The Best Backpacks for Day Hiking
Carry Everything You Need for a Day on the Trail with These Comfortable Packs
Whether you enjoy short hikes on easy trails or more challenging treks in the mountains, having the right backpack can make all the difference in how much you enjoy the experience. A good daypack is not only lightweight and comfortable to wear but has enough space to carry all of your essential gear for a day on the trail.
But with so many options to choose from these days, finding the right pack can be a challenge. Outdoor gear manufacturers tout features like suspension systems ventilated backpanels, and hydration sleeves, all of which can be confusing for consumers. Ultimately, the best pack is the one that is most comfortable for you, although certain models definitely stand out from the competition.
If you’re in the market for a new daypack to carry on your hiking adventures, these are the best options currently available. These versatile bags are perfect for exploring trails as you travel across the country in your RV.
Osprey Talon 22
Osprey makes some of the best backpacks in the outdoor industry, delivering plenty of features and functionality in a lightweight and affordable package. Nowhere is this more evident than with the Talon 22, a daypack that is comfortable to wear, has plenty of carrying capacity, and is versatile enough to be used in a variety of outdoor activities.
The Talon’s large main compartment offers plenty of space to carry everything you need for a day on the trail, with room to spare. The bag has a dedicated hydration sleeve that makes hauling water easy and convenient, and it comes with gear attachments to securely hold trekking poles, a bike helmet, or other items. Best of all, Osprey’s proprietary AirScape suspension allows the pack to carry a heavy load while improving ventilation along the wearer’s back. This helps to keep you cooler and drier, even on warm weather hikes.
Osprey offers the Talon in sizes ranging from 11 to 44 liters, although the 22-liter version feels like the right spot for day hikers. If you do find you need a little extra space, the Talon 26 is an excellent alternative.
Gregory Miwok 24
When it comes to backpack design, the Gregory Miwok 24 is simplicity at its finest. This pack delivers everything you need for a day on the trail with no unnecessary add-ons. Comfort and functionality take center stage here, giving hikers a bag with plenty of space and exceptional durability.
That isn’t to say the Miwok 24 is lacking in features, however. The pack has a 3D foam backpanel that adjusts to fit multiple torso lengths and provides good breathability on warm-weather hikes. It also has a hipbelt that includes several handy storage pockets and a zippered hydration sleeve for securely holding a hydration reservoir. It even has a pocket lined with soft fleece that is perfect for carrying a smartphone without fear of scratching the screen.
The Miwok is available in 12-, 18-, 24-, 32-, and 42-liter sizes. The 24-liter version offers the most flexibility for most day hikers, although those wanting to go a little faster and lighter on the trail could drop down to the Miwok 18, which is well suited for shorter hikes that don’t require much additional gear.
The North Face Chimera 24
When designing the Chimera 24 daypack, The North Face put a significant emphasis on creating the perfect fit. To achieve that, the company developed its proprietary Dyno Cinch System, which allows the wearer to adjust the pack’s fit on the fly. This makes it very easy to make incremental changes to the backpack’s sizing as you add or remove a layer of clothing or drop excess cargo throughout the hike.
Other excellent features include a body-hugging design, an integrated hydration sleeve, and multiple stash pockets for carrying small gear items. The Chimera 24 also offers access to the main and secondary compartments without taking the pack off and has a quick-drying backpanel for added comfort.
North Face sells the Chimera in two sizes—18- and 24-liter. The larger of those two models can comfortably carry an array of gear and supplies for any day hike, but the smaller version may be tempting for experienced hikers who like to go lighter and faster. Both are excellent options, although the Chimera 24 does come in a women-specific design.
Gregory Juno 24 H2O
The Gregory Juno 24 H2O is a daypack specifically made for women. This approach to pack design improves the bag’s fit by creating a more female-friendly shape, shifting the padding on the hipbelt, and adjusting the contour of the suspension. The result is a backpack that is more comfortable to wear and reduces fatigue on longer hikes.
But the Juno has much more to offer than just providing a better fit. It is also made from moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabrics, comes with a three-liter hydration bladder, and has a ventilated suspension system. It features easily-accessible stash pockets on its belt and shoulder straps and offers a cavernous main compartment for hauling lots of gear and supplies. Trekking pole attachments are included, as is Gregory’s popular QuickStow system for sunglasses and a fleece-lined top pocket for carrying fragile valuables.
The Juno comes in 24- and 30-liter versions, both of which are great for active days on the trail. The men’s version of this pack is the Citro 24, which offers similar specifications and performance with a more general design.
Black Diamond Bolt 24
Built for backcountry adventures, the Black Diamond Bolt 24 features a simple, technical design. But don’t let this bag’s looks fool you, it is one of the more durable daypacks on the market, and it has a range of features that hikers will love. For instance, it comes with a set of shoulder straps that excel at holding the bag in place without inhibiting motion. This improves comfort and provides better balance and control on the trail. It also makes this bag a popular choice for rock climbers.
The Bolt 24’s large main pocket swallows up all the gear and supplies you can throw at it, with room to spare. Stretchable mesh pockets on the front, sides, and hipbelt further expand the pack’s carrying capacity and keep essential items close at hand. As you would expect, the backpack is hydration-ready and has a contoured backpanel to aid ventilation.
Black Diamond Bolt is a one-size-fits-all model that offers 24 liters of carrying capacity.
Arc’Teryx Aerios 15
Arc’Teryx has an impeccable reputation for creating great outdoor gear for use in the harshest environments imaginable. But you don’t have to venture off the beaten path to appreciate the company’s attention to detail and incredible build quality. Simply put, its products are built to last and provide outstanding performance no matter where you go. That includes its line of Aerios backpacks, which are on the pricy side, but well worth the extra cash.
The Aerios 15 features a slick design that hugs the body nicely without restricting motion in any way. The pack is also very lightweight, which makes it comfortable to wear for hours at a time. It comes with mesh storage pockets on the shoulder straps, which are perfect for carrying snacks, a flashlight, or other items you might need to access quickly. It also has zipped side pockets for improved organization and an easy-to-access main compartment that can hold a surprising amount of cargo.
The 15-liter version of the Aerios is well suited for hikers who don’t need to carry much on their excursions. Its lightweight, almost minimalist design is part of its appeal. But if you need a larger version, Arc’Teryx offers it in 30- and 45-liter sizes.
If you’re looking for a daypack that can transition from trail to town and back again without missing a beat, the Osprey Daylite is your best bet. This pack offers unrivaled versatility, making it an excellent option for hiking, travel, or a daily commute.
The Daylite won’t overwhelm you with a lot of technical features, but it does perform a wide variety of tasks very well. It has a large main compartment and a front organizational pocket that provide 20 liters of carrying capacity, and its hydration pocket doubles as a laptop sleeve. Comfortable shoulder straps make it easy to take this pack on a daylong hike or through the airport, while its durable fabrics resist wear and tear. It can even attach to some of Osprey’s luggage for easy transport while traveling.
This daypack comes in just one size, but its versatility and performance make it an all-around winner. If you want a pack that can be used in a variety of settings, this is the one for you.
Any one of these daypacks will make an excellent companion for your RV adventures. Load them up with everything you need and hit the trail!