You don’t have to be some grizzled, bearded woodsman that stays out in the backcountry for weeks at a time in order to say that you love hiking. Plenty of folks can only really manage to get out for a day at a time – and honestly, that’s fine. Those that get up early enough and strike the right pace can cover miles and miles of trail before calling it a day.
But just because day hikers don’t need to carry days worth of food, a tent, or pots and pans doesn’t mean they don’t have to bring any gear along with them on their trip. In fact, a day hiker would be remiss if they started out on a trail without a pack on their shoulders. Smaller, technical backpacks provide plenty of space for porting water bottles, food for the day, bug repellent, and other essential hiking gear. Leaving any one of those things behind won’t guarantee a bad trip – but they’ll definitely increase the odds of an unpleasant day out on the trail. Don’t take the risk. Check out our roundup of the 15 best hiking daypacks of men.
Marmot Kompressor Plus 20 Pack
A minimalist pack featuring webbed shoulder straps, side pockets for holding water bottles, and a 20-liter main compartment for carrying your gear. Made from a 7-denier ripstop nylon, it is both strong and lightweight enough to keep you unencumbered through tough climbs and long hikes. For those that prefer hydration reservoirs above water bottles? The pack features an integrated clip and hole for snaking through the mouthpiece.
Thule Stir 20L Hiking Pack
Don’t let the simple look of Thule’s Stir pack fool you. This rugged, lightweight bag features an innovative design and top quality fabrics. The back and shoulder straps of the bag boast a super breathable and comfortable design with an integrated stretch pocket for storing items like your phone or camera. Want to grab something from the main compartment quickly? The top opens up with a quick draw-string cinch as well.
Kelty Redwing 32 Backpack
Carrying gear for more than just yourself? Kelly’s Redwing 32 backpack may be what you’re looking for. A kind of in-between of a real day-pack and a backpacking pack – this bag features a number of exterior pockets, slots, and a large main compartment for storing all kinds of gear. For extra support for when you do throw a bunch of gear in your bag, the pack boasts a waist-belt and sternum strap.
Gregory Salvo 24L Pack
Another solid pick for hoofing a bit more around the trail. This pack from Gregory features 34-liters of storage mainly within the primary compartment, while it also features smaller zippered pockets and internal organizing mesh slots. For breathability and support – the back, shoulder straps, and sternum straps all boast a lightweight mesh construction.
Osprey Stratos 24L Backpack
Generally considered among the best hiking daypacks on the market, Osprey’s Stratos 24 features both a sleek design and serious utility. The pack, like others on this list, has a nice mesh back and shoulder straps for breathability as well as outside loops and attachments for strapping gear to the outside of your pack.
CamelBak Fourteener 24 Hydration Pack
As one would expect, CamelBak’s day pack comes with the brand’s own water bladder. But there is more to be said about this than just its integrated hydration system. It features a handsome design with both a main and exterior pocket for storing all types of gear. Looking to hike through the heat? The back panel features mesh pods for support and maximum ventilation.
You don’t have to roll with a technical look if you’re going out into the woods for the day. Case in point, Topo Designs’ Daypack. Made from a tough 1000D Cordura nylon it’s tough enough to stand up to whatever you throw its way while you’re out on the trail. You can also make use of the American-made bag’s 15-inch laptop sleeve and organizing pockets for porting around everything from granola to pens and paper.
Arc’teryx Brize 25L Backpack
Light and fast. That is what this pack from outdoor brand Arc’teryx is all about. It’s made from a hydrophobic fabric that’s lightweight and tough enough to withstand use and abuse throughout the day. And to top it off, the back and shoulders on the pack are made from a combination of Aeroform and mesh that are engineered to keep you cool no matter what.
Boreas Monterey Weatherproof Pack
Named after the notoriously misty old capital of the state of California, this pack is ideal for keeping your gear high and dry through any kind of weather. Made from a tough 210D nylon ripstop fabric with a TPU coating it treats water like it’s nothing. When it comes to carrying gear? The pack can fit up to 35-liters worth – including in the top compartment built for storing wet clothing.
Patagonia Snow Drifter 40L Backpack
Another solid in-between daypack. Just as capable as going on a minimalist overnight trip as heading out on a day trek, it features 30L of storage split between a main and secondary compartment. For a secure fit, the pack boasts a waist belt and sternum strap, as well as external straps for cinching down the pack or strapping on gear externally.
Trakke Lecht 28 Backpack
Thanks to its contemporary waterproof design, this pack is just as easily used in the city, on a hike, or out on the slopes. The 20-liter main compartment features a waterproof zipper closure and a series of internal pockets for easy organization. All things said an attractive, capable pack.
Hyperlite Daybreak Ultralight Daypack
Hyperlite has a reputation in the outdoor industry for making incredibly light packs that don’t compromise on utility. Just take a look at the daybreak bag and you’ll see why. Made from a tough Dyneema Composite Fabric, the bag offers up a lot of storage without the accompanying weight. For a better fit, the pack comes in one of three different waist-belt sizes and features a comfortable pair of shoulder pads.
Epperson Mountaineering Rock Pack
Epperson Mountaineering’s Rock Pack has a decidedly less technical look compared to others on the list – but it is more than capable of performing. Cut from a 1000 denier DWR coated Cordura fabric, it is water resistant and tough enough to stand up to real use and abuse on the trail. The American-made pack has two external water bottle holders, daisy chain webbing, and padded straps for easy carrying.
Triple Aught Design Fast Pack EDC
This pack from Triple Aught Design is among the best on the market. Not only is it rugged, but it boasts an efficient suspension geometry, modular capabilities thanks to the molle webbing and pouch attachment ladder system, and total easy accessibility thanks to its large main compartment and smaller external pockets that sit flush with the rest of the bag. A great tactical bag for everyday carry.
Mammut Rocker RAS Backpack
Purpose built for backcountry skiers and snowboarders, this pack features space for storing your gear and a special airbag that can be deployed in case of an avalanche. The airbag surrounds the riders head – helping them both stay on top of the snow and protect their head and core from serious trauma. A specific but solid, hydration system compatible pick that’ll keep riders safe.
The 18 Best Hiking Apps
So you have your daypack – but do you know where you’re going? Take a look at our list of the best hiking apps to better equip yourself for a day on the trails.