When you head out on a day hike, you need to take all the essentials with you. Even on a short hike, you should carry basics like a first aid kit, extra layers, compass, map, food, water, and phone. How will you carry all this gear with you from the beginning to the end of the trail?

The solution is a day hiking backpack. Sounds simple enough but with so many types and styles of packs on the market, how do you know which one is the best day hiking backpack for you?

A day hiking backpack is more than just a convenient way to carry your stuff while hiking, it’s also a safe way to do it. A good backpack leaves your hands free to consult a compass, catch your balance, and use hiking poles.

That’s where we come in. One of our goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to make your life easier when it comes to choosing outdoor gear. This guide will walk you through what to look for while shopping for a backpack for day hikes. We’ll also show you how to find one that works best for you and holds all of essential gear.

 

QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST DAY HIKING BACKPACK

  1. Osprey Daylite
  2. Marmot Kompressor 18
  3. TETON Sports Oasis 1100
  4. CamelBak Rim Runner 22
  5. Deuter Speed Lite 20
  6. CamelBak Fourteener 24
  7. Gregory Zulu 30
  8. Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30
  9. Osprey Packs Manta AG 36
  10. Kelty Redwing 50

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide to Hiking

 

THE BEST DAY HIKING BACKPACK – A COMPARISON

PICTURE
BACKPACK
VOLUME
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
BACKPACK
VOLUME
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
Osprey Daylite
13 Liters
1.0 lb.
$
4.6
Marmot Kompressor 18
18 Liters
10 oz.
$
4.7
TETON Sports Oasis 1100
19 Liters
2 lbs.
$
4.4
CamelBak Rim Runner 22
20 Liters
1.6 lbs.
$$
4.8
Deuter Speed Lite 20
20 Liters
1.2 lbs.
$
4.8
CamelBak Fourteener 24
24 Liters
2.8 lbs.
$$$
4.9
Gregory Zulu 30
30 Liters
2.5 lbs.
$$$
4.3
Mountain Hardwear Scrambler 30
30 Liters
1.9 lbs.
$$$
4.7
Osprey Packs Manta AG 36
36 Liters
2.8 lbs.
$$$
4.3
Kelty Redwing 50
50 Liters
3.0 lbs.
$$
4.7

 

 

DAY HIKING BACKPACKS 101

 

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST DAY HIKING BACKPACK

 

1. SUPPORT

At the end of your hike, you should be tired – not in pain. Having a backpack with support will make carrying a loaded bag for hours much more comfortable. Look for a bag with padded shoulder straps. Depending on how much weight you plan on carrying, you may also want a pack with a sternum strap and waist belt to help you carry the load.

 

2. CAPACITY

How much gear will you be taking on your hike? If you’re planning on hiking for 8-10 hours, then you will need a backpack with the capacity (volume) to accommodate all of your supplies. If you only plan to spend 1-3 hours on the trail, then you may be able to use a day hiking backpack with a smaller capacity. The less you need for your adventure, the less volume you need for your pack.

For multi-day hikes, you’ll need a backpack with a higher capacity (40 – 70+ liters). Check out our guides on trekking backpacks and our multi-day hiking packing list if you need help gearing up for a longer trails.

 

3. HYDRATION SLEEVE

It’s important to stay hydrated while you’re out on a trail. Many hikers like using a hydration pouch system to have quick and easy access to water. When using a hydration system, select a day hiking backpack with a hydration sleeve and port for the water reservoir’s tube. If you’d prefer to use water bottles, look for a backpack that can comfortably fit them. Many day hiking backpacks have specially designed side pockets that can accommodate water bottles.

 

4. VENTILATION

A poorly ventilated day hiking backpack can make your back and shoulders a sweaty mess. Look for features like mesh paneling, which encourages airflow between your body and pack. These features will help make your hike more comfortable and slightly less sweaty.

 

5. WEIGHT

Everything you bring with you on the trail, you will have to pack out at the end of your journey. The longer your hike, the more supplies you will need to bring, making your bag heavier. A simple way to reduce the weight on your back is by choosing a lightweight backpack.

 

best day hiking backpack

 

 

DAY HIKING BACKPACK REVIEWS 

TOP 10 BEST DAY HIKING BACKPACKS OF THE YEAR

 

OSPREY DAYLITE BACKPACK

osprey daylite

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon| REI

BEST FOR: Short day hiking trips

VOLUME: 13 Liters

WEIGHT: 1 lb.

HYDRATION SLEEVE: Yes

FRAME: Yes

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

PROS: Inexpensive, lightweight, multifunctional interior sleeve, ventilated shoulder straps and back panel, sternum strap, removable hip belt

CONS: Small capacity, water resistant but not waterproof, mesh side pockets are not good for water bottles

 

MARMOT KOMPRESSOR 18 PACK

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon| REI

BEST FOR: Short day hiking trips

VOLUME: 18 Liters

WEIGHT: 10 oz.

HYDRATION SLEEVE: No, port for water tube and clip for water reservoir

FRAME: No

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

PROS: Inexpensive, lightweight, air mesh shoulder straps and back panel for ventilation, sternum strap

CONS: Small capacity, doesn’t have a dedicated hydration sleeve, no internal compartments, no hip belt, not waterproof

 

TETON SPORTS OASIS 1100 HYDRATION BACKPACK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Short day hiking trips

VOLUME: 18 Liters

WEIGHT: 2 lbs.

HYDRATION SLEEVE: Yes

FRAME: No

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

PROS: Inexpensive, mesh back panel for ventilation, mesh shoulder straps with ventilated foam, sternum strap, waist belt, rain cover

CONS: Small capacity, zippers are flimsy, mesh side pockets are too shallow

 

 

CAMELBAK RIM RUNNER 22 HYDRATION PACK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon| REI

BEST FOR: Average length day hiking trips

VOLUME: 20 Liters

WEIGHT: 1.6 lbs.

HYDRATION SLEEVE: Yes

FRAME: No

WOMEN’S VERSION: CamelBak Helena 22 Women’s Hydration Pack

PROS: Lightweight, tool attachment, side pockets, air channel back panel for ventilation, air mesh shoulder straps, sternum strap, removable waist belt

CONS: Fabric is not durable enough for long-term use

 

 

DEUTER SPEED LITE 20 BACKPACK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon| REI

BEST FOR: Average length day hiking trips

VOLUME: 20 Liters

WEIGHT: 1.2 lbs.

HYDRATION SLEEVE: Yes

FRAME: Yes

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

PROS: Inexpensive, lightweight, removable waist belt and sternum strap, frame support, air mesh back panel and shoulder straps for ventilation, mesh side pockets for water bottles

CONS: Not waterproof, waist strap is unpadded, mesh side pockets are too small for large water bottles

 

 

CAMELBAK FOURTEENER 24 HYDRATION PACK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon| REI

BEST FOR: Average length day hiking trips

VOLUME: 24 Liters

WEIGHT: 2.8 lbs.

HYDRATION SLEEVE: Yes

FRAME: No

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

PROS: Padded shoulder and sternum straps, padded waist belt, ventilated back panel, tool attachment, mesh side pockets for water bottles

CONS: Expensive, almost 3 lbs., mesh side pockets are not durable, trekking pools attach strangely, water resistant not waterproof

 

GREGORY ZULU 30 BACKPACK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon| REI

BEST FOR: Long day hiking trips

VOLUME: 30 Liters

WEIGHT: 2.5 lbs.

HYDRATION SLEEVE: Yes

FRAME: Yes

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

PROS: Lumbar foam layering for support, mesh back panel for ventilation, sternum strap, waist belt, tool attachment, rain cover

CONS: Expensive, 2.5 lbs., frame is stiff

 

MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR SCRAMBLER 30 OUTDRY BACKPACK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon| REI

BEST FOR: Long day hiking trips

VOLUME: 30 Liters

WEIGHT: 1.9 lbs.

HYDRATION SLEEVE: Yes

FRAME: Yes

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

PROS: Lightweight, waterproof, removable waist belt, deep side pockets, sternum strap, gear loops

CONS: Expensive, side pockets are difficult to use when bag is full, top pocket isn’t waterproof

 

OSPREY PACKS MANTA AG 36 HYDRATION PACK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon| REI

BEST FOR: Long day hiking trips

VOLUME: 36 Liters

WEIGHT: 2.8 lbs.

HYDRATION SLEEVE: Yes

FRAME: Yes

WOMEN’S VERSION: Osprey Packs Women’s Mira AG 34 Hydration Pack

PROS: Mesh back panel for ventilation, foam shoulder strap for ventilation, sternum strap, waist belt, tool attachment, magnetic bite valve attachment on sternum strap, rain cover

CONS: Expensive, almost 3 lbs., hip pockets are small and hard to reach while wearing the bag

 

KELTY REDWING 50 BACKPACK

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon| REI

BEST FOR: Long day hiking trips

VOLUME: 50 Liters

WEIGHT: 3 lbs.

HYDRATION SLEEVE: Yes

FRAME: Yes

WOMEN’S VERSION: Kelty Women’s Redwing 40

PROS: Padded and ventilated back panel, sternum strap, removable, waist belt, side pockets, mesh pockets for water bottles, daisy chain and handle, tool attachment

CONS: Capacity may be too big, 3 lbs., shoulder height can’t be adjusted, water resistant not waterproof, doesn’t have a dedicated hydration sleeve

 

Top 10 Best Day Hiking Backpacks Of 2017 – Best Hiking Backpacks – Packing Tips For Backpacking – What To Pack For Hiking – Hiking Gear For Women, Men and Kids
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