01. Osprey-Talon-18-copy

What do you need a daypack for? That’s really the critical question to consider when choosing from the dozens of widely varying choices out there today, which range all over the map in terms of volume, weight, carrying capacity, features—and cost. Some are very specialized, others built as all-purpose dayhiking sacks, but still designed with an eye toward making them stand out from a crowded field.

I’ve picked out five favorite daypacks I’ve tested and reviewed at The Big Outside—two of them specialized, and the other three all-around packs for dayhiking, but still different enough from one another to offer you clear choices.

Mammut MTR 201 10+2L Hydration Pack02. Mammut-MTR-201-10-2L-hydration-pack
$90, 10-12L/610-732 c.i., 9.5 oz.

Although this pack weighs barely more than a half-pound, I’ve used it for multi-hour mountain-bike rides and trail runs of up to 20 miles. With a zipper that expands the main compartment from 10 to 12 liters, it morphs from a hydration pack for long trail runs into a daypack suitable for summer ultra-hikes in the mountains. Although lacking a suspension, it’s fairly stable and carries 10 to 12 pounds comfortably.

BUY IT NOW: You can support my work on this blog (and find the best price) by clicking this link to purchase this at backcountry.com.

 

03. Osprey-Talon-18-2-copyOsprey Talon 18/Tempest 16
$90, 16L/976 c.i., 1 lb., 5 oz. (men’s S/M)

Far and away the best value on this list, the men’s Talon 18 and women’s Tempest 16 are simply solid, all-around packs for dayhikers who are frugal in what they choose to carry. These packs—which come in larger and smaller volumes, too—are comfortable with up to 15 pounds, and lightweight while having good functionality and access, including a top pocket, mesh side pockets, and two roomy, zippered hipbelt pockets.

BUY IT NOW: You can support my work on this blog (and find the best price) by clicking this link to purchase this at backcountry.com.

 

Marmot Aquifer 2404. Marmot-Aquifer-24-4
$129, 24L/1,465 c.i., 1 lb., 11 oz.

On huge dayhikes of 17 miles and 6,800 feet through New Hampshire’s rugged Northern Presidential Range, and 25 miles in the Grand Canyon—outings of 12 to 15 hours on which I carried this daypack without much rest—the Aquifer 24’s supportive framesheet kept me from feeling any soreness in my shoulders or back. That’s kind of amazing. The Aquifer 24 has the capacity for big days, an overall weight that’s reasonable for shorter hikes, and a versatile feature set for everything from family hikes to technical peak-bagging.

BUY IT NOW: You can support my work on this blog (and find the best price) by clicking this link to purchase this at backcountry.com.

05. Arc’teryx-Velaro-24-verticalArc’teryx Velaro 24
$175, 24L/1,465 c.i., 1 lb., 10 oz.

If you’re hard on gear and don’t perceive falling rain or snow as a reason to abort plans for a dayhike or peak scramble, the Velaro 24 may be the daypack for you. Nearly waterproof and impervious to the harshest abuse in rocky terrain—thanks to almost seamless construction and 400-denier nylon ripstop fabric that’s polyurethane coated inside and out—the Velaro has plenty of capacity for long, one-day outings and carries up to 15 pounds comfortably.

BUY IT NOW: You can support my work on this blog (and find the best price) by clicking this link to purchase this at backcountry.com.

 

Sea to Summit Flow 35L Dry Pack06. Sea-to-Summit-Flow-35L-Dry-Pack
$200, 35L/2,136 c.i., 2 lbs., 4 oz.

When there’s a high likelihood of your daypack getting fully immersed in water—such as on a canyoneering adventure (like The Subway in Zion National Park, where I tested this pack), or when your adventure combines hiking with some time in or on water, Sea to Summit’s Flow 35L Dry Pack offers the absolute waterproofness you need to keep everything inside dry. A top-loader with a roll-top closure for the main compartment, the Flow 35L is made with TPU-laminated, 420-denier nylon and is fully seam sealed. The perforated foam shoulder straps and removable hipbelt handle 15 to 20 pounds.
BUY IT NOW: You can support my work on this blog (and find the best price) by clicking this link to purchase this at backcountry.com.

GEAR REVIEW: 5 FAVORITE DAYPACKS
4.8Overall Score

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