Best Women’s Daypacks for the Greatest Outdoor adventures

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Hello fellow adventurer! If you are anything like us, you’re constantly daydreaming about escaping into nature. However, having the right gear can make or break your trip. Whether hitting up the best backcountry trail or dreaming about a weekend getaway in the mountains, it’s crucial to make sure you are fully prepared.

Having a durable, comfortable daypack is a must if you’re spending time outdoors. Sure, you could always use your normal backpack, but a daypack is lighter, smaller, and more practical if you’re going on a short trip.

In this buying guide, you’ll find what to look for when purchasing a daypack, the different kinds of daypacks on the market, and more! 

Why trust this guide? 

First and foremost, we love spending time outdoors. Activities like hiking and cycling are some of our favorite pastimes, and we’ve spent years traveling around the world living out of nothing more than a backpack. This means we know what’s important when it comes to choosing the right daypack for your trip!

We’ve also tried tons of daypacks over the past few years and have chosen a few of our favorites that we think are worth investing in. Although your needs in a daypack might be different than ours, you can still use this guide as a reference for finding a daypack that’s both comfortable and long-lasting.

What is a Daypack?

To put it simply, a daypack is a functional and performance-designed bag that’s meant to be used on short-term hikes or trips. Most daypacks can usually hold between 10 and 20 liters, which is more than enough to store snacks, water bottles, and any other necessities you need to take with you on your trip.

At first glance, a daypack might look like an ordinary backpack. However, there are several distinct features that make daypacks an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers. Not only are daypacks generally smaller than a normal-sized backpack, but they also have pockets, water bottle holders, and other versatile features you will need while hiking.

Why You Need a Daypack

Unless you want to be storing your food, gear, and equipment in your pockets, buying a daypack is a practical investment regardless of which outdoor activity you’re doing. Hikers, cyclers, and even city-dwellers will find daypacks useful, as they’re generally large enough to store different things you’ll need during your trip.

If you’re traveling or camping, then a daypack is a great addition to your suitcase or backpack. That way, you can leave the majority of your things back at camp (or in your hotel) and rely on your daypack for short outings.

Different Kinds of Daypacks

Different adventures call for different types of daypacks, and thankfully, there are plenty of daypack styles and sizes to choose from. 

If you’re hiking, then you’ll want to look for a daypack that has durable straps and a hip belt. Although you’re probably not hauling around super heavy items in your daypack, a hip belt can help alleviate any pain off your shoulders and back. Remember, comfort is key since you’ll be carrying around the daypack for hours at a time. 

You might also consider a daypack for everyday use. These commuter day packs are designed to keep everything organized while also providing padding to protect any valuables. 

It’s also important to look for a daypack that is water-resistant. So if you get caught in the rain, then you won’t have to worry about everything inside the bag getting ruined. If you’re spending any time outside, then you’ll want to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you. 

What to look out for when you buy a daypack

There are many elements and details to bear in mind when looking for a daypack. This mainly comes down to the size and function, although weight, comfort, and extra features should also be considered.

Function

Before purchasing a daypack, it’s important to consider what you’ll be using it for. What is the bag’s main purpose? Are you going for a full-day hike? Are you just planning to go sightseeing or museum hopping? Answering these questions will help you narrow down which type of daypack to buy.

For example, if you need to have easy access to water, your camera, or your cell phone, then consider a daypack with outside pockets or mesh webbing. If you’re hauling around your laptop or tablet, then look for a daypack with protective padding and laptop sleeps to help hold everything in place.

Whether you’re going for a short walk around the city or a long trek in the Landmannalaugar area in Iceland, consider the use of your daypack and what function you want to get out of it.

Size/Capability

The second factor you need to consider when looking at daypacks is size. How much stuff are you carrying and how much room do you need in your pack? 

Some packs have the capacity to hold up to 20 liters, which is great for longer hikes. Smaller travel packs can hold up to 10 liters, which means you’ll be limited to a few necessities. 

If you’re tight on space, then you might consider looking for a daypack that is packable. That way, you can easily pack it into your suitcase or larger traveling backpack without it taking up too much space.

Weight

Depending on your use case, weight can also play a big role in your decision. Most daypacks are designed to be lightweight, which means they won’t weigh you down even if they’re packed to the max. 

However, you might find that daypacks with extra padding and structure tend to be heavier. Despite the extra weight, these daypacks are generally more comfortable and suitable for longer hikes or trips.

Style & Comfort

Style and comfort are also important when looking at a daypack. Some daypacks have tons of exterior pockets and meshing, while others are simple with a clean design. 

As for comfort, straps are also very important. Chest straps offer support and stability, while waist straps relieve weight from your shoulders. Having a daypack designed to evenly distribute the weight inside the daypack will allow you to go further and reduce pain in the long run.

Top 5 Daypacks

Let’s be honest. A daypack can simply make or break your hiking experience. You can opt for a cheaper model, but don’t be disappointed at the end of the day when your back hurts and your hips have scratches from the uncomfortable hipbelt. So, if you are a seasoned hiker or just a beginner that totally loves it and knows more hikes will follow soon, we would advise you to spend a bit more. Then you know the daypack is comfortable and is designed to fit a women’s body, which will bring you more joy. Spending more doesn’t even mean the pack is expensive though, because if you buy a high quality one, it will last a lifetime!

Osprey Daylite 13L – Best daypack for shorter hikes

Of the Osprey Daylite pack we dare to promise you that it’s one of the most durable daypacks we have ever owned. Ever since we bought this 13L daypack in 2015, it accompanied us on every adventure we took. From short day hikes in the outback of Australia, to city hopping in Portugal and from fishing trips in Canada to road trips in Spain. We have carried water and snacks in this pack, but also groceries, beach essentials and even laptops and camera gear. There’s literally nothing this Osprey daypack can’t handle.

This daypack is simply designed with one main compartment and a smaller pocket with two mesh pockets and an internal key attachment clip. On both sides you’ll find stretch pockets that can hold a water bottle or anything else that fits in there. Like sunscreen, a snack or a pair of sunglasses. Both the shoulder straps and the waist band are adjustable in size. The waist straps aren’t too comfortable, but if you don’t pack the Daylite too heavy, you won’t need them and you can even take them off the pack.

Since we bought the Osprey Daylite it’s been through some updates and now the pack is available in plenty of colors and even prints. It’s very affordable, especially if you take the high quality and Osprey lifetime warrantee in consideration. For more information on the Osprey Daylite pack, also check out our complete review.

Pros

  • Good price point
  • Can be used during any kind of trip
  • Compatible with many other Osprey travel and backpacking bags for additional storage and carry options
  • Foldable
  • Available in many colors and prints

Cons

  • Wrist band/strap is not very comfortable
  • No integrated rain cover
  • Too small for full day hikes

Patagonia Nine Trails 26L – Best daypack for overnight trips

The Patagonia Nine Trails has a capacity of 26 liters and that makes it a perfect bag to take along when you spend a full day on the trail. This bag will even not disappoint you on an overnight trip. You have access to the main compartment of the daypack via the top and inside you’ll find several smaller pockets to stay organized.

At the frond of the daypack you’ll find another smaller pocket to store things you want quick access to, like a pair of sunglasses, GPS device or your phone. The mesh stretch pocket at the front is ideal to store your rain jacket when the sun is shining again after some rainfall. By storing your wet stuff in this mesh pocket, the rest of your gear will stay dry.

The dual compression straps at the side allow you to manage various load sizes, so it’s also comfortable to wear when it’s not fully loaded. And the hip belt is easily adjustable via both sides of the clip and has pockets to store a snack or anything else you want to keep on hand.

Pros

  • Women specific shoulder straps and back panel
  • Enough capacity to hit the trail for a full day
  • Room for a hydration reservoir
  • Large stretch pocket at the front to store extra gear
  • Comfortable hipbelt with pockets

Cons

  • Not easy to access stuff at the bottom of the pack
  • Not the most comfortable daypack

Osprey Sirrus 24 – Best daypack to stay organized

This versatile Osprey Sirrus pack makes it super easy to stay organized when you leave home or your hotel room for a day. The several larger and smaller pockets provide many possibilities to store your stuff. The main compartment contains a large zipper that makes it easy to access everything you put in there. The front pocket with a vertical zipper is ideal to store an extra layer if you don’t need it at that moment. Then there are two smaller pockets to store snacks, blister plasters, an extra pair of socks, sunscreen and or a pair of sunglasses.

But the storing options isn’t what makes this daypack my all time favorite, because that my friends, is the super comfortable back panel. Inspired on Ospreys AntiGravity technology this back panel moves the weight from your shoulders to your hips, which make the pack feel lighter than it actually is. To me, this means less pain and more fun! The back panel is also adjustable in length, to fit any torso and on top of that the ventilation is awesome. So, you even feel comfortable wearing the Osprey Sirrus daypack in warmer circumstances.

Furthermore, this daypack comes with an integrated and detachable rain cover, zippered hip belt pockets, sternum strap with emergency whistle, trekking pole attachment and a singe ice axe loop.

Pros

  • Women’s specific fit
  • Super breathable back panel
  • Adjustable torso length
  • Room for a hydration reservoir
  • Comes with a raincover
  • Has trekking pole and ice axe attachments

Cons

  • Sometimes it’s hard to get the hydration reservoir in place when the top pocket is full.
  • Hipbelt pockets are too small to store larger phones.

Gregory Jade 28L – Best larger daypack

The Gregory Jade 28 is a women’s specific daypack that will get you ready to hit the trail comfortably. This mainly has to do with the back panel, that is made of mesh and that for super breathable. It will keep you cool in warmer climates and avoids clamminess in the cold. Furthermore the back panel is fully adjustable, so it fit to any torso length and Gregory implemented the FreeFloat Dynamic Suspension system. This innovative system allows the hipbelts and shoulder straps to move along with the body, while the backpack itself stays in place.

You have access to the main compartment via the large U-shaped zipper where you also find the hydration sleeve. The pack also has a smaller pocket at the top and hipbelt pockets to store smaller items. At the shoulder strap you’ll find a quick sunglasses attachment, so you always have it on hand. At the front and both sides there are mesh pockets to store some more gear.

Furthermore this versatile daypack provides a sternum strap with emergency whistle, a fitted raincover and bungee attachment to store trekking poles or an ice axe.

Pros

  • Women’s specific fit
  • Large U-shaped zippers for easy access to main compartment
  • Comfortable and adjustable back panel with FreeFloat Dynamic Suspension system
  • Room for a hydration reservoir
  • Comes with a raincover
  • Has trekking pole and ice axe attachments

Cons

  • Not many pockets, so organization can be a pain point.
  • Small hydration tube opening, so not compatible to all hydration reservoirs

Osprey Tempest – Best versatile daypack

We simply can’t help that Osprey is just one of the best when it comes to daypacks and backpacks, which is why we’ve added another Osprey pack to this list. The Osprey Tempest is one of the favorites of many adventures and with a reason! This lightweight and versatile daypack is ready for any adventure you want to take on.

The comfortable injection-moulded AirScape back panel keeps the pack close to your back and allows the hipbelt to move along with the natural movements you make when hiking or cycling. And when you want to continue in the dark, this Osprey Tempest daypack makes it easy to attach a blinky light.

You have easy access to the main compartment via the large zipper, and have the possibility to store smaller items in the top pocket. This pack also has zippered pockets at the hipbelt for quick-access snack and a mesh pocket at the shoulder strap to store your phone or GPS device. Last, but not least this daypack has one more pocket, which is a mesh pocket at the front. This is ideal to store an extra layer you might need during a break or a wet rain jacket you don’t need anymore when the sun is shining again.

Furthermore this Osprey Tempest 20 daypack has a couple of handy features, like attachments for trekking poles, an ice axe and even a bike helmet. The sternum strap has an emergency whistle and in the top pocket you’ll find a key attachment clip.

Pros

  • Women’s specific fit
  • Comfortable injection-moulded AirScape back panel
  • Attachment for trekking poles, an ice axe and a bike helmet 
  • External hydration sleeve
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Might be just too small for a full day hike
  • No integrated raincover

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We love to hear from you 

Thanks for checking out the Daypack Buying Guide. If you’re planning to spend time outdoors, then it’s crucial to invest in proper gear. We hope our compiled daypack list helps you decide which pack to bring with you on your next adventure! We love learning about gear and other brands, so please leave a comment below of your favorite daypacks that weren’t mentioned in our article! 

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