We’ve tested the best hiking daypacks for 2023, 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.
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.
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Best Daypacks For Hiking 2023
- Haglöfs L.I.M 35 – Best Daypack
- Lowe Alpine Aeon 27
- Fjällräven Ulvö Rolltop 20 – Best Waterproof Daypack
- Filson Dry Backpack 28
- Fjällräven Tree-Kånken
- Aiguille Alpine Midi 40
- Thule AllTrail 25L
- Klattermusen Brimer
- OMM Phantom 20L
- Patagonia Altvia 28
- Jack Wolfskin Eco Loader 24
- Klättermusen Ull Blot 30
- Arc’teryx Aerios 30
- Gregory Arrio 30
BEST BUY: Haglöfs L.I.M 35
Key attributes: Innovative minimal design, lightweight, comfortable to carry
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.