When looking for a reliable daypack, you want to look for the ability to carry enough water and food for a full day out. You also might want to make sure you have enough room for an extra clothing layer or two, a first-aid kit, a headlamp, and any other adventuring gear essential to your excursion.
Daypacks come with a variety of technical features and hauling abilities, all having an impact on price. Cheaper packs are great for carrying light items, and the more expensive packs have more complex suspensions for better fit and support.
Choosing the right daypack largely depends on what you intend to use it for. Will you be alpine climbing, or exploring an urban area on vacation? What kind of gear will you need to bring? Do you need an ice axe or just a comfortable way to haul water and extra layers?
If you don’t need much hauling support for a heavy load, you can focus on getting a more budget-friendly option with basic suspension design and less customizable fit. If you want to carry heavier loads or haul for extended miles, you may want to consider additional structure, a padded back panel, a hipbelt, and shoulder straps found on the more expensive options.
We took a look at some of the industries best women’s daypack and here are our 5 Top Picks.
Our 5 Best Women’s Daypacks
|CamelBak Women's Sequoia 22|
|Gregory Mountain Maya 22|
|Venture Pal 45L|
|Osprey Packs Daylight Pack|
1. CamelBak Women’s Sequoia 22 – Best heavy duty daypack
The Sequoia is the most expensive pack on the list, but for good reason. It is a very comfortable daypack with high levels of breathability. It can hold quite a bit a lot of gear and even includes a hydration bladder, which retails for $20-$30 sold separately.
This pack is made with 200D ripstop nylon and 400D plain-weave nylon in high wear areas, such as the bottom and sides.
It does only come in one size and has an 18-inch torso length, however, this pack has quite a bit of adjustability. This pack is also engineered to better and more comfortably fit a woman’s frame.
The Sequoia has a 19-liter volume, with 3 more liters available in the outer pouch. There is also a separate reservoir pocket where you can store your hydration bladder, or a few other items. In total, this pack seems to hold about as much a 24-25 L pack.
Further Reviewing the CamelBak Women’s Sequoia 22
This pack rates high on the comfortability scale. The shoulder straps, hip belt, and lumbar area are all well-padded. The hip belt uses a Dual Wing design with multiple storage pockets. The back has a unique air padding system that helps keep you ventilated while also providing some cushioning.
The shoulder strap utilizes a quick release clip for the tube and includes two mesh pockets for water bottles if you need extra water, as well as load-lifting tensioners. It also includes compression straps that allow you to tighten everything down.
Unlike some daypacks, the Sequoia doesn’t push against your back when full of your gear in addition to the hydration bladder. The bladder fits in it’s own zippered and insulated compartment, away from the rest of your gear.
This pack does not include a rain cover, so you’d need to purchase that separately if you will be traveling to areas that get a lot of heavy rainfall.
The Sequoia weights 35 oz, which puts in on the heavier side of daypacks. The extra padding on the back is part of what adds a bit of the weight. However, the bag is one of the most comfortable options for hiking with heavy loads over long distances.
This is a great pack option for all kinds of day hikes, whether its a quick stroll or a long excursion with a lot of gear.
2. Gregory Mountain Maya 22 – Lightweight with big storage
The Gregory Maya 22 is a lightweight daypack that offers minimal padding. It’s a great choice for light loads and simple hikes.
It is made of ripstop nylon with a double layer bottom for increases protection from wear-and-tear. The ripstop is a bit thinner, allowing this pack to weigh a bit less, but compromises the durability of the material compared to a 200D pack.
There is mesh only on the hip belt, so no padding to offer extra comfort. The shoulder straps do have a thin layer on the shoulder straps, making this bag slightly less comfortable than some of the other options on the list.
There is a good amount of back padding, along with mesh covering and cutouts to increase ventilation. It is not as breathable as open suspended mesh backs, but it offers enough airflow to provide relief.
Further Reviewing the Gregory Mountain Maya 22
There is no framing on the Maya 22 so this pack would not be ideal for long hikes or heavy loads, as bulky items can press the back of the pack inward against you.
There is quite a bit of internal volume that is great for carrying a lot of bulky clothing layers, you just don’t want to weight this pack down with heavy items.
The Maya comes with an outer pocket that expands large enough to hold a bike or climbing helmet. It is also equipped with an ice axe loop, a single compression strap on each side, and a top pocket for storing quick access items.
This pack is only available in one size, with a 17-inch torso. However, the shoulder straps are adjustable and can life the load to a more comfortable distribution on you back. The hip belt is on the smaller side, and might not provide as much comfort if you wear above a 4 pant size.
3. Venture Pal 45L – Convertible and lightweight
The Venture Pal is a 45 liter pack with multi-compartments including a main compartment, two zipped front pockets, two side pockets as well as external attachment points. There is enough space for item organization and addition items such as a hydration reservoir.
The Venture is made with thick, water resistant material as well as bar-tacks at major stress points that provide long-lasting durability against daily activities. It is equipped with heavy-duty zippers for convenient operation.
It is equipped with a double-layered bottom for additional strength and support that allows you to carry a few extra items on your excursions.
The shoulder straps are designed with breathable mesh and sponge padding to add comfort and shed sweat moisture. The length of the shoulder straps is also adjustable for mutltiple weight distribution options. To provide even more weight distribution, the chest clip comes with a buckle for even weight and centering of the pack.
This daypack is super lightweight and compact. It folds up into a small pocket that is about the size of a sandwich, which is great when you aren’t using your bag and need to store. This is also a great back up plan for when you arrive at the airport and find out your checked bag is too heavy. Simply place your excess baggage in the Venture and use as a carry on to avoid an overweight charge.
The Venture is a great pack if you’re on a budget but still want a quality bag with a lot of space. This bag is a good option for day-to-day travel as well as outdoor hikes.
4. Bago – Best value
The Bago is a great all-round daypack. Made with water resistant fabric to shed moisture from rain and aid in keep your contents dry. At only 6.4 oz, this pack is almost weightless.
There are multiple pockets for plenty of storage options. It features a large main compartment, a large mesh front jacket pocket, 2 water bottle side pockets, an external medium pocket with high quality zipper and an inner zip pocket.
While the main compartment offers plenty of storage space, the outside pockets are a bit on the small side.
The Bago is very lightweight and, much like The Venture Pal, it is convertible. It folds into its inner zip pocket, and converts into a handy pouch. Keep it in your tote and use at any moment, like for a back up carry on for excess baggage if your checked bags are overweight.
Further Reviewing the Bago
This bag is designed with Honeycomb Polyester fabric that durable, water and tear-resistant. It is durable enough to withstand day-to-day use.
The shoulder straps are adjustable and it comes with a sturdy loop on top if you need to carry with one hand.
This is a great option for day-to-day use or a light hiking excursion. If you want a pack that is better for long treks where you will be carrying a heavy load, or overnight adventure, the Bago is probably not the best choice for you.
For the price, it’s a good little, convenient pack. It does not offer all the extra features that some of the more high priced bags will. Overall, it is great quality for the price.
5. Osprey Packs Daylight – Best lightweight panel loading pack
The Daylight a lightweight, simple pack with basic features. It is a panel loading daypack with a large main compartment that provides ease and accessibility to inside contents. It comes with dual stretch mesh side pockets for extra storage.
The interior sleeve can either be used for a water reservoir or items such as a tablet or laptop. It has a breathable back panel and shoulder straps equipped with 3D mesh that provide ventilation and help shed off moisture.
Even though this pack is on the smaller side, weighing in at 16oz, it still comes with a hip belt. This is a nice feature if you will be running or jogging with your daypack.
The mesh pockets on the sides are a bit small for carrying water bottles. They can fit a one-liter bottle if you put it in before filling the pack. However, once the pack is loaded, the pockets don’t stretch quite enough for easy insertion.
Further Reviewing the Osprey Packs Daylight
The Daylight does not include a front stash pocket, so small items like phone, wallet, and kets have to be stowed in the top zipped pocket. This feature does not make a huge impact on the ease of reaching for you essentials.
This pack is made of 210 denier nylon along the front and 420 denier packcloth on the bottom, making it a moderately durable bag able to withstand typical stresses of daypack use.
The Daylight is perfect for day hikes where you won’t be carrying a lot of extra gear or heavy rain jackets. It’s great for carrying snacks, water, a light jacket, and other small essentials. It’s a really great deal for how it is priced.
Choosing Your Daypack
There are many things to consider when looking for a great day pack. Here are some of the key factors you should consider when searching for the best option for you.
If you will be going on long hikes, you want to look for daypacks that have a pouch inside to hold a hydration bladder so you can carry water with you as you trek. CamelBak is the most popular hydration reservoir brand.
You simply place the water reservoir into the pouch and run the hose through an opening at the top of the pack so you can drink on the go and have more room in your pack for other items.
Daypacks can range in size anywhere from 5 liters all the way up to 40 plus. Most daypacks used for full-day hikes are between 30 and 35 liters. That is a pretty sufficient size to accommodate all you’d need to bring for a long day of hiking. If you will be doing an activity such as running, you may want to go with a smaller, sleeker design.
You also want to consider comfort and storage in mind when choosing a daypack. A fully featured pack will include padding on your back and supported straps on you shoulders and waist to heal distribute weight. If you’ll be carrying a lot of items, you’ll want to go with this option.If you’re a minimalist, you can go with a lighter weight carrying option that may save you a few bucks in cost.
There are two main types of daypacks: top loaders and panel loaders.
A top loading daypack is one where there is one large compartment where you store all of your gear and is equipped with a lid that allows you to stash a few extra items. These packs are great because they allow you to really stuff them full to the brim, which is great when you want to squeeze in that extra clothing layer. The down side to top loaders is that it is a bit hard to remain organized as all of your gear is in the main compartment.
A panel loading daypack is very similar to a school backpack. They have numerous outside compartments where you can stash your gear in different locations, which makes organization a breeze. However, they are harder to cram those extra items into and you can’t extend the size like you can with a top loader.
The closure system of a top loader is something to consider as well. Rolltop lids and drawcord systems are a very popular option that offer extra security for the items in your pack. A well-made drawcord system is simple, lightweight, and very easy to use.
Another advantage of a rolltop is that it is compressible, and allows you to change the interior volume of the pack by the number of times you fold the lid.
Many people carry items such as phones, cameras, or down jackets that don’t handle rain very well. Therefore, you really should put a high priority on water protection as you never know when you’ll be caught in a downpour.
Most daypacks are relatively water resistant and can shed light to moderate moisture, but the fabrics and seams will start to give way in heavy rain. Some packs offer a built-in rain cover that is kept inside the bag when not needed. You can also buy waterproof covers separately.
Some daypacks use fabrics that offer seam sealing along the interior to keep out moisture. This can increase the cost of the pack but is a worthwhile investment.
Insure that your zippers are also waterproof. This isn’t a guarantee, but it definitely helps in protecting the contents of your bag from rainfall.
Waistbelt and Shoulder Straps
The waist belt should fit comfortably on your hips and evenly distribute the weight load, this prevents all of the pressure from sitting on your back. You also want to seek out comfortable shoulder straps.
Many women’s specific daypacks have contoured straps that are designed to accommodate the curves of a woman’s body. You may also want to consider an adjustable sternum strap, as it is generally more comfortable to set the strap above the breasts rather than directly across the chest.
Daypack Frames Types
Many higher end daypacks feature a metal or plastic frame that creates a rigid or simi-rigid structure so there is no sagging under weight. This is great for those planning on carrying extra gear on their all-day excursions. A frame does add a little bit of weight and complexity, so if you aren’t hauling more than 10-15 lbs, a frame may not benefit you very much.
Back Panel and Ventilation
Most daypacks will have some sort of foam or mesh built into the back panel and a semi-rigid frame sheet providing structure.
Many lightweight packs will either have a flexible frame sheet and fabric back panel for little structure or no padding at all. The downside to these design is the tendency for the pack to sag. It also doesn’t protect you as much from the bulkier items in your pack.
You might also consider a fully ventilated back panel, which is comprised of full-length mesh, offering defense against a sweaty back. Ventilated designs do compromise some of the size and dimensions of the main compartment and are more expensive, but for some is worth it to keep their back dry.
Our Final Review
Women’s daypacks are not just simply pink or purple versions of a men’s or unisex pack. The design differences take into account for the shape and curves of a woman’s body.
The torso fit is usually a better size match than the, oftentimes, large and bulky unisex models. The straps and belts are specifically designed for women, so that you may experience maximum comfort.
If you will be using the pack for pretty serious day hikes, it’s well worth it to go for a high-end women’s model. The more finely tuned features it has, the more comfortable you will be for extended periods of time.