Fast Bags: The 8 Best Daypacks for Outdoor Adventures

The daypack is quintessential to the life of every thrill seeker, hiker, climber, mountain bike rider, and anyone else who gets their excitement out in the wilds of this wonderful world. It is your go-to resource for food, first-aid, clothing, and sundry other supplies which become your lifeline when far from civilization. Getting a good adventuring daypack requires finding one with enough space to suit your plans without so much weight that it ruins your enjoyment of nature’s glory. They must be ready for anything and tough enough to take whatever Mother Nature dishes out.

An outdoor adventure can happen with planning, but they’re better when they occur at a moment’s notice. We’ve chosen daypacks made with the explorer in mind. These are druable and able to stand up to the elements, have a slightly larger capacity for more storage, and typically include straps and pockets for stowing away the gloves, coats, and other gear that an outdoorsman requires. When adventure is the order of the day, one of the 8 best daypacks equips you to answer the call of the wild.

Osprey Daylite

Osprey Daylite

Pro: Lightweight
Con: Not exceptionally sturdy

Light and Tight: With only 13 liters worth of storage room, you’ll never be able to turn a daytime jaunt into an overnight expedition, but you also won’t be trying to figure out what to do with wasted space. Tuckable, breathable mesh straps give this a comfortable fit that holds it close in so that it doesn’t bounce or flop while you move. An interior sleeve gives you the choice of putting in a laptop or a hydration bladder for urban or outdoor missions. Lots of pockets allow you to organize rations or surveying notebooks as you see fit. Mesh side pockets complete the look and lightweight sternum and waist clips hold the tiny package in place comfortably. [Purchase: $47]

North Face Borealis

North Face Borealis

Pro: Includes laptop compartment
Con: Feels inordinately small

Penny Pincher: Getting a daypack that can stand up under harsh conditions, has everything you need, and doesn’t destroy your budget might just be harder than hiking any 14’er out there. The Borealis seems to do it all. 29 liters worth of storage space with a semi-traditional school bag look, this is anything but vanilla ordinary. Inside you’ll find a space for a hydration bladder and plenty of mesh for added ventilation on the back. The waist belt fits well and has wing pockets for fast-access storage. 400 Denier nylon backed by polyester make it more than tough enough, while the reinforced internal sleeve lets you tote around your favorite gaming laptop without injury. Endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association for comfort. [Purchase: $74]

K-Way Tsitsikamma

K-Way Tsitsikamma

Pro: Ideal ventilation for hot weather
Con: Must be imported

Steel Framed: We try to find domestic products, but sometimes there’s an overseas item that just works better than anything here at home. For us, the Tsitsikamma is such a product. It’s a steel-frame daypack made for adventures that seems to just work. Made like a much bigger hiking backpack, this has 30 liters of storage space with tons of pockets and hidey-holes around the body and on the waist strap for easy access. The straps are exceedingly breathable and the frame gives your back a welcome break in hot weather. Add in bungee cords and large pockets for reusable water bottles and the only problem with this pack is pronouncing the name. [Purchase: $76]

Camelbak VOLT 13

Camelbak VOLT 13

Pro: Highly stabilized
Con: Specially made for biking

Biker’s Bosom Buddy: Daypacks aren’t exclusively for those who choose to scramble and ascend. Bikers who go the distance need just as much love, but also require a daypack that fits their specifications. Camelbak might be known for their hydration packs, but they can do so much more. It does have a hydration bladder, but it sits low on the pack for better ergonomics when you’re straddling a road bike or other two-wheeled steed. The stability is excellent for balancing on the most slender of bicycles while the 13 liter holding ability is just enough for your bike tools and a few accessories for a day of riding. [Purchase: $85]

Gregory Miwok 34

Gregory Miwok 34

Pro: Fits like a damn glove
Con: Cannot be locked easily

Changeling: The Miwok 34 uses BioSync Suspension technology to help it adapt to your body and your movement so that it sits in the most comfortable position no matter what load you are carrying or what activity you’re engaged in. It loads from the top with zippered side pockets for quickly accessing your handheld GPS, smartphone, or GORP. It can expand to fit a full 34 liters, but works just as well when slammed down to minimal stature for a comfortable fit that works hiking, climbing, cragging, running, or cycling. [Purchase: $100+]

Dakine Blade

Dakine Blade

Pro: Organized places for winter gear
Con: Heavy

For Snow Bunnies: Summer isn’t for everyone, and winter adventuring can be tough on a daypack. The Blade makes it easier. Whether you’re a climber, a backcountry snowboard rider, or just an arctic enthusiast, odds are you’ll find all you need in this compact package from Dakine. It has straps for skis and snowboards, including a dedicated way to carry a splitboard. Prefer to go up rather than down? Sling your ice axe into the dedicated sleeve. There’s a place for your helmet, a pocket for your goggles, and a wee spot for your avalanche tool. [Purchase: $103+]

Deuter Trans Alpine

Deuter Trans Alpine

Pro: Lots of straps and pockets
Con: Waist belt could offer more stability

Carry-All: This is made for the fastidious packer who wants a lot of straps and pockets for multiple storage options. It can be used as a hydration pack if you add in a drink system for journeys that require more H2O. The large bottom pocket is the ideal spot for protein bars or snacks that could otherwise get lost in the 30 liter main body. For comfort the rear is reinforced snug sternum and waist straps distribute weight, keeping everything comfortable for day-long or overnight excursions. The fabric and nylon body and included rain fly make this ready for anything. [Purchase: $129+]

Mountain Hardwear South Col 70

Mountain Hardwear South Col 70

Pro: Works as both a large and small pack
Con: Limited external storage

Maximum Capacity: Ok, we’re stretching what constitutes a “daypack” to the extreme here, but they haven’t created something called a “days-on-end” pack yet. Many mountain climbers have been faced with the conundrum of whether to double down on their packs or try to stuff a single one to bursting. Now, they don’t need to. Cut slim, you won’t believe it is a 70 liter pack until you really get to cramming. If you need less, the compression straps, removable waist belt, and adjustability of every feature allows you the option of going big or small depending on your needs. Comfort won’t waver either way. An exterior pocket and crampon sleeve give you a few extra caches should you need them. [Purchase: $196]

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