recent past continued to wow us with some of the best backpacks. So if you are looking for a nice daypack from the same company, the Osprey Daylite Backpack is a solid choice. This is a very small and simple bag that you could go hiking with. It comes with a 13 liter capacity and 2 zippered pockets. It what could see you going for it, this particular day bag has been designed to perfectly attach to the outside of most of the company’s travel bags. You will love it. However, so you know, this bag is not designed to carry so much weight. It is the best choice for those easy and short days on the trails.


See this product on:


  • Padded shoulder and sternum straps
  • Padded waist belt
  • Ventilated back panel
  • Tool attachment
  • Mesh side pockets for water bottles


  • Expensive
  • Almost 3 lbs
  • Mesh side pockets not durable
  • Trekking pools attach strangely
  • Water resistant not waterproof

Bottom Line: If dishing out a lot of money for a great daypack is what you are looking at doing, the CAMELBAK FOURTEENER 24 HYDRATION PACK is a great choice. It sits right there at the top of our price range, but considering all it comes with, we say it is worth every single penny.

Probably one of the most expensive daypack in our list, the CAMELBAK FOURTEENER 24 HYDRATION PACK is an amazing hiking tool. The makers of this bag popularly known because of great hydration systems and water bottles, there is no way all those features were not going to be carried into this bag. It is to end model that has been designed for serious day hiking. Other than it top quality build, the CAMELBAK FOURTEENER 24 HYDRATION PACK also comes packed with plenty of features. If there is something about the bag that will excite you, then it has to be the kind of padding that has gone into a number of areas on the bag. From the strap to the waist, this bag is heavily padded making it one of the most comfortable daypacks you can buy today.

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