Daypacks are there to fill that need between reaching a destination – for which you’ll need a backpack or suitcase – and enjoying the destination once you’ve arrived. You certainly don’t want to empty out your main bag, which might not even be an option, or be forced to lug it about from pillar to post when something much lighter will do the job just as well.
Thankfully there are a huge range of daypacks on the market. That said, with so many to choose from, how do you pick the one that’s right for you?
We’ve been busy checking out all that’s available – so you don’t have to, and here we tell you all you need to know to make a decision you won’t come to regret.
Quick Summary: The Best Travel Daypacks
Osprey Daylite Plus
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North Face Borealis
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Deuter Speed Lite 20
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Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350
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Peak Designs Everyday Bag
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Eddie Bauer Unisex Stowaway
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#1 – Osprey Daylite Plus
Best overall travel daypack
This stylish looking daypack by Osprey has a capacity of 20 liters, meaning there will always be more than enough space for the things you need while out and about for the day.
Water resistant, and made from a long-lasting ripstop nylon material that will limit any damage should it occur, this bag also has a framework that spreads the weight to help you forget you’re even carrying a daypack at all.
Padded for comfort, and with ventilation to help keep you cool in hotter climes, its style means you won’t feel out of place in higher-end restaurants or on the street.
Is the Osprey Daylite Plus for you?
With a volume of 20 liters, and stylish to say the least, the Osprey Daylite Plus is a great choice for anyone looking for a travel daypack when traveling the urban environment. There’s a roomy main compartment, and small front pouch, as well as a comfortable shape for all-day carrying.
#2 – North Face Borealis
Best travel daypack for Europe
This offering from North Face has a large capacity of 28 liters, so you can comfortably fit everything you’ll need for a day exploring Europe – from umbrella to high-factor sunscreen. A padded ventilation mesh that sits against the users back aims to keep you cool, while a spine ridge is designed to fit snuggly around your spine helping to prevent stooping.
As well as the daypack’s main section, there’s a useful front pouch, internal laptop sleeve, and bungee cord area too. Matching the standard idea of a rucksack, the Borealis could easily be used as a general school or office bag when not traveling.
Is the North Face Borealis for you?
The North Face Borealis makes for a great travel daypack for Europe because of a combination of its larger size, ventilated back panel, and subtle styling which means it won’t stand out from the crowd and shout ‘tourist’. The laptop sleeve and bungee cord are super additions to an already well-designed daypack.
#3 – Deuter Speed Lite 20
Best travel daypack for hiking
Specifically designed for use on the walking trail by hikers, the Deuter Speed Lite 20 has a host of features that hikers will be glad of after a day’s hard walking. Firstly, there’s the lightweight design, which ensures you’re not carrying more weight than you need to.
Then there’s the presence of compression straps that help secure and protect the daypack’s contents whatever terrain you encounter. Side panels provide extra space for water bottles, while there are also attachment points for ice axes and other pieces of equipment that need to be at hand at all times.
Is the Deuter Speed Lite 20 for you?
Looking for a small, lightweight daypack that you’ll be happy to be carrying after a day of hiking? Then the Deuter Speed Lite 20 is a good option for you. Stripped of all unnecessary weight, but still boasting side pockets and attachment points, this daypack meets a vital need in the daypack market.
Editor’s Note – You can also check out our article about the best Travel Strollers.
#4 – Kelty PK50
Best travel backpack with detachable daypack
The Kelty PK50 has an almost unique design on the market, separating into a 35-liter daypack, and 15-liter section that can be left in a hotel or storage locker. This means you get to take all the advantages of the main compartment, such as large side pockets, with you.
The Kelty PK50 also has some removable internal divisions dependent on how and what you’re looking to pack, and some helpful hiking/adventure features, such as the ice axe loop.
A built-in rain cover ensures you can use the Kelty PK50 throughout the year in the worst of weather conditions. What’s more this bag comes in two alternate sizes (S/M and M/L, as well as one designed to fit the female form better).
Is the Kelty PK50 for you?
The Kelty PK50 is a good blend of backpack and daypack, for those looking for the functionality of both. The ability to reduce its size (and of course weight) to that of a 35-liter daypack is an excellent idea, while pockets provide the functionality of a large backpack.
Editor’s Note – You can also check out our article about the best Travel Towels.
Best anti-theft travel daypack
For keeping your stuff secure while on the move its difficult to beat the touches offered by the Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350. Lightweight and comfortable to wear, this bag also comes with an integrated rain cover as just one of its protective features. Its padded interior helps to keep your tech safe from damage, and its tough zippers are lockable for extra peace of mind.
The Metrosafe LS350’s outer is made from slash proof material, while a special internal pocket prevents RFID scanners from collecting personal data such as credit card numbers and passport details. All in all, this really is a superb anti-theft travel daypack.
Is the Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 for you?
If the security of your tech and personal information is your primary concern, the Metrosafe LS350 is definitely the daypack for you. Strong, durable and yet comfortable to wear, it brings peace of mind with its lockable zippers and small RFID-safe pocket that prevents the theft of digital data.
Recommended Article – Take a look at our AMAZING guide to the best Inflatable Kayaks.
Best travel camera daypack
The first great feature of the Peak Designs Everyday Bag as the best travel camera daypack is the fact it comes in two sizes: 20 liters for the amateur photographer, and the larger 30-liter capacity daypack for the semi-profession photographer.
But what really makes these daypacks great for photography use is their completely adaptable interior, which is customizable using a system of modules that keep cameras and lens well protected from jolts and damage.
The large top flap, and additional zippers, also make it incredibly easy to access the kit you need when you need it.
Is the Peak Designs Everyday Bag for you?
If you’re a dedicated amateur or semi-professional photographer with all the kit that goes with that, you’ll love the features of the Peak Designs Everyday Bag. Its compartmentalized interior makes it really easy to store your expensive kit safely, and access to it when you need it is equally easy thanks to the large top flap.
Recommended Article – Take a look at our AMAZING guide to the best Baby Carriers for Hiking
Best daypack for city travel
The 20 liter Eddie Bauer will tug at the heart strings of anyone who favors aesthetic beauty as much as functional design. One of the best-looking daypacks on the market at the moment, it will also keep you smiling with the knowledge its StormRepel WR finish will keep any tech you carry with you routinely safe from the worst of the weather.
There are also straps designed to fit around the shoulders as comfortably as possible, while your laptop or tablet will be equally comfortably inside the daypack within its dedicated Velcro-close sleeve. The additional pockets of various sizes seals the deal for us, as does the excellent range of colors you can choose from.
Is the Eddie Bauer Unisex Stowaway for you?
The Eddie Bauer unisex stowaway is as beautifully designed and well-constructed as any daypack on the market, and really can’t be beaten for city travel. An excellent mid-range size, with an internal sleeve and other helpful pockets, there’s very little that would improve this daypack!
Check this out! Our complete guide to the most awesome Packing Cubes!
#8 – Burton Tinder
Best travel daypack for laptops
Another exquisitely designed daypack, the Burton Tinder has style as well as substance and functionality. This 25-liter daypack contains an integrated and padded laptop compartment within it, to keep your devices stored safely as you travel about the city, while there’s also a zippered mesh pocket on the inside for small, lighter objects that would otherwise be easily lost.
The padded shoulder straps are another well-thought-out feature of the Burton Tinder, which leaves the main body of the bag without compartmentalism so you can fill it as you wish.
Is the Burton Tinder for you?
If style is as important to you as function, then the Burton Tinder is definitely a daypack for laptops that is worth your time considering. As well as keeping your laptop protected, it can be used day in day out thanks to its lack of specialist divisions or compartments, while being a great size at 25 liters.
Best of the rest
One of the lightest daypacks you’ll find on the market, the Totalpac is an excellent choice for those of us capable of travelling with only the barest of essentials. Part of the lightness comes from the fact this 35 liter daypack is made from super light materials – a premium grade Diamond Ripstop nylon that helps to prevent tears.
It also folds into itself when not in use so it can be easily stored in your backpack or even a trouser pocket. Still offering a range of features, the Totalpac includes breathable shoulder straps for coolness, and an adjustable strap across the chest.
Is the Totalpac Lightweight Foldable Packable daypack for you?
If weight, both when in storage and when on your shoulder, is all important to you, you can’t beat the Totalpac. One of the lightest daypacks on the market, it’s a really useful bag to have to hand even if you’re not sure you’re going to need it.
Editor’s Note – You can also check out our article about the best Travel Hammocks.
#10 – Venture Pal Lightweight
Another daypack for the minimalists among us, the Venture Pal Lightweight has a capacity of 35 liters, and is a great daypack to take on a few hours hiking. Its construction materials are water resistant, ensuring its contents won’t be ruined after a sudden rain shower, while the shoulder straps are comprised of a lightweight mesh to help increase ventilation and reduce sweating.
Compression straps reduce the contents to their smallest, and the bottom is double-layered for extra strength, which is another handy feature from the team at Venture Pal.
Is the Venture Pal for you?
This grab-and-go model from Venture Pal provides a super solution to the need for a daypack for hiking without all the extras that can come with them. Cut back to the bare essentials, this model of daypack will still do what’s required on the trail, though some users might prefer alternative models with a little more functionality.
Recommended Article – have you checked out our article about the Best Carry on Backpacks?
#11 – Fjallraven Rucksack 21
Neatly straddling the tightrope between form and function, the Fjallraven Rucksack 21 is a fine looking daypack that doesn’t skimp on functionality. Its simplicity ensures it doesn’t look over the top or out of place anywhere in the city environment, aided by the fact it includes an integrated padded laptop sleeve.
A drawstring seals the main compartment, while there are three other small compartments for those odds and ends you need when out and about. Smart leather shoulder straps aim to hug the torso, leaving your hands free for everything else.
Is the Fjallraven Rucksack 21 for you?
Looking for a stylish yet simplistic daypack that will take your laptop in a padded sleeve and leave your hands free then you’ve found the daypack for you in the Fjallraven Rucksack 21. Large enough to contain everything you need for a busy day, its front and side pockets are fine additions to an already good daypack.
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#12 – North Face Jester
Sporting a traditional rucksack style, the North Face Jester offers users a casual urban look with a slightly larger than average 27-liter capacity. A daypack that would work equally well for school or a more informal office atmosphere, the Jester has a nice streamlined design around a zippered main compartment and narrower zippered front compartment.
The Jester is finished with a useful bungee cord at the front, and mesh pockets to either side for water bottles. The Jester is also large enough to easily contain a 17” laptop, as well as books or clothes.
Is the North Face Jester for you?
If you’re after a good all-round daypack with a casual look and a slightly larger than average capacity you should definitely be considering the Jester by North Face. Though it doesn’t contain a dedicated laptop compartment, it does contain two zippered compartments and a few added extras that make travel in the city a synch.
#13 – Osprey Talon 22
Effortlessly blending the needs of day hikes with those of urban city travel is the Osprey Talon 22. This good sized daypack has plenty of space for essentials and luxuries thanks to the slightly stretchy fabric.
For the great outdoors, the Talon 22 comes in two different sizes to fit most body shapes and has a hip belt that supports and stabilizes the bag even on rough terrain.
The Talon 22’s back panel has been improved to help sweat escape faster than before, while the top flap opening helps you to retrieve kit even on the go.
Read our full Osprey Talon 33 review!
Is the Osprey Talon 22 for you?
With two alternate sizes manufactured to ensure a good fit to your body shape, and the capacity to function on the trail and in the city, the Osprey Talon 22 is a daypack everyone should consider. The top flap opening makes it really easy to open and close on the go, while the hip belt and other features ensure stability wherever you may be.
#14 – Timbuk2 Uptown Daypack
Another fashionable daypack with a casual look is the Timbuk2 Uptown. Its 30-liter capacity, spread out over a number of useful organizational pockets, makes it one of the largest daypacks in our list.
The cushioned interior helps to ensure high-value items won’t get damaged in transit, while the straps are adjustable for a perfect snug fit. To make it even more comfortable, the panel that sits at your back is ventilated.
Is the Timbuk2 Uptown Daypack for you?
After an on-trend daypack that allows you to carry all you need about the city without bother? The Timbuk2 Uptown does just that. It has one of the largest capacities of any daypack out there at the moment and has enough pockets to keep even the most disorganized of people on track.
#15 – Osprey Stratos 24
The Osprey brand is brilliant at creating daypacks that fit a need perfectly, and the Stratos 24 is no exception. This is an extremely good daypack for anyone who enjoys a long day’s hike, whether in the mountains, forests, or prairies.
Shaped for ergonomic comfort and with padded shoulder straps, there is also a stabilizing hip belt, built-in waterproof covering, an internal sleeve to contain Platypus-like hydration kits, and place for walking poles too.
Its like Osprey have thought of everything -again! So if you’re looking for an all-round excellent daypack for hiking, make sure the Osprey Stratos 24 is on your short list.
Is the Osprey Stratos 24 for you?
The Osprey Stratos 24 is a superb bag for anyone looking to purchase a dedicated hiking daypack. Ergonomically designed, and with all the helpful added features you’ve come to expect from a brand like Osprey, you’ll be more than happy to have chosen this daypack after a day on the trail.
P.S. – Save a bit of cash during Traveling with our EPIC guide to the best Travel Jackets
#16 – Outlander Packable
The second packable daypack on our list is by Outlander. It’s packability also makes it one of the lightest daypacks on our list, but the Outlander Packable is still able to boast a construction from a ripstop nylon which is both water resistant and durable enough for everyday use. Unlike some daypacks, there are zipper closures to its compartments, including an internal zippered pocket for valuables.
Capable of carrying a volume of 35 liters, it folds down to just 8.5×8.5×1.2 inches. As a final incentive, the Outlander team have made the Packable available in a range of colors, to perfectly match your personality.
Is the Outlander Packable for you?
If you want a simple but effective daypack that packs down small for use as a spillover bag or for a few hours while moving about a city environment, the Outlander Packable is a great option. Budget-friendly and lightweight when packed, it will certainly do the job, with durability which means it will last and last.
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Given the fantastic range of daypacks on the market, picking the right one for you can be difficult. We’ve examined the best daypacks out there to bring you our comprehensive list, that not only describes each of our top daypacks in detail but gives you the pros and cons too, so you can make an informed decision before splashing the cash.
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