The Best Backpacks to Take for Day Hikes and Trips

Many favor the use of backpacks—from pre-schoolers down to professionals, backpacks remain a top choice since it allows hands-free carrying. Backpacks though are not one and the same—some have features that are enough for ordinary work and school activities while some are expressly designed to cater to the needs of backpackers. If you are the type who’s into day hikes and trips, you can store your travel essentials using any of our top day backpack picks. Check out our handy guide for some of the bestsellers in the industry today.

Buyers Guide

  1. What is the ideal weight and size of a day backpack?

    Answer: A day pack that is full should not have a load that is over 25 to 30 percent of your total body weight. Make sure to always carry lighter loads since this will make day hikes easier. This will also help prevent accidents which are often caused by uneven ‘packs and fatigue. The size of your hiking backpack will usually be based on the kind of hiking that you prefer—for example, if you like day hikes with some infrequent overnights in between, you should go for a backpack that is designed for day hikes. If you tend to go on week-long hikes, a bigger backpack is recommended. The size of the pack must accommodate all of your hiking essentials without cramming the pack to its maximum capacity or overloading it. Overloaded packs are uncomfortable and can be lopsided, which is risky. Just choose a pack that is slightly bigger instead and fight the temptation to cram it with stuff just because there’s enough room for it.

  2. How do you pack a day pack properly?

    Answer: Hiking backpacks need to be packed correctly so the weight will be distributed evenly and make carrying the pack comfortable. Flashlights and other similar devices, food and snacks should be kept on top while the heaviest items should be contained in the middle of the pack. The lightest ones should be kept at the bottom. Fortunately, modern backpacks now feature individual pockets for gadgets like smartphones, iPods, wallets, purses and pens.

  3. What factors should I consider when choosing day backpacks?

    Answer: The backpack must be made durable and sturdy so it will not rip or get damaged during the trip. Go for ones with reinforced seams so the pack can tolerate wear and tear. The material should be moisture/water-resistant as well so you can breeze through unpredictable weather conditions without getting your essentials wet. The best day packs also feature excellent utility and safety components, high-quality zippers and have features that can contain essentials from water bottles, gadgets, maps and food items. Padded shoulder straps will make carrying the pack more comfortable while waist belts will effectively transfer majority of the weight to your hips, making for a more even and stable load.

Our Top Picks

#1

Venture Pal 40L Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack

  • High-quality tear/water-resistant nylon
  • Improved wet pocket design
  • Heavy-duty zippers
  • Double-layer bottom piece

The Venture Pal 40L Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack will see to it that those day hikes will be a piece of cake, allowing you to just focus on the hike and immerse in the beauty of your surroundings. The pack comes in a nice range of colors and patterns, making this lineup a hipper option among a sea of standard-color day packs. It has a roomy 40L storage space, weighs only a mere 0.7 lbs. and is made from water, tear and moisture-resistant, durable nylon with an upgraded wet pocket design.

#2

ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack

  • Has 20L storage space
  • Sturdy, thick water-resistant material
  • Scratch-resistant SBS metal zipper
  • Has reinforced stitching

The ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack is one of the lightest and sturdiest day packs around thus it makes for an excellent pick. It offers 20L storage space, has a foldable design and crafted from durable, thick water-resistant material, further strengthened by its reinforced seams at 28 areas on the pack and scratch-resistant SBS metal zipper. The pack also features a zippered compartment, 2 side pockets and 1 front pocket to make organization of your essentials simple.

#3

Gootium 21101 High-Density Thick Canvas Backpack

  • 100% strong cotton canvas
  • 33L storage capacity
  • Has multiple pockets
  • 1.85 lbs. weight

The Gootium 21101 High-Density Thick Canvas Backpack features a now classic design that is praised for its practical features. It is composed of high-quality 100% durable and eco-friendly cotton canvas material so you can go about your day hikes in complete functionality and style. The pack features an interior zippered pocket, a front stash pocket and 2 side pockets for smaller essentials. It also comes with authentic leather trim with premium hardware closure for safety and security.

#4

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack

  • 18L storage capacity
  • Includes 2L hydration bladder
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Has bungee cord system

The TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack will make those day trips hassle-free with is cool selection of pragmatic features from its durable 2L hydration bladder to its adjustable bands (shoulder, waist and chest), low-profile athletic cut design, built-in rain cover and bungee cord system. It is lightweight and to make carrying the pack even more comfortable, the bag is equipped with an air mesh back panel for better air flow.

#5

AmazonBasics Ultralight Portable Packable Day Pack

  • 25L storage capacity
  • Has 2-way zipper
  • Includes breathable adjustable straps
  • Spacious main compartment

The AmazonBasics Ultralight Portable Packable Day Pack is meant for daily use, day trips and short travels. It features several compartments from a spacious main compartment down to 2 open mesh side pockets. This is a very lightweight pack so it’s just perfect for everyday activities. Despite its lighter weight, take note that it is made with durable, sturdy rip-resistant nylon for longevity. Its stress points are also reinforced with strengthened stitching and strong scratch-resistant SBS metal zipper.

#6

Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack

  • Made with 210D nylon double diamond ripstop
  • 20L storage capacity
  • Has bigger loading main compartment
  • Features dual stretch mesh side pockets

The Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack accommodates up to 20L storage, made with sturdy 210D nylon double diamond ripstop. It features a bigger panel-loading main compartment, side mesh pockets, front pocket with key clip and mesh organizer, interior sleeve, zippered front panel slash pocket, fabric front panel shove-it pocket and Spacermesh shoulder straps. The design of the pack also allows it to be fastened on matching packs from the brand.

See to it that your day trips and hikes will not only be comfortable and safe, but also done in style. Our list of the best day backpacks combines both functionality and style so you can have a pack that not only looks great, but works as expected too, and will make those trips worth your effort.