Some of the best days of the year are spent outside. Hiking packs allow you to push further into the woods and away from the parking lot, helping you find some real peace and quiet. Bringing along a few snacks and enough gear for surprise weather has never been easier. Choosing a day hiking pack in 2024 gives you loads of different options.

Options are the most important freedom the right backpack will provide you with. We could all use a closet full of bags ready for different activities, but realistically each part of your arsenal should be reasonably versatile. Your hiking daypack may be the most versatile of the bunch, meeting your days at the crux of lightweight and storable.

Whether you’re climbing to the mountain top, spending a Saturday catching the kids’ soccer game, or loading up a sub and a six-pack for a day on the lake, your hiking day pack should bring space to all sorts of activities.

Still, there are loads of bags that can take you 50 feet from the parking lot to the bleachers. What separates the great day hiking packs from the good ones is how your bag will feel after a few miles.

Bringing the right pack on a day hike can make or break the trip.

Simple things like having enough extra space for a pair of dry shorts, or a mesh outer pocket to store the wet ones without contaminating the rest of your gear is a huge game changer. I’m sure we all know the feeling of frantically searching through a black-hole main compartment wondering if our keys are at the bottom or at that spot by the river you stopped to snack.

And it’s all got to be brought together with lightweight, quality materials that feel comfortable on your back for miles and add a splash of foul weather protection. Elsewhere on the site, we have covered the best hiking pack before, but today, we’ve got a healthy selection of the best day hiking packs, on display for your eyes only!

Osprey Daylite Backpack

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Quick Answer – These Are The Best Day Packs For Hiking

Best Overall Hiking Backpack
Best Overall Hiking Backpack

Osprey Talon

  • Weight (Lbs) > 1.9
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD) > 21x11x9
  • Price (USD) > 150
Most Versatile Hiking Daypack
Most Versatile Hiking Daypack

Osprey Nebula 32

  • Weight (Lbs) > 2.13
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD) > 19x12x11
  • Price (USD) > 140
Most Comfortable Day Pack For Hikes
Most Comfortable Day Pack For Hikes

Tropicfeel Cruiser

  • Weight (Lbs) > N/A
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD) > N/A
  • Price (USD) > 49
Best Big Day Pack For Hiking
Best Big Day Pack For Hiking

Gregory Zulu

  • Weight (Lbs) > 2.8
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD) > 24x12x11
  • Price (USD) > 189
Best Packable Day Hiking Pack
Best Packable Day Hiking Pack

WANDRD Veer 18

  • Weight (Lbs) > 85
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD) > 18x11x9
  • Price (USD) > 100
Best Bag for Urban Dayhikes
Best Bag for Urban Dayhikes

The Backpack

  • Weight (Lbs) > 2.20
  • Dims (cm) (HxWxD) > 49X31x14
  • Price (USD) > 145
Best Ultralight Day Hiking Pack
Best Ultralight Day Hiking Pack

Osprey Daylite Plus

  • Weight (Lbs) > 1.26
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD) > 19x11x9
  • Price (USD) > 75
Best Small Day Hike Backpack
Best Small Day Hike Backpack

Arc’teyx Mantis 20

  • Weight (Lbs) > 1.5
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD) > 17x11x7
  • Price (USD) > 130
Best Daypack Accessory
Best Daypack Accessory

Osprey Talon 6

  • Weight (Lbs) > 0.85
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD) > 10x8x6
  • Price (USD) > 90

These Are The Best Day Hike Packs – Tried and Tested For 2024

Battle-tested and victorious, these are the few, the proud, the best day hike packs of the year. Our team took these bags through all sorts of trials and tribulations; dodging rocks, climbing them, and looking out over epic vistas wondering if they have ever seen anything so full of splendor. 

Our testing regime is extreme, but just like our underwear, the best day hike packs for your trip depends on your specific style. Any list is subjective, and as a broke backpacker family full of stoke, it’s hard to judge day hike packs, mostly because we’re always happy after a day spent outside. 

Still, we paid extreme attention to important factors like comfort, weight, ease of access, waterproofing, and even saved a few bonus points for crisp, clean aesthetics. Without our backpacks, we’d just be broke, so we take hike packs very seriously. Without further ado, these are the few packs that can hang with our ramblin men and women. 

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Best Overall Hiking Backpack – Osprey Talon

Osprey Talon 22 Pack
  • Weight (Lbs): 1.9
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD): 21x11x9
  • Price (USD): 150

What We Liked

  • Hip belt pockets and a robust sternum strap ensure that even at full capacity this pack stays light
  • A swath of external pockets, including a tough beaver pocket, means you can save the main compartment for the raincoat
  • External hiking pole and ice pick clips help extend the bag’s carrying capacity

What We Didn’t Like

  • People will look at you funny if you strap up this intense bag for a quick trip to the grocery store
  • The bag’s robust Airscape system is great for breathability, but not so great for packing down

I hope Osprey never, ever, discontinues this daypack. This jack-of-all-trades outdoor explorer is far and away the best hiking daypack currently available at your neighborhood REI, and quite frankly, second place is still miles behind. There might be other, more casual daypacks out there great for days in the city, but this pack is the undisputed champ of the woods. 

This pack’s immense shoulder strap set-up provides customization and adjustments normally reserved for larger packs, and the lightweight nylon helps the bag stay light no matter how much water you’re carrying. It’s a mountain biking, alpine climbing, and skiing pack first and foremost, and you feel like you can take on the world with such a robust support system. 

Most Versatile Hiking Daypack – Osprey Nebula 32

Osprey Nebula 32 Pack
  • Weight (Lbs): 2.13
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD): 19x12x11
  • Price (USD): 140

What We Liked

  • 34 liters opens up this backpack as an everyday carry, hiking daypack, and carry-on option
  • Front pocket opens up to enough organized storage for snacks and a first aid kit
  • Not quite a backpack designed for hiking, but the Airscape backing will make this backpack more comfortable than a lot of so-called hiking specialists.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The hip straps are mere afterthoughts without any padding or pockets, not what we would expect out of an Osprey bag
  • Including a padded laptop sleeve is great for heading to the office, but a touch of useless extra weight for a day in the woods

Osprey’s all-arounder gets a boost in storage and a few extra pockets and is reborn as the Nebula, an out-of-this-world pack equally comfortable in the woods, at the office, or 10,000 feet in the air. Fully loaded at 34 Liters, this pack can just barely bring enough to survive a night or two in the woods, although you might have trouble fitting a tent into the small frame. 

As a day hiking pack, it could be considered slightly overkill, although try telling that to a family trek. That extra space, plus all the high-tech comforts perfect for the modern commute, make this a great hiking day pack that could also be the only backpack you ever need.

Most Comfortable Day Pack For Hikes – Tropicfeel Cruiser

Tropicfeel Cruise
  • Weight (Lbs): N/A
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD): N/A
  • Price (USD): 79

What We Liked

  • This lightweight pack is also super cruisy on the budget for such a quality bag
  • Recycled Nylon and recycled Polyester combine to make a bag with a sustainable effort that can keep you dry through a surprise shower
  • 20 L’s of storage packs down to a great size to slip inside your larger luggage 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Packable day packs have to sacrifice a bit of back support to maintain the ability to condense to such a small size
  • Such an unproven backpack is a bit of a gamble, although it has yet to let me down! 

Tropicfeel’s most lightweight addition to their epic line of backpacks condenses down into its own packable bag, making it perfect for hikers with little storage space or someone looking to bring a daypack along their main kit.

Once deployed, this small but mighty bag supports well above its pay grade. The recycled materials do a really great job keeping out the rain, and although you won’t have the same back support as more robust backpacks, Tropicfeel does just enough to make this lightweight bag feel good across your shoulders.

Best Big Day Pack For Hiking – Gregory Zulu

Gregory Zulu 40
  • Weight (Lbs): 2.8
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD): 24x12x11
  • Price (USD): 199.95

What We Liked

  • Available in storage capacities everywhere from 30 to 55 liters 
  • One of the only daypacks on the market with a place for everything – all the way down to a quick stow sunglass system.
  • The comfortable back support is the only serious competition to the Osprey Talon 22’s reign as the most supportive daypack on the market.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Even the smallest option is a bit too much for a day in the woods alone
  • Too robust to fit in on a day hike through the city

Gregory’s Zulu bag is a versatile pack that’s built for serious day hikes. The 45 Liter model is ready for a sunup to sundown day outside and has tons of storage options. Between handy pockets and external stretch-mesh pockets, you’ll be able to pack everything your adventure calls for.

Thanks to a massive honeycombed beaver pocket in the outer shell, you can just keep on packing into this unit, and the solid straps and comfortable hip belt will make sure that even at a full load, this pack smiles back. The Zulu may be overkill for a solo hike, but any head of the family knows it’s always smart to invest in a few extra liters, just in case. 

Best Packable Day Hiking Pack – WANDRD Veer 18

WANDRD VEER 18L Packable Bag
  • Weight (Lbs): .85
  • Dims (in) (HxWxD): 18x11x9
  • Price (USD): 104

What We Liked

  • This packable backpack teams up with an inflatable camera cube, able to condense down small, while still storing big
  • You won’t find many other foldable bags that can boast 4 different storage compartments and a water bottle holder
  • An optional inflatable back panel helps this bag support longer hikes 

What We Didn’t Like

  • For shoppers who want to save as much space as possible, a packable day pack that can only condense to the size of a tissue box may be slightly too much
  • The Veer 18’s triple-digit price tag is a heavy investment for a packable day bag, even though it’s much more than a nylon sac that you might expect from the genre. 

The Kickstarter backpack giant has reduced their signature pack down a size or two and come out with another crowd favorite. WANDRD’s packable backpack offers the same high-tech mentality as their more robust bags while fitting it all into an inflatable frame that weighs less than a pound.

You can team this bag up with a variety of inflatable extras, or just take things solo with the inflatable back panel that helps keep some airflow across your back in the heat of the day. With this unique feature, WANDRD has solved the main gripe most hikers have against packable backpacks, while the rest of the immense storage potential is just a bonus. 

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    Best Bag for Urban Dayhikes – The Backpack

    The Backpack by Stubble & Co
    • Weight (Lbs): 2.20
    • Dims (cm) (HxWxD): 49X31x14
    • Price (USD): 145

    What We Liked

    • The most fashion-forward daypack of anything on our list 
    • One of the first backpacks in the business to use a waxed canvas exterior which provides it with a cutting-edge look and great water resistance
    • A flat base allows you to stand the backpack up on its own

    What We Didn’t Like

    • An otherwise vegan-friendly bag uses full-grain leather just for the brand patches. The only thing worse than using animal skins is using them mindlessly
    • You’ll have to take a lint roller to your waxed canvas exterior which works as a quasi-animal hair and grime magnet

    Stubble & Co’s signature backpack walks the line between city and trail-friendly as well as anything else on the market. This bag looks good enough to be worn with a suit and tie across the urban jungle, all the while protecting against the elements with a water-resistant canvas shell. The secret is a Tekwax exterior that delivers a feel unlike anything else out there.

    Underneath the hood, the bag is prepped for anything your day might throw at you. With a laptop compartment, exterior easy access pocket, and a two-step opener that helps guarantee no rogue raindrops ruin your fun. The soft interior at the center of it all simply gets the job done right. This bag flirts the line between being one of our favorite traveling daypacks and one of our favorite day-hiking packs.

    Want more Stubble & Co options? Check out our rundown of the best Stubble & Co. bags.

    Best Ultralight Day Hiking Pack – Osprey Daylite Plus

    Osprey Daylite Plus Pack
    • Weight (Lbs): 1.26
    • Dims (in) (HxWxD): 19x11x9
    • Price (USD): 75

    What We Liked

    • A cheeky interior sleeve works both as a hydration reservoir holder and a space for a 15-inch laptop
    • 20 Liters of storage spread across 6 different pockets is not too shabby for an ultralight hiking pack
    • The back of the bag includes a luggage pass-through and clips to hook right onto Osprey’s larger gear

    What We Didn’t Like

    • The bag wants to be your daily carry, carry-on travel companion, and your hiking daypack, but no one bag can have all that power
    • Ultralight shoppers generally plan on taking their gear long distances. The Daylite Plus has sternum and hip belt systems that are fine, but not comfortable after mile 30

    Osprey’s most affordable bag is the Daylite, a classic design protected by a lifetime warranty and two water bottle holders. Taking things up a notch while reducing overall weight is the Daylite Plus, which brings us here today. This bag is a step above the standard, providing extra value while staying applicable for loads of use cases.

    The Daylite series is all about versatility, and this bag is no different. You can cycle between six different colors and you better choose wisely; you may end up using this bag every single day. Between the multifunctional laptop compartment, comfortable back support, and city-ready stash pocket, there’s no day that won’t be made better with the ultralight Daylite Plus. 

    Best Small Day Hike Backpack – Arc’teyx Mantis 20

    • Weight (Lbs): 1.5
    • Dims (in) (HxWxD): 17x11x7
    • Price (USD): 130

    What We Liked

    • The signature Arc’teryx fossil logo front and center on this bag gives it some of the best pedigree in the business
    • 8 different pockets will really get the most out of those 20 liters
    • Ready for anything, the Mantis 20 includes two easy-access shoulder water bottle holders that qualify the pack for long-distance runs.

    What We Didn’t Like

    • The sternum and hip strap system is not much more than a few thin straps
    • 20 Liters is a bit too small for some more gear-heavy afternoons

    While Arc’teryx may not be known for their backpacks, they are known for using the best materials in the world, and their backpacks are no exception. And unlike their rain jackets, the Mantis 20 is relatively affordable. Sure, 130 is nothing to sneeze at, but still, the amount of support features in this bag more than justifies the expense. 

    Front and center is the Crystal Polymer exterior coating that can handle the crag and a bungee cord web that can haul all sorts of oversized equipment. Inside, you’ll find a simple compartment ready to haul it all. To hold it all together, Arc’teryx’s unique Aeroform back panel disperses the weight evenly no matter the load, resulting in a fit great on any set of shoulders. 

    Looking for something similar but bigger, check out the Arc’teryx Konseal Backpack instead.

    Best Daypack Accessory – Osprey Talon 6

    Osprey Talon 6 Waistpack
    • Weight (Lbs): .85
    • Dims (in) (HxWxD): 10x8x6
    • Price (USD): 90

    What We Liked

    • The fanny pack really opens up its storage possibilities with two attached water bottle holders
    • The fanny pack gets the same cushy Airscape backing and thick hip belts that any other Talon bag receives. 
    • Osprey somehow found space for 6 total pockets on a fanny pack

    What We Didn’t Like

    • While you’ll be surprised at the amount of gear you can fit in the Talon 6, one Fannypack is not enough for hikes of more than an hour or two
    • Tough to justify 90$ for a fanny pack, but its definitely worth it to a niche audience of minimalists and trail runners

    We’ll round out our list of the best hiking daypacks with the smallest possible option that can still fit a rain jacket. This Osprey Talon is more like a fanny pack on steroids, with an insane amount of separated storage shoved into a waist belt. Between hip belt pockets, two water bottle storage, one zippered stash pocket, and a main compartment, you won’t be short of packing options. 

    The Talon clips into place using Osprey’s comfortable Airscape cushioning, spread along the edges of the hip belt to ensure it stays locked into place. This pack is definitely the hardest-working fanny pack in the business. 

    The best present of all… is CONVENIENCE!

    Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.

    So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉

    Buy on REI!

    How and Where We Tested To Find The Best Hiking Daypacks

    To test these packs, we laid our mits on each of them and took them out for a test spin Over a period of time, various members of our team took these different packs on various trips to put them well and truly through their paces.


    A backpack is designed to carry stuff and as such, top points are awarded for how packable one is. Any decent carry in needs to make sure it maximises the space it does have and facilitates effective packing and we tested this out by packing, and unpacking. Simple right? 

    Equally though, we also paid attention to how easy the pack was to unpack – being able to retrieve items quickly and easily bags a bag, bags of bonus points!

    Weight and Comfort of Carrying

    If a pack is overly heavy or awkward to carry then taking it along on trips becomes uncomfortable. Believe me on this, I have had more than my fair share of backpacks that just weighed an ounce or two, too much or perhaps had crappy straps that dug into my shoulders. 

    As such we awarded full marks for packs that minimise weight and maximum carry-comfort.

    For those looking for a larger hiking bag, you might want to check out the Near Zero Dean Backpack.


    In order to test out how well a pack fulfilled its primary purpose we used it for this purpose. For example, if it’s a carry-on pack then we took it along as carry-on and made sure it actually oasses the Ryanait test and fits into the ever shrinking over-head cabins. For cycle backpacks we strapped them on and got on our bikes. You get the idea right? 


    Some people say that travel gear doesn’t need to look good as long as it functions. Well those people are fools because good gear can be both practical and cool. As such we also awarded points for how sexy a pack looks. 

    Durability and Weatherproofing

    Ideally, in order to really test out how durable a backpack is we would drop it from a plane and then run over it. Unfortunately though that is not entirely feasible so instead, we simply inspected the materials used and the build quality of the packs paying attention to things like the seam sewing, the traction of the zips and other pressure points that tend to break. 

    Of course, testing out how waterproof a pack is simply a case of pouring a litre of water over it – any packs caught leaking, were promptly banned entirely from inclusion in our round-ups.

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      Final Thoughts on The Best Hiking Daypacks

      The osprey archeon

      That wraps up this addition. Stay tuned next week when we cover the best hiking daybeds, so please don’t forget to stop and look at the pretty flowers. The best daypacks that we covered today are perfect companions for turning a quick lunch break walk into a full afternoon full of prioritizing. 

      Whether you’re planning to head 500 feet and relax at the local park or take a 5-mile trek, these daypacks will stand up to the challenge, while still providing plenty of value in your day-to-day life. Each one of these bags is carry-on ready and brings something to the table for folks from all walks of life. 

      So strap up your hip belts, pack up your daypacks, and get out there! 

      Didn’t find the right item for you? Have a look at the best CamelBak gear instead and see if anything takes your fancy.