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10 Best Day Hiking Backpacks in 2023

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To find the best day hiking backpacks, including the best women’s daypack for hiking, you’ll need to determine the features that are right for your personal needs. We recommend that you favor day hiking backpacks that are made with durable and long-lasting materials that offer plenty of water-resistance, just in case you get caught in a storm. Make sure to also consider how much room is available in the backpack you are thinking of buying, so you can be sure all of your hiking essentials, such as compasses and water bottles, will fit inside. When buying a day hiking backpack, always look for a durable build, a light form factor, and plenty of room for all of your most-used items. Essentially, look out for the best bags for your upcoming outdoor adventures. 

After analyzing hundreds of reviews amongst a multitude of products with varying price points and features, we’ve determined that the REI Co-Op Flash is the best day hiking backpack on the market today. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more about the best bags on the market.

Top 10 Best Day Hiking Backpacks

 #1  REI Co-Op Flash Day Hiking Backpack

REI Co-Op Flash Day Hiking Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Best hiking backpack thanks to a robust feature set that includes a detachable waist belt and sternum strap for a varied fit and a padded mesh back for comfort.

  • Detachable waist belt and sternum strap
  • Wide array of tool loops for attaching accessories
  • Padded mesh back for comfort
  • 22L max capacity not the largest
  • Only available in 1 color, red

The REI Co-Op Flash is a great day hiking pack with hydration, thanks to a pair of dedicated water bottle pockets that can also be used to hold snacks and other small necessities. We appreciated the detachable waist belt and sternum strap, offering a secure fit, and the padded and ventilated mesh back for comfort. We also liked the wide array of tool loops located throughout this backpack, as they allow for the attachment of useful accessories and can be tucked away when not in use.

Though the design is striking, it is only available in one color, which is red. This bright color may not be a good fit for those looking to camouflage during their hikes. Additionally, the 22-liter maximum capacity here is decent, though there are larger models on the market. Smaller bags are better for air travel like the best travel bag that meets airline size restrictions for carry-on items.

 #2  Gregory Mountain Products Miwok Day Hiking Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Great choice for those looking for a perfect fit, as this backpack boasts a fully adjustable torso, in addition to offering a dedicated water reservoir that holds 3 liters of liquids.

  • Adjustable torso for perfect fit
  • Compatible with 3L water reservoir
  • Padded mesh back for comfort
  • Not a unisex design
  • On heavier side, at 2lb

The Gregory Mountain Products Miwok is a stunning choice for consumers who prioritize a perfect fit, as this backpack bionic suspension with a fully adjustable torso, offering a personalized and highly adjustable fit. We appreciated the open-air design, which results in increased airflow and superior comfort. This day hiking backpack also allows for seamless integration with the company’s 3-liter water reservoir, significantly upping your liquid game.

It must be noted, however, that this model is not the best women’s daypack for hiking, as the design is intended to fit males, though results may vary in that regard. Also, this is a somewhat heavier-than-average day pack, coming in at around two pounds. You will need a much lighter bag for carrying your personal belongings around town like the best sling bag.

 #3  Hyperlite Daybreak Ultralight Day Hiking Backpack

Hyperlite Daybreak Ultralight Day Hiking Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: High-quality backpack with a robust feature set that includes removable ice axe attachments, for winter hiking, and an incredibly light form factor, weighing just over a single pound.

  • Removable ice axe attachments
  • On lighter side, at just over 1lb
  • Adjustable sternum strap with safety whistle
  • Extremely expensive
  • Holds just 17L

The Hyperlite Daybreak Ultralight is of exceptional quality, offering a wide array of useful features, such as a pair of removable ice axe attachments, which could end up saving you significant time and stress during a winter hike. We appreciated the light form factor here, as this backpack weighs just around a pound, and the adjustable sternum strap, which features a built-in safety whistle for letting fellow hikers know when you are in trouble.

This is an extremely expensive day hiking backpack, however, likely due to the high-grade nylon materials and robust feature set. Additionally, this daypack is on the smaller side, allowing for a maximum capacity of 17 liters, though the size does make this one of the best small hiking backpacks. Speaking of size, check out the best laptop backpacks that can accommodate up to 17-inch laptops comfortably.

 #4  Osprey Stratos 24 Day Hiking Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Great choice for hikers who want their gear to remain dry during a nasty rainstorm, as this daypack is made from water-resistant nylon and comes with an integrated and fully removable rain cover for added protection.

  • Accommodates 3L water reservoir
  • Made from durable ripstop nylon
  • Stretch mesh pockets on both sides of pack
  • No dedicated sleeping bag compartment
  • Weighs nearly 3lb

The Osprey Stratos 24 is the perfect backpack for hikers who find themselves getting stuck in bad weather during their journeys, as this pack is made from water-resistant and durable ripstop nylon and comes with an integrated and fully removable rain cover. We loved the stretch mesh pockets on each side of the pack, which are perfect for smartphones, snacks, and water bottles. On the topic of hydration, this model seamlessly integrates with a number of third-party water reservoirs.

Though there are plenty of useful pockets and compartments running throughout, including a laptop sleeve, there is no dedicated compartment for a sleeping bag, which could be seen as an oversight. Also, the weight here is on the higher side, as this backpack clocks in at nearly three pounds. Business professionals will need something much lighter like the best commuter backpacks with just enough room to fit the daily essentials.

 #5  Arc’teryx Brize 25 Day Hiking Backpack

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WHY WE LIKE IT: Built for personal security with some nifty anti-theft features that include a zippered top pocket with key clip and an internal security pocket for the storage of valuables.

  • Tool loops for mountaineering gear
  • 25L max capacity
  • Padded shoulder straps with sternum strap
  • Somewhat expensive
  • No easy-access front zip pocket

The Arc’teryx Brize 25 Day Hiking Backpack is a great choice for consumers who place a high priority on personal security, as this daypack boasts several nifty anti-theft measures, such as a zippered top pocket with a key clip and an internal security pocket for the storage of irreplaceable valuables. We liked the maximum capacity here, 25 liters, and the padded shoulder straps for comfort. This backpack also features a couple of tool loops intended for the attachment of mountaineering gear.

This is a slightly expensive daypack, however, likely due to the exquisite design details and high-grade materials. Additionally, this pack features multiple pockets running throughout, but does lack an easy-access front zipper pocket. That is essential even in the best backpack for work that requires pockets and compartments that are easily accessible.

 #6  Osprey Daylite Plus Day Hiking Backpack

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WHY WE LIKE IT: Osprey backpack that is available in an astounding 14 design and color options, each aesthetically attractive, with a multi-function interior sleeve that can accommodate a third-party water reservoir, a tablet, or a laptop, among other valuables.

  • Multi-function interior sleeve
  • Mesh die-cut foam back panel for comfort
  • Easy-access front panel
  • 20L max capacity
  • Does not ship with rain cover

This Osprey hiking backpack is available in 14 design and color options, so it should even the most finicky day hiker and wilderness enthusiast. We admired the multi-function interior sleeve, which can be used to house a third-party water reservoir of a tablet, and the mesh-covered die-cut foam back panel, for comfort and to alleviate back pain. We also liked the quick-access front panel, which is a perfect place to stash a smartphone or a folded up raincoat.

Though extremely light, at just over one pound, this is a relatively small daypack, with a maximum capacity of just 20 liters, though it can hold a three-liter water reservoir. Also, this backpack does not ship with a dedicated rain cover, though it works with a multitude of third-party options. Alternatively, you will be pleased to know that the best dry bag is highly water-resistant, so you may want to carry it with you or use it for water-related activities.

 #7  Deuter Unisex Speed Lite 20 Day Hiking Backpack

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WHY WE LIKE IT: Incredibly light and easy to carry, weighing just 1 pound and featuring a removable U frame for further reduction in weight, in addition to offering a secure wet pocket for the storage of soggy clothes.

  • Wet pocket for soggy clothes
  • Available in nearly 10 colors and designs
  • Reflective LED loop for visibility
  • 20L max capacity
  • Slightly expensive

The Deuter Unisex Speed Lite 20 Day Hiking Backpack is a great option for those who don’t want to be weighed down by their daypack, as this bag weighs just one pound and features a removable U frame that can offer a further reduction in weight, though the frame is great for stability. We loved the integrated wet pocket for the storage of soggy clothing and the built-in reflective LED loop, offering superior visibility in low-light scenarios.

This backpack is slightly more expensive than competing models, likely due to the advanced feature set. Additionally, this day hiking backpack features a max capacity of 20 liters, which is slightly lower than some. And in case your next trip is to the beach, you will need any of the best beach bags that have long-lasting materials and offer some measure of water-resistance.

 #8  Osprey Talon 22 Day Hiking Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Built for comfort during long treks outdoors, with an adjustable shoulder harness to dial in a perfect fit, in addition to offering a pair of stretch mesh pockets for water bottles, smartphones, and other necessities.

  • Useful trekking pole attachment
  • External hydration sleeve accommodates water reservoirs
  • Stretch mesh pockets on each side of pack
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Lacks ice tool loops

The Osprey Talon 22 Day Hiking Backpack is the perfect option for hikers who value comfort above all else, as this daypack boasts a highly adjustable shoulder harness to offer a precise and perfect fit, with a padded and ventilated mesh back panel. We appreciated the stretch mesh pockets on each side of the pack, for water bottles and the like, and the external hydration sleeve that integrates nicely with third-party water reservoirs. We also liked the trekking pole attachment, for the purposes of collecting and holding onto trekking poles.

The price tag here is on the higher end, so consumers would be wise to take that into consideration before making a purchase. Also, this backpack boasts the aforementioned trekking pole attachment and an attachment for a helmet, but it does lack ice tool loops. College students, travelers, and business professionals may want to consider the best laptop backpacks that can easily hold 17-inch laptops. But if you are looking for the perfect handbag for occasions and events, check out our best designer handbags guide. 

 #9  Osprey Archeon 25 Day Hiking Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Eco-friendly design, made entirely from recycled materials, with a large hipwing waist belt for comfort and stability and an integrated water reservoir sleeve that can accommodate third-party reservoirs up to 3L.

  • Large hipwing waist belt for stability
  • Comes with removable rain cover
  • Integrated water reservoir sleeve
  • On the expensive side
  • No trekking pole attachment

The Osprey Archeon 25 Day Hiking Backpack is a great choice for those who are looking for a high-grade and eco-friendly daypack, as this model is made entirely from recycled materials. We appreciated the large hipwing waist belt, offering both stability and increased comfort, and the integrated water reservoir sleeve, though it does not come with an actual reservoir. We also liked that this backpack ships with a removable rain cover, for added protection during storms.

There is no trekking pole attachment here, nor is there a dedicated compartment for a sleeping bag, which may inform your purchase. Additionally, this is a fairly expensive backpack, likely due to the brand name and high-grade recycled materials used during construction. You may find that some of the best bags are more affordable and still offer durability, and a good level of water resistance. Now, if you plan on going hands-free on your walks, by carrying a lightweight bag that can fit your travel essentials, check out the best crossbody bags.

 #10  Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Day Hiking Backpack


WHY WE LIKE IT: Budget-friendly daypack with a robust feature set that includes a design made from water-resistant Cordura nylon and a pair of reinforced shoulder straps for comfort while carrying heavy loads.

  • Reinforced shoulder straps
  • Made from water-resistant Cordura nylon
  • Packs down small when not in use
  • 20L max capacity
  • Not many options for attachments

The Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Day Hiking Backpack comes in at a budget-conscious price while offering features in line with more expensive competitors, such as reinforced shoulder straps for comfort while trekking through the wilderness with a heavy load. We admired the durable construction, made from water-resistant Cordura nylon, and the fact that the whole pack can fold down when not in use, easily fitting inside of a standard pants pocket.

The 20-liter maximum capacity here is decent and fine for packing daily hiking essentials, but it is smaller than some other models available for purchase. Also, this is a fairly minimalist design and does not feature too many loops or secure closures for attaching related tools. Compare this with the best tactical backpack that allows for the attachment and storage of a wide variety of tactical accessories.

How We Decided

To help narrow down to the above list, we took great care to research a wide array of popular models, ensuring they were built to withstand the rigors of day hiking. To that end, we liked backpacks that were incredibly durable, often made from high-grade materials, with bonus points awarded to those that offered some measure of water-resistance, just in case you get caught in a storm.

In addition to durability, we chose hiking backpacks with large maximum capacities, offering plenty of room for your daily hiking essentials, including water bottles, compasses, smartphones, and related items. We also liked backpacks with compartments specially made for hiking-specific items, such as sleeves for foldable tents and the like.

We appreciated aesthetically pleasing designs that suit the tastes of nearly any wilderness enthusiast out there, with bonus points awarded to backpacks that were available in a multitude of different colors and design options. Finally, we liked hiking backpacks that were exceptionally lightweight, in order to avoid heft as you stow your necessities during an important and long-lasting hike.

Best Day Hiking Backpacks Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Durability and Materials
    You are going to want to make sure the day hiking backpack you are thinking of purchasing is exceptionally durable. Be on the lookout for backpacks made from sturdy and long-lasting materials, such as polyester and nylon. You’ll also want to ensure the backpack you may purchase offers superior water-resistance, tear-resistance, and dirt-resistance. On the topic of water-resistance, many modern-day hiking backpacks ship with a removable rain cover.
  2. Pockets and Compartments
    When you are hiking out in the wilderness, you never know when you may need a particular piece of survival gear, or even just a snack or a sip of water. Modern backpacks ship with all manner of pockets, compartments, and sleeves. These compartments can hold survival gear, clothing, laptops, tablets, smartphones, valuables of all kinds, snacks, and water bottles. For increased hydration, many backpacks feature reservoir sleeves which can be stuffed with a large third-party water reservoir.
  3. Accessories and Attachments
    Modern daypacks are built to seamlessly integrate with all manner of survival gear and related pieces of equipment. These backpacks often feature hoops for ice picks and ice axes, helping consumers survive extreme winter hikes, and secure closures for trekking poles, tents, sleeping bags, and more. Some backpacks also feature attachment options for mountaineering gear, which should be perfect for mountain climbers.

Day Hiking Backpacks FAQs

What is the best backpack for day hiking?

The best backpack for day hiking is one that is built using durable and water-resistant materials, such as polyester, and features enough room for all of your hiking gear and essentials. You may want to also choose a backpack with a dedicated water reservoir sleeve, otherwise known as a hydration bladder, a stash pocket, hip belts, extra layers for temperature regulation, a top-loading design, and an ice axe loop.

What is the best day backpack?

The best hiking daypack is one that features enough room for all of your wilderness and hiking essentials, while still remaining ultra-durable, lightweight, and water-resistant. Best day backpacks also feature the ability to integrate with third-party accessories, such as water hydration reservoirs and trekking poles.

What color backpack should I get for hiking?

This does depend on personal preference, though brightly colored backpacks could help with visibility. Even muted or camouflage backpacks, however, typically offer a number of reflective surfaces for the purpose of high visibility.

What size hiking backpack do I need?

Hiking backpacks vary wildly in size, offering a max capacity from around 17 liters all the way to 35 liters. The size of the backpack you will want to purchase depends greatly on how long of a hike you are planning to take. A smaller backpack should be sufficient for a half-day or even a full day of hiking, but if you are planning on spending the night, you’ll want to go with something larger.

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