Wide Open Spaces

A Daypack Is A Must-Have for Short Hikes

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A daypack is essentially a regular bag with a bit more grit to it. They're simple in their design, lightweight, and just the right size for carrying all of your gear for a morning or afternoon hike - like water, a phone, a map, snacks, an extra layer, etc. That said, you can use a daypack for just about anything (mine often doubles as a beach bag). Choosing the right daypack will come down to a few key bullet points like comfort, size, and versatility. Do you want your pack to hold a bladder? Do you need it to be water-resistant? Do you need the extra pockets, or prefer the simplicity of one large compartment?  The six daypacks we've picked out are all at the top of their class. Some will offer the extra storage that gearheads love, while others have been stripped down, with the engineering focused more on the materials rather than the bells and whistles. Read on to check out our six best daypacks for hiking.

1. A Daypack Large Enough for a Laptop


Osprey Daylite Pack - REI, $65

This one-pound daypack from Osprey has been constructed using "high-quality recycled fabrics, GRS-certified recycled nylon and a PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) coating." What this really means is that Osprey gave this daypack the same treatment they give to their more expensive hiking backpacks. It's got a nice layer of mesh on the back, which will keep your back ventilated, as well as a laptop sleeve and a removable hip belt and sternum strap. The bag is available in eight different designs, and they all feature mesh pockets on both sides for your water bottles.

2. A Colorful, Eco-Friendly Option


Cotopaxi Luzon Del Dia - REI, $55

One of the first things you'll notice about Cotopaxi's Luzon Del Dia - aside from the colorful design - is the lightweight ripstop nylon shell and ultralight mesh shoulder straps. It seems like they wouldn't be comfortable on longer day hikes, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Inside the main compartment you'll find a hydration sleeve for a water reservoir, and 18 liters of space to stow your gear. A removable hipbelt is also included, and it's made from completely repurposed fabric.

3. The Largest Option


Patagonia Refugio - Backcountry, $83.30

The Refugio from Patagonia is a 30-liter daypack that will endure whatever elements you can throw at it. It's made from mostly recycled materials, giving a nice eco-friendly nod that's also water resistant (an added bonus). The outer bungee system is a welcomed touch that will allow you to store a jacket or layer outside of the inner compartment, allowing you to carry a little extra, or just keeping what you have inside tightly packed. It also features a mesh shoulder strap system to help lighten the load as well as a sternum strap.

4. The Best Budget Option


Huntvp MOLLE Backpack - Amazon, $25

This budget option from Huntvp forgoes style for function. And although this particular pack isn't that large - coming in at 20 liters - it offers a lot of space for a day on the trail. You'll be able to easily store water, snacks, your phone, and keys while having access to said water by the adjustable side pockets. It's got a sternum strap as well, should you need it, but again, this is a smaller pack that's going to get its best use on quick day hikes. 

5. A Foldable Option


Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack, Amazon, $34.95

City dwellers and minimalists alike will love this Ultralight Stuff Pack from Osprey. When not in use, the pack tucks into itself and basically ends up about the size of a piece of bread. When in use, the pack unfurls to hold 18 liters and boasts side pockets for your water or phone. You probably don't want to load this up with a plethora of heavy items, but if you're the kind of person who lives by necessities only, this is a great option. 

6. An Incredibly Comfortable Option


Deuter Lite 16 - Amazon, $70.00

A lot of brands have their reputations on the line, and Dueter isn't a company to shy away from the noise. The Deuter Speed Lite 16 is a simple yet utilitarian pack that can easily go from the rocks to the road. The pack is simple but designed with movement in mind. Its purpose is to sit comfortably on your back as you move, which is why Dueter designed it with anatomically shaped shoulder straps for comfort and motion. The pack can hold 16 liters and comes with a hydration pouch for your water reservoir. And the pack itself weighs under a pound, so lightweight enthusiasts rejoice. 

Read More: The Best Men's Waterproof Hiking Boots for Rainy Treks