Backpack on trail

The Best Backpack for Day Trips in 2023

Some of you may have noticed in most of the pictures of me, I always have a few black straps over my shoulder. That’s because I never go on a trip without my backpack.

It never fails, no matter the trip, there are always things that need to be carried.

Yes, you can carry your water by hand, but every trip clothing gets shed and needs someplace to go. I’ve gotten so accustomed to taking a Daypack with me, it goes on any trip, hiking or not.

daytripper Pick

Best All Around

Osprey Tallon Daypack

Lightest WEight

Weight & Size

Deuter Speed Lite 16

Budget Friendly

Small on the go

Vibrelli Hydration Pack

Our top Pick

Osprey Talon

The Osprey Talon Daypack is perfect for outdoor adventures with adjustable shoulder harness, stretch mesh pockets, hip belt pockets, and easy-to-reach water bottle pockets.

It also has a front pocket for extra layers and a trekking pole attachment. The Taste-Free Hydration Bladder is made of medical-grade materials and free from BPA and PVC.

Lightweight, streamlined, and adjustable for adults and kids, make it your go-to backpack for daily adventures.


  • Dual-zippered access to main compartment
  • External Hydration Sleeve Accommodates 3L
  • Adjustable shoulder harness for a perfect fit
  • Stretch mesh pockets on both sides


  • No built-in rain cover
  • No chest strap for extra support
Lightest WEight

Deuter Speed Lite 16

The Deuter Speed Lite 16 is a lightweight, all-rounder backpack that offers superior comfort, functionality, and convenience.

It has a secure Lite Backpack system, ergonomic shoulder straps, and stretch side pockets for storage.

Weighing only 1lb, it’s perfect for any adventure, from climbing to skiing, and compatible with Deuter’s Streamer 2L hydration system.


  • Featherweight design
  • Close and secure fit on challenging terrain
  • Breathable Foam Back minimizes perspiration
  • Stretch side pockets provide additional storage space
  • Compatible with Deuter’s Streamer 2L hydration system


  • While it is water-resistant, it is not completely waterproof 
Small Trips & Kid Friednly

Vibrelli Hydration Pack

The Vibrelli’s High Flow Bite-Valve Hydration Backpack is perfect for day trips.

It’s lightweight and comfortable, with a taste-free hydration bladder made of medical-grade materials. Multiple storage options and pockets allow you to bring along essentials.

It’s great for shorter trips or hands-free travel and adjusts to fit most body sizes, making it suitable for adults and kids.


  • Easy Twist Mouthpiece doesn’t leak
  • Multiple Storage Options
  • Comfortable and lightweight at 14oz
  • Perfect for Kids and Adults


  • Water-resistant, it is not completely waterproof
  • Limited size and adjustments
Biker Freindly

Thule Chasm 26L

The Thule Chasm 26L backpack is durable and weather-resistant, made with phthalate-free TPE laminate and 840D nylon.

It has a water-resistant front panel and base, quick access phone pocket, padded laptop sleeve, and organizational panel with multiple pockets.

The contoured shoulder straps and padded backpanel provide comfort during long trips. It also has an expandable side pocket for water bottles and a bike light attachment loop. Ideal for any adventure.


  • Durable 840D nylon material and phthalate-free TPE laminate construction for long-lasting use
  • Weather-resistant front panel and base for protection from the elements
  • Quick access pocket with soft lining for phone and small items
  • Contoured, breathable shoulder straps and padded backpanel


  • Can be heavy when fully loaded

Osprey Daylite Plus

The Osprey Daylite Plus is a versatile and comfortable daypack with a large main compartment, dual stretch mesh side pockets, and a multi-function interior sleeve.

It has a front panel shove-it pocket and a mesh-covered foam back panel for comfort and ventilation.

With 20L volume, it’s compatible as an attachment to other Osprey bags. Perfect for casual day trips or longer excursions, this backpack is a high-quality, streamlined travel option.


  • Large panel loading main compartment provides easy access to contents.
  • Dual stretch mesh side pockets provide additional storage options.
  • Mesh-covered die-cut foam back panel provides both comfort and ventilation.
  • The front panel shove-it pocket is great for stashing a light rain shell and other smaller items.


  • May be too small for those looking for a large-capacity daypack.
  • The lack of a waist belt or sternum strap could be a downside for those carrying heavier loads.

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Why bring a daypack hiking?

I first started using a daypack when I took my 9-month-old to Disneyworld. It was a great alternative to a diaper bag. I loved the convinces of it so much, it’s now my go-to back.

What do I bring?

My daypack for hiking always has a first aid kit, snacks, and water, bug nets, hats, sunblock, bug spray, or anything else that the season brings.

I always leave a good amount of spare space for the layers that are bound to come off at some point. It may sound like a lot, but it really doesn’t weigh much and is worth it all.

Daypack at Dinseyworld

What to look for a perfect backpack?

You are probably wondering, why do I need a daypack vs a regular backpack? Assuming that you have a backpack-sized for adults, to begin with, Daypacks usually have more functionality than school backpacks.

They are also smaller and lighter in weight. Made of ripstop nylon, they repel water and hold up with extra wear and tear.

Their design was for the additional movement you do on adventures compared to going to and from class.

They have adjustable straps, creating the best fit imaginable. Done right, you won’t even realize you are wearing a day pack at all.

Pockets for quick access

  • 1 main section for supplies. This is the catch-all that you can stuff in a zippered pocket.
  • 1 easy-access location to stuff things in that doesn’t have to be contained in a zipped. This can be a mesh pocket or ripstop nylon pocket. This is good for the “Hey babe can you throw this in quick?”
  • 1 secure section for smaller things. Mine usually has my State Park Passport, Keys, and other things I want to keep safe.
  • A storage pocket on each side of the bag. This is usually where I stash my bug spray and sunblock. If you use a standard-size water bottle, they fit in nicely and provide quick access to drinks.

Hydration Pack

One feature that has become standard on most daypacks is a hydration bladder. These can hold up to 2 liters of water and have a tube coming out for quick water access.

If you have a family and are using one daypack, skip this feature and bring water bottles.

Otherwise, you’ll end up stopping every few minutes, contorting your body to let your kids have a drink. It works better for solo hiking.

A lot of backpacks have hydration sleeves, but not all include the hydration bladder with them.

Because a Hydration Pack is smaller, it makes a great backpack for short day hikes, or a carry-on backpack for the airport.


Depending on the adventure you are doing, having additional strap options makes things easier. Daypacks are designed to hold the basics for a day’s adventure.

They aren’t designed to hold a lot of weight so extra straps aren’t normally needed.

But when you are planning on carrying more, it’s nice to have a pack with a hip belt and sternum strap. Depending on how big your bag is, these belts can have additional padding on it.

Common Questions About Backpacks for Day Trips

What size backpack Do you need for a day trip?

For a day trip, a backpack with a capacity of 20-30 liters is generally a good size. This size allows you to carry all of the essentials you need for the day, including a water bottle, snacks, and any other small items you might need, without being too large or cumbersome.

It is important to choose a backpack that is comfortable to wear and fits well, as you will be carrying it for an extended period of time. Plus it needs plenty of room to hold all your gear without being too big.

What is the difference between a daypack and a backpack?

A daypack is a smaller backpack that is designed to be used for day trips or short hikes, while a backpack is a larger bag that is typically used for longer trips or backpacking expeditions.

Daypacks generally have a capacity of 20-30 liters, while backpacks can range in size from 30 liters up to 80 liters or more, depending on the intended use.

Daypacks are usually designed to be lightweight and compact, with fewer pockets and features than larger backpacks.

They are typically used for carrying just the essentials for a day out, such as water, snacks, and a few small items.

Larger backpacks, on the other hand, are designed to carry all of the gear and supplies needed for multi-day trips, and may have a variety of pockets and compartments to help you stay organized.

What brand backpack is best for traveling?

There are plenty of great bards of backpacks that work well for traveling. Osprey is one of the most popular due to its durability and supports it provides travelers.

What is the best Daypack for Hiking?

You are going to hate me for saying this, but there isn’t one best daypack for hiking. Depending on your trip, the season, and the number of people with you the bag will be different. I have three in my arsenal.

A smaller budget-friendly lightweight bag, the Vibrelli Hydration Pack is for the kids to take on short trips.

A medium size Deuter Speed lite take with us during fall and spring when we have more layers. And then an Osprey Tallon Daypack when we go on a weekend trip.

Hiking with Daypacks

Which is best for you?

There is no one right bag. For some reason, I’ve created an emotional bond with my bags that I don’t think I could ever trade them in. They’ve been through thick and thin with me.

They are the keeper of my most prize positions while I’m on the trail. It’s for that reason that I don’t recommend skimping on a bag purchase.

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