Athlete Mom Chelsey Magness - Favorite Adventure Day Packs
Photo credit: Chip Fieberg

Staff Picks: GearJunkie’s Favorite Daypacks

From mountain biking hydration daypacks to stylish travel packs, our picks for best daypacks will make getting outside a fun adventure.

It’s no secret we love gear. We spend all day testing it, writing about it, and thinking about it. And there’s one thing we can all agree on: Any piece of gear that helps you get outside is a piece of gear worth having.

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And a good daypack falls in the category of must-have gear. Whether you need a biking hydration pack, a lightweight carry-all, or a made-in-America travel pack, we’ve got you covered.

Best Daypacks for Hiking, Biking, and Travel

Finding the right daypack depends on a variety of factors, including the intended use. So before you search for the best daypack, take a moment to consider how you’ll use it.

Are you counting ounces and looking for the lightest daypack? Or perhaps you want to travel in style. Or maybe you need a versatile, do-all pack. Whatever the case, keep this pack-using image in mind as you read on to find the best daypack for your adventures.

Gregory Endo 10L Mountain Biking Backpack ($120)

I’ve been using this pack for the last couple months for winter hikes and bike rides on vacations. It’s an awesome hydration pack with plenty of space for the extras that you need: a second layer, snacks, tools, and small personal belongings.

It sports an adjustable suspended back panel so you can dial in comfort depending on what you’re wearing and packing. And I like that it has a magnetic bite valve and ventilated suspension against your back for added comfort. Super versatile and comfortable pack for daylong hikes or rides.
— Zach Burton, Director of Sales

Matador Beast 28L ($90)

This bag is simple, lightweight, and packable. It’s got an internal pocket for a hydration bladder (or laptop), compression straps, and a bunch of loops for attaching stuff to the outside. It lacks some of the features of a true hiking daypack, but it functions well as a lightweight alternative. I’ve been using it almost every day for the past 6 months and have been really happy with it.
— Bryan Frank, Web Developer

Cotopaxi Inca 16L ($100)

This has quickly become our family’s go-to for day hikes to the local crag, cross-country ski missions, and even for little adventures around town. The hydration sleeve can double as a laptop sleeve. And the mesh suspension keeps your back cool on all-day summer adventures. In addition to the fun colors, it’s large enough to fit anything you need for a full day out on the trails. And I appreciate that it has well-placed organizational pockets and can carry enough water for the whole family.
— Jason Magness, Contributor 

Millican Smith Roll 25L Pack ($195)

The Millican Smith Roll 25 Pack has been a favorite travel pack for 2 years now. It’s small enough that it qualifies as a “personal item” on the plane, and it works great for day trips. It looks awesome and has some smart features like expandable water bottle pockets, hidden gear loops, and quick-access pockets.

I used it during an 11-day road trip across Iceland, and it never let me down. It’s worth noting that smart and stylish come at a price. At $195, the Millican is expensive as far as daypacks go. But if style, versatility, and clever design are important to you, it’s a worthy investment.
— Jake Ferguson, Projects & Marketing

BlaqPaks BlaqPak ($250)

“Handmade in Portland and guaranteed for life.” That’s the simple tag line for BlaqPaks, a boutique bag-maker catering to the bike crowd. Its flagship and namesake BlaqPak backpack has been on my body for more than 3 years. I use it for biking as well as daily carry in the city. It’s also been around the world, and the nylon bag shows almost zero sign of wear. This is a bomber, made-in-the-USA product with a high price tag to match, at $250. But it’s worth the money.

The BlaqPak is utilitarian and very no-frills — it’s water-resistant, with a rubberized inner fabric and a Velcro roll-top closure. This is a big container: It measures about 17 inches tall (in size L), and it’s 13.5 inches wide and 7 inches deep. A zip pocket on the front is made for storing smaller items. On the back panel, a horizontal zipper gives flat storage for a laptop or magazines and books.

Overall, I’m happy with this pack and use it daily. However, its lack of smaller organizational pouches and pockets is sometimes a hassle. Things like a pen or a padlock can get lost easily in the big, open pockets. It carries comfortably enough, though it’s essentially a large rucksack with no frame. Buy this pack if you want a large capacity and minimal design. It will last for years and tote copious goods — two bags of groceries or enough gear for a weekend away — in a stealthy, black case unnoticed on your back.
— Stephen Regenold, Founder

Price: $250
Shop BlaqPak

Patagonia Women's Nine Trails Daypack ($129)

When you want to get outside without being weighed down, this is the pack to take. The 18L capacity is just enough to hold extra layers, a hydration bladder, and snacks without extra bulk. I love how cool the mesh back panel keeps me (goodbye, sweaty back!), and the small interior zippered pocket makes organizing keys, chapstick, and small essentials a breeze.

Stash a jacket in the large, stretchy exterior pocket, fill the side pockets with snacks, and you’re ready to hit the trail. I’ve been caught in a few rain showers and am happy to report everything stayed dry. I can even fit my laptop, which makes it great for bike commuting or traveling. And there’s nothing better than multipurpose gear.
— Mallory Paige, Gear Editor

Osprey Stratos 24 Pack ($130)

This pack is built for day hikes, and it shows. The panel compartments open up for easy loading, and the various pockets keep everything organized. Slide your hydration reservoir into the sleeve to enjoy hands-free sipping on the trail. Osprey recommends this pack for loads around 10 to 25 pounds, which is plenty for a hike or travel day. The internal frame and mesh back do a good job keeping you cool even when fully loaded. Overall, it’s a great-looking, hard-working pack.
— Sean McCoy, Editor-in-Chief

Hyperlite Summit Pack ($190)

When my husband tells me we’re going on a training mission, I know that’s code for “be prepared to get wet, be out well past dark, and pack extra food.” For these excursions, I always bring my Hyperlite Summit Pack. It’s a simple design but has proven unbreakable and up for anything. This pack has never let me down on countless day trips that have turned into 24-hour missions.

Because it’s made with Dyneema Composite Fabrics, it’s not only durable but also light — 13.12 ounces — and waterproof. This pack has also recently become my first choice for biking to the grocery store when the weather looks iffy. Even if you don’t consider yourself an extreme adventurer, I recommend this pack. It’s simple, ultralight, and impressively tough.
— Chelsey Magness, Contributor

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