From short day hikes and summit scrambles to an all-day journey into the backcountry, you’ll want the best budget hiking daypack for the job. Most people carry different items water and food, a layering piece and rain shell, and a few other accessories like a first-aid kit or headlamp. And the longer you’ll be on the journey, the more comfort, capacity, and features come into play.
This article breaks down the best daypacks of 2021, from simple and inexpensive models for casual hikes to a more comfortable and feature-packed selection for longer excursions. For overnight trips, see our article on the best budget hiking daypack.
Table of Contents
Top 10 Best budget hiking daypack
- REI Co-op Flash 18
- Osprey Talon 22
- Deuter Speed Lite 24
- Osprey Stratos 24
- Patagonia’s Nine Trails
- Hyperlite Mountain Gear Gear Daybreak
- Gregory Miwok 24L
- Salomon XA 25 Hydration Pack
- Gossamer Gear
- Coulee 25 backpack
1. REI Co-op Flash 18
REI Co-op’s Flash line of daypacks has been unique among hikers, travelers and is the best ultralight budget daypack for those on a budget for years. Simplicity wins out here: the Flash 18 is frameless by style, meaning it lacks the rigidity of other daypacks but manages to keep weight incredibly low at just 9 ounces (and even less if you take out the detachable waist belt, sternum strap, or back pad).
You don’t get a cushy hip belt or shoulder straps, but the breathable mesh and padding are surprisingly enjoyable when carrying lighter loads. Most importantly, the Flash costs just $40, is well-built overall, and has enough capacity for shorter journeys and summit scrambles.
Its Features are limited with the REI Flash 18, so those who like comfy padding, organization, or want a water bottle stretch pocket should look at the other more fully-featured models on this list. Additionally, the Flash only comes in one size (some higher-end models containing the Talon above come in two sizes), making it tougher to nail the fit.
Finally, the Flash isn’t the most durable pack on this list: the foam back panel insert is pretty thin, for example, the ripstop nylon shell. But for carrying a small quantity of gear that doesn’t weigh down your pack, the Flash 18 is the best way to go fast and light on a budget. Its essential thing is REI plans to release new 18- and 22-liter Flash packs soon, so current designs are discounted while supplies last.
- It’s Affordable
- It’s Ultralight
- It has good pocket organization
- Removable hip belt
- It’s compact (frame sheet can be removed, and the pack can be rolled small to fit in luggage/backpacking backpack)
- Not as supportive as compare to others
- It can’t handle much weight and is low on attributes.
2. Osprey Talon 22
If you’re searching for one daypack that can do it all; Osprey’s updated Talon is your best budget hiking daypack. It hits an ideal balance of enjoyment and features at 22 liters (and made in larger versions up to 44 liters for those who require more capacity). Notably, the Talon has a genuine hip belt with light cushioning, which is more enjoyable than the simple webbing you get with more streamlined packs, along with a thoughtfully designed mesh back panel.
The pack also has functional organization, a nice stretchiness, ample attachment points including trekking poles, a helmet, and an ice ax, and is made in two sizes to dial in the fit. For day hikes, travel, and everyday use, the Talon 22 is a perfect choice. While the Talon is Osprey’s ideal all-rounder, the more expensive Stratos below offers even more padding and carrying comfort.
The latter has a more substantial hip belt along with a suspended mesh back panel for superior support and ventilation (it’s built more like a backpacking pack than a daypack). On the flip side, the Talon is lighter at under 2 pounds, but its thinner back panel means that you can sometimes feel your bag’s contents on your back, especially if loaded down. Finally, the Stratos get the edge for heavy loads and long days on the trail, but the Talon is lighter, $20 cheaper, and more than a good daypack for most people and uses.
- Padded/ventilated back panel
- Supportive hip belt
- The good pocket arrangement
- Helmet clip for commuting
- Good value for the price
- Heavier than some other daypacks
- Hipbelt isn’t removable
3. Deuter Speed Lite 24
The Osprey Talon Is a small and Durable hiking daypack. Starting with the good, the Speed Lite is a perfect size for most day hikes at 24 liters, is comfortable, ventilates well, and comes with various features, including trekking pole holders, daisy chains, side compression straps, and hydration reservoir compatibility. Compared to the smaller Speed Lite 20, which we also like, the padded hip belt makes a big difference when carrying full loads and covering longer distances—it feels like an entirely different pack in that regard.
The reason we give the nod to the Talon is that it comes in two different sizes. The Speed Lite 24 only comes in one size, which is pretty standard among daypacks and fits torsos ranging from 15 to 19 inches (the women’s 22L version includes 14 to 18 in.). And with the recent update to the Talon, the Speed Lite 24 is a full $25 cheaper for 2 liters’ more capacity.
The fit was noticeably small on our 6-foot tester during testing, and the belt sat uncomfortably high. The Talon, on the other hand, comes in two sizes selection. The S/M fits 16- to 20-inch torsos, and the M/L fits 19-to 23-inch torsos, which is a pretty substantial difference. But if the slipper fits, the Speed Lite 24 is a perfect daypack for less money.
- It’s Affordable
- Its Durable,
- It’s comfortable
- It’s Lightweight
- Its padded back panel
- Removable hip belt,
- It’s a significant/convenient opening for the main compartment
- Its front stash pocket is somewhat inconvenient to access
4. Osprey Stratos 24
If you prioritize comfort or design on hauling a heavy load, the Osprey Stratos 24 is the best comfortable and supportive Hiking daypack and its feature-rich daypack on this list. Its full metal frame and substantial hip belt put the weight comfortably on your hips, and a large mesh panel ventilates extremely well and conforms nicely to your back.
The primary disadvantage of the Stratos is weight and price. Besides, the organization is excellent—we particularly like the two hip belt pockets and sizeable zippered access to the main compartment. Add a built-in rain cover, and the Stratos checks off everything you’ll require in a daypack.
Those wanting a premium, luxurious pack will appreciate the Stratos’ support and build standard, but for something simpler and more packable from Osprey, see the equally popular Talon above. The sturdy construction pushes the pack to nearly 3 pounds (many backpacking packs weigh less), and the Osprey can’t stuff down like a frameless bag. It’s also fairly costly at $140, considering the relatively modest 24-liter capacity.
- It’s comfortable
- It’s supportive
- It transfers weight to the hips well
- It’s a good pocket organization
- Its rain cover included
- It’s Durable
- Sometimes weight create an issue
- We prefer a mesh front pocket over the front zippered pocket, a little heavier than others.
- It’s heavy for its capacity.
- It only comes in one size and therefore fits a limited variety of people
5. Patagonia’sNine Trails
Waist packs have taken over the amazing world of mountain biking, and the trend is picking up steam for hikers too. The concept is relatively so easy instead of carrying a sturdy bag on your shoulders. Its lightweight waist pack (or fanny pack, as they are affectionately known) can have everything you require without being cumbersome. And for the Cadillac of waist packs, Patagonia’s Nine Trails is the best budget hiking daypack.
Suppose you are interested in this unique product category but want to shop around. You get 8 liters of excellent capacity, containing plenty of features for your phone, keys, food, and a puffy and rain shell. Patagonia even has a 1.5-liter water reservoir and hose system for easy drinking on the go. It isn’t the lightest or inexpensive waist pack on the market, but you can’t beat the quality set or build quality. articular
In that case, Osprey makes its popular Talon and Daylite in waist pack versions, the latter of which is relatively light and inexpensive, just 7 ounces and $30. Additionally, REI makes its Trail line in 5- and 2-liter versions and Patagonia has a “Mini” variation of its Black Hole that weighs just 3.5 ounces. All are fine selections for travel and short day hikes, but none can match the execution chops, carrying comfort, or feature set of the Nine Trails 8L.
- Its amazing design
- Its excellent pocket organization
- It’s a significant/convenient opening for the main compartment
- Its padded back panel,
- Its supportive hip belt
- it’s too expensive
- it’s heavier as compare to others
6. Hyperlite Mountain Gear Gear Daybreak
Maine-based Hyperlite Mountain Gear makes some of our favorite Best ultralight daypacks. Their top daypack, the Daybreak, shares the same core ingredients: Dyneema Composite Fabric that is weather-repellent and incredibly strong for its weight, simple yet multifunctional organization, and a clean style that looks fantastic.
On paper, the 17-liter capacity in the main chamber seems small, but the large front pocket and two side pockets add a significant functional storage facility. For serious day hikes in rough conditions, the Daybreak is hard to beat. Cost is the biggest obstacle in selecting Daybreak. It’s the most expensive bag on our list despite only having a moderate 17-liter capacity.
If you’re able to pull double duty, it’s easier to swallow the high cost. But the extra amount gets you super weather protection, a premium build that is handmade in the U.S., and we like the trickle-down features from Hyperlite’s backpacking packs. And it’s worth noting that various people use the Daybreak for daily use, and we’ve searched for ourselves doing the same for travel and carrying a computer or camera.
- Its Ultralight,
- It’s highly water-resistant,
- Its durable,
- It feels more spacious than 17L,
- It supportive/stashable hip belt,
- Its high-quality materials/construction
- It’s Costly,
- Its no hydration bladder pocket
- Its relatively small capacity in the main compartment
7. Gregory Miwok 24L
One of best Gregory’s longest-standing daypack lines is the Miwok (and women’s-specific Maya). We’ve searched the latest model through an entire season of use. We’ve searched for the newest model that does an excellent job of maintaining weight, comfort, and features. At under 2 pounds for the 24-liter version, you get anything you require for a full day out: The hip belt is lightly padded and supportive. The back panel is relatively flexible but just thick enough to separate you from what’s inside. There’s a total of eight outer pockets.
Competitively cost $120 and built to last with reinforced panels along the bottom, the Miwok 24 is the best budget hiking daypack, a quality selection for day hiking and travel. So, how does Gregory compare with Osprey’s Talon 22 above? The two cost around the same (the Gregory is $10 cheaper) and share several attributes, including padding on their back panels and hip belts, mesh pockets along the front, and premium touches like dedicated hydration reservoir sleeves.
The Osprey is a very little more multi-sport-friendly with its LidLock bike helmet system. Still, with a slightly more multifunctional layout, Gregory gets the edge in capacity by 2 liters and organization. What pushes the Osprey to the lead for us, in the end, is its two available sizes, which allow more people to get a closer and better fit. Also, we had a zipper fail on our Miwok, while our Talon is still going strong after many years of consistent use.
- A great mix of storage
- It’s lightweight
- It’s Comfortable
- One size doesn’t truly fit all; the zipper failed on our pack.
8. Salomon XA 25 Hydration Pack
For fastpacking and more extended technical tours in the mountains, a hydration pack like Salomon’s XA 25 makes a lot of sense. We’ll start with the advantages that the XA checks in at under a pound but comes nicely appointed with a generous 25 liters of capacity, front water bottle storage (two soft flasks are included) and reservoir compatibility, multifunctional exterior storage including two stretch pockets and well-designed compression straps, and a roll-top closure that makes it easy to snug things down.
In the end, Salomon XA 25 is the best budget hiking daypack. We like that Salomon made the main compartment highly water-repellent (including taped seams). Combined with the YKK zippers, the XA 25 stands out as one of the most well-built and weather-ready styles on our list. Now move towards the disadvantages; the Salomon XA 25 costs a steep $180 but is far less versatile than other selections on this list.
We can say that this is a decidedly technical pack that is overkill for most casual day hikers (and many ambitious hikers too). However, the XA 25 uses thin materials along the shoulders and a very basic webbing hip belt to keep weight low, making it notably less comfortable and supportive than the more traditional designs from Osprey, Deuter, and Gregory above.
On the flip side, the XA 25 sits very close to the body, making it much easier to cover the ground fastly. All in all, this pack isn’t for anything, but the low weight and well-executed feature set make it a perfect choice for ultralight overnights and mountain athletes.
- Well designed
- Generous 25 liters of capacity
- Sometimes its roll-top closure caused the issue
9. Gossamer Gear
Gossamer Gear is one of our fantastic favorite cottage industry brands, with a strong lineup targeted at minimalist tours and thru-hikers. For gear-heavy day trips, travel, or true ultralight backpacking, the Kumo 36 is an intriguing style. Weighing in at 1 pound 4.5 ounces, the pack has generous storage with a large, 28-liter main chamber and thoughtfully distributed pockets along the sides, hip belt, and front.
The flexible foam back panel doesn’t offer much structure, and the padding undoubtedly is thin. Still, the Kumo is well-structured and surprisingly durable with its standard-quality Robic nylon construction. Among high-capacity and lightweight selection, the Granite Gear Crown2 above is a perfect competitor to the Kumo.
Both offer similar storage and convenience levels, but the Gossamer Gear has the best budget hiking daypack, the clear advantage in terms of weight, undercutting the Crown by nearly a full pound. However, the Granite Gear’s plastic frame sheet and thicker cushioning give it a higher weight capacity (35 lbs. compared to the Kumo’s 25 lbs.), making the Crown2 a more versatile one-quiver pack.
- High capacity
- Ultralight backpack
- Cottage industry brands
- Light with generous storage
- Its Frameless design limits its carry capacity.
10. Coulee 25 backpack
Mystery Ranch is a fantastic cottage brand out of Bozeman, Montana, with a solid reputation among hunters and severe mountain athletes. Their Coulee 25 is the best ultralight daypack that stands out as an impressively durable and functional option for the more casual day hiking crowd. Right away, you’ll observe that this pack looks a little different from the competition: with a unique, Y-shaped opening at the front, the Coulee opens wide and permits quick and easy access to the main compartment.
The Coulee 25 is a competitor with Osprey’s Manta 24 above, but a few key differences push the Coulee down in our rankings. From day hiking to international travel, the 3-zipper system has many appeals, and the rest of the design and store layout are equally well-executed. Notably, the Manta costs $15 less but comes with a 2.5-liter hydration reservoir, integrated rain cover, and more external storage.
You forego the Mystery Ranch’s innovative zipper style, sacrifice a little durability, and the Manta is less customizable (you can remove the Coulee’s hip belt). Still, the Osprey strikes us as the better overall value. And if you like the style of the Coulee but want something a little bigger for overnights.
- Hydration reservoir
- Its unique zipper design allows easy access and has a lot of appeal for travel.
Women’s daypacks are not, as they may appear, just a colorful variety of a men’s or unisex pack. There are fundamental style differences with tangible benefits that deserve mentioning. The advantages of this best budget hiking daypack include a torso fit that is often a better size than the sometimes extensive and bulky unisex models, and shoulder straps and hip belts have been designed specifically for women. Men with shorter torsos often get a better fit with a women’s unique model as well.
Mainly, if you’ll be using the pack for pretty serious day hikes, it’s well worth opting for a high-end women’s design, like the Osprey Sirrus 24, Tempest 20, and Mira 22 we’ve listed above. The more tuned fit makes for a more comfortable carrying journey. For casual use, such as travel or when you’re packing light, it’s not as big a deal. Something like the amazing unisex REI Flash 18 should work just fine.
I hope through this article; you will b able to search out the best budget hiking daypack easily. Have a safe hiking journey.