Hiking Travel

The 5 Best Daypacks for Travel Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

A daypack is handy for everyday use and provides quick-access to frequently used items. We review the best daypacks for travel with Pros & Cons

When going on an adventure trip, you will need more than a great travel backpack. A daypack is extremely handy for everyday use and provides quick-access to frequently used items.

When traveling you’ll most likely have two backpacks: a main travel pack and a smaller daypack. The main travel pack is designed to carry all of your stuff. This is what you will use for clothes, toiletries, etc.

Your daypack is intended to be used daily to carry items that won’t fit in your pockets. This is where you will store items such as camera, electronics, snacks, etc.

You can also use this a small overnight bag if you do any small side trips that can’t accommodate your travel pack.

We took a look at some of the industry’s best daypacks for travel and here are our 5 Top Picks.

Our 5 Best Daypacks For Travel

1. Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Daypack – Best Value

The Daylite Plus is equipped with a large panel loading main compartment that provides accessibility to inside contents.

There are also dual stretch mesh side pockets that provide additional storage options. A multi-function interior sleeve can be used for a water reservoir or electronics.

There is a mesh covered panel to keep your back cool and fresh. The panel minimizes contact with the back of the pack itself and your skin. This allows air to get between you and the pack to prevent sweating.

The Daylite is a 20L pack. This is the perfect amount of space for day hikes or daily city use. It will easily hold your rain jacket, snacks, water, keys, phone, and still have room to spare.

There is also plenty of room to tote around a laptop or tablet. This pack is a frameless backpack, so there is no hard frame to keep the shape. Due to this, the Daylite will pack down really light if you need to store it in a larger travel pack.

The hip and chest straps are adjustable for a perfect fit and customization. This is also a great feature if you plan on running with your daypack. And a good fit for women.

Unfortunately, the Daylite is not waterproof. You can purchase an Osprey rain cover if you need protection from downpours. The rain cover is extremely light and you can just carry in your pack in case you need it.

  • Mesh panel for breathability
  • Comfortable
  • Plenty of storage
  • No inner zipper pockets
  • A bit small
  • Not waterproof

2. The North Face Borealis Daypack – Hightest Volume

The Borealis Pack is padded and fleece-lined with a 15″ laptop sleeve in the main compartment. There are two water bottle pockets designed with stretched mesh. The front has an elastic bungee for external storage.

The back includes a mesh panel for staying cool and allowing for breathability. You can also remove the waist belt if you are carrying a lighter load. There is an internal organization pocket for protecting sunglasses and other electronics.

The outer top zipper pocket is great for storing smaller, easy access items. The body pocket is also full of little pockets and zippers. The main compartment is divided into two sections.

The Borealis is equipped with injection-molded should straps for extra comfort. There are also side compression straps to adjust the load. The Borealis features two columns of padding for even more comfort and ventilation.

The additional padding allows for extra protection against items poking through to your back. The padding can be stiff at first, but it’s worth it for the added comfort. Over time it will also break in with use.

  • Durable
  • Laptop sleeve
  • Mesh panel and waistband
  • Larger than most daypacks
  • Some may find the bungee chords a bit useless
  • Pricey
  • Break-in period

3. Deuter Speed Lite 20 Daypack – Lightest Weight

The Lite is, as the name suggests, is a minimalist backpack system. It provides carry comfort for light loads with a padded back panel that is fully lined with ventilated 3D-Air mesh.

This pack has extensive freedom of movement due to the atheletic v-cut shape. There are quick-access mesh pockets on the front, great for storing protein bars on the go.

The Speedlite also includes a hydration resrvoir sleeve perfect for bringing water on a long hike.

The weight of this pack makes it a great choice for runners, hikers, and other types of outdoor athletes. In order to allow for the lightweight nature of this bag, there is no padding on the removable hipbelt. This would only be an issue if you were planning on carrying heavy loads.

The shoulder harness is s-shaped and includes padding with a soft edge. It has a a flexible fit that remains comfortable and stable for several torso sizes. The Speed Lite will also hold its comfort when loaded with items.

This pack proves to be quite durable. It will protect your valuable electronic equipment, even when participating in outdoor activities. The zippers also seal incredibly well.

  • Extremely light
  • Perfect for athletics
  • Water reservoir
  • Comfortable and well ventilated
  • No belt padding
  • Some may find the bungee chords useless
  • Not ideal for digital storage

4. Osprey Packs Osprey Stratos 24 Backpack – Feature Rich

The Stratos is a very comfortable option for a daypack. It comes with an integrated raincover for extra protection against the elements. It also has an internal hydration reservoir sleeve so you can stay hydrated on the go.

This pack is equipped with a stow-on-the-go trekking pole attachment. There are dual side pockets made with stretch mesh and a front panel storage pocket. This makes for plenty of places to store water bottles, snacks, or other small items.

It’s not very light and doesn’t become extremely packable. However, it is very comfortable and reliable. There are a few size options you can choose from to further customize to your needs.

It can hold a max load of 25lbs if you need to carry a lot of items. The mesh back panel conforms nicely to your back, with plenty of padding. The metal frame places most of the weight on your hips, which gives relief to your shoulders.

The solid structure and suspended back panel keep the pack from drooping under heavy loads. Your back will also be protected from the items carried inside. These features and the frame make this bag a bit on the heavier side.

  • Integrated rain cover
  • Trekking pole attachment
  • Internal reservoir sleeve
  • Heavy
  • Doesn’t pack down well

5. Pacsafe Venturesafe 15L Anti-Theft Daypack – Most Secure

The Venturesafe is a lightweight, durable daypack that incorporates anti-theft technologies. It’s ideal for long hikes, international traveling, daily commutes, and carry-ons. The fabric is embedded with hidden eXomesh Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh to protect against slash and run theft.

It is also equipped with adjustable wire-reinforced Carrysafe Slasguard straps to prevent cut and run theft. Turn and lock security hooks attach the strap to secure it to the fixture. The zippers are lockable for even more theft protection.

You can connect this pack to a heavy piece of furniture due to the slash-proof straps. This is great for the traveler bringing plenty of valuable electronics and valuables. It is also a very comfortable bag.

The Venturesafe is not weather resistant. Depending on your use, this may or may not be an issue. You can always look into purchasing a separate rain cover if you will be spending anytime outdoors.

There is limited ability to adjust the shoulder strap length. The bag also sits slightly low, with no ability to tighten it to a higher position. With that in mind, you probably only want to use this bag for small, lightweight items.

  • Zipper locks and slash-proof
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Water pockets are small
  • Not weather proof
  • No shoulder strap adjustment

Other Best Selling Options

SaleBestseller No. 1
Extra Large 52L Travel Laptop Backpack with USB Charging Port Fit 17 Inch Laptops for Men Women
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YOREPEK Backpack for Men,Extra Large 50L Travel Backpack with USB Charging Port,TSA Friendly Business College Bookbags Fit 17 Inch Laptops,Black
  • LARGE CAPACITY & ORGANIZED: The large backpack owns 3 spacious compartments-one separate laptop compartment fits 17 inch laptops, one main compartment roomy for daily necessities, such as clothes, notebooks, portable charger, etc. The front compartment has many small pockets, as well as pen pockets and a keychain design to keep your things organized and easier to find. The large backpack for men has 10+ pockets, including 2 side mesh pockets for water bottles and umbrellas. Size: 18"x13.5"x6.5"
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Bestseller No. 3
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  • Internal Dimensions: 12" x 4.5" x 17.5" (LxWxH); External dimensions: 13.39 " x 7" x 19.29" (LxWxH)

What Size Daypack Should I Get?

Most daypacks have a volume ranging from 20 to 35 liters. While a smaller sized daypack may suffice for half a day’s hike, a larger daypack in the 35-liter range will be more suitable for an all-day hike.

When choosing the size of your daypack, you have to think about your essentials. Water, food, clothing, maps, and the rest of your essentials should all fit comfortably in your daypack.

The size of your daypack also depends on the kind of hike that you will go on. If you are a winter day hiker, then you should consider the 40-45 liter backpacks. The bigger size will allow you to carry your snowshoes and your bulky insulated clothing.

How To Pack A Daypack For Travel?

One of the best commodities for a traveler is to be able to walk around without having to worry about bulky carry on and luggage.

A daypack is a great choice when your carry on is too much of a hassle in your travel adventures.

You could pack your daypack for travel by using it as your carry on by placing all of your necessities for the flight and tucking it underneath the seat in front of you.

Once you arrive at your destination, you can pack your daypack with a light jacket, a water bottle, a map, and whatever else you may need for the day.

How Big Should A Daypack Be?

The size of your daypack depends on the situation you will find yourself in. A daypack of 0-10 liters is for the minimalist hiker who only packs the bare necessities, such as water and a few snacks.

The 10-20 liter daypack is for the hiker who besides taking the bare necessities may also include a space blanket or a first aid kit. After all, things do not always turn out as planned and safety measures are always good to take.

Finally, daypacks 30 liters and above are for hikes that may go on for a few days. These daypacks will have enough volume to pack what you need for survival as well as a few other luxuries.

How To Attach Daypack to Backpack?

Many backpackers attach gear to the outside their backpack to avoid the hassle of carrying extra supplies and to make their gear easily accessible. Attaching a daypack to a backpack saves you from many frustrations.

There are several options for external attachments on different backpacks that you should check out before you decide on your backpack.

Most backpacking packs have side compression straps that allow you to attach your daypack or other bulky gear. Another option would be to use a floating lid, a top pocket attached to the pack, used for storing bulky objects like sleeping pads.

You can also consider wearing your daypack on your front.

How To Size A Daypack

There is a daypack for every occasion. There are daypacks for hiking, climbing, school, commuting, or travel. When sizing your daypack, you should carefully think about the kind of excursion you will be going on.

Daypack volume is measured in either cubic inches or liters. Daypacks are usually unisex. They fit almost any adult, but there are daypacks specifically made for kids or women. The daypack should not be too high or too low.

If the bottom of the pack is about two inches above your waist, you need to adjust it. As with anything, the kind of daypack depends on the individual and situation.

Choosing the Right Daypacks for Travel

First things first, consider your needs and your traveling plans. Will you be in a city, outdoors, taking public transportation, etc.? Are you bringing electronics?

Once you have an idea of how you will use your travel daypack you can then take a look at certain factors to help you decide.


Size is very important feature to consider when traveling.

You want a pack that is big enough to carry your everyday essentials, but not to large that it weighs you down. Choosing the right size will depend on how much stuff you plan on carrying in your daypack.

For most people, a 20L is plenty for a daypack. You most likely will not want to go over 30L. The bigger the bag, the tougher it becomes to navigate crowded transportation and keep secure.


The most ideal daypacks for travel are going to be lightweight so that you don’t get exhausted hauling it around all day. Remember, you only need a back big enough to carry your essentials.

You want to look for the most volume with the lightest weight load. This allows you to carry more as the bag will be spacious but not add much weight of its own.


You’ll probably be wearing your travel daypack for long periods of time, so comfort plays a huge role when choosing the right pack. Bags with ventilated backs will provided breathability and keep you from sweating.

You’ll also want to consider padded straps and padded hip-belts. This is extremely important if you will be doing a lot of hiking. You’ll be wearing your daypack quite often, so comfort is key.


Safety should always be a factor when traveling. You want to make sure your important belongings aren’t easily accessible. For heavy duty protection, consider a slash-proof daypack.

Many packs come with double zippers that you can lock together. This is great if you keep your wallet or any other irreplaceable item in your backpack. There are many pickpockets that make a living taking advantage of unaware travelers.


Your daypack should be highly durable since it will be seeing a lot of use. Water resistant material is also a great factor to consider, especially if you will be doing a lot of hiking or camping. In order to prevent a musty smell, you’ll want to look for dry-fast material.

Most daypacks are not 100% waterproof, but it can be worthwhile to search for a back that has water resistant qualities. The quicker is sheds water, the better of your items will be. You can also invest in a separate rain cover for extreme conditions.

Multiple Compartments

The more compartments there are, the more organize your items will be. This is great when you need to find a particular item in a hurry. The best packs will have three to five compartments to keep everything separated.

Don’t forget about external pockets. These allow you to have easy access to non-valuable items like pens, notebooks, maps, snacks, and other small items.

Now You’re Ready For Your Trip!

You’ll be carrying your daypack with you on short side trips, day hikes, city strolls, and on public transportation systems.

Therefore, you will need a pack that is light enough to not weigh you down, yet big enough for all of your essentials.

A daypack functions as a bridge between the big trip that gets you where you want to be and the smaller excursions. It allows you to carry just what you need for the day and leave your main luggage behind.

It’s pretty easy to neglect the daypack, but in reality, it’s an item you should take the time to get right.

A daypack can spend the whole day on your back when you’re exploring a new city or on an extensive hike.

Adrienne is a traveller and blogger with many years experience of the outdoors life. An adrenaline junkie at heart she loves to try different sports and activities all year round. With a degree in journalism she combines her love of sports with writing here at BeActiveOutdoors.com Contact adrienne@beactiveoutdoors.com

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