How to Choose the Best Daypack

Daypack

A daypack is the best carrying solution when you are only planning on being outdoors for a couple of hours or more. This is probably one of the most popular type of packs, however, so you are going to find yourself bombarded with various options. So, with all of these models, features, and designs, how do you figure out what you need?

Luckily for you, there are some strategies you can use to separate the great from the weak. In this article, you will be able to figure out how to grade each pack and then decide what the right one is for you. Happy Choosing!

Picture Brand Rating
Picture Brand Rating
Arcteryx - ( Alpha FL 45 )

Arcteryx Alpha

23-32 L / 1403-1953 CI

4.7

11 reviews
Black Diamond - ( Creek 50 )

Black Diamond Creek

20-48 L / 1220-2929 CI

4.9

16 reviews
Patagonia - ( Cragsmith 35L )

Patagonia Cragsmith

35 L / 2136 CI

4.8

5 reviews
Gregory - ( Alpinisto 35 )

Gregory Alpinisto

31-40 L / 1892-2441 CI

4.6

5 reviews
Arcteryx - ( Bora AR 63 )

Arcteryx Bora

63 L / 3844 CI

4.0

1 reviews
Deuter - ( ACT Lite 35+10 SL )

Deuter ACT Lite

35-65 L / 2136-3967 CI

5.0

9 reviews
Osprey - ( Talon 22 )

Osprey Talon

22-33 L / 1343-2014 CI

4.6

19 reviews
Mystery Ranch - ( Scree  )

Mystery Ranch Scree

32 L / 1953 CI

4.5

4 reviews
Deuter - ( Fox 40 )

Deuter Fox

30-40 L / 1831-2441 CI

4.7

4 reviews
Patagonia - ( Jalama 28L )

Patagonia Jalama

28 L / 1709 CI

4.6

5 reviews
Osprey - ( Stratos 34 )

Osprey Stratos

34-36 L / 2075-2197 CI

3.4

12 reviews
Osprey - ( Daylite  )

Osprey Daylite

13 L / 793 CI

4.6

93 reviews
Osprey - ( Kestrel 32 )

Osprey Kestrel

30-46 L / 1831-2807 CI

4.4

17 reviews
Osprey - ( Kresta 40 )

Osprey Kresta

38 L / 2319 CI

5.0

1 reviews
Osprey - ( Tempest 20 )

Osprey Tempest

20 L / 1220 CI

5.0

2 reviews
Gregory - ( Jade 53L )

Gregory Jade

53 L / 3234 CI

4.0

1 reviews
Deuter - ( ACT Trail 28 SL )

Deuter ACT Trail

22-30 L / 1343-1831 CI

4.9

13 reviews
Osprey - ( Exos 38 )

Osprey Exos

38-58 L / 2319-3539 CI

4.7

55 reviews
Osprey - ( Escapist 18 )

Osprey Escapist

18-32 L / 1098-1953 CI

4.5

17 reviews
Patagonia - ( Drifter 30L )

Patagonia Drifter

30 L / 1831 CI

3.0

1 reviews
Herschel Supply Co - ( Dawson  )

Herschel Supply Co Dawson

21 L / 1250 CI

5.0

1 reviews
Deuter - ( ACT Trail Pro 40 )

Deuter ACT Trail Pro

38-40 L / 2319-2441 CI

4.0

3 reviews
Osprey - ( Kyte 46 )

Osprey Kyte

34-46 L / 2075-2807 CI

4.6

13 reviews
Mystery Ranch - ( Ravine  )

Mystery Ranch Ravine

50 L / 3051 CI

5.0

3 reviews
Osprey - ( Perigee  )

Osprey Perigee

29 L / 1770 CI

2.0

2 reviews
Osprey - ( Sirrus 24 )

Osprey Sirrus

24 L / 1465 CI

3.2

3 reviews
Osprey - ( Pandion  )

Osprey Pandion

30 L / 1831 CI

4.0

1 reviews
Patagonia - ( Toromiro 22L )

Patagonia Toromiro

22 L / 1343 CI

4.3

3 reviews
Patagonia - ( Ironwood 20L )

Patagonia Ironwood

20 L / 1220 CI

4.3

3 reviews
Black Diamond - ( Speed 40 )

Black Diamond Speed

22 L / 1343 CI

4.3

13 reviews
Patagonia - ( Yerba 24L )

Patagonia Yerba

24 L / 1465 CI

5.0

2 reviews
Black Diamond - ( Bullet 16 )

Black Diamond Bullet

16 L / 976 CI

4.6

13 reviews
Osprey - ( Viva 65 )

Osprey Viva

65 L / 3967 CI

5.0

3 reviews
Deuter - ( Airlite 28 )

Deuter Airlite

16-28 L / 976-1709 CI

4.1

8 reviews
Deuter - ( Trans Alpine 30 )

Deuter Trans Alpine

30 L / 1830 CI

5.0

1 reviews
Mystery Ranch - ( Glacier  )

Mystery Ranch Glacier

70 L / 4272 CI

5.0

3 reviews
The North Face - ( Aleia 32 )

The North Face Aleia

22-32 L / 1343-1953 CI

4.6

3 reviews
Black Diamond - ( Speed Zip 33 )

Black Diamond Speed Zip

24 L / 1465 CI

5.0

4 reviews
The North Face - ( Banchee 50 )

The North Face Banchee

50-65 L / 3051-3967 CI

4.3

8 reviews
The North Face - ( Terra 55 )

The North Face Terra

65 L / 3967 CI

4.8

143 reviews
Black Diamond - ( Nitro 26 )

Black Diamond Nitro

22-26 L / 1343-1587 CI

5.0

11 reviews
The North Face - ( Diad 18 )

The North Face Diad

18 L / 1098 CI

4.7

9 reviews
Deuter - ( Futura 32 )

Deuter Futura

32 L / 1953 CI

5.0

1 reviews
Gregory - ( Tempo 8L )

Gregory Tempo

8 L / 488 CI

5.0

1 reviews
Gregory - ( Youth Wander 70L )

Gregory Youth Wander

70 L / 4275 CI

5.0

1 reviews
Arcteryx - ( Aerios 10 )

Arcteryx Aerios

10 L / 610 CI

4.8

5 reviews
Deuter - ( Futura Pro 40 SL )

Deuter Futura Pro

36-40 L / 2197-2441 CI

5.0

5 reviews
Sherpani - ( Amelia  )

Sherpani Amelia

15 L / 915 CI

5.0

2 reviews
Patagonia - ( Snow Drifter 40L )

Patagonia Snow Drifter

40 L / 2441 CI

5.0

1 reviews
Osprey - ( Questa  )

Osprey Questa

27 L / 1648 CI

4.7

3 reviews
Arcteryx - ( Velaro 35 )

Arcteryx Velaro

35 L / 2136 CI

4.7

6 reviews
Black Diamond - ( Magnum 20 )

Black Diamond Magnum

16-20 L / 976-1220 CI

5.0

6 reviews
Black Diamond - ( Mission 45 )

Black Diamond Mission

33-43 L / 2014-2624 CI

4.5

4 reviews
Osprey - ( Jet 18 )

Osprey Jet

12-18 L / 732-1098 CI

5.0

4 reviews
Osprey - ( Celeste  )

Osprey Celeste

29 L / 1770 CI

5.0

1 reviews
The North Face - ( Stormbreak 35 )

The North Face Stormbreak

38 L / 2319 CI

5.0

1 reviews
The North Face - ( Fovero 70 )

The North Face Fovero

70-85 L / 4272-5187 CI

4.2

10 reviews
Black Diamond - ( Pipe Dream 45 )

Black Diamond Pipe Dream

45 L / 2746 CI

4.9

14 reviews
Lowe Alpine - ( Eclipse 35 )

Lowe Alpine Eclipse

35 L / 2135 CI

5.0

1 reviews
Granite Gear - ( Boundary  )

Granite Gear Boundary

30 L / 1849 CI

5.0

1 reviews
Arcteryx - ( Sebring 25 )

Arcteryx Sebring

25 L / 1526 CI

4.5

8 reviews
Salomon - ( Trail 20 )

Salomon Trail

20 L / 1220 CI

4.5

2 reviews
Mountainsmith - ( Clear Creek 12 )

Mountainsmith Clear Creek

12 L / 730 CI

3.0

1 reviews
Granite Gear - ( Sonju  )

Granite Gear Sonju

35 L / 2136 CI

5.0

2 reviews
Black Diamond - ( Bolt 24 )

Black Diamond Bolt

22 L / 1343 CI

5.0

1 reviews
Granite Gear - ( Jackfish  )

Granite Gear Jackfish

38 L / 2319 CI

4.0

1 reviews
Fjallraven - ( Kajka 85 )

Fjallraven Kajka

85 L / 5187 CI

5.0

2 reviews
Deuter - ( Freerider Pro 28 SL )

Deuter Freerider Pro

28 L / 1708 CI

4.0

1 reviews
The North Face - ( Angstrom 28 )

The North Face Angstrom

28 L / 1709 CI

4.5

19 reviews
Fjallraven - ( Ovik 20 )

Fjallraven Ovik

20 L / 1220 CI

4.5

2 reviews
Osprey - ( Radial 34 )

Osprey Radial

32 L / 1953 CI

5.0

1 reviews

How to Choose a Daypack

The advantage of daypacks being quite so popular is that you have a large selection to choose from. Thus, it is more likely that you will find one that is a perfect fit for you. At the same time, it does mean that you have to wade through quite a few packs before stumbling upon the right one. Well, to figure out which one will actually be of greatest benefit to you, here is what you should consider:

What Is Your Activity of Choice?

First things first, what exactly do you need your daypack for? Are you going on a hike, climbing rocky terrain, hitting the slopes, commuting or cycling? The following sections will make it easier to find the ideal daypack based on your activity:

Hiking

There are three things to think about when looking for daypacks for hiking. These are space, comfort, and the number of compartments. For most day hikes, you aren’t going to need much more than food, water, a layer of clothing, and perhaps a first aid kit. However, it is a good idea if all of the items aren’t placed in one compartment. Having numerous pockets, especially on the outside will make it easier for you to reach various items without having to stop. These type of daypacks also need to be comfortable to carry on your shoulders and be able to stabilize weight well.

Running

When running, you want to carry as little as possible with you, so these daypacks should be on the smaller side. However, lots of compartments on the outside are quite important. This is especially for those that are used to store hydration bladders or water bottles. These type of daypacks need to have straps that can pin it to your body. This way, there will be limited movement when you are running.

Climbing

When it comes to climbing, the size of the daypack is really up to you. For instance, some climbers prefer smaller packs as they are easier to move around with. Other climbers, however, carry a lot of gear with them. Due to this, they prefer larger daypacks that has a stabilizing framework. One thing you should undoubtedly look for such daypacks is plenty of loops and chains. This will allow you to fix and your gear that you may need to the outside of the pack so it can be reached quite easily. Also, a narrower profile will make it easier for you to move your shoulders and arms as you climb.

Cycling and Mountain Biking

Usually, cyclists prefer small daypacks that fit tightly against their backs. This prevents any excessive movement while cycling and prevents any wind resistance as well. Mountain bikers, on the other hand, may choose larger packs. This lets them carry their tools and gear with them. To make things easier, daypacks for cycling and mountain biking should have hydration packs so that you don’t have to stop to drink water. They should also have a low profile hip belt so that there is no discomfort as you peddle.

Snowboarding or Skiing

The main focus of these daypacks is to have little restriction and to move as little as possible. This means that they are often smaller and narrower. They also come equipped with sternum and hip belts so that they can be secured tightly to your body. You should look for daypacks that will allow you to fasten your gear or snowshoes to the pack.

Commuting

Daypacks aren’t just for sports and outdoor activities, they can also be used just to travel around, perhaps to and from school. Here, the size is largely up to how you need to carry on a daily basis. What is important, though, is how many organizational features there are. For instance, you may require lots of compartments, both large and small to store various items. Also, students can find laptop compartments quite handy too. Since you will be travelling with them quite often, the straps will also need to be comfortable.

The Capacity of the Daypack

Now, just how large your daypack needs to be is dependent on you. You will need to take your activity, items that you need to carry, and your size into consideration. Once you have an idea of how much space you need, you can compare it to the most common sizes available:

  • 10 – 20 liters: daypacks of this size are able to store some food, water, gear, and perhaps even an extra item of clothing. These are a good fit for climbers, mountain bikers, or perhaps really short hikes.
  • 20 – 30 liters: daypacks between these sizes are what is best for most day hikes. This will allow you to carry all of the food and water you will need. There is often enough room for some clothing items.
  • 30 – 50 liters: if you want to carry a good amount of gear with you in addition to the water and food, this is a good sized daypack. It is also adequate for extra layers of clothes as well.

The Fit

It doesn’t matter what activity you need your daypack for, it is vital that it fits you just right. This will help you to move without hassle, allow the weight to be distributed more equally, and ensure that you are comfortable. This is what you need to ensure a good fit:

Balance between Daypack and Torso Length

To ensure that the daypack fits on your back properly and that your gait is not hindered, you need the length of your torso and that of the daypack to be similar. If you are buying online, this means that you will need to compare measurements. Consider the length between the base of your neck and just above your hip bones against the pack length.

If you are making the purchase in-store, try the pack on. There should be no gap where the bag meets your shoulders. If there is one, it means the pack is too large. On the other hand, if the straps connect to the pack only just under your arms, it is too short. The pack should sit just above your hip bones so that it won’t get in the way of your walking.

Hip Belt and Sternum Strap

The hip belt will right above your hip bones and is responsible for carrying most of the weight of the bag. This means that you will need to check that once the strap is adjusted that it sits snugly around your waist. This is the best way to take the pressure off your shoulders.

The sternum strap will help to balance out the weight too, especially when carrying heavier loads. It also aids in stabilizing the bag by pinning it to your chest. Make certain that it is a close fit and not too loose.

Women Specific Daypacks

In certain instances, a woman specific bag can actually be quite useful. These are designed to cater to shorter individuals who have wider hips. The sternum strap is also made to sit higher up to accommodate a larger bust. If you, as a woman, are finding it difficult to find traditional daypacks that fit, you may want to consider the more tailored packs.

Ventilated Back Panels

If you are going to be engaged in strenuous activities, there is one thing that you can be certain of: sweat. When you are carrying a load on your back, you can feel even more uncomfortable. If you are anticipating a good workout, you should look for mesh back panels.

The mesh ensures that the perspiration is not absorbed and instead lets the material dry faster. What the panels really do, though, is create space between the bag and your back. This way, cool air is allowed to pass through this space, keeping your back cool.

Type of Pack Access

The other question is just how much access do you want to your daypack throughout your excursion? Most daypacks have what is known as a top loading design. This means that most of your belongings will be placed inside one compartment. The items that you will need later on go at the bottom of the pile while those that should be readily available go on top. These packs are known for their lightweight and simple design.

If you are looking for a bit more organization, then you should look into the front loading or panel access. These contain a main compartment and then oftentimes smaller pockets. This way, you can access the bag panel by panel which makes it easier to find what you need. These additional features can sometimes result in a lighter weight for the pack.

Water Resistance

Since you are only going to use this pack for short periods of time, it is unlikely that you will require a pack that is waterproof. Instead, one that has water resistance features should be more than adequate. PU coated nylon is usually a good choice if you are expecting a little bit of rain or want to protect your belongings from moisture. There are some daypacks that come with their own rain cover which is made from water resistant materials.

These are all of the features and elements that you should take into consideration when choosing your daypack. This will make it much more likely that you will buy a pack that will serve you and your lifestyle well.

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