February 22, 2019 5 min read

It’salmostspring, which means it’s definitely time to start dreaming of your next travel adventure, whether it’s to the campground or an international destination. If you’ve traveled or camped or hiked for a significant period of time, you know the difference a quality daypack can make. But figuring out which one to buy can be a challenge, and one that has the potential to have a big impact on whatever trip you’re hoping to take.

 Here at Roanline we know what a quality product looks like (and the companies behind them!), so we’ve created what we hope is a helpful guide with a few recommendations on narrowing your search down to the best hiking daypack for your upcoming adventure.

Plan Your Trip Before You Buy

Couple drinking coffee around a wooden table where they study a hiking map.

As any dedicated gearhead will tell you, it’s easy to shop before you plan your trip. The prospect of a new adventure gets a lot of people ready to break out their credit cards and run to the nearest outdoor shop (hint: choose Roanline!), but most consistent hikers will tell you that buying before you know exactly what type of trip you’re going to take could be a costly mistake (or at least an inconvenient one). We recommend having a good idea of the style and length of your trip well before you plan to purchase your daypack, as the things you choose to do throughout your trip will definitely impact what type of daypack will best fit your next outdoor adventure. We’ve broken down the process of choosing the best hiking daypack into a couple of different categories: backpacking trips and day hikes.


The Best Hiking Daypack for Backpacking Trips


When it comes to picking the right pack to suit your needs, backpacking is an entirely different ballgame. The specs of a dayback for a backpacking trip will vary significantly from the features and functionality of a pack you would only use for day hikes. Assuming you don’t have the room for a full-size daypack in your backpacking pack, a daypack with little to no frame and extreme packability is going to be the best fit for your journey. Fortunately, flashpack-style daypacks have definitely become more advanced since the products first came out, and packs like Cotopaxi’s Luzon 18L daypack manage to maintain strength, quality, and durability while remaining extremely packable. The packs in this line include an internal hydration sleeve, water bottle pockets, and ultralight shoulder straps that still support the pack’s weight when full.

Depending on what type of day hikes you’re planning to tackle while out on the trail, you may want to upgrade to a pack like Cotopaxi Luzon 24L, the big brother to the 18L, but with the added space to accommodate additional food, supplies, and thicker jackets for those alpine summits. This pack also features a zipper compartment for storing items you’d like to keep separated from the rest of your gear as well as a zippered shoe pocket with internal dividers built in. Packs like this one might take up a little bit more space in your backpacking pack, but will prove a worthy respite from the thick frame and bulk of more traditional daypacks.

Brand Highlight:In addition to being one of the top packable daypacks in the game, the Cotopaxi Luzon packs are made from remnant materials and completely customized by the Cotopaxi team, which makes each pack utterly unique in its color scheme as well as its contribution to recycled goods in the outdoor community.

The Best Hiking Daypack for Dedicated Day Hikers

Women hiking with the rift backpack in the mountains wearing all black and facing away from the camera.

Whether your a car camper or an avid day hiker keen on discovering the next best spot, the best daypack is likely a little different from what a traditional backpacker would use. While a true day hiking pack might not be as packable as the ultralight packs, the functionality included in these types of packs will far outweigh the penalties of a little extra bulkiness in the material.

For the most part, packs in this category are going to feature a stable, thicker back and shoulder region, with a variety of organizational pockets inside as opposed to the drawstring style of most packable daypacks. In addition, quality day hiking packs will be coated in a water repellent finish, and certain packs will offer 25L + in volume. Packs like United By Blue’sRift backpack are the perfect companion on a lengthy day hike, and combine the convenience in size of a daypack with the functionality and space of a larger backpacking pack.

Still other daypacks in this category can be selected for their versatility, as more and more forward-thinking outdoor companies have invested in products that offer users a dual-purpose functionality without sacrificing on design. Hiking daypacks like United By Blue’sSummit Convertible Tote allow for hikers to bring the bag along on a high alpine adventure or a lakefront picnic lunch. In addition to that, daypack manufacturers are increasingly aware that the outdoor culture is less of a weekender phenomenon and more of a lifestyle, and companies like Topo Designs have created packs that incorporate day-to-day functionality (laptop sleeves, organization pockets) along with solid, durable hiking materials. Topo Design’sRover pack is perfect example of a bag that works with outdoor-grade shell materials, compression straps, and D rings for extra gear, while still featuring a laptop sleeve and zippered pockets on the outside of the pack.


All in all, find the best hiking daypack is a matter of what type of trip you’re taking, what gear you’re packing, and, ultimately, what you hope to get out of a daypack. If you keep a separate stash of outdoor gear in your closet at all times, then it might be wise to pick a pack based purely on outdoor functionality and material. If you’re a hybrid outdoors person who likes to use your gear both in the mountains and at the office, then a pack with a versatile design will probably be a better fit than a pure climbing pack. That said, at the end of the day, the best hiking daypack for you is likely going to be the one that you love, whether it’s for the design, the functionality, or the colors (we don’t judge), so don’t second guess yourself. Just don’t forget to stop by Roanline in-store or online for the rest of your day hiking clothing and accessories!

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