Best Daypack for Hiking Reviews in 2017

A quality daypack is a piece of equipment that no hiker should ever be without. These bags are small and compact and allow for the packing of every necessity on a short hike. Depending on the time of year, hikers may be able to overnight camp with a bag such as this. These daypacks come in a variety of options and styles, but many will have similar features. How these bags fit on each hiker are the most important feature as a properly fitted bag should be comfortable and hikers should feel stable on uneasy ground wearing them. Consider hiking daypack reviews prior to the purchase of a new day pack. Personal experience may provide the most valid insight into a daypack’s qualities and features. Prior to beginning any research into a new hiking daypack, understand the important features and functions of a potential new backpack.

Considerations in Picking a Hiking Daypack


A properly fitted day pack should fit snug to your body and across the chest. Look for packs that have chest straps to ensure a snug fit. Frameless daypacks with hip straps will also provide additional support and evenly distribute the weight of the daypack. Many daypacks with a frame will come in different sizes that are based on torso length. Be sure to try on and purchase the correct size. Look for daypacks that situate the weight of the bag on your hips and provide adequate ventilation on your back to keep you cool during long hikes.


Daypacks are often designed with certain activities in mind and have features that are beneficial to their respective activity.

  • Hiking - Hiking daypacks are offered in a variety of sizes and colors. They will come with a variety of features such as top and side entry into the bag, numerous pockets, and hydration/laptop sleeves.
  • Climbing - Climbing daypacks are often narrow in width and offer climbing specific compartments and features. These include things such as ice axe carriers, daisy chains for attaching gear, and an internal frame or frame sheet to provide extra support.
  • Running - Running daypacks are small in size and are designed to fit snugly against the runner’s back.


Determine what type of daypack fits your needs; look for packs that offer those features that best fit your type of hiking. These features include things such as:

  • Hydration features
  • Climbing specific packs
  • ​Internal protective sleeves for electronics
  • Waterproofing and rainflies
  • Exterior sleeves and straps to attach trekking poles and other hiking equipment

Hydration System

Check that the hydration system is simple to set up, use, and clean. Every hydration system holds different amounts of liquids; ensure that you purchase the size that is best for your needs.


A day hiking backpack needs to be large enough to fit all of your gear, but not so large that you are carrying around extra weight throughout your day long hike. If your daypack includes a built in hydration system, ensure that the pack has enough room for your other gear, in addition to that system.

Return Policy

Read and understand your vendor’s return policy. After wear the new daypack for a few miles, you may realize it is not a great fit for your needs.

Different Types of Daypacks

Daypacks come in two main types of options; one of those options is a framed backpack, which has an internal frame sewn into the lining of the pack, while the other main option is the frameless backpack that has a soft structure and no internal or external frame (external frames are only found on larger backpacks).

Camelbak or hydration bladder daypacks are also an option for day hikes. These packs offer a convenient built in hydration system.

Frameless Daypacks

If you are in the market for an entry level hiking backpack, frameless backpacks are a great, cost effective option. Frameless daypacks are light and comfortable. These bags have no internal frame to support the weight of the bag, but these daypacks are typically smaller in size and volume. Small, frameless daypacks can be cost effective and adequate for day long and even overnight adventures. These backpacks can also serve as a travel or commuting backpack. To increase the longevity of your new frameless daypack, keep it clean, be sure it is fitted properly, and always wear both of the day pack's shoulder straps.

Best Frameless Hiking Daypack

Osprey Talon 22

At 22 liters this pack provides enough space and pockets to pack all necessary hiking gear for a long day hike. This is one of the best hiking daypacks on the market. During summer months, when additional clothing and gear are not necessary, this pack can fit a small tent or hammock which allows for overnight hikes.

Best Small Hiking Backpack

Osprey Packs Daylite Daypack

This 13 liter hiking pack is a great option for shorter day hikes. It’s 13 liter size is small, but can hold water, food, small electronics, and small clothing items. This bag also has a hydration compartment to hold a water bladder. This bag can compliment any hiker's gear closet as it provides a lightweight daypack option for the avid day hiker..

Best Running Backpack

Teton Sports Trail Runner 2

This backpack is small in size and yet offers a two liter hydration bladder to support you during your trail runs. The Trail Runner 2 is perfect for the avid distance runner or outdoors person. This backpack offers mesh shoulder straps and pockets, reflective safety features, and an integrated whistle. This pack’s chest, hip, and shoulder straps will keep you bag in place, even on those long runs.

Framed Daypacks

Many of the best hiking daypacks have an internal frame; as daypacks get larger, the internal frame becomes beneficial. Internal frame backpacks have a rigid frame sewn into the lining of the bag. This frame helps provide support and distribute the weight of the daypack to the hikers hips. When the pack weight is resting on the hikers hips, this ensures minimal discomfort and pain during hiking.

In addition to metal internal frames, some daypacks offer a frame sheet. This is a rigid sheet of plastic or metal that is integrated into the pack to provide support and weight distribution. These frame sheets are comparatively lightweight, but may not offer the same rigidity as their metal internal framed counterparts.

Best Framed Hiking Daypacks

There are a number of options when researching daypacks and sifting through reviews. There are a number of framed daypacks on the market, but these are two of the best hiking daypacks.

Deuter Speed Lite 20

This modern and ultralight hiking daypack will be an asset on the trail. Its unique frame is lightweight and to provides stability and functionality. With it’s small size and numerous features, this bag can be utilized for a number of activities such as day hiking, climbing, and cycling.

Osprey Stratos 24

The Osprey Stratos 24 is an all around daypack. Its internal frame provides stability and support all day long. It is also designed to not sit on the hikers back, allowing for more airflow, and thus keeping you cooler. There is an integrated rainfly, should the weather turn south while out on the trails. This daypack will meet all of your hiking daypack expectations.

Camelbaks for Hiking

A Camelbak pack is a well known hydration system brand that integrates bladder systems into bags and backpacks. Hiking daypacks with hydration systems provide the wearers with a way to stay hydrated without having to stop and unload. For hikers looking for a simple Camelbak pack, he or she can wear one of Camelbak’s small hiking daypack that only holds a bladder and has minimal storage space. On the other hand, Camelbak offers full sized daypacks that provide the capacity and features to meet all of your day hiking needs. Camelbak’s daypacks come with integrated hydration systems and plenty of storage for all of your other hiking equipment.

Best Camelbak for Hiking

Camelbak Fourteener 24

This camelbak hiking daypack combines a three liter hydration reservoir system with 24 liters of packable volume to carry along any of your day hikes needs. This pack will allow hikers to hike all day without the need to constantly refill their hydration system. It also has plenty of pockets and storage space to pack away small gadgets and gear.


When lacing up the boots and getting ready to hit the trail it is always safe to pack certain items: cell phones, cameras, water, food, and emergency items. Without a good daypack, it can be challenging to pack it all. Inevitably, while out on the trail, you will run into inexperienced hikers with drawstring and standard backpacks. They may seem like an inexpensive method to go about hiking, but do not be fooled; hiking daypacks will provide comfort and functionality mile after mile. Even if your hike is only for a few miles, throughout the day, fill up your hydration system, and most importantly, have fun.

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