The Best Daypacks of 2021

Osprey Talon 22

Osprey Talon 22

A backpack allows you to easily organize and carry food, water, accessories, equipment and additional clothing. Therefore, it is required for all but the shortest hikes. However, not every backpack is suitable for every hike. For example, it doesn’t make sense to carry a very big backpack on short hikes as big backpacks are typically heavier than small backpacks. Furthermore, if a backpack is too big, it’s hard to stabilize items in it – they will move around and interfere with your balance on uneven terrain. Here we selected the best daypacks with a capacity of 20 to 35 liters. Such daypacks are perfect for day hikes and  can often also be used for overnight hikes – depending on your gear (high-quality gear packs small) and conditions on the trail (weather, technical complexity etc.).

For more general information about backpacks check out our articles How to pack a backpack and How to fit a backpack.

We regularly update our reviews and selections to always recommend you the best products on the market.

1. Buying a Daypack for Hiking – What is important?

Type:

There are two different types of daypacks: Frameless and internal-frame daypacks. Internal-frame daypacks have a rigid or semi-rigid construction. They have aluminum rods or a plastic framesheet between the back panel and the cargo space. The frame prevents the pack from flexing and thus transfers the weight from you shoulders to your hips with the aid of hip belt. However, frameless daypacks are typically slightly lighter than those with frames and thus a good option for ultralight hiking. If you often pack your daypack heavy, we recommend going for a daypack with a frame. Below we listed 4 internal-frame daypacks and one frameless daypack. For more information about the different types of backpacks check out our Hiking Backpacks Guide.

Volume/Size:

Daypacks are designed for day trips and typically have a capacity (volume) of less than 40 liters. For multiday trips they might be too small as sleeping equipment (sleeping bag, tent, sleeping pad etc.) takes up quite some space.

Weight:

Lightweight equipment decreases the aerobic demand (heart rate and calorie consumption) and thus allows you to hike faster and easier than with heavier gear. In this selection we only listed lightweight products. Read more about why it is important to use lightweight gear in our article Why hike lightweight.

Pockets and attachment points:

You can only keep your things organized if your pack has enough pockets and attachment points. Attachment points allow you to easily attach bulky gear such as trekking poles, ice axes etc.

Back panel:

The back panel should provide good ventilation, so that you won’t sweat additionally by having a synthetic daypack glued to your back. Therefore, high-quality daypacks have ventilated back panels which typically use a suspended mesh fabric to create some distance between your back and the daypack. In this selection we only listed products with ventilated back panels.

Durability:

High-quality daypacks differ from cheaper versions by not only being lighter, but also more durable. The durability depends on the quality of fabric, zippers, buckles etc. Daypacks are normally made of nylon of varying denier – the higher the denier, the more durable the fabric. However, keep in mind that a higher denier number results in a heavier fabric (and thus daypack). Therefore, hiking daypacks typically don’t use nylon of a denier higher than 210.

Hydration system compatibility:

A hydration system provides easy access to water – it eliminates the need to stop and mess around with water bottles. Hydration system compatible daypacks have an opening for the tube and a pocket or a sleeve for water reservoir. All products in this selection are hydration system compatible. To learn more about hydration bladders read our article Hydration Systems VS. Water Bottles. As daypacks usually don’t come with hydration systems, also check out our selection of the Best Hydration Bladders.

Expert Selections
We only list top-tier products. Read how our selections of best hiking products differ from others here.
Links
We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases at no extra cost to you.

2. The Best Daypacks Review

Best Daypacks

Best Daypacks

The Best Daypacks of 2021 – List

  1. Osprey Talon 22
  2. Deuter Speed Lite 24
  3. Camelbak Rim Runner 22
  4. Gregory Zulu 30
  5. Arcteryx Brize 32

Comparison:

Scroll Horizontally
Feature/Product Osprey Talon 22Deuter Speed Lite 24Camelbak Rim Runner 22 Gregory Zulu 30Arcteryx Brize 32
Weight1 lb. 14 oz1 lb. 11 oz.1 lb. 10 oz. 2 lbs. 6 oz.2 lbs. 10 oz.
Weight (Metric) 860 g 770 g 730 g1100 g 1200 g
TypeInternal-frame (HDPE)Internal-frame (flexible) Frameless Internal-frame Internal-frame (stiff backpanel)
MaterialRipstop Nylon Polyamide Ripstop Nylon Ripstop Nylon Ripstop Nylon
Volume22 Liters (M/L),
20 Liters (S/M)
24 Liters22 Liters30 liters 32 Liters
BackpanelVentilatedVentilatedVentilatedVentilatedVentilated
Sternum Strap YesYesYesYesYes
Hip BeltYesYesYesYesYes
Hydration System Compatibility Yes (external sleeve)Yes (internal sleeve)Yes (external sleeve)Yes (internal sleeve)Yes (internal sleeve)
Osprey Talon 22

Osprey Talon 22

1. Osprey Talon 22

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Via ferrata
  • Everyday use

 

The Osprey Talon 22 is a very lightweight daypack (it weighs merely 1 lb. 14 oz. / 860 g) and thus great for those who prefer lightweight hiking. It is equipped with the AirScape back panel which is made of molded foam and covered with a suspended mesh fabric. Therefore, the back panel provides superb ventilation. The main compartment is spacious and easily accessible (panel–loading design).  In addition to the main compartment, the daypack has an inner zippered pocket, top zippered pocket, two zippered hip belt pockets, two mesh side pockets, shoulder strap pocket, front stash pocket and an external hydration sleeve. The hip belt pockets can be accessed without taking the daypack off first and therefore they come in handy for accessories like a GPS device, camera or a Smartphone. The side pockets are made of mesh fabric. They can be used for storing water bottles with a volume of up to 1 liter. The front stash pocket is designed for storing gear which you don’t want to put directly in the main compartment such as wet/sweaty clothes. As the hydration sleeve is placed between the main compartment and the back panel it allows you to insert the water reservoir even if the daypack is fully loaded. This indeed comes in handy in case you have to refill the water reservoir during the hike. Additional features of the Osprey Talon 22 are a LED light attachment clip, helmet holder, internal key attachment clip and trekking pole attachment system.

Women's Version: Available - Osprey Tempest 20

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Superb back panel
  • Weight
  • Hiking poles attachment system
  • Pockets
  • External hydration system sleeve

Cons:

  • /

Video

Deuter Speed Lite 24

Deuter Speed Lite 24

2. Deuter Speed Lite 24

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Via ferrata
  • Everyday use

 

The Deuter Speed Lite 24 is an extremely versatile daypack. It has similar capacity and weight as the Osprey Talon 22 daypack above. The daypack is made of 250-denier ripstop polyamide and the high-wear areas are reinforced with the 330-denier polyamide. The fabric provides good abrasion resistance and weather protection. The back panel is covered with a suspended mesh fabric for good breathability. The Deuter Speed Lite 24 has a spacious main compartment, a zippered top pocket, two mesh side pockets and a big front stash pocket. The daypack allows you to attach trekking poles, ice axes and other gear easily and securely as it is equipped with compression straps and handy attachment points. The pocket for water reservoir is placed inside the main compartment. The Deuter Speed Lite 24 daypack is a great option for hiking and other outdoor activities.

Women's Version: Available - Deuter Speed Lite 24 SL

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Versatility
  • Attachment points
  • Durability

Cons:

  • /

Video

Camelbak Rim Runner 22

Camelbak Rim Runner 22

3. Camelbak Rim Runner 22

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Via ferrata
  • Everyday use

 

The Camelbak Rim Runner daypack is super lightweight and thus perfect for fast alpine ascents. The daypack has a comfortable back panel and well-padded shoulder straps. The main compartment uses a zipper and can thus be almost fully opened which allows you to easily find your gear and clothes. The daypack also has two stretchy side pockets, two zippered hip belt pockets and one zippered external pocket for valuables. The zippered external pocket is equipped with two mesh pockets and a key clip. The Camelbak Rim Runner also has a large stash pocket on the front side and a compartment for hydration bladder behind the back panel. Unlike other daypacks in this review, it comes with a hydration reservoir (2.5-liter Crux) and is thus also slightly more expensive. Read the full review of Camelbak Rim Runner daypack here.

Women’s Version: No – this product is unisex and can thus be used by all.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Comes with a hydration bladder
  • Pockets
  • External compartment for hydration bladder

Cons:

  • Less breathable back panel than other daypacks in this selection
Gregory Zulu 30

Gregory Zulu 30

4. Gregory Zulu 30

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Via ferrata
  • Everyday use

 

The Gregory Zulu 30 is a very spacious pack. It is equipped with internal frame and thus slightly heavier than other products in this selection.  Nevertheless, it also provides better support and can be efficiently used for carrying heavier loads. It uses 210-denier nylon fabric and thus provides good abrasion resistance and durability. It features a ventilated back panel (suspended mesh fabric), shoulder straps and hip belt. It also has a spacious main compartment, external top lid pocket, two hip belt pockets, two side pockets and a large front stash pocket. The Gregory Zulu 30 uses the so-called hybrid design which means that you can access the main compartment through a U-shaped zipper or a lid at the top. Therefore, it provides very easy access to the main compartment and allows you to quickly find your things. It has also compression straps and an internal hydration reservoir sleeve.

Women's Version: Available - Gregory Jade 28

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Space
  • Internal frame
  • Back panel
  • Weight distribution

Cons:

  • Weight

Video

Arcteryx Brize 32

Arcteryx Brize 32

5. Arcteryx Brize 32

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Via Ferrata
  • Everyday use

 

The Arcteryx Brize 32 is the largest daypack in this review and therefore a great option for those who need a spacious daypack for hiking, trekking and other outdoor activities. The daypack is made of sturdy nylon for abrasion-resistance and durability. The back panel provides good ventilation while the shoulder straps and hip belt are padded for maximum comfort. The daypack is has a spacious main compartment, internal zippered pocket, top lid pocket, two side pockets for water bottles and a large zippered pocket on the front side. The hydration reservoir sleeve is in the main compartment and the daypack has a tube opening at the top. It also has four compression straps and an attachment system for an ice axe. The Arcteryx Brize 32 daypack has a semi-rigid construction for better weight distribution.

Women's Version: Available - Arcteryx Brize 25

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Space
  • Pockets
  • Semi-rigid construction

Cons:

  • Weight

 

3. Questions and Answers

How big is a day pack?

Daypacks typically have a volume of 20 to 35 liters. A daypack is best for day hikes but can also be used for overnight hikes if you have high-quality gear and clothing that packs very small.

What is the difference between a daypack and a backpack?

All daypacks are backpacks, but not all backpacks are daypacks. A daypack is a relatively small backpack that is best for adventures which last one day.

Do daypacks have a frame?

Some daypacks do have a frame, but many don’t because a frame is only required if you are carrying a heavy load. A frame helps transfer the weight from your shoulders to the hips (hip belt), but also adds to the overall weight of the backpack in itself.

How helpful was this post?

Click a star to rate it!

37 vote(s) so far. Average rating 4.1 out of 5.

Author Information

Blaz

Outdoor enthusiast with experience in all types of hiking and mountaineering. Hiked in the Alps, Iceland and other countries. In love with via ferrata trails and snow-covered slopes. Check out my hikes.