Day Packs

Glenn on a trail with a small daypack

The hard-working daypack.  Stuffed full of things you think you will need, some stuff you may not need, tossed in the back seat, dropped on whatever, (grass, rocks, mud, snow, etc.), and then hung up in the closet or garage when you get home to be forgotten until the next day hike.  We all have at least two. What's that? Why do you need more than one you ask?  Ah, well, therein lies the rub. 

A pack you take on a day hike should never be taken for granted.  Much like your boots, and clothes, you have to think about the situation you will put yourself in that day.  Am I going to hike on a trail I've done several times before?  Or a trail I've never done? Will I be with people that are newbies or veterans?  Hiking in the spring, summer, winter or fall? What's the

hottest/coldest it will be today? How long is the trail? What's the elevation gain? I go through all those questions and more before each hike and my day pack will be selected based on the answers.  

I have three day packs.  The mid-sized one is generally what I use.  My smaller pack (seen in the Sleeping Giant video) is for traveling and hiking on known trails of 4 miles or less.  The larger day pack is for when I'm hiking longer trails, hiking in winter (you always carry more gear in the winter) and when I'm hiking with folks new to outdoor adventures.  

In all cases, I'm looking for a pack that will contain my Ten Essentials, lunch, sunblock for the summer, rainjacket for the rest of the year, comes with a belt, and is well made.  Additionally, the winter daypack needs to have room for a stove, fuel, winter emergency gear, and some way to attach snowshoes.  Why a belt?  It's not like I need to support the weight on my hips like a full-sized backpack does.  True, but I hate having my backpack swing around on my back as I hike and a belt prevents that from happening. 

So what is a small day pack?  That's a daypack with between 20-25 liters capacity.  A mid-sized is 25-30 liters and the larger daypacks are generally 30-35 liters. 

With all that in mind, here are four daypacks going from small to large.  The smallest is the most expensive, but it's an Osprey and their reputation is rock solid.

Note: Amazon Associates Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Osprey Daylite Cinch Daypack

Osprey Daylite Cinch Daypack

Yeah, this is a $51 pack measuring in at just 15L capacity.  All the other packs below are larger and cheaper.  On the other hand, Osprey is probably one of the highest-rated backpack companies out there.  

  • Top-loading access with a simple, quick cinch closing system

  • Internal hydration sleeve accommodates up to a 3L reservoir (sold separately)

  • Dual daisy chain loops for hanging additional gear

  • Front panel zippered slash pocket with a key clip for stashing small essentials

  • Harness grab handle doubles as a luggage pass-thru for use when traveling

  • Mesh-covered die-cut ridged foam backpanel provides comfort and ventilation

  • Dimensions: 16.14H X 9.45W X 7.48D Inches 

  • Weight: .752 lbs 

  • Capacity: 15L

Link: https://amzn.to/3rFMzZm

Sunhiker Water Resistant Travel Backpack

Hiking Backpack Sunhiker Water Resistant Travel Backpack

One thing to keep in mind when you read "water resistant", is that it doesn't mean waterproof.  I will spray my "water resistant" gear with water repellant a few times every fall, winter and spring. 

  • Dimensions:15.8H x 9.4L x 5.9W inches/ 40 x 24 x 15 cm

  • Weight:12.3oz

  • Capacity: 20-25L

  • Sternum strap

  • Multiple interior pockets

Link: https://amzn.to/3Mhq86e

SKYSPER Daypack

SKYSPER Hiking Daypack

This pack is not just waterproof, it also comes with a rain cover.  Why?  Because we all know that over time waterproofing wears out.  That means you're either going to spray it with waterproofing or buy a cover.  In this case, they've thoughtfully provided one. 

  • Dimensions: 7.4 x 11 x 18.5 inches

  • Weight: 1.48lbs

  • Capacity: 25L

  • Made of water-resistant, impermeable, tear-resistant, abrasion-resistant 600D polyester and 210D nylon plaid fabric. Reinforced all parts of the bag and shoulder straps with premium SBS zippers.

  • Sternum strap 

Link: https://amzn.to/3MncBtR

G4Free 35L Backpack

G4Free 35L Hiking Backpack Water Resistant Outdoor Sports Travel Daypack Lightweight

The nice thing about these larger daypacks is they come with a few extras.  Little pockets on the waist belt, built-in whistle on the sternum strap, side straps to cinch the pack in tighter, things like that. 

  • Dimensions: 8.7 x 12.6 x 19.7 inches

  • Weight: 1.5lbs

  • Capacity: 35L

  • 3 compartments with zippers, 2 waist strap pockets, and 2 mesh side pockets. 

  • Sternum strap

  • Rain cover

Link: https://amzn.to/3yuwSId