Shopping for Day Packs: My Finalist List

June 2, 2018

This post is a little different than my other gear posts. Rather than recommending a specific product that I own and love, I am going to take you through my process to compare possible day packs I am interested in getting.

Here’s how this all started. I recently had a friend ask me if I had any recommendations for day packs for her and her son’s trip to Costa Rica. Until she asked me that, I hadn’t really realized just how many years it had been since I actually bought one. My husband, on the other hand, has a day pack obsession. I think he buys himself a new one every trip.

This chain of events has inspired me to start researching what day pack might be my next travel gear purchase. So let’s get started!

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.


My Current Day Pack Situation

I have a small Camelbak L.U.X.E. (though mine looks a little different than the one in this link) hydration pack for hiking and biking. It works quite well for those short trips, unless someone (meaning me) needs to haul along a picnic, bottles of bug repellent and sunscreen, or other family necessities.

When I need a hydration pack that is larger, I have an old Kelty back pack with hydration capability that is probably 18 years old. It’s a very large hydration day pack, and most of the time it’s too big for what we need. It’s also pretty heavy.

I also don’t always need a hydration pack. In those cases I’ve often used a 20+ year old Eagle Creek day pack that zips onto my travel back pack. The pair were my first packs, and the carry-on sized back pack still goes with me on most of our adventures. I know they make much better equipment now, but I can’t break up with her. The day pack itself is nothing special, and it doesn’t have a water bottle pocket.

So the features I’m looking for are:

  • Medium size capacity – somewhere around 26 L, give or take.
  • Light weight – as with my travel purses, I do not want a heavy day pack.
  • Pockets  – I definitely want a water bottle pocket and at least one external pocket in addition to the water bottle pocket.
  • No hydration bladder capability needed.


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Some Possible Day Pack Options

First, let me say that there are thousands of day pack options out there! Wow. I’m a little overwhelmed by the volume. And the prices vary wildly. So I focused in on a couple different options that intrigued me.


Osprey Day Packs

My husband’s hydration pack is an Osprey. Because of its size (larger than mine) he can use it as a day pack without the hydration bladder. I always liked the features it has. So I’m intrigued by the day packs that Osprey has in the non-hydration category. Osprey’s design has a nice slim form, so they don’t look bulky.



Osprey Hikelite 18 Hiking Backpack

A smaller volume day pack (18 L) that comes with a built-in rain cover, which could be really vital when out in the rain. The side straps would also hold my hiking poles.








Osprey Escapist 18 Daypacks

Another 18 L option with an incorporated rain cover and a front pocket that could be really handy for a cell phone, map, or other stuff you need to grab. I like this simple look.







Osprey Packs Daylite Daypack

This is only a 13 L pack, so a bit on the small side, but it weighs less than a pound. It would be a simple, slim day pack choice with lots of color options.








Osprey Packs Momentum 26 Daypack

This is a 26 L day pack with some great features, like a detachable waist belt and a rain cover.








Packable Day Packs

I have to admit, I’m intrigued by these super lightweight day packs that can be folded up and kept in your luggage until you need it. If you don’t think you’ll need a day pack for your travel to or from your destination, these seem like a great option. Here are a couple that caught my eye.


 Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack

This 35 L backpack weighs just 11.2 ounces. Probably a little more volume than I need, but a great packable option.






Gonex Ultralight Handy Travel Backpack

This is a 15 L capacity that only weighs 7.2 ounces. It folds up into a small pack.







There is a lot for me to ponder here. What do you think? Any other suggestions? I don’t have an urgent need for one at this moment, so when I finally decide and make the purchase I’ll let you know how it goes.




  • Reply
    June 3, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    A good day pack is so important. We have yet to find the perfect one, but keep experimenting!

    • Reply
      June 3, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      I hear you! I hope one of these will work out for me.

  • Reply
    Dianne Sivulka
    June 4, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    This is helpful as I hate the one I currently have. It’s just not comfortable!

    • Reply
      June 4, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      That’s the worst! I hope you have better luck with your next one. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 5, 2018 at 8:55 am

    These are some great options for traveling. I didn’t know what a day pack was, as we call it backpack! I always go for the lightest option as it suits me better.

    • Reply
      June 5, 2018 at 9:09 am

      Yes, we usually call it a back pack, too, but day pack differentiates it from the giant overnight packs vs the small ones for day trips. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 5, 2018 at 10:27 am

    We have been looking for a new day pack, but the search can be overwhelming as you mentioned. Thanks for putting together a great short list!

    • Reply
      June 5, 2018 at 11:06 am

      Thanks! Yes, so much to choose from.

  • Reply
    Priya Florence Shah
    June 5, 2018 at 10:59 am

    I don’t do much hiking, but I love backpacks and this is a great list with a lot of interesting features. I will check if I can buy them on

    • Reply
      June 5, 2018 at 11:07 am

      Good luck!

  • Reply
    June 5, 2018 at 11:24 am

    I am not a backpack expert but I see what you are looking for. I personally enjoy a lot my husband old snowboarding bagpack from Burton

    • Reply
      June 5, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Good to know!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2018 at 2:11 am

    A good pack is important! I’m just searching for a new one and this helped me a lot! Can’t wait to buy a new one 😀

    • Reply
      June 6, 2018 at 5:29 am

      Oh good! Glad it was helpful. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 7, 2018 at 10:43 am

    We have used the same back pack for all of our trips. It is a Shaun White back pack that I bought nearly 10 years ago and it is going strong. There is a ton of storage and the best part is that my husband carries it all the time. We have used it in Europe 3 times, Africa, and Ireland not to mention countless hiking experiences.

    • Reply
      June 7, 2018 at 11:44 am

      That is awesome! My backpack and attached daypack are over 20 years old and going strong as well! But the daypack doesn’t have all the features I want. 🙂

  • Reply
    Shreya Saha
    June 7, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    I wasn’t aware of this brand but I guess Osprey Packs Daylite Daypack 13L one would be perfect for me. It is very important to have a good daypack bag with you when you are just visiting somewhere for some part of the day and back to your den.

    • Reply
      June 7, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      Agreed. It’s an overwhelming process, though! I’ve liked the Osprey my husband has. I like how sleek and not bulky they are.

  • Reply
    June 10, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    I have never even thought of looking into day packs in detail but it makes so much sense. I like the Osprey ones because they do look quite fashionable and are waterproof. I always want something that is functional but not too bulky or boyish if that makes sense? Thanks for this. I am also going to look at the ultra light ones too.

    • Reply
      June 10, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      I agree about the look of the Osprey packs. Feel free to use my affiliate links if you choose. 🙂

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