Top 10 Best Daypacks In 2018 – Complete Guide

Whether you’re packing for your next adventure, or putting together your stuff for something less exciting like going to school, the kind of backpack you carry should fit your lifestyle, your needs and your fashion sense.  Spending some time to choose the best backpack for yourself is a must.  Not all packs are created equal.  They each have different functions and features.  You need to compare all these and measure against your budget as well.

Backpacks are designed with the traveler, the hiker, the student, or the office worker in mind.  Each functionality comes with a purpose, each compartment or pocket fitted with all the possible items a traveler may need to pack.

Call it a Pack

Backpack, rucksack, bookbag, sackpack, kitpack – by any other name, a daypack is simply a pack that is carried on the back with two straps that go over the shoulders.  Now, if you’re in your 40’s, you’d be showing your age if you still call it by its 80’s moniker of knapsack.

Packed with a Purpose

In many countries, backpacks and daypacks are associated with students who use these packs to carry education materials to and from school.  In this context, you can call these schoolbags or bookbags.  Some daypacks have customized or specialized use and purpose. One such example is a laptop pack which usually has a padded compartment to serve as a protective carrier for the gadget, with smaller compartments for charger cables and external devices like a mouse or a hard drive.  Sometimes used as luggage, backpacks can be used as well for travel, with most packs designed to fit the size of the overhead bin of planes for convenient carry-on baggage.  In the sports setting, hydration backpacks are designed to hold water in a special water reservoir with a tube that leads to the front of the strap all the way to the carrier’s mouth. A fashion-forward and purpose-driven hiker would be very meticulous in choosing the design of his pack, one that would match his activities. Here is a list of the best hiking backpacks.

Good Design is Good Business

In terms of design, backpacks fall into four main categories: frameless, external frame, internal frame, bodypack.  The frameless backpacks are the simplest and least expensive with just the pack attached to a pair of shoulder straps.  External frame packs, on the other hand, are designed to carry heavier loads of 20 kilos or more, with better support, protection and weight distribution.  The internal frame pack was invented by Greg Lowe in 1967 to fit closely to the carrier’s back and minimize load shifting.  A bodypack has compartments and pockets on the straps in front of the wearer’s chest such that the load in the front and the load in the back are nearly equal.

The Mark of a Good Pack

If you are investing in a good daypack, here are a few things you should check outbefore  buying:

Good quality material at less the weight

You of course don’t want a pack heavier than its content, right?  This is essential, especially if you are a hiker, since you do not want to increase your heart rate and caloric demand.  Most backpacks and daypacks that are less expensive use materials that are heavy and are bought on discounted rates to cut down on production cost.  The newer and trendier packs use high quality nylon and such other materials that are durable yet very lightweight.

Sustainable fabrics and other materials

The responsible trend now is to support products that use only sustainable materials that do not harm the environment when produced.  Even the Pope wrote a cyclical entitled Laudato Si, On Care for our Common Home, teaching us to be stewards of this Earth.  So, when choosing a daypack, or any other product as it is, make a check on where and how they are produced.

Ventilated or well-aired back panels

Check out the design of the back panel and see if it has suspended mesh fabric to keep the pack away from your back and allow air to flow.  A good-quality daypack will have ventilated back panels that can reduce sweating.

Volume and size

Keep in mind that the bigger the pack, the heavier it gets too of course and there are instances where you won’t need too big a pack.  Daypacks are usually smaller in size and have volumes less than 40L, just right for a day trip.

Pockets and compartments

The design of the pack with its compartments, partitions and strategically placed access pockets is key to choosing a backpack for your use.  Some daypacks would have media pockets, earphone holders and holes, cable charger hoops, laptop slots and other organizers that would suit your specific needs.

Compatibility with hydration systems

If your backpack is compatible with a hydration system or will provide access to a hydration hose, you won’t need to juggle and struggle with a water bottle.

Frame, padding and support

As discussed earlier, backpacks can be generally categorized into four different frames and support.  You need to qualify how your daypack will be used so you know if you will get one that is frameless or one that has a frame to help carry heavier loads.

Water-resistant zippers and storm flaps

For a much cleaner look and to save on weight, some backpacks now use water-resistant zippers and storm flaps that bounce off rain and keep water from seeping into the pack.

Top load or panel load

A top loading pack is simpler in design with the top open and loadable from there.  They usually close off with a drawstring and you can stack more stuff into it.  A panel loading pack has a main compartment sealed off with a U-shaped zipper which, when opened, the flap pulls away.  If you want organization, consider a panel loading pack.  If you need the space, the top loader may be for you.



Name Feature Price



Name Feature Price


   1. The North Face Jester Backpack The FlexVent™ suspension system $$ 4.6 
2. TETON Sports Oasis 1100 2 Liter Hydration Backpack Large capacity hydration pack $$  4.5
3. Gonex Ultra Lightweight Packable Hiking Backpack Handy Daypack High Quality Water and Tear Resistant Nylon Material $$ 4.5 
4. PioneerHiker 25L Lightweight Water-resistant Small Hiking Daypack Backpack 2 compression strap for trekking ploe, tripod or other gears $$ 4.5 
5. Osage River Osceola Hiking Daypack Camping Backpack Heavy duty zippers and pulls $$ 4.5 
6. Kimlee Water Resistance Hiking Daypack Luggage Backpack with Rain Cover Removable rain cover fit for almost any weather condition $$ 4.3 
7. Fjallraven Kanken Mini Daypack Popular backpack in hardwearing Vinyl Fabric $$ 4.3 
8. EcoCity Vintage Canvas Backpack Rucksack Casual Daypacks Bookbags The straps to close the bag are two retro magnetic buttons $$ 4.2 
9. Free Knight 25L Packable Handy Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack Folds into zippered pocket to fit anywhere $$  4.2
10. NeatPack Durable, Foldable Nylon Backpack / Daypack with Security Zippers, 20L Concealed bottom zip pocket is great for storing valuables $$ 4.2 

1. The North Face Jester Backpack

Top 10 Best DaypacksMeasuring 22 x 15 x 5 inches and weighing in at 1.8 pounds, this 27L backpack is full of functional features that will serve you well.  It has two main zippered components with the front panel providing multiple smaller pockets.On top of the two main compartments, it also has two pockets inside the larger compartment and two smaller pockets in the smaller compartment.  There are also mesh pockets on either side of the backpack for water bottles.  The mesh pockets can easily fit 32ox bottles and bigger.

The Jester is a perfect daypack for students or day hikers.  Though it doesn’t have a laptop slot, the main compartment easily fits a 17” laptop, plus more books and other items.  It is made of lightweight polyester.  Accidentally get it wet?  No problem.  The Jesters dries quickly and cleanly.  Even if you run in the rain, it repels water enough to keep your gadgets and things inside dry and safe.  Note, however, that it is water resistant but not waterproof.  It can withstand short bursts of water like rain or accidental spills from a drink bottle.  That is a basic enough all-weather safety feature which you can enjoy with this backpack.

It is a pack with sturdy straps that are very comfortable.  The straps are sturdily built to carry ample loads comfortably.  It is lightweight enough and quite durable to use as a hiking bag.  No matter how heavy the load, the straps do not eat into your shoulders and still fit snugly.  Though comparatively smaller than most backpacks, it still looks great even on big built men.  The straps are adjustable so no matter how small or big the user, the backpack can be adjusted for comfortable fit and use.  The black look of the backpack gives it a classic and elegant feel, yet casual enough for everyday use.  What more, there are bungee cords crisscrossed in the front.  You can use these as additional places to loop in your accessories.  These bungee cords are adjustable as well.

The stitching is excellent work and you can be assured that it will definitely be durable and will last a long time.  There is no stitch out of place and the finish is clean.This is the best value for money daypack you can get.  If you’re out to just choose and buy one backpack, then it is highly recommended that you get this one.


  • adjustable straps
  • lightweight, quick dry, water resistant material
  • spacious compartments


  • no padded laptop compartment
  • hard plastic board on the back that makes the backpack stiff


2. TETON Sports Oasis 1100 2 Liter Hydration Backpack

Roomy enough for an overnight trip, yet light enough for a whole day carry-on, the Teton Sports Oasis Hydration Backpack is an excellent choice.  Weighing only two pounds when unfilled, this sturdy yet lightweight daypack includes a 2-liter bladder that is FDA-compliant food grade.  You can safely fill the hydration pack with 2 liters of potable beverage and rest easy and be assured of no spills because of its triple-heat sealed edges and twist-lock to prevent leaks.  It comes with a 2-inch opening to make refilling and cleaning easy.  There is a kink-free sip tube appropriately located and the bite valve is cushioned. Check out our list of the best hydration packs.

Even when fully-loaded, this daypack is very comfortable to carry because of its ventilated and fully adjustable shoulder straps, ventilated foam and chest shock absorber.  It’s the perfect fit for men, women and young teens because of its low-profile athletic cut.  With its comfort-taped straps with high-density foam stabilizer, you are assured of hours of comfortable use.

This backpack comes with unbelievable features!  Measuring 18.5” x 10” x 7” with a total capacity of 18 liters, it opens up butterfly style so you can pack in your picnic blankets or jackets easily.  It has a bungee cord system upfront which you can use to pack your gear like helmets, extra hiking shoes or whatever similar gear.  Its all-weather material protects your gear, your clothes and your packed food.  The large pocket carries all, and is sealed with a magic zipper with hidden teeth.  This backpack also comes with a few other helpful features: a) elastic water bottle holders on the side; b) various clips you can tighten or loosen to help carry different sized items; c) stability straps that run along your chest and your waist; d) a strap on the top of the pack used to hang it, and; e) a drainage V-shaped hole at the bottom of the pack used to drain out and dry out the pack.

For the avid sports enthusiast, this backpack suits your purpose well.  It has all the features an athletic user may need in a backpack.  Multi-functional, lightweight, durable and with a fantastic hydration pack you can maximize, this backpack was designed for the athlete in you.


  • great hydration pack with plenty of other storage pockets for other survival items
  • sturdy, all-weather material yet lightweight


  • the hydration pack tends to retain a rubbery or plastic smell and taste on the water
  • zipper malfunctions after some time of use


3. Gonex Ultra Lightweight Packable Hiking Backpack Handy Daypack for Camping Outdoor Travel Cycling School 20 Liters 8 Color Choices

This ultra lightweight backpack is the perfect travel companion for all your packing needs.  With measurements of 44 x 30 x 15 cm and a total capacity of 20 liters, you can pack in all your important stuff in its multiple pocket areas.  It has a main pocket large enough to hold a 15” laptop.  It also has outer pockets for items that need easy access like a map, your camera, phone, and the book you’re reading.  There are zippered pockets as well to keep valuables like cash, credit cards and your travel documents and passport.

With a barely-there weight of 185 grams, this backpack can be folded and packed into a pocket size and be kept in a small compact pouch.  Who could have imagined a backpack as roomy as this one can be as light as a feather?  That is indeed a truly special feature.  When you find yourself exceeding baggage limit at airport check-ins, you can easily unfold this daypack and use as carry-on for those items that need to be taken out of excess baggage.  Now, isn’t that a smart airport tip?

Made from high quality water and tear resistant nylon, and reinforced using the bar tack process, you are assured of long time use of this backpack.  The bar tack process is a series of stitching used to reinforce areas of garments that are subjected to extra stress or additional wear and tear.  This backpack uses the bar tack process in more than 25 strategic areas.  It also uses a durable abrasion resistant SBS metal zipper.

Other convenient features include a breathable mesh shoulder strap for comfortable long-wear use, bottle holders on both sides, and an easy to adjust strap length that locks firmly.  When traveling, you have easy access to your water bottle and never have to rummage thru your bag for other essential items.  Got a wet umbrella you need to fold?  No problem.  You can keep it in the mesh pocket outside.


  • an excellent ultra portable bag
  • flawless and strong stitching all around, with bar tack process in stress areas


  • inside material flakes off over time
  • not color safe, material bleeds when wet


4. PioneerHiker 25L Lightweight Water-resistant Small Hiking Daypack Backpack for Outdoor Hiking Cycling School Camping Sports Travel

This backpack is a well-constructed and well-designed backpack.  With its little touches that add functionality, you can’t ask for more.  It has mesh pockets on the side for your water bottles or wet umbrella and stings.  It has pockets outside perfect for those little items a hiker needs easy access to.  These outside pockets serve well the day hiker for his phone, map, guide, and other essentials.  It also has adjustable straps to hang your trekking pole, camera tripod and the like.  It too has a D-ring to clip small accessories to.

Measuring 46x32x20 cm, it is a fairly big sized pack that has a total capacity of 25 liters.  It can hold all your essential things plus more!  The front pocket with a mesh is big enough to hold your laptop or tablet.  It’s a lightweight pack that tips the scale at less than one kilo.

The water resistant nylon material of the backpack protects all your things inside.  Perfect for all-weather hiking, cycling, climbing, camping, mountaineering, traveling, day to day use and even for school, this backpack is a fashionable and functional travel mate.

The straps are fully adjustable.  So whether you’re a slim 5’5” female, or a bulky 6’2” man, this backpack can adjust to your built and height for a comfort fit.  It has adjustable sternum straps and shoulder straps.  Further, its adjustable chest and waist straps are essential straps to help balance the load of the backpack, relieving your shoulders of the carrying load.  The back panel is padded for comfort but breathable so as not to keep you sweating.

It has good stitching all around and reinforced with bar tack stitching in strategic areas.  This assures you of improved wear and tear of the product.  The well-thought of reinforced areas was well-researched and tested over time and proves to be beneficial in prolonging the life of this backpack.


  • the chest and weight straps help spread the carrying load
  • has plenty of pockets for all your small and big accessories


  • some of the waist pockets are difficult to reach
  • not fully waterproof


5. Osage River Osceola Hiking Daypack Camping Backpack – Lifetime Warranty

Very spacious with multiple compartments, you can pack in all of your gear in this Osage River Osceola Hiking Daypack.  Perfect for all your outdoor needs, it has all the features needed to fulfill a hiker’s packing requirements.  It has a large main compartment for the bigger stuff, such as a laptop or a tablet.  The pack comes with both a laptop and tablet sleeve which can double as a hydration bladder with hydration port when you go out hiking.  The secondary, smaller compartment is perfect for storing your smaller gadgets, maps, mobile phones, MP3 player, keys and the like.  The sides have quick-drying mesh pockets to hold your water bottles.  It has a zippered pouch to contain the more valuable stuff you need to bring such as your wallet, your credit card and other important things.  There is also a large breathable pocket on the outside which is buckle-secured.  This pocket gives you that much needed extra packing space.

This backpack uses a mix of fabrics and materials that are durable and long lasting.  The outer pack is made of quality material 420D Nylon with 1680D polyester.  This makes the pack water resistant.  The laptop and tablet sleeves use padded Neoprene which gives your gadgets a protective cushion.  The zippers and pulls are heavy duty and do not break or snag easily.  Not one to scrimp on materials used, quality is uncompromised, this backpack’s designer had one thing in mind – the hiker in you who needs all these features in one amazing backpack!

Sturdy and long-lasting because of the quality material used, you’d be surprised that this backpack only weighs less than a kilo.  Measuring 18 x 13.5 x 9 inches, it can contain a whopping 29 liter capacity.  That is ample packing space for all your gear!

For your comfort, the backpack is fitted with padded shoulder straps, compression straps and chest straps that are all fully adjustable.  To spread the weight, it also has a hip suspension belt that is likewise fully adjustable.  It also comes with a very convenient top carry handle.

For your safety, the backpack is equipped with reflectorized patches so you can be seen at night.  So you can bike at night, hike at night, and feel safe that you are visible to oncoming traffic.


  • versatile and attractive design
  • spacious, well compartmentalized, comfortable


  • zippers are not durable for tough hiking
  • the strings are too long and look messy


6. Kimlee Water Resistance Hiking Daypack Luggage Backpack with Rain Cover 40L

The main compartment of this backpack has a hydration carrier and is large enough to carry bulky items.  There are hydration port exits on the side of the pack that connects to the internal main pocket.  It can hold a 13” laptop with its simple padded pocket.  The outer bigger pocket is an excellent holder for your tablet and other gadgets.  There are smaller pockets as well on the outer side of the pack which is great for items such as phone, music player, chargers and similar stuff.  You can carry a water bottle or an umbrella in the side mesh pockets.  There is a small waist zip pocket to carry smaller items like keys and earbuds.

Made with high tenacity nylon fabric, this pack is tear-resistant, dust-resistant and water-repellant.  Your gadgets and things are safe and secure inside the pack. The kind of fabric used is lightweight but provides long-lasting performance.  There is an integrated breathable mesh pad in the back panel that provides for comfortable and ventilated wear.  It uses a durable YNS buckle and SBS metal zipper.

Despite all the padding, the backpack is still fairly lightweight with just a 2.4 pound weight.  It is very roomy with dimensions of 11.81 x 19.69 x 11.81 inches.  This size is just right for day hiking, camping, a day trip or quick vacation.

The design of the backpack maximizes comfort for the user.  It has anatomically shaped shoulder straps with padded mesh lining.  The load adjustment straps are designed to meet all your needs.  The chest straps are also fully adjustable and comes equipped with a rescue whistle buckle.  For further safety and security, the straps are reflective to keep you visible at night.  The design also includes an integrated rain cover to keep your things and the backpack dry and secure.  Not only is this backpack designed to meet all your packing needs, the designer even thought of a protective rain cover to keep your bag and your things dry and safe.


  • very light and extremely comfortable to wear
  • design spreads the weight more evenly


  • uses only single stitching which may affect durability and long term use
  • hydration bladder sits inside and may condense and get your things wet


7. Fjallraven Kanken Mini Daypack

This iconic backpack is a symbol of functional Swedish design.  Designed and introduced to the market in the late 1970’s, the Fjallraven was made to distribute weight to both shoulders evenly.  Called the Kanken, this backpack eventually reduced issues of back problems in Sweden.  The Fjallraven founder AkeNordin co-developed the Kanken with the Swedish Guide and Scout Association.  With its mission of developing classic pieces of functional and durable outdoor gear, Fjallraven also believes in sustainable development.  They only use renewable resource materials and have an environment centered policy.

We cannot avoid carrying heavy loads in our bag.  Students need to lug around thick and heavy books, notebooks, and other school supplies.  Likewise, professionals who need to carry out their tools of the trade.  Commuting to and fro work or school carrying such heavy burdens adds stress and fatigue to an already stressed-out individual.  This Kanken backpack easily solves that problem.  Weight distribution on both shoulders was an essential factor considered in the design of the backpack.

This is a very popular backpack, widely used in Sweden.  If you use this backpack, you will definitely give off a fashionable and trendy vibe.  You will be one of the cool guys who set a trend.  Not only is this backpack functional, it is also a fashion accessory which adds to your chic appeal.

It is carried as a backpack or a handbag when the straps are converted.  You can use the backpack with the straps to go over your shoulders.  Or you can convert the straps to become handles.  The backpack is made of Vinyl, a somewhat special fabric that softens with age yet becomes more sturdy over time as the fibers in the fabric tighten from use.

To keep you safe at night, the backpack’s logo and side pockets have reflectors.  You can be visible and safe when biking or hiking or walking in the dark.  You never need to fear of oncoming traffic not being able to see you when you use this backpack.


  • classic, functional design
  • ergonomically built to spread weight evenly on both shoulders


  • may be too small for extended day use
  • no outside pocket for water bottle


8. EcoCity Vintage Canvas Backpack Rucksack Casual Daypacks Bookbags

Chic and fashionable, this EcoCity Vintage Canvas Backpack is your best companion to carry your gadgets, school things, office stuff and other daily essentials.  A basic backpack that is multi-purpose, it is one that you can confidently carry around to give you that cool and casual vibe.  Who says carrying loads of stuff to school or to work is just a mandatory task?  You can do it while looking trendy and stylish with this backpack.

It is made of high quality cotton canvas that is soft and skin-friendly.  Measuring 17.9 x 12.9 x 1.9 inches, this is lightweight and comfortable to carry.  The total capacity of the backpack is 19 liters, roomy enough to pack in all your daily needs.  The fully adjustable padded shoulder straps were designed for carrying comfort.  The straps that seal the bag are retro magnetic buttons.

You will love the pocket designs of this backpack!  You have ample pockets and compartments to put in all your important stuff.  There is a front zipper pocket for those items you need easy access to like your keys, sunglasses or MP3 player and earbuds.  There is a side zipper pocket possibly for loose change, cable chargers, pencils, pens and the like.  A rear zipper pocket may be used for other essential items you need to carry.  Inside there is a specially designed pocket to fit your mobile phone.  What more, this backpack easily carries a 13” laptop and it comes with a padded compartment to keep your laptop or tablet cushioned and secured.


  • stylish and very fashionable
  • has multiple pockets


  • material used is not water resistant
  • the side pocket is not big enough to hold a water bottle


9. Free Knight 25L Packable Handy Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack-Lifetime Warranty

A stylish and trendy travel companion, this lightweight daypack serves the purpose of packing in your daily essentials and more.  With just a .56 pound weight, it carries a whopping 25 liter capacity making it a perfect space-saving travel mate.  It is very compact and folds into a zippered pocket.  Carry it along folded and use it as an emergency bag to carry excess baggage, or bring along as your carry-on.  This is your go-anywhere backpack and a true must have for any trip.

Made of tear-resistant and water-resistant nylon fabric, it is an ultra-light and ultra-durable backpack that promises many years of functional use.  With a sturdy two-way abrasion resistant metal zipper across the backpack, it seals seamlessly and cleanly.  With fine stitching and reinforced bar tacking stitching on strategic areas, stress points are made stronger and more durable to withstand even the toughest of use.  The backpack comes with a lifetime warranty so you are indeed assured of its quality.

The backpack is designed with a classic shape and fitted with several pockets for storage and great organization of all your daily carry-ons.  It has a very spacious main compartment, three zippered pockets in front and two side pockets that can perfectly hold water bottles or an umbrella.

The adjustable and breathable straps are fitted to your shoulders for comfortable carrying.  No matter how heavy the load, the straps do not cut in to your shoulders so you can easily carry this the whole day.

Use it for yourself, or purchase as a gift.  Anyone would appreciate receiving this great backpack.  It is a thoughtful purchase, especially if the recipient is one who loves to travel or hike and can maximize use of this handy backpack.


  • compact and lightweight
  • good value for money


  • material too thin and may not be durable enough for tough hikes
  • straps are not padded enough


10. NeatPack Durable, Foldable Nylon Backpack / Daypack with Security Zippers, 20L

This rugged but fashionable backpack carries all the important features you would need for a hiking bag and more.  With you as the traveler in mind, this backpack was designed to cover for the inconveniences you experience in traveling.  It was designed to help you stay organized in your trips.  It can easily pack in your gadgets, tablets, chargers, laptop, water bottles, snacks, clothes and more.  Yet it folds up effortlessly and conveniently for  easy packing and storing away. Here are more options for the best hiking backpacks.

Produced with lightweight water-resistant nylon fabric, this 18”x10” backpack can be conveniently folded into a small and thin pack and inserted into the included 8”x8” pocket.  You can bring this along and unfold when you need it.  The backpacks seals with a two-way abrasion-resistant SBS zipper fitted with convenient pulls.  The shoulder straps are lightly padded for comfort carrying.

There are multiple compartments and pockets for your organization and storage needs.  The main compartment is very roomy and can carry all your essentials.  There is a Velcro pocket for your tablet or laptop.  A front zipped pocket is conveniently there for your items that you need to get your hands on quickly, such as keys, sunglasses or music player and earphones.  There are side pockets made of quick drying mesh that can carry your water bottles or wet umbrellas.  There is an inner security pocket to store your valuables, wallets, credit cards, travel documents.

With this backpack you will never have to worry about thieves and pickpockets!  This compression backpack has a special feature not found on other foldable backpacks out there.  There is a concealed zip pocket at the bottom which is great for storing valuables and important stuff.  This compartment can also be used to segregate dirty clothes, sandals and shoes, wet swimsuit and such items that you want to separate from your clean clothes and things.  The main compartment’s double zippers and front pocket zipper can be secured and bound together to the D-ring with a cable lock or carabiner to keep those thieves’ hands away from your valuable stuff.

There are also handy rings you can use to attach your things for easy and convenient access.  Two D-rings are attached to the backpack which you can use for clip-on carabiners and other similar gear.


  • cool security feature
  • lightweight and packs up into a small pouch


  • not big enough to carry a laptop
  • cannot carry too heavy load

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