Best Hiking Daypacks Reviewed 2019 | Top 10 - Outdoors Magic

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Best Hiking Daypacks Reviewed 2019 | Top 10

The best daypacks for hiking sit within 20 litres in size through to 30 litres. Here are the best options between volumes out there

We’ve tested the best hiking daypacks for 2019, 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 28 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 Hiking Daypack

As is the case when choosing the best backpacks for trekking, 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.

Best Daypacks Reviewed 2019:

Best Of The Bunch

Alpkit Presta 20 (Best In Test)

Price: £50
Weight: 635g

The Alpkit Presta 20 is a small, lightweight multi-activity pack designed for walkers and hikers who like to go fast and light in the mountains. Alpkit also do a 30-litre mountain daypack (the Ledge), but if you’re walking in summer the Presta could hold everything you need. It also has a very comprehensive feature set for such a low price.

The main compartment – accessed via a zip opening at the top – is big enough to hold a few extra layers, food, drink, camera, maps and first aid essentials. You also get a smaller zipped lid pocket for things like gloves and hats, an even smaller zipped internal pocket for valuables, two stretch side pockets, a large stretch external front pocket, and two zipped hipbelt pockets. There are other nice touches too, like a whistle on the main chest strap, internal bladder sleeve, and stowable loops and bungee cords for attaching poles or axes.

The back is padded with ventilated 3D breathable foam to stop you getting too sweaty, with padded hip fins and shoulder straps adding extra comfort. All in all, and typically of Alpkit, this is a very impressive piece of kit for just £50!

Comfortable, very lightweight, bargain price, impressive feature set, showerproof

The flexible black panel seems to bow slightly when fully loaded (but we’re being picky)

Full Specifications

20-litre capacity / 210D nylon mini ripstop material / 420D nylon base reinforcement / zipped lid closure / pole attachments / two side pockets / two hipbelt pockets / hydration sleeve / Duraflex compression strap buckles.

Montane Halogen 25

Price: £80
Weight: 830g

Montane describe the Halogen 25 as their ‘go-to, multi-activity, all season, technical mountain day pack’, and after testing it for a few weeks it’s hard to disagree. The 25-litre capacity feels a little on the small side for full-on winter use, but there’s no doubt that the features and materials stack up for use in any weather on all types of terrain.

The lightweight Raptor Geo fabric is tough enough to survive bumps and scrapes with ice and rock, and the stretch ‘tool anchor’ system on the front of the rucksack offers quick and simple axe attachment. The ZephyrFX back system delivers decent ventilation while keeping the pack close to your body, and there are still plenty of features that are perfect for standard walks and day hikes.

We love the long ‘baguette’ pockets on the side, which sit just above the small stretch side pockets to provide lots of storage options on the side of the pack. You also get two large main storage compartments, both accessed by zips, making it easy to separate your gear. Don’t be totally fooled by its description as an all-season pack, because most of all the Montane Halogen 25 is just a great rucksack for British hillwalking.

Nice use of pockets, creating lots of storage space and making it easy to separate gear. Excellently designed ventilated back panel

The ‘click-and-go’ chest strap takes a bit of getting used to

Full Specifications

25-litre capacity / 210 Denier nylon RAPTOR Geo fabric / Contact Open Mesh back panel / zipped main opening / Contact Air Mesh Plus shoulder straps and hip fins / tool attachments / two large storage compartments / four stretch side pockets / two hipbelt pockets / internal bladder sleeve / double side compression straps.

Osprey Skarab 30

Price: £90
Weight: 780g

The Skarab 30 is an interesting hiking daypack from Osprey that offers an alternative to their ever-popular Talon range. This rucksack immediately has a different feel to the Talon, with a large top-zip offering access to the main compartment and making it easy to pack and unpack. In place of stretch side pockets are secure zipped pockets, big enough for you to stash things like water bottles, gloves or lightweight layers.

The Bump-Foam back panel doesn’t lift the pack away from your body, but offers enough airflow to stop you combusting on sweaty uphill climbs. Nice features include the large shove-it pocket on the front that can be adjusted using the side compression straps, and a hidden scratch-free pocket above the back panel that’s good for stashing sunglasses and mobile phones.

Related: Osprey Skarab 22 Review

You also get double hipbelt pockets and a separate rain cover tucked away at the bottom of the Osprey Skarab 30, making it a very appealing daypack for walkers in all types of weather in every type of terrain. We’re impressed!

The Osprey Skarab 30 is a robust and solid pack. The use of zips in place of straps and stretch pockets give it a really secure feel

No internal hydration bladder, not much padding on hips or shoulder straps

Full Specifications

30-litre capacity / AirScape back panel with bump-foam ventilation / zipped top pocket / twin zipped side pockets / front shove-it pocket / twin zipped hipbelt pockets / zipped scratch-free pocket / walking pole attachments / side compression straps / ice axe loop.

Vaude Brenta 25

Price: £90
Weight: 1070g

One for fans of clipped floating lids and excellent airflow, the Vaude Brenta 25 is a heavier pack than most in this test but makes up for it with a comprehensive set of features that will appeal to most hikers and hillwalkers. The standout features are the Aeroflex suspension system that lifts the bulk of the rucksack well clear of your back for great ventilation, the large floating lid with drawstring adjustment that doubles up as a zipped storage pocket, and a huge U-shaped zip on the front that gives easy access to the main compartment.

The rest of the Brenta 25 keeps things refreshingly simple, with a large stretch front pocket, two stretch side pockets, a single zipped hipbelt pocket, two side compression straps, adjustable shoulder straps and a separate rain cover. It delivers a comfortable carry with good weight distribution too, so you hardly notice that extra weight when the pack’s fully loaded.

It’s impossible to talk about Vaude gear without mentioning its impressive green credentials. The Green Shape label is Vaude’s guarantee of eco-friendly products – made from sustainable materials and resource-conserving production. So as well as enjoying your outdoor adventure, you’ll also be doing your bit to protect the planet.

Superbly designed back panel ventilation, useful zipped opening to main compartment via front of pack, excellent green credentials

Weight starting to creep up

Full Specifications

25-litre capacity / Aeroflex back system / ventilated shoulder straps / padded hip wings / large zipped pocket on floating lid / front stretch pocket / two side stretch pockets / pole attachments / side compression straps / top compression strap / hydration bladder sleeve / separate rain cover.

Lowe Alpine Aeon 27 (Best In Test)

Price: £90
Weight: 800g

Lowe Alpine describe the Aeon 27 as ‘quite possibly our favourite ever creation’ and it’s easy to see why. This is a very slick daypack – lightweight, comfortable, well ventilated, good looking, and packed with useful features for walking and hiking. You’re basically getting all the things you’d want or expect from a quality daypack.

The capacity is 27 litres, with a roomy main compartment accessed by an easy-access double top zip that runs most of the way round the pack. We love the stretch front pocket, with a heavily elasticated opening that keeps the contents secure. The stretch side pockets are good for everything from poles to water bottles, and the hipbelt pockets are big enough for everything from phones to snacks. We also like that the hydration bladder pocket sits outside the main chamber behind the back panel, so you can access it without rummaging through all your gear.

The AirContour back system is simple and lightweight, with just enough ventilation to keep your back sweat-free without lifting the pack too far away from your body. It’s also easily adjustable, with a large Velcro tab that you unfasten to slide it up and down. See below for the full set of features on the Lowe Alpine Aeon 27 (click for the review), which we think is near-perfect for walking and hiking all year-round.

Large easy-access zip entry saves a lot of hassle, ventilated back panel is excellent, and we like the hydration bladder sitting outside main chamber

Shoulder straps and hip fins are well ventilated but not very padded

Full Specifications

27-litre capacity / abrasion-resistant nylon material with TriShield coating / AirContour adjustable back system / stretch front pocket / two stretch side pockets / two valuables pockets / two hipbelt pockets / MultiLock tool attachment system / Flexion shoulder harness system.

Gregory Salvo 24

Price: £90
Weight: 1100g

Despite its relatively small 24-litre capacity, the Gregory 24 Salvo rucksack still manages to feel very roomy with easy access thanks to the large zip that runs around the top of the main compartment. It isn’t particularly light at 1100g, but makes up for that with a very robust feel and an excellent ventilated back system that lifts the pack well clear of your body for increased airflow.

You get the usual hiking daypack pocket collection (large front stretch, two stretch side, two zipped hipbelt, two zipped valuables), plus pole attachments, side compression straps, an internal hydration bladder sleeve, and a separate rain cover.

Our favourite thing about the Gregory 24 Salvo, though, is the Vaporspan back panel. It’s tensioned and flexible with fantastic ventilation that’ll keep you sweat-free, plus a lower-back cushion that makes it one of the most comfortable daypacks we’ve tested. Perfect for walking and hiking all year round.

Superbly designed back panel, extremely comfortable, all of the features and pockets you’d want in a hiking daypack

Weight starting to creep up

Full Specifications

24-litre capacity / 210D Cryptorip nylon material / 210D nylon Dobby base / Evo Foam hipbelt / Vaporspan back panel / spring steel frame / front and side stretch pockets / zipped hipbelt and valuables pockets / zipped main opening / internal hydration bladder / separate rain cover / pole attachments.

Deuter Futura 26

Price: £105
Weight: 1400g

Deuter have a well deserved reputation for making great backpacks, and the updated Futura 26 is the latest in a very long list of impressive releases. This pack has every feature you’d expect or need as a walker, plus a heavy-duty and robust build quality that makes it feel indestructible.

In terms of useful features, it’s hard to know where to start. The roomy main compartment is accessed via a clipped floating lid with drawstring adjustment, plus you can also gain entry via the big double zip that runs round the front of the pack. You get external and internal zipped lid pockets, a large clipped front storage pocket, stretch side pockets and two zipped hipbelt pockets. The hipbelt is so well padded it feels like it’s hugging you, and the new Aircomfort Sensic back system lifts the whole pack a good few inches from your back for great ventilation.

All of this comes with a slight drawback in terms of weight. At 1400g the Deuter Futura 26L is a very heavy daypack, but if you can put up with that it’s hard to see how you can find a better equipped hiking rucksack.

Excellent back ventilation system, great build quality, extremely comfortable, comes with every feature a walker or hiker could need

Heaviest pack on test, price starting to creep up

Full Specifications

26-litre capacity / Dynajin 210/PES 600 material / round profile frame / raincover / padded hipbelt / hydration sleeve / wet gear storage pocket / pole attachments / front access zip / valuables pocket / side pockets / hipbelt pockets / SOS label.

Fjällräven Kaipak 28

Price: £130
Weight: 1050g

Typically from Fjällräven, the Kaipak 28 is a classy-looking pack that looks as good on the high street as it does in the high mountains. Made from robust G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco fabric, it has instant visual appeal and feels built to last.

The base of the Kaipak 28 rucksack is made from double-layer nylon, meaning you can place it down on damp ground when you stop for a rest without the contents getting soaked. Plus, you can wax the whole pack with Fjällräven’s Greenland Wax to make it more water-resistant and durable. The spacious main compartment is top-loaded with a floating lid big enough to hold a essentials like gloves and hats, with a long external zip down the front of the pack that gives access to a slim compartment that’s perfect for maps and thin layers.

You also get side pockets, a snow lock, side compression straps, pole attachments, and a supplied rain cover; but it does lack some features walkers will like. The detachable hipbelt is very thin and unsupportive so you take most of the weight on your shoulders, plus there are no hipbelt pockets or top tensioning straps. But what it lacks in terms of regular features, it makes up for by oozing class and visual punch.

Classic design, heavy-duty fabric, spacious main compartment, large zipped front pocket, reinforced base

Unsupportive hipbelt, no hipbelt pockets, no top tensioning straps, high price

Full specifications

28-litre capacity / G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco material / double-layer nylon base / clipped lid closure / side pockets / pole attachments / two side pockets / separate rain cover.

Patagonia Nine Trails Pack 28L

Price: £130
Weight: 1000g

The Patagonia Nine Trails Pack 28L is a beautifully designed and comfortable daypack with all the features you’d need for a day of walking or hiking in the hills or mountains. The first thing to catch our eye was the huge U-shaped zip that runs around the lid and almost the whole front of the pack, allowing you to fully open up the main storage compartment for ease of access.

The Nine Trails weighs in at around 1000g but still feels very light, mainly due to its flexible mesh back panel and the use of lightweight and durable CORDURA nylon ripstop material, which is tough and treated with water-repellent finish to help keep your kit dry in showers. We like the double side compression straps, which let you really scrunch the pack down when it isn’t fully loaded to avoid any sagging. Those straps are also useful for lashing things like poles, small tripods and axes to the side of the pack if needed.

In terms of pockets, you get two stretch side pockets, a large stretch external front pocket, two zipped hipbelt pockets, and a small zipped valuables pocket inside. The shoulders and hips are nicely padded, making the whole package extremely comfortable. In short, the Patagonia Nine Trails 28L gets a big thumbs up from us.

Comfortable, lightweight and excellently designed with a great feature set. It looks very cool too.

Mesh back panel sits flush against your body so little room for airflow, no pole attachments

Full Specifications

28-litre capacity / Cordura nylon ripstop material / breathable mono-mesh back panel / U-shaped zip entry to main compartment / two stretch side pockets / large stretch front pocket / two hipbelt pockets / internal valuables pocket / hydration bladder sleeve / double side compression straps.

Salewa Mtn Trainer 28L

Price: £135
Weight: 1023g

Salewa is a big Italian brand that’s slowly becoming more recognisable in the UK, and it’s all down to the quality of their mountain gear. Every product feels very well thought-out and exceptional quality, and the Salewa Mtn Trainer 28L rucksack is no exception.

The 28-litre capacity makes it suitable for everything from day hikes to scrambles and very lightweight overnight trips, with a traditional floating lid and drawstring closure design giving instant appeal to purists. The Contact Flow Fit back system keeps you ventilated by using two big pads on the sides that stay in contact with your body, with a large channel down the middle for air to flow freely. It seems to work too!

The thin shoulder straps with large ventilation holes feel a little bit like they’ve sacrificed comfort for a little extra airflow, but otherwise this pack is hard to fault. It’s comfortable and not too heavy, with plenty of pockets to stash your kit and features that are as useful on countryside walks as they are on technical mountain routes.

Main chamber feels huge for a 28-litre pack, back system provides good ventilation without adding too much weight

£135 price feels expensive against some of its competitors, quite a few loose straps

Full Specifications

28-litre capacity / 100Dx280D nylon twill material / Contact Flow ventilated back system / separate raincover / internal hydration bladder sleeve / floating lid with drawstring closure / zipped valuables pocket / zipped hipbelt pocket / two stretch side pockets / pole attachments / compression straps.


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