Our Top 10 Favorite Daypacks

Don't underestimate the power of the perfect backpack.

It needs to be just big enough to hold all your goods while still being lightweight. You want it to be functional with the right amount of pockets and zippers. Of course, it's gotta be good lookin', but most importantly, your go-to day pack needs to be built to last. We spend a lot of our time with a pack on our backs (we estimate somewhere around 250+ hours a year) so it's crucial that our daypacks live up to the rigors of our everyday lives whether we're on the trail, commuting, or exploring a new city on the other side of the world. 

Here are 10 daypacks that never let us down.  

Osprey Talon 11

"I originally got the Talon 11 as a daypack and it quickly turned into a climbing, mountain biking, (inbounds) skiing, everything travel pack. It's super lightweight, it has the right amount of pockets, and 11 liters is the perfect size for day-long activities. It's big enough to carry my camera, a layer or two, snacks and a hydration bladder, but doesn't allow me to overpack with unnecessary items. Bonus - the frame is super light making it super easy to stuff the bag into checked luggage (including a ski bag!). Some retailers mark this a "men's" backpack, but it's definitely gender neutral." - Kristi Teplitz

Thule Stir 18L

"This quickly became my go-to pack shortly after picking it up. It's easy to access the storage compartments, it's the perfect size for me for a day hike, and the design is simple and thoughtful. If you want a larger day pack, I've heard great things about the Stir 35L. See my full review of the 18L here. " - Liam McNally

Eagle Creek Wayfinder 40L


"At 40L and under 3lbs, this thing is a beast and has more compartments than you need, but trust me, you will use them all. From external sleeves for gadgets and accessories, to internal pockets for your laptop, tablet, chargers, clothes, food and more, this is a TSA dream or perfect for a day hike. It also has a waist strap, so it's extremely comfortable." - Grant Nyquist

Patagonia Nine Trails 14L Backpack


"Though originally designed as a mountain biking backpack, I have started using the Patagonia Nine Trails 14L as a day pack and multi-pitch climbing pack. It's light frame and low profile fits my body (and my use cases) well. It can fit a 2L hydration bladder (though I've gotten away with a 3L in there without a problem) and it's pockets are well thought out, making this pack easy and efficient to use. See my full review here." - Kristi Teplitz

Cotopaxi Luzon Del Dia 18L


"This daypack is truly a do anything pack. Because it is unstructured and has a large main compartment it is easy to grab and go. It's lightweight material and mesh straps ensure that it is comfortable to carry all day. My boyfriend and I continually use this pack for all our adventures whether it's a day at the park or a day on the trails." - Allison Foster

REI Flash 22


"If you are looking for the perfect daypack that isn't overbuilt, look no farther than the REI Flash 22. It's everything you need, and nothing you don't. At 22 liters, it's big enough to stash an extra layer or two in case the weather changes on the trail. The pack is made of lightweight ripstop nylon, so it's plenty durable. The side pockets are a stretchy mesh perfect for holding water bottles or snacks. Inside the pack, there is a hydration sleeve with a port if you want to use a water bladder instead of bottles. The daypack has two zippered pockets, a small pocket on the top for keys, wallet, etc., and another on the front for maps or a book. I've never used this feature, but you can also store your trekking pole in the tool loops." - Chris Engelsman

CamelBak Quantico 23L

"Working from the road I need a daypack that will carry everything I might need for the day. This backpack does that and more. It has dedicated compartments for my laptop and iPad. Pockets for all my chargers and even a dedicated spot for my sunglasses. Thanks to this bags detailed gear organization I'm continually amazed how much I can fit into this backpack and I never walk out the door without it." - Allison Foster

Mammut Neon Smart Pack 35


"This pack is specifically designed for climbing, but has become a go-to for me for all activities. Because of it's climbing foundation, it comes with all sorts of convenient storage and organizational features and everything is easily accessible. For a longer day when I need more storage space than my Thule Stir 18 provides, the Neon Smart is perfect." - Liam McNally

Osprey Daylite Plus 20L


"This is just a wonderful all-around pack. From sightseeing and urban adventures to more challenging day hikes and rides, this bag just works. Its design is understated - with just the right balance of technical features and storage capacity. I appreciate that it's hydration-compatible and features an adjustable waist belt and sternum strap, which makes it trail-ready." - Brian Heifferon

Cotopaxi Cusco Classic 26L


"Slightly less trail-technical and more lifestyle-friendly, the Cusco is a true everyday backpack. When it comes to trail to tavern, climbing gym to office, or airport to hostel, this thing is perfect. It's simple, convenient, and it looks great anywhere. I opt for the original classic design, but in typical Cotopaxi fashion, they also make the Cusco in beautiful bright colors as well. See my full review of the classic here." - Liam McNally

Cover photo: Josiah Roe, Velo Ventura: The 5 Best Cycling and Mountain Biking Trails in the Heart of the Central Coast

Published: October 25, 2018

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