Best Daypacks For Hiking 2024 - Outdoors Magic

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Best Daypacks For Hiking 2024

We've extensively tested out the latest daypacks for hiking, looking at options ranging from 15 litres through to 36 litres. Here are our favourites

We’ve tested the best hiking daypacks for 2024, suitable for everything from walking in the countryside to hiking in the Lake District fells or the Scottish Highlands. This round-up looks at the backpack options with a volume between 20 and 40 litres for this test. All will be large enough to carry everything from extra layers, food, water and navigation equipment, plus extras like trekking poles and storm shelter.

Different walkers look for different features in rucksacks, so we’ve gone for a broad mix of designs. They include zipped openings, floating lids, removable hipbelts, ventilation panels, compression straps, stretch side pockets and small hip-belt pockets for stashing things like phones and snacks.

Our tester Giles Dean using the OMM Phantom in the Brecon Beacons. Photo: Chris Johnson

How To Choose The Best Daypack For Walking

As is the case when choosing the best backpacks for backpacking, there are also lots of elements to consider when choosing a daypack. Are you prepared to carry extra weight to ensure a full feature set, or would you prefer a stripped back pack to save grams while you’re walking? Do you want ventilation that allows good airflow between your back and the rucksack, or do you like a snug fit that keeps the rucksack close to your body as you move? We’ve tested options to suit every kind of walker.

It’s worth heading over to our daypacks buyer’s guide if you could do with more details on what to look out for. There you’ll find information on everything from back sizing and ventilation, to the pros and cons of waterproof backpacks.

Many of the backpacks in this Top 10 are featured in our Outdoor 100 and in our Green Gear Guide. Within these product guides, you’ll be able check out a more in depth review of each pack, including tester’s verdicts and industry trade secrets.

Some important things to consider. The pack pictured is the Gregory Arrio.

Best Daypacks For Hiking 2024

Here are the results of our team’s testing over the last couple of seasons. Most of these passed muster for our Outdoor 100 series and Green Gear Guide, with each one rated for its material quality, the overall functionality, carry comfort and features.

  • Best Overall Daypack: Gregory Arrio 30
  • Best Daypack for Running and Hiking: Montane Trailblazer LT
  • Best Eco-friendly Daypack: Osprey Talon Earth 22L
  • Best Waterproof Daypack: Filson Dry 28
  • Best Daypack for Winter Hiking: Klattermusen Ull Blot 30


Gregory Arrio 30 Daypack

Best daypack overall: Our test team chose this as the best in test

Our tester using the Arrio on a dayhike in North Wales

Price: £95
Weight: 850g
Best for: Coastal hopping, peak bagging, fastpacking, trail running

The Gregory Arrio 30 Daypack is a perfect all-rounder of a backpack: lightweight, comfortable, and  aesthetically pleasing. It’s jam-packed with clever features, from the open-air mesh back panel (back sweat is a thing of the past) and super comfortable perforated foam harness, to the integrated safety whistle in the sternum strap.

The Arrio’s intuitive organisation is a real plus, with quick-access pockets on the top and to the side and zips which are easy to use (and locate). You’ve also got a side stretch mesh pocket across the front which is perfect for a flask or a first aid kit. 

It’s also equipped with a fitted rain cover. Winter walkers should note that there’s no ice axe attachment however. 

What we liked: Superb comfort, intuitive organisation, hydration reservoir compatible
What we didn’t like: no ice axe attachment

Selected for the Outdoor 100 – Here’s our full Gregory Arrio 30 Daypack review

Buy the Gregory Arrio:  £106 at 

Osprey Talon Earth 22L

Best eco-friendly daypack: A contender for best overall but certainly the best for sustainability


Our tester trialling the Talon on a hike along the Cumbria Way.

Price: £112
Weight: 1.1kg
Best for: hiking, commuting, cycling

The Talon Earth is Osprey’s first pack to be bluesign approved – that’s an industry accreditation that recognises efforts towards sustainable and ethical manufacture. To achieve this certification, Osprey have used recycled fabrics and components inside and out, including the zippers and hardware. In fact, around 50% of the pack’s plastic content is made using renewable natural gas.

The 22-litre size and array of features make it a great small daypack for hiking, but we’ve found it also serves well as that workhorse pack that gets used day-to-day including for the home-to-office commute. To increase its urban appeal (especially for city cyclists), you get an internal padded laptop sleeve, a LidLock bike helmet holder and a night light attachment point to increase visibility on busy roads.

There are lots of practical pockets too. In addition to the main zipped compartment (which also houses a zipped security pocket with key-clip), there’s a hipbelt pocket, a smaller easy-access zipped external pocket, two side stretch pockets and a stretch harness pocket.

Just like previous editions of the Talon pack, it has an adjustable harness and hip-belt system, plus the same mesh-and-foam AirScape back panel, ensuring decent comfort levels and a close but ventilated fit.

All in all, we’ve found this to be a versatile jack-of-all-trades that can handle hikes, bikes and office commutes.

What we liked: Eco-friendly, loads of pockets and details
What we didn’t like: top zip leaves main compartment of pack a touch exposed to rain

Selected for the Outdoor 100 – Here’s our full Osprey Talon Earth 22 review.

Buy the Osprey Talon Earth:  £112 at 

Montane Trailblazer LT 20L

Best Lightweight Daypack for Hiking and Running: Lightweight and stable, this was judged to be the best for fast and light adventures

Our team using the Montane Trailblazer on a fast and light trip in the Scottish Highlands

Price: £110
Best for: Hiking, fastpacking, trail running, general outdoor use

This is primarily designed for fast and light adventures – mainly running or fastpacking – but from our experience using it, we’ve found it’s right up to scratch as a three-season daypack too. With its 20-litre capacity, this pack suits day trips in the mountains where you want your essentials with you – your wet weather gear, insulation, your lunch and snacks and map etc. 

Montane have deployed a bunch of very light materials here, giving it a total weight of a meagre 300g. And comfort hasn’t been sacrificed either; this pack wraps around your body’s contours nicely and neatly with just enough padding to keep the contents inside from poking into your back. It’s reasonably durable too thanks to its silicone coating and ripstop weave. 

This is a fully waterproof daypack, using a water tight fabric, taped seams and rolltop closure to block out the elements and there are a bunch of nifty pockets and storage options. We particularly liked the front bungee which gives this pack that extra capability if you do want to stretch its potential and use it as an overnight bag. 

Our only gripe is that with the bungee, cords and straps it is a little bit on the fiddly side. Still, if you’re looking for something that’s lightweight but capable and loaded with useful design touches, this would be a good option to go for. 

What we liked: very light, waterproof
What we didn’t like: straps are a little fiddly

Selected for our Outdoor 100. Read our full Montane Trailblazer LT review.

Buy the Montane Trailblazer LT:  £83 at

Filson Dry Backpack

Best waterproof daypack: Our top selection for use on or around water – or even for cycle commuting

Price: £205
Weight: 992g
Best for: Hiking, fishing, canoeing, SUPing, cycling

If you’re an outdoorsy type who loves getting out on the water, or relishes tough, wet conditions, you’ll definitely appreciate the qualities of the 28-litre Filson Dry Backpack. Designed primarily for rainy-day hiking, fishing, rafting and canoeing, it’s also a solid choice for surfing, paddleboarding and even cycling.

It uses a super-tough 840-denier coated nylon for the main fabric, with equally durable nylon webbing, chunky EVA foam and high density plastic components. The padding on the back and shoulder straps enhances comfort, while the PU coated nylon is waterproof, abrasion-resistant, and flexible.

One of the standout features of the Filson Dry Backpack is the roll-and cinch closure with its generous wide-mouth opening. This is completely watertight and supremely hard-wearing, unlike most zip-top designs, but it also makes loading and unloading your gear very easy.

What we liked: Tough, waterproof, roomy
What we didn’t like: Heavy and expensive

Selected for the Outdoor 100 – Here’s our Filson Dry Backpack Full Review.

Buy the Filson Dry:  £233 at 

Klättermusen Ull 30

Best daypack for winter hiking: We liked what this brought to the table as a pack for four season use

Price: £250
Weight: 850g
Best for: Ski touring

The Ull is a specialist, technical ski touring pack made from undyed, 100% recycled polyamide that is reinforced with durable Aramid fibres – which are also used to make Kevlar (yes, the stuff in bulletproof vests). But as well as being tough, it’s kind to the planet, since this backpack is also fluorocarbon-free.

The pack has a cinch closure system for easy one-handed access. The ability to roll the top to compress it, in order to keep it close to your back, is another nice touch in this area. Move into the guts of the backpack, which offers the user 30L worth of storage, and you’ll find a safety pocket for avalanche tools. The internal space offered by the backpack, it’s worth adding, can be adjusted via the Ull Blot’s compression straps. This means you can optimise the pack’s shape to suit your situation.

What we liked: Lightweight, eco-friendly, durable
What we didn’t like: Very expensive

Selected for the Outdoor 100. Read the full Klattermusen Ull Backpack Review.

Buy the Klattermusen Ull 30L:  £279 at 


The Best of the Rest


Fjällraven Tree-Kånken

Our tester Sarah using the Kånken as a daypack on a summer hike in Eryri.

Price: £120
Weight: 410g
Best for: Light summer hiking

The Tree-Kånken is an evolution of the classic Kånken design, sharing the same looks but with much more sustainable materials. It’s made from something called Pine Weave, a bio-based material that’s derived from cellulose fibres obtained from tree bark. Fjällräven get their wood for this collection from trees grown just outside the brand’s hometown and the foresting is all done sustainably and is fully traceable to its source.

This is a practical and versatile bag that’s equally at home in everyday life or on more casual outdoor excursions. The main compartment has a large zipped opening that makes the Kånken easy to pack and unpack, aided by its practical rectangular design, and it comes with a foam pad in the inner rear sleeve. This stops stuff from digging into your back and can be used as a handy seat when needed.

The side pockets will accommodate a slim water bottle (take a look at Primus’ Klunken for the perfect partner) or an umbrella. There’s daisy chain webbing to fix a bike lock or to hang things off with a carabiner or two and there’s also webbing straps along the base where you can quickly fasten a jacket or tripod. Other details include easy-grab top handles, adjustable shoulder straps, a reflective logo, and a handy zipped pocket at the front that’ll fit flat items like maps, books or work documents.

What we liked: Eco-friendly design, stylish and practical design
What we didn’t like: very small capacity, low on technical details

Selected for the Green Gear Guide – Read our full Fjällräven Tree-Kånken review.

Buy the Fjällräven Tree-Kanken:  £60 at 


Haglöfs L.I.M 35

Jordan Tiernan with the L.I.M on a hot hike in North Wales

Price: £120
Weight: 890g
Best for: Three-season day adventures, fastpacking, long-distance fastpacking

Super lightweight (especially for a pack with a suspended back system) and produced using ethical fabrics, this pack is somewhat minimalistic in design but without any compromise in function or performance. 

For us, arguably the most impressive feature was the back ventilation system. The suspended lightweight mesh panel effectively keeps the contents of your pack away from your back, allowing that much-needed airflow and preventing sweat from building up. 
It’s also surprisingly durable, with a 70-denier rip-stop polyamide that’s reinforced with 140-denier sections in high-wear zones. There’s just about the right amount of padding in the hip belts too – and these have  large pockets on them where you can stash a good amount of snacks. 

At just 35l this backpack is best suited to day hiking, but it’ll also cater for a few minimalistic backpackers and fastpackers too. 

What we liked: Innovative minimal design, lightweight, comfortable to carry
What we didn’t like: Not very stable

Selected for the Outdoor 100 – Here’s our full Haglofs L.I.M 35 review.

Buy the Haglofs LIM 35 Pack:  £120 at


Lowe Alpine AirZone Ultra 36

Our tester Emma with the Lowe Alpine Airzone Ultra 36 ND in the hills of Wales.

Price: £145
Weight: 800g
Best for: big days out or lightweight backpacking

This is one of those packs that straddles the line between daypack and multi-day pack. With its 36-litre capacity, it’s easily big enough to cater for a big day out in the hills while it’s also just about the right size for carrying lightweight camping gear. 

It has a suspended back system which is comfortable and offers bucket loads of ventilation. It also keeps the contents of the pack from poking into your back. The downside is that, with the pack fully loaded, the trampoline style system keeps the weight of the pack quite far from your body. 

We liked some of the details here, including the big stretchy mesh pockets and the dual hipbelt pockets which we found are big enough for a mobile phone. The main downside we found with the Airzone Ultra is that the top closure of the pack wasn’t always that reliable in wet weather and sometimes we felt it left our kit a bit exposed. We’d therefore recommend using it with drybags. 

What we liked: lots of airflow, lightweight design
What we didn’t like: top closure a little unreliable in wet weather, can feel unstable

Buy the Lowe Alpine Airzone Ultra ND 36:  £145 at 


Bach Molecule 15L

The Bach Molecule 15, used by Will in Pembrokeshire. Notice the useful pocket on the hip fin.

Price: £125
Weight: 680g
Best for: general day hiking, commuting

This might be listed as a 15L pack but it can actually manage a fair bit more than that. That’s thanks to its rolltop which gives an extra 5 litres of capacity, plus the stretchy mesh side pockets. 

The back system is quite simple, with just foam panels and a hardened back panel, but we found that it’s still comfortable and functional. We also liked that it keeps the pack’s load nice and close to your body, creating a very stable centre of gravity and a balanced feel. 

The ripstop Robic Nylon fabric that Bach have used here is impressive. It’s lightweight but also very tough. It’s also 100% recycled. It’s not fully waterproof but when we used it in wet conditions we found that it does have a very high water resistance. In our tests, we also liked the clever zipped pocket on the harness. It’s a big mesh pocket that’s perfect for keeping your phone within easy reach but it can also be zipped up and kept out of the way when it’s not needed. 

What we liked: lightweight and durable fabric, packs flat so can be carried in a suitcase
What we didn’t like: nothing

Buy the Bach Molecule 15:  £100 at 


Fjällräven Ulvö Rolltop

Our tester Joy using the Ulvö out in early spring.

Price: £140
Weight: 650g
Best for: Commuting, general outdoor use

With a look that’ll fit right in in the city, at work or in the classroom, the Fjällräven Ulvö Rolltop will make for a great commuter pack for the urban dwellers out there, but there’s more to it than that. In fact, the Ulvö carries a load of features that make it suited for a range of activities from city to summit.

Fjällräven’s own all-new tough and waterproof Bergshell fabric has been used here with the Ulvö Rolltop. It’s an impressive fabric that’s soft to the touch and that boasts a protective laminate underneath with fully taped seams – all of which makes the backpack impressively watertight. Interestingly, the weave they’ve adds an extra level of durability to the Ulvö through the use of a flat ripstop technique that minimises the risk of fibres catching and scuffing on anything rough.

A roll top closure makes access to the main compartment simple and efficient, whilst also adding an extra barrier of waterproof protection for gear stashed inside this pack. Inside there’s a useful zipped pocket as well as a padded laptop sleeve. There are stretchy side pockets as well – super useful for stashing things quickly while on the go.

What we liked: Durable, waterproof, padded laptop sleeve
What we didn’t like: Nothing

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – Check out our full Fjällräven Ulvö Rolltop Backpack review.

Buy the Fjällräven Ulvö:  £170 at 


Rab Ascendor 28L

Will out using the Ascendor on a Scottish scramble.

Price: £100
Weight: 900g
Best for: hikes with climbs and scrambles

This is a daypack for those who need a hiking pack that can also be used for more technical pursuits – things like scrambling, climbing and ski touring. If you need something that’s going to be comfortable to wear and that’ll have room for your waterproof kit, lunch and thermos flask, this will do the job just fine, but you can also call upon it to carry skis in an A-frame, or to safely and securely strap two ice axes across the front. There are daisy chains for clipping on your carabiners too. 

During our tests, we were particularly impressed by this pack’s durability – it was easily able to shrug off any scrapes with rough rock. We also liked its wide U-shaped opening at the top which lets you see right in and that gives you easy access to all your kit. There’s also the fact that you can strip out bits and bobs if you want to streamline it to bring the overall base weight down for those fast and light mountain missions. 

What we liked: Very durable, loads of technical design details
What we didn’t like: nothing

Selected for the Outdoor 100 – Here’s our full Rab Ascendor 28L review.

Buy the Rab Ascendor:  £89 at


Thule AllTrail 25L

Andy using the Thule Alltrail pack in the Brecon Beacons.

Price: £110
Weight: 560g
Best for: Hiking and hillwalking

The AllTrail range from Thule measures from 15 up to 45 litres, with each pack in the range having an extremely durable build. This, the AllTrail 25 is going to be a great size as a summer hiking daypack. As like many of the other packs in this roundup, the AllTrail 28 has been built with a tough outer fabric giving the pack a tank-like build – the durable fabric in question this time is a 420D Dobby Poly with a lighter weight 330D ripstop polyester protecting the front.

It’s a top-loading design with a relatively thin lid covering a toggled drawcord access and a handy zip down the side allows you to grab anything you may have buried deep within it. A single ice axe holder doubles up as a trekking pole attachment, whilst a hydration system can be bought separately and linked up with the hydration tube exit port.

What we liked: Durable, practical, hydration-compatible
What we didn’t like: Shoulder straps are light on padding

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2019/20 – Check out our full Thule AllTrail 25L review.

Buy the Thule Alltrail 25L:  £68 at 


Klättermussen Brimer 24L

Our tester Ian with the Brimer in the mountains of north Wales.

Price: £210
Weight: 973g
Best for: Climbers, mountaineers, ski tourers

This is a high quality pack that’s designed for resilience. Made from a 210D polyamide fabric, it’s the kind of pack that offers superb durability, while a coating on the outside and laminate on the inside, bring a very high degree of weather resistance.

Despite that durability, this thing still weighs in at under 1kg, which ain’t too shabby – there are many bags that are less robust but still heavier. OK it might not become the pack of choice for the ultralight brigade, but the carrying comfort is fantastic, even with a heavy load.

The back panel is adjustable and the lumbar bar and pivot system help the bag to move with your hips and shoulders. The side pockets are enormous, capable of fitting most one-person tents, and daisy chains across the harness and front of the pack are ideal for hanging gear.

At only 24L capacity, this best suits a minimalist packer, although the bag’s capacity could be almost doubled by adding some of Klättermussen’s optional extras such as bottle holders and extra pockets. 

Selected for the Outdoor 100. Here’s our full Klättermussen Brimer 24L Backpack review.

What we liked: Adaptable, eco-friendly, hardwearing, unisex
What we didn’t like: Expensive

Buy the Klattermusen Brimer 24L:  £191 at 


Arc’teryx Aerios 30 Backpack

Our tester Giles using the pack in Snowdonia.

Price: £160
Weight: 900g
Best for: Day hikes, overnighters, fast hiking, winter walking

This is essentially a lightweight hiking pack with a running pack harness system. The front vest-like shoulder straps really conform to your torso – it’ll even hold comfortably against your chest as it rises and falls with your breathing. 

It’s made from a light but incredibly tough ripstop nylon with durable Cordura threads and liquid crystal polymer mesh too (a material used in bulletproof vests). From what we’ve seen it’s easily robust enough to stand up to tough backcountry trips, including rough scrambles. 

There are features in abundance and more roomy pockets than you can shake a stick at, meaning that you could even fit some solo tents in this pack to upgrade it from a day pack to an overnighter.

 It comes in two back lengths, regular and tall, and there are different volumes too, including a 15L and a 45L. 

What we liked: Impressive design features, lightweight build, capacious
What we didn’t like: quite pricey

Selected for the Outdoor 100 – Here’s our full Arc’teryx Aerios 30 Backpack review.

Buy the Arc’teryx Aerios 35L:  £215 at 


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