A hiking backpack is an essential piece of kit, here we have rounded up the best daypacks for 2024

It is important to choose a hiking backpack or daypack that is not only durable but also has the right capacity to accommodate all your essentials. Additionally, consider the comfort and fit of the backpack as this will greatly enhance your overall hiking experience.

Main image: Berghaus

For the time being, we’ll concentrate on daypacks that can fit all you need for a day in the hills without sacrificing support or durability. We examined some of the best hiking daypacks available, most of which are expensive, but we also looked at several cheaper ones. too.

Once you’ve got your brand-new hiking backpack and given it a few practice familiar hill days, it may start to need some TLC. Cleaning your daypack on a regular basis is a great way to help it last longer. If you’re not sure how to best care for your kit, outdoor expert Chris Townsend has some great tips on how to clean your backpack.

When backpacking with a partner or friend there are some logistical benefits to sharing a space together in the outdoors. Here’s how hiking with a friend or your significant other can bring significant gains in our article on: How to share backpacking adventures (and both survive to tell the tale)

We’ve also got a handy guide that answers the question: can you use a regular backpack for hiking? Gear shouldn’t be a barrier when it comes to enjoying the outdoors but it’s always good to know the limitations of what you’re taking.

Our picks of the best hiking backpacks

In this article you will see a wide variety of daypacks. All of the items selected for this guide have been tested by our team of experts. There are plenty of options whether you’re working to a budget or looking for the best of the best, we’ve got great advice to guide you on your next investment.

Berghaus Remote Hike 25

Berghaus Remote hiker daypack

Chris Townsend’s Best in Test

The backpack is lightweight, durable, and suitable for 3-season hillwalking.
  • Large pockets
  • Easy access
  • Lightweight
  • Low cost
  • None
Quick specs
RRP: £75 | International shipping available (Buy now from berghaus.com)
Weight: 770g
Capacity: 25 litres
Materials: PFC-free nylon 200D ripstop
Closure: zip-round panel
Back system: framesheet with mesh-covered foam panels
Back length: 49cm
Hipbelt: padded
Pockets: elasticated front stash, 2 side mesh, 2 mesh hipbelt, top zipped security
Features: Side compression straps, ice axe/trekking pole loops, external hydration sleeve
Sizes: one

Chris Townsend: First up in our guide to the best hiking backpacks is the Remote Hike 25. The Berghaus Remote Hike 25 is a comfortable and functional hiking backpack with a weight capacity of 25 litres. It features thick mesh-covered shoulder straps, hipbelt, and back padding, distributing weight well and providing stability. The pack has a non-padded channel down the center of the back for airflow and reducing sweat build-up. The backpack is made of PFC-free nylon 200D ripstop, has a zip-round panel closure, and has a back system with mesh-covered foam panels. It has a zip-round panel closure, a framesheet with mesh-covered foam panels, and a back length of 49cm. The daypack is lightweight, durable, and suitable for 3-season hillwalking.

Read more: Berghaus Remote Hike 25 review

Osprey Talon Earth 22

Osprey Talon Earth 22 daypack

Chris Townsend Recommends

The pack carries fine. If the features work for you the Osprey Talon Earth 22 is an excellent option.
  • Recycled materials
  • Easy access
  • Expensive
  • Quite Heavy
Quick specs
RRP: $129 | £90 (Buy now from ospreyeurope.com)
Weight: 1060g
Capacity: 22 litres
Materials: bluesign-approved recycled 100D x 210D high-tenacity nylon with PFC/PFAS-free DWR
Closure: zip-round panel
Back system: recycled framesheet, 50% recycled mesh-covered cut-out EVA foam
Back length: adjustable, 49-56cm
Hipbelt: padded
Pockets: 2 side mesh, 2 zipped hipbelt, zipped top, internal zipped security, padded laptop sleeve
Features: side compression straps, bike helmet attachment, tuckaway ice axe loop, external hydration sleeve
Sizes: one

Chris Townsend: Osprey has released the Osprey Talon Earth 22 hiking backpack, a sustainable option with a 1060g weight and 22 litre capacity. The backpack is made of bluesign-approved recycled 100D x 210D high-tenacity nylon with PFC/PFAS-free DWR, with a zip-round panel closure and a recycled framesheet and 50% recycled mesh-covered cut-out EVA foam back system. The backpack features side compression straps, bike helmet attachment, tuckaway ice axe loop, and an external hydration sleeve. The backpack is comfortable to carry with well-padded shoulder straps, back, and hipbelt.

The main compartment has good access via a long zip, while the side and hipbelt pockets are roomy. However, there is no front pocket and the laptop sleeve next to the back is not suitable for hills and city use. The pack is quite heavy for its size.

Read more: Osprey Talon Earth 22 review

Montane Orbiton 20

Montane orbiton review

Chris Townsend’s verdict

Overall, this is a neat little pack that carries well. I think there are better choices for hillwalking though
  • Weight
  • Cost
  • Access
  • Small pockets
Quick specs

RRP: $195 | £160 (Buy now from montane.com)
Weight: 815g
Capacity: 20 litres
Materials: 210D grid nylon
Closure: 2 zip-round panels
Back system: framesheet, padded panels
Back length: 47cm
Hipbelt: padded, adjustable for walk, run or bike
Pockets: zipped front, 2 stretch mesh side, 2 stretch mesh shoulder strap, zipped inner, inner organiser, padded laptop/tablet/phone sleeves
Features: side compression straps
Sizes: one

Chris Townsend: The Montane Orbiton 20 is a lightweight hiking backpack designed for various outdoor activities, including walking, running, biking, and hillwalking. It features a hipbelt that can be adjusted with stud fasteners, making it comfortable for both walking and running.

The pack weighs 815g, has a large zip top closure, and has a back system with AirZone and FormKnit technology foam. It has two compartments, one easily accessible via a long zip, and urban-compatible features like a padded laptop sleeve and tablet/phone sleeve. While it is a neat and well-packaged option, it may not be suitable for hillwalking.

Read more: Montane Orbiton 20 review

Lowe Alpine Women’s AirZone Trek 26L daypack

best women's backpacks-Lowe-Alpine-AirZone

Fiona Russell’s Best in Test

A daypack that could easily become a favourite. My sole criticism is that the fastening clips are small and so are fiddly to operate with gloves.
  • Comfy
  • Waterproof
  • Mesh back
  • Small clips
Quick specs
RRP: $175 | £130
Weight: 815g
Capacity: 26 litres
Materials: 210D 6.6 Mini Ripstop / HydroShield nylon with PFC-free DWR
Closure: large zip top
Back system: AirZone + back system with FormKnit technology foam
Back length: 43-48cm
Hipbelt: padded
Pockets: 2 side mesh, 2 zipped hipbelt, zipped top, zipped internal, internal hydration sleeve
Features: forward pull hip-belt, axe attachment, walking pole attachments, sternum strap with whistle, hydration bladder compatible, upper and lower side compression straps, detachable raincover
Sizes: one

Fiona Russell: The Airzone Trek is a pack that I’ve had the chance to use, and it’s proven to be quite comfortable. The hipbelt and shoulder straps come with light padding, and it features a suspended back system, adding to its overall comfort. What’s great about it is the 5cm of torso adjustment, as well as sternum strap adjustment, making it suitable for individuals with different chest sizes.

In terms of organization, it doesn’t disappoint. There’s a main compartment with a two-way zip and a convenient drop-down front panel. Inside, you’ll find an internal bladder pocket, a hanger, and a single feeder hole for the drinking tube, making it perfect for hydration on the go. Additionally, there’s a smaller internal pocket with zipped access from the top of the pack for your smaller essentials.

It’s worth noting that there are zipped pockets on the hipbelt, although they can be a bit of a squeeze for a mobile phone. The pack also includes some small reflective details, four compression straps, and attachments for walking poles and an ice axe, showing great attention to detail. However, one minor drawback is the fastening clips, which are on the smaller side and can be a bit fiddly to operate, especially with gloves on.

Read more: Lowe Alpine Women’s AirZone Trek 26L review

Haglöfs Women’s L.I.M 35 hiking pack

best women's backpacks-Haglofs-LIM-35-pack

Fiona Russell Recommends

Overall, if you’re in the market for a lightweight pack that offers comfort and a straightforward design, the Haglöfs L.I.M 35 is definitely worth considering.
  • Comfy
  • Lightweight
  • Ventilated back
  • No torso adjuster
  • Small clips
  • One size
Quick specs
RRP: £140 (Buy now from alpinetrek.co.uk)
Weight: 929g
Capacity: 34 litres
Materials: bluesign-approved 70D*140D diamond rip-stop polyamide
Closure: 2 clipped top lid
Back system: airback suspension system
Back length: 49cm
Hipbelt: padded
Pockets: 2 side mesh, 2 zipped hipbelt, zipped top, internal hydration sleeve
Features: compression system, gear attachment, adjustable sternum strap, load lifters
Sizes: one

Fiona Russell: I recently had the opportunity to check out the Haglöfs L.I.M 35 pack, and it’s definitely a lightweight and pared-down option that has a lot to offer. One of its standout features is the well-designed mesh back, which provides excellent ventilation and enhances comfort during use.

The pack follows a more traditional design with a top opening and a lid, and it incorporates a sophisticated cinch system. Inside, you’ll find a main compartment and a hydration pocket with a hanger. Additionally, there’s a zipped external top lid pocket, which is quite handy, and two roomy zipped hip pockets for quick access to your essentials.

However, it’s essential to note that this pack lacks torso length adjustment, which might be a drawback for some users. Also, it’s relatively long, so it may not be the best fit for shorter individuals, especially shorter women.

Another consideration is the design of the zip pulls, which are on the minimalist side, and the clips on the hip belt, sternum strap, and for the top lid can be a bit fiddly to operate, especially when wearing gloves.

Overall, if you’re in the market for a lightweight pack that offers comfort and a straightforward design, the Haglöfs L.I.M 35 is definitely worth considering.

Read more: Haglöfs L.I.M 35 pack review

Mystery Ranch Women’s Coulee 30 daypack

Mystery Ranch Women’s Coulee 30 daypack

Fiona Russell’s verdict

Despite a few minor issues, this hiking pack seems to be a good choice for female hikers, offering adjustable sizing and a thoughtful design for various outdoor adventures.
  • Two sizes
  • Adjustability
  • Poor zip design
  • Complicated zipping
  • Price
Quick specs
RRP: $189 | £190 (Buy now from mysteryranch.com US only)
Weight: 1158g
Capacity: 30 litres
Materials: 100% recycled nylon 210D Robic nylon, external DWR, internal PU coating, both PFC-free
Closure: three-zip lid and front access
Back system: padded
Back length: XS/S: 33-46cm; M/L: 41-46cm
Hipbelt: padded
Pockets: 2 back fabric, 2 side mesh, 2 zipped hipbelt, zipped top, internal hydration sleeve
Features: YKK zips with DWR finish, interior attach loops, torso length adjustment, double-layer base, side compression, tool attach points
Sizes: XS/S, M/L

I’ve had the opportunity to test out this hiking pack, and it’s clearly designed with a focus on accommodating a wide range of female users. It comes in two different sizes, offering flexibility for various body types. Additionally, the pack features torso length adjustment and a moveable sternum strap, which are valuable features for achieving a comfortable fit.

One of the standout features of this pack is the three-zip access design, which is quite inventive. However, it’s worth noting that there is a small gap where the zips meet, which could potentially be a minor concern.

The main compartment is well thought out, with a rear pocket designed to hold a hydration bladder. There are also two feeder holes for the drinking tube, which is a nice touch. On the sides, you’ll find two stretchy open-top pockets that are great for carrying water bottles or other essentials.

The pack includes ample padding in both the hipbelt and shoulder straps, ensuring comfort during extended use. However, one drawback is the padded rear of the pack, which can lead to a sweaty back during warmer weather or more strenuous activities.

Lastly, the two zipped waistbelt pockets are a convenient addition, but they are positioned relatively far back and may not be the easiest to access quickly. Despite a few minor issues, this hiking pack seems to be a good choice for female hikers, offering adjustable sizing and a thoughtful design for various outdoor adventures.

Read more: Mystery Ranch Women’s Coulee 30 daypack review

How we test the best hiking backpacks

In this best hiking backpacks guide. Fiona Russell tried out the women’s daypacks, while Chris Townsend tried out the men’s.

Fiona is tall and thin, with a small chest. She put the hiking daypacks through their paces while hiking trails and hill routes in Scotland. The weather ranged from mild to damp and windy. She then asked a female friend who was shorter in size but had a bigger chest to try on the packs. Fiona Russell is a specialist outdoor expert and writer who has her own personal blog at FionaOutdoors – My Adventures in Scotland’s Great Outdoors

Chris stands 5ft 8in tall, with a stocky body, and short legs. He put these packs through their paces on lower-level excursions in the Cairngorms National Park in late autumn and winter. The weather was wintry, with snow and ice on the ground at times, and stormy. The packs’ sturdiness certainly got a good testing, as did ease of use with gloves. Chris has been our gear editor for over 20 years and Chris was the first person to complete a continuous round of all the Scottish Munros and Tops and has walked across Scotland from coast-to-coast 16 times, 15 of them while participating in the annual Great Outdoors Challenge.

What to look for in the best backpacks


Hiking packs for hillwalking run from 20 to 35 litres in volume. Regardless of the claimed capacity will a pack hold all the gear you want to carry? Litres are not a fixed amount when it comes to packs! It’s always worth thinking how your gear will fit inside. If you think you might want to carry extra gear at times, look for straps and shockcord for attaching it.

Back length

Back length isn’t as important with small packs as it is for big ones designed for heavy loads. As long as the top of the pack isn’t far below your shoulders when the hipbelt is round your hips, the pack should carry okay.

Back system

For heavier loads an internal frame or stiff framesheet that transfers the weight to the hipbelt is useful. In small packs this isn’t essential, though one does make packing easier and stops hard items poking you in the back.

Hipbelt/ waist strap

Padded hipbelts should fit snugly round the hips.


Pockets are useful for organising gear, especially small items that might be needed during the day. Mesh pockets are useful for wet items, allowing them to drain and dry out. Check that pockets are the right size for your gear.


External straps can be used for attaching items such as foam pads or trekking poles and for compressing the size of the pack when a small load is carried. They should be easy to adjust and not interfere with access to pockets.