The Best Packable Daypack for Travel (2024)

The Packs and the Research

  • Why you should trust us
  • A lightweight bag to carry in the rain: Matador Freerain24 2.0 Packable Backpack
  • A more structured pack: AER Go Pack
  • A pack that fits in your palm: Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Travel Day Pack
  • How we picked and tested
  • The competition

Why you should trust us

I’ve covered aspects of travel luggage and bag design for Wirecutter for four years and have personally researched, tested, and compared hundreds of bags in that time. As members of a remote team, our editors and writers travel a lot and are continually testing the gear we recommend.

For this guide, I built on previous years of experience and research by a writer and two editors who have, among them, worked remotely from every continent except Antarctica. We also developed a lot of our earliest criteria for this piece after doing an interview with Sara Morrow, an archaeologist who spends summers working expeditions on a small island off the coast of Ireland; she uses a packable daypack to transport her tools, notebooks, and personal items between the base camp and dig sites, and considers it a necessity in the field. Personally, I try to pack lightly and almost always travel with at least one packable bag to use on small day journeys once I’ve reached my destination; I’ve incorporated much of that experience into my reporting here.

A lightweight bag to carry in the rain: Matador Freerain24 2.0 Packable Backpack

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Our pick

Matador Freerain24 2.0 Packable Backpack

A lightweight bag to carry in the rain

This bag will keep your things dry during adventures in wet climates or changeable weather. It packs down to about the size of a potato, but its lack of overall structure isn’t ideal for long hikes or days of carrying.

Buying Options

$100 from Matador

Who this is for: Anyone who needs a spare lightweight bag that can stand up to the elements while taking up very little space. The Matador Freerain24 2.0 Packable Backpack is great in wet climates or anywhere where you might realistically expect to get caught in the rain—think trips to hike around Seattle or touring London in the fall.

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Why it’s great: The Freerain24 packs down so small (to about the size of a pocket camera) that it feels like a magic trick. Made from 30-denier Cordura nylon (an abrasion-resistant nylon), the Freerain24 kept our things dry even in a rainstorm, although a small amount of humidity and moisture did get in on occasion while we were hiking around Hawaii. (Denier is a measure of the fiber thickness in a fabric.) In addition to using this pack for travel and hikes, we also liked to throw the Freerain24 into a jacket pocket, in case it rained during commutes around town. During testing we found that it worked pretty well even on hikes. This pack’s mesh shoulder straps, though both very breathable and wide enough to distribute the weight, are like two pieces of hosiery: barely there. And though they are wide enough to resist pinching, there’s only so much that a thin strip of fabric can do to protect your clavicles.

The main compartment of the Freerain24 opens and closes from the top with a roll top that buckles down on the sides like a dry bag. It’s the best possible design if you’re serious about keeping out water. The Freerain24 also has two side pockets for water bottles, with side buckles for securing the containers in place. Other than that, there isn’t much organization. But that’s not why you buy a bag like this. The Freerain24 is best as a “just-in-case” bag. It’s so small that you can bring it with you everywhere, and when you need it, you’ll be glad you have it.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The compromises that are necessary to shrink a bag this small also become its flaws. The shoulder straps are so thin and insubstantial that it’s impossible for the Freerain24 to be comfortable over long distances, especially when you’re carrying heavy weight (more than 10 pounds). Some of our testers also found that the Freerain24’s shoulder straps, though adjustable, were so long that they couldn’t get the straps short enough to fit their shoulders and frame. The Freerain24 is not as structured as our other picks—it feels more like a reusable shopping bag on your back. If you want a stiffer, more traditional backpack feel, consider some of our other picks.

A more structured pack: AER Go Pack

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Our pick

AER Go Pack

A more structured pack

Unlike a traditional packable bag, this backpack folds down flat. It also includes more internal organization than most other packable bags.

Buying Options

$85 from Aer

May be out of stock

Who this is for: Anyone who values aesthetics over portability. With the inclusion of a pass-through strap for putting over a luggage handle, the AER Go Pack is great as a last-minute under-seat personal item for travelers who like to stay light on their feet.

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Why it’s great: The AER Go Pack is the most traditional-looking backpack on this list. It’s also the only “packable” bag we recommend that doesn’t stuff into a stuff sack or otherwise tuck away into itself. Instead, the Go Pack lies extremely flat (about the height of two folded T-shirts), which is excellent if you need a spare bag for travel that you can put in your suitcase, but less useful if you want an emergency daypack to keep in your jacket pocket.

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There are some advantages to this design, however. The Go Pack has more internal organization (closer to that of a full backpack with internal pockets and a divider sleeve) than most packable bags—in fact, more than any other bag we tested (besides the Triple Aught Azimuth). The Go Pack also feels more like a traditional backpack (especially in the shoulder straps), which makes it easier to carry over long distances.

Similar to the Azimuth, the Go Pack also looks and feels like a backpack you would carry every day. However, the Go Pack is 30 percent less expensive than the Azimuth. Additionally, the Go Pack includes a luggage handle pass-through, so it can sit securely on top of your carry-on suitcase if you’re using it as a personal item while you travel.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Of course the Go Pack’s biggest flaw, from this review’s perspective, is that when it’s packed down, it can’t fit into a pocket or a handbag. Also, the Go Pack is not fully waterproof, although it is water-resistant. You wouldn’t want to take it out in a downpour, but it will get through a light rain just fine.

Expanded dimensions: 17 by 12 by 5 inches (LWH)
Packed dimensions: 17 by 12 by 1 inches (LWH)
Weight: 16 ounces
Warranty: “Practical lifetime” repair or replace

A pack that fits in your palm: Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Travel Day Pack

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Our pick

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Travel Day Pack

A pack that fits in your palm

Toss this lightweight, phone-sized packable bag into your luggage or coat pocket, and you’ll never get caught without a spare bag again. If you need something to carry every day, though, we think you’ll prefer one of our more structured picks.

Buying Options

$40 from REI

Who this is for: Anyone who needs a light, spare bag that they can take with them anywhere, anytime. The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Travel Day Pack is perfect to keep in your pocket or in the glove compartment of your car—making it handy for when, say, you need a spare bag at the market.

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Why it’s great: The Ultra-Sil is the smallest and lightest packable backpack we recommend. Packed up, it is very discreet: nearly the size of a keychain accessory. The bag itself is a no-frills sack made from a paper-thin siliconized Cordura nylon, which means it’s very light and water-resistant. It has reinforced stitching at stress points, allowing the Ultra-Sil to carry more weight than you would expect. That said, since this pack is made of such thin, light material, carrying large or awkwardly shaped loads is somewhat uncomfortable, especially when compared with our more structured picks.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: With a bag this small and light, any flaw is an aspect of its narrowly engineered use. Are the shoulder straps thin? Of course! Would it be nice if this bag—which deploys from a small sack that fits in the palm of your hand—had more back padding? Yes. But that would also make it larger and heavier. If you’re not willing to trade some comfort to get the smallest possible carry, this isn’t the bag for you. All of these tradeoffs also mean the bag won’t keep your things dry in the rain like some of our other picks, such as the Matador Freerain24.

Expanded dimensions: 11 by 8 by 19 inches (LWH)
Packed dimensions: 3½ by 1½ by 2 inches (LWH)
Weight: 2½ ounces
Warranty: Lifetime repair or replace

How we picked and tested

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Depending on whether you plan to scale cliffs or tour museums, different features become more or less important when you’re choosing a daypack. To help make sense of what to prioritize among the dozens of available options, we pored over articles across many outdoor publications, and consulted other comparative reviews and advice from sources such as REI and GearLab. We also considered our own experiences to determine what makes a great packable daypack. Below, we list the criteria that we consider to be important in a packable daypack.

  • Weight, size, and capacity: The whole point of a packable daypack is that it packs well, so weight and compressed size are important factors. Carrying capacity generally correlates to the weight and size of a bag, except in more explicitly technical packs, which may cut down on weight by using lighter, but more expensive, materials.
  • Ergonomic features: Stowable daypacks can look and feel like stuff sacks with straps, or they can be full, ergonomically shaped backpacks. The wearability of a bag usually comes down to its load distribution and support system. The best daypacks add features like sternum straps and ventilated back panels. If these features are missing it’s fine, if the price is right (less than $30), but they do add a lot of versatility.
  • Organization: Most packable daypacks come with at least two compartments—the largest, or main, compartment and the (usually attached) pouch into which the whole pack stows away. Beyond those, internal dividers to organize cargo and external pockets that can keep small, frequent-use items (such as water bottles) in reach are both useful. The drawback of adding more organization is that it decreases the packability of a bag and often contributes to weight.
  • High-quality materials: Because a packable daypack needs to be able to carry at least some weight when in use but still fold up for storage, materials make the difference between a lightweight pack that feels cheap and flimsy versus one that you feel confident filling to the max and carrying into a rainstorm. The fabrics and composite materials used in higher-quality bags are both light and durable while also remaining nearly invulnerable to water.
  • Durable construction methods: The better packs often feature more careful construction, visible in details such as tighter stitching, bar tacking at the seams, YKK zippers, and reinforced bottoms.
  • 20- to 25-liter capacity: This seems to be the ideal range for a pack that can hold a full day’s worth of stuff while remaining reasonably lightweight and portable. It’s enough to accommodate a 13-inch laptop, along with some rain protection, a camera, an extra layer of clothing, and whatever else you might need for a day about town.
  • Weather resistance: Although a few bags we liked, such as the Matador Freerain24 and the Triple Aught Azimuth, come extremely close, total waterproofing is a lot to ask of any lightweight bag. At a minimum, a pack should provide enough protection to keep you and your gear dry through at least a few minutes of wet weather. We chose packs designed for the elements and carefully studied their additional weatherproofing features, such as laminated linings, taped seams, and waterproof zippers.

Using these criteria, I narrowed down the dozens of possible options out there to just 18 of the top bags to test. The best way to determine the quality of a backpack is to pack it and carry it. With that in mind, I packed each daypack with all the things one might typically carry for a day of travel: camera, phone, charger, wallet, keys, notebook, pens, energy bars, water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen, and an extra layer. This combination of items weighed just shy of 11 pounds.

To test these bags, I distributed items among the extra compartments of each pack. Then I took a hike with each bag. Afterward, I added another 6 pounds of weight to see how the bags fit and felt with heavier loads—you wouldn’t want to travel with much more than 17 pounds of weight in these bags unless you had to. I also used each bag for several days instead of my usual backpack, to see how each pack fared over a few days of extended wear, unpacking, and repacking.

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To test whether and how our selections lived up to their packability claims, I unfolded and refolded each pack several times, noting the time and effort I had to put in to take a pack from its compressed form to its expanded form and back. Although I was eventually able to fold all of them rapidly and efficiently, some models required more forethought, tricks, or brute force. For water-resistance tests, I packed the main and exterior zip pockets with towels and took the bags out into a Hawaiian downpour to see whether any water leaked through.

The competition

Arc’teryx Index 15: An okay bag let down by thin shoulder straps. The index offers a decent amount of organization. But for this pack’s price, we think its shoulder straps are too thin and not nearly comfortable enough.

Baggu Packable Backpack: Pricey for what you get. Much like Baggu shopping bags, this bag is good, and it’s reliable. Is it great? No. It’s not as comfortable to carry as our other picks and feels less durable. We think that for the price, you’ll enjoy the better options we’ve included in our picks.

EMS Packable Pack: Difficult design. The lid of the Packable doesn’t work very well unless the bag is completely full. Our other picks are more intuitive to use.

Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable 20L Daypack: Feels cheap. This bag was previously our runner-up pick for hikers. However, we think the Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole’s stronger material is better suited to last on the trail. The Stowaway’s zipper and material both felt flimsy enough that I was concerned they would fail with long-term use.

Gonex 20L Lightweight Packable Backpack: Not the best seams but an amazing price. Although the Gonex has rave reviews online, we found the stitching was more fragile than we like to recommend. That said, this bag is a steal at the price. If you need a bag under $20, this is a good pick.

L.L.Bean Stowaway Day Pack: A hiker’s bag. The Stowaway was organized and comfortable enough that we liked carrying it on the hiking trail. But we preferred the Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole for its better-padded straps and sleeker look.

Matador Beast 28L Packable Backpack: A heavy-duty bag for hiking. The Beast is a capable hiking daypack, but not everyone needs a packable bag that’s this hefty. Alone it’s 1¼ pounds, which is heavier than any of our picks. For the price, we preferred the simplicity of our other picks. But the Beast is a good bag, albeit with a large footprint even when it’s packed up.

Mystery Ranch In and Out: A mystery to fold up. The In and Out is a decent bag. It’s made of a 100-denier Cordura nylon, which, though strong, was too heavy for us. The biggest issue during our testing was how difficult this bag was to fold back into its pouch.

The North Face Flyweight Pack: Not comfortable to carry. We wanted this bag to be better than it was. The Flyweight’s material felt thin and unsettling in our hands, like a cheap windbreaker. It was also uncomfortable to carry when fully loaded.

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Pack 20L was our previous top pick for the traveler who needs a versatile, comfortable bag for touring a city, a day hike, a spare bag for a picnic, or running errands. This well-built daypack was designed for the elements, being both water-resistant and tough. But it was still sleek enough to blend in at a coffee shop or the hotel lobby. Unfortunately, this bag has since been discontinued, but if you find one, it’s still a great choice.

REI Co-op Stuff Travel Pack - 20L: A Patagonia competitor that falls short. The REI Stuff pack mimics the Patagonia bag in its design—but not in the quality of its materials. We think its flimsier fabric and zipper will fail sooner than those of the Patagonia.

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Day Pack: Too thin. If you need the absolute lightest daypack that folds into the smallest possible pouch, this is your best option. However, the ultra-lightweight nano-sil material was also so thin that it almost clung to itself like plastic wrap, making this pack too hard to use.

Tortuga Setout Packable Daypack: Well built but underwhelming. The Setout is an elegant packable bag, but we didn’t like the material (too shiny and slick-feeling) or the way the bag sat on our backs when it was full. That said, it’s still a decent choice if you like the look of it or feel drawn to the brand.

Triple Aught Azimuth: A great bag, when in stock. Capable of packing down to about the size of a sandwich bag, this bag still offers enough organization, weatherproofing, and comfort to rival some traditional backpacks. We liked it enough to make it a pick, but it’s gone out of stock. We’ll update this guide when it comes back.

This article was edited by Ria Misra and Christine Ryan.

The Best Packable Daypack for Travel (2024)


What is the lightest daypack? ›


Weighing in at just 1 ounce (30 grams) the Ultra-Sil Nano Daypack is almost certainly the lightest packable backpack in the world.

What is the difference between a backpack and a daypack? ›

Therefore, a hiking daypack IS a type of backpack. But not all backpacks are daypacks. A daypack is a small version of a backpack that is lightweight, big enough for a few extra small items and usually reserved for shorter, day hikes (hence the name).

What is a packable daypack? ›

A packable daypack is an ultralight backpack that can fit in your luggage (or even your pocket). They usually compress into a small pouch.

How do I choose a good daypack? ›

Some of the things to consider when choosing a daypack:
  1. Daypack size.
  2. Type of closure.
  3. Daypacks for women and children.
  4. Adjustable torso lengths.
  5. Hydration compatibility.
  6. Included raincovers.
  7. Daypacks designed for specific activities.
30 Jan 2019

What size daypack is best? ›

21–35 liters: This is the sweet spot for most hiking and travel daypacks. There's enough capacity to hold food, clothing and some extras, like a camera and a book. 36–50 liters: These larger packs are ideal for trips that require additional clothing and gear, such as climbing, mountaineering or non-summer hiking.

What is the best brand of backpack for travel? ›

Our Team's Top Travel Backpack Picks
  • Best Overall Travel Backpack: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L.
  • A Close Second (That's Great for Carrying Electronics): Peak Design Travel Backpack.
  • Excellent Carrying Comfort for Gear-Intensive Trips: Osprey Porter 46.
  • Best Weekend Travel Backpack: Topo Designs Global Travel Bag 30L.

Which travel bag is better soft or hard? ›

You may want to buy hard-shell luggage if you'll be packing breakable items. It could offer better security than soft-sided baggage because it can't be ripped open as easily and usually has integrated locks. Aluminum luggage can be even more secure.

Is it better to travel with a backpack or suitcase? ›

If you fly to your destination and stay in the same hotel or resort for the duration of your trip, a suitcase is probably the most convenient option. If you plan to move around from place to place during your trip, a backpack will better suit you. For long trips, backpacks are usually the better choice.

Are rucksacks better than backpacks? ›

Rucksacks are generally used for more specialist activities and make for perfect hiking backpacks. Made with tough and durable materials, rucksacks tend to offer greater weather resistance than a regular backpack. Additional anti theft features and easy access compartments are also common features of a rucksack.

What are those mini backpacks called? ›

Sling Bag

It features smaller pockets and compartments that can store your everyday items, such as your keys and wallet. This is a more comfortable and compact alternative to a standard backpack.

What does 40l mean in backpacks? ›

Travel backpack size guide
Backpack SizeLitersUse
Medium Backpack24 - 35 LitersWork, carrying your laptop, overnight trips of 2-3 days
Large Backpack30 - 40 LitersWork if you carry a lot of stuff or a large laptop, overnight trips of 3-4 days.
1 more row
12 Oct 2021

What is a good daypack? ›

Daypack Comparison Table
Osprey Talon 22$150Backpanel
REI Co-op Flash 22$60None
Osprey Stratos 36$210Alloy frame
Osprey Skarab 30$150Framesheet
8 more rows
9 Sept 2022

Is Osprey Daylite pack waterproof? ›

The Osprey Daylite Plus is made of the 300D Recycled PET Packcloth which, although is highly water-resistant, is not 100% waterproof.

Are ultralight backpacks worth it? ›

If you're in good shape and only engage in moderate hikes a few times a year, ultralight gear is probably a poor investment. On the other hand, if you're planning a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail, you will probably want to cut as much weight as possible.

How heavy should my day pack be? ›

Pack Weight for Backpacking and Hiking

A loaded day hiking pack should not weigh more than about 10 percent of your body weight. (If you weigh 150 pounds, your pack should not exceed 15 pounds for hiking.)

What is the most popular type of backpack? ›

A traditional college daypack is probably the most popular backpack type. That's because they're affordable, spacious, and incredibly versatile. You can use them for school, college, the office, hiking, and even traveling.

What size backpack do I need for a 2 day trip? ›

2-3 Day Packs: 35-50 liters

A weekend backpack like a standard 40L backpack is big enough to carry a backpacking sleeping bag, small tent, and pad, as well as extra clothing and layers.

Is a 20l backpack big enough for travel? ›

20 liters is often considered the “goldilocks” of backpack sizes - not too big, not too small and just the right size for school, light traveling and everyday carry.

What size backpack do I need for 3 days? ›

Weekend (1-3 nights; 30-50 liters)

Efficient packers using newer, less-bulky gear can really keep things light on 1- to 3-night t rips by using a pack in this range.

Is 25l backpack enough for travel? ›

24-26 liters is considered a medium-size backpack and is probably the most popular bag capacity out there. It's great for taking to school or work, depending on the styling, and can also be a great travel pack for taking on a plane.

Is Osprey the best backpack brand? ›

Is an Osprey Backpack worth it? While Osprey backpacks do come with a higher price tag, they're worth it for the quality they bring and the number of options. Whether you want to get a backpack for travel, day trips, hiking, or just to have, they have all kinds of sizes, features, and more.

Which bag is best for airport? ›

4 Essential Types of Luggage for Air Travel
  • The Carry-On. ...
  • The Personal Bag. ...
  • The Full-Size Spinner – Checked Bag. ...
  • The Large Duffel. ...
  • Look for a Matched Set. ...
  • Look for Multidirectional Wheels. ...
  • Spring for a Padded Handle & Side Handles. ...
  • Make Sure Your Wheeled Suitcase's Handle Telescopes Far Enough.
26 Oct 2022

Which type of bag is best for international travel? ›

The hard sides of polycarbonate luggage prevents the suitcase from caving in, which protects your belongings. The major downside to “hard” luggage is that it scratches easily and occasionally cracks. Many travelers consider polycarbonate hard suitcases the best type of luggage because it's lightweight.

Is American Tourister a good brand? ›

Overall we think that American Tourister is a good brand for infrequent travelers and those looking for a friendly and stylish mid-range suitcase. Although they aren't designed to last forever, they offer a wide range of colors and styles that make them excellent bags for kids and teens.

Why do people use backpacks instead of suitcases? ›

Ease of Movement: Walking through crowds and tight spaces is much easier with a backpack. Easy to Store: Hostels usually have personal lockers and a backpack will fit in those fine. Most of the time a suitcase is too large, so you'll need some other way to secure your stuff.

What is the most efficient way to pack a carry-on suitcase? ›

4. Think Tetris: The best way to fit everything into one bag: Fill every inch of space.
  1. Roll your clothes. This helps to maximize space and minimize wrinkles.
  2. Use packing cubes. These smaller bags help you keep your clothes compact and your outfits ordered.
  3. Try the bundle technique .

Are crossbody bags better than backpacks? ›

"If you're going between the parking lot and your desk, a shoulder bag is fine. But for anyone commuting a distance, a backpack is better." Others were willing to split the difference and say shoulder bags are better for work and backpacks are for travel, more casual use or when laptop size demanded a larger bag.

Is walking with a backpack healthy? ›

Turns out rucking is no joke. According to researchers at the University of South Carolina, rucking can burn somewhere between two and three times the calories of walking and delivers cardio benefits equal to jogging. It's easy to see why.

Is a sling better than a backpack? ›

Sling bags, on the other hand, are ALMOST as comfortable to carry all day as a backpack, but are MUCH more accessible. Their shoulder straps tend to be wider and more well-padded. The shape of the shoulder strap and of the bag are such that they usually fit the human body better.

Are mini backpacks Still in Style 2022? ›

These days, they are back in style, and you can find numerous brands producing them with different features. From zipped pockets to internal compartments and waterproof materials, mini backpacks are perfect for everything from brunch to traveling.

What is an Alice backpack? ›

What is ALICE? ALICE (all-purpose lightweight individual carrying equipment) is an equipment attachment system and accessory set officially adopted by the military in 1973. The ALICE pack has since been phased out of military service, but lots of people still prefer this method of carry.

What are mini backpacks good for? ›

Similar to the regular-sized backpacks, this smaller travel friendly version of a backpack can fit your laptop, camera, snacks, and leave room for other things too. If you find yourself hesitating whether to go for a regular-sized backpack or a messenger bag, a mini backpack might just be the best of both worlds.

Can I bring a 40L backpack on a plane? ›

Most airlines allow carry-on luggage that measures up to a maximum of 22 x 14 x 9 inches. In terms of volume, backpacks that are 40-45 liters are good as a carry-on.

Is a 50L backpack too big for carry-on? ›

Bags larger than 45L cannot be carried on. If you see a 50L backpack marketed as a carry on, double-check the dimensions. It's probably too big to technically qualify as a carry on. Most airlines won't measure your bag or look too closely at it if it's close to the limits.

Is a 50L backpack big enough for Travelling? ›

If you want to embark on a multi-day journey where you'll be carrying kit like shelter, sleeping gear, clothing for different conditions and all your food, a 50L + bag is probably the best backpack for you.

Can you bring an Osprey backpack on a plane? ›

Among our daypacks, most of the bags below 40 liters will meet carry-on requirements. Follow the 22” x 14” x 9” or 45 linear inch total for standard carry-on dimensions, or call your airline for specific guidelines.

What bags does the Osprey Daylite attach to? ›

Compatibility as an attachment

The Daylite, Daylite Plus, and Daylite Travel can be added on to the following Packs: Aether/Ariel Series, Volt/Viva Series, Ace 75, Shuttle Series, Sojourn Series, Farpoint 80, and Porter Series.

What fits Osprey Daylite? ›

The Osprey Daylite pack attaches firmly to Osprey's Aether AG, Ariel AG, Farpoint 80, and Sojourn packs. You don't need to choose between your favorite packs, just clip them together!

How much should a daypack weight? ›

Pack Weight for Backpacking and Hiking

A loaded day hiking pack should not weigh more than about 10 percent of your body weight. (If you weigh 150 pounds, your pack should not exceed 15 pounds for hiking.)

How heavy should my daypack be? ›

How Much Should Your Backpack Weigh? The answer is: not more than 20% of your body weight, and ideally, it'll be about 10% of your body weight. If you weigh 200 lbs, you'd be fine with carrying 40 lbs for a day hike. If you're 160 lbs, you'd be okay with a ~30 lbs pack.

How heavy is a daypack? ›

Empty backpacks weigh anywhere from 1 to 6 pounds. Modern ultralight hiking backpacks usually weigh under 2 pounds while heavy-duty backpacks weigh 3-6 pounds. Most of the lighter hiking backpacks are designed from either canvas, nylon, polyester, or polypropylene material.

Is a 20 lb backpack too heavy? ›

Doctors recommend that backpack weight should be between 10-15 percent of a person's total body weight. If a 90-pound sixth grader carried 15 percent of their weight, the backpack should be no more than 13 pounds. An average for a 135-pound adult would be about 20 pounds.

How do you not carry too much weight on a backpack? ›

Review Proper Heavy Lifting Guidelines

Wear your pack with both straps around your shoulders. – Store books in a locker or desk, whenever possible. – Clean out your bag regularly and avoid carrying unnecessary weight. – Choose a bag that's lightweight and properly fitted to your frame and size.

Is 5 lbs Too heavy for a backpacking tent? ›

The average weight for a backpacking tent ranges between 1-2 lbs and 6 lbs. Tents are generally categorized as ultralight, lightweight, and traditional. Choosing the right type of tent for your backpacking trip can make the walking part much easier, without sacrificing tent quality.

Does a daypack need a hip belt? ›

For a heavier day pack and certainly a backpacking pack, I would look for other weight saving strategies before I'd be foolish enough to go without a hip belt. The majority of a pack's weight is borne on your hips via a hip belt.

Where should a daypack sit? ›

Torso Length

When on your back, adjust the straps so that it sits two inches below the shoulder. The pack should end at your waist and not extend past two inches above your hips. Another way to check the length of the pack that has a hip belt is to attach the hip belt and see how the shoulder straps fit.

Is 40 lbs too heavy for at backpack? ›

Any pack over 35 pounds was generally deemed too heavy for both men and women who backpack long distances. However, you may decide to carry more or less depending on how long your daily hikes will be as well as where and when you were hiking.

Is a 20L backpack big enough? ›


Suitable for everyday carry, tech carry, day travel, tablets… While a capacity of <20L is considered a compact size for a backpack, don't let that fool you. If the backpack is built well and is fully utilized, you should still be able to fit lots of essentials into it.

Why is my backpack so heavy? ›

Carrying a week (or a month's) worth of supplies can add weight and make your bag extra heavy. Think about what you actually use on a daily basis: how much paper, how many pens, how much makeup, what kind of gym supplies. Remove extra or excess amounts of these items. Pack heavy items close to the inside.

Is a 26 liter backpack big? ›

24-26 liters is considered a medium-size backpack and is probably the most popular bag capacity out there. It's great for taking to school or work, depending on the styling, and can also be a great travel pack for taking on a plane. Here is a potential packing list for that size depending on where you're headed.

What size backpack do I need for Travelling? ›

Understanding Backpack Sizes

As a rule of thumb, 25-30 liter backpacks are best for shorter weekend trips, while 30-45 liter backpacks are best for longer trips or long-term travel. That said, the capacity that you need depends on a number of different factors, which we'll cover below.

Are ultralight packs worth it? ›

Ultralight backpacking is definitely worth it. You will only be carrying the items you need without overburdening yourself. When you have a lighter backpack on your shoulders, you will be more comfortable and can travel over challenging terrain more easily.

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