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Anupama Pradeep

Top 10 Best Day Hiking Backpacks [2022 Reviews]

While heading out for a hike, you need to take with you many things. Even if it is for a one day hike, you need to take things like your aid kit, map, compass, extra layers, water, food and your mobile phones with you. By getting the right gear, you can pack these things efficiently.

Buying a hiking backpack sounds simple, but getting the right one will make your hiking experience more convenient. A good backpacking pack will leave your hands totally free to use the compass and to use your hiking poles. This article will cover all the essentials which you need to look for while shopping for a good day hiking backpack.


Quick Comparison: Top Day Hiking Backpacks

**Below, you'll find our expert's reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Choosing the Best Day Hiking Backpacks

Having a good backpack will help you to pack all your essentials such as food, water, accessories and additional clothing well organized.

Not every backpack pack is fitted for each hike. For example, there is no need to carry a big backpack when you are planning for a one day hike and vice versa. Moreover, if the backpack is too large, then you will find it hard to stabilize and they will start moving inside and will make you feel unbalanced while on a rough terrain.

Don’t worry! We will help you to get the right backpack which fits your requirements. Below mentioned are certain important factors which you should consider prior to placing your order.


 Access to the pack while hiking and type of the frame are two important features which you should note while picking up a backpack.


 First determine how you are going to use your daypack and then settle on the features you need on it.


 The size of the backpack can be determined based on the number of days you are planning for the hike and also on the things which you are going to pack and carry with you.


The upper body length as well as hip size is the two important factors which defines the fit factor.

Important Things to Consider While Buying a Day Hiking Backpack


Majority of the day hiking backpacks are frame less since they are not meant to carry heavy loads. Backpacks without frames are having a flexible structure and are lightweight in nature when compared to those with external or internal frame backpacks.

On the other hand, those with frames will carry the weight of the loads rightly from the shoulders to the hips, thus making you feel comfortable while hiking.

Volume and Size

Day hiking backpacks which are specially designed for one day hikes have a volume which is less than 40 liters. This won’t suit for multiple day trips as the sleeping equipment like tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag takes some space in your backpack.


Keeping the weight minimal will help you to lower the aerobic demand and this in turn will help you to hike easier as well as faster than with carrying heavier gears.

Pockets and Attachment Points

The hikers can keep the things well organized if the backpack has enough pockets along with attachment points. The attachment points will let you attach the bulkier gears (trekking poles, ice axes and many more) easily in it.

Back panel

The major purpose of the back panel is to offer good ventilation. This in turn will help you avoid sweating even if you take a synthetic daypack with you. These kinds of high-quality backpacks will have a suspended mesh fabric for creating some distance between the backpack and your back.


The durability of any backpack is highly dependable on the quality of fabric, buckles, zippers and so on. The backpacks which are used for day hiking are constructed using nylon of varying denier. If the denier is higher, then the durability of the fabric will be more and vice versa. On the other hand, keep in mind that, if the denier number is high, then it may lead to heavier fabric.

Hydration System Compatibility

The hydration system in a backpack will provide you access to water bottles. Those daypacks which are having compatible hydration system will be having an opening for the tube and also a sleeve or a pocket for the water reservoir.

How to Hand Wash Hiking Backpack?

Backpacks are essential things while hiking. Over the time, moisture content, food particles and the everyday wear and tear will make your backpack dirty and smelly.

Fortunately, the backpacks are designed to meet every wear and tear and also they are easy to clean as well. Some can be machined washed while others should be hand washed based on the fabric used for the construction of the backpack. 

Below mentioned are the steps which you should follow while hand washing your hiking backpacks:

  • 1
    Very first thing is to empty your backpack and make sure that all the things have been cleared. Turn the backpack inside out and then with the help of a small vacuum, clean the interior corners which are hard to reach. The pockets should be kept unzipped once you are done with this cleaning process.
  • 2
    Using a soft brush clean the interior, exterior dust particles in your backpack. Now with a damp rug, wipe the exterior area of your packs as this may help to get rid of the dirt on the surface.
  • 3
    Check for the backpack care instruction label. Remember, you should always stick to the rules and regulations which the maker has mentioned in the backpack for ensuring that you don’t damage it by washing. They provide you with the right information on how to clean, wash and dry the backpacks.
  • 4
    Make use of some good quality pre treatment stain removers. Avoid using bleach. Scrub the stains with the help of a soft brush and apply the treatment and leave it for 30 minutes.
  • 5
    Now fill the tub with lukewarm water. Ensure that you have enough space for washing all the pockets and every sections of your backpack.
  • 6
    Use mild detergents to the water which is free from chemicals, dyes or any kind of fragrances as this may damage the waterproof layers of your backpacks.
  • 7
    You can either use the water filled in the tub to dip your scrubber or cleaning rag or submerge the backpack completely into it. The rag will help in the general cleaning of your bag while the brush will help cleaning the extremely dirty areas.
  • 8
    Now it is time to rinse you backpack carefully. Make sure that there are no detergent particles left in your bag. If then, try to rinse it once more to remove all the soapy residues.
  • 9
    Dry the backpack naturally by hanging it upside down on a liner. Ensure that the zippers are left opened while drying.

How to Machine Wash Hiking Backpack?

  • 1
    Empty the bag after checking all the pockets and attachment points in it. Remove all the debris which is lodged in the seams as well as in the corners of the backpack and then open the zips of the pockets.
  • 2
    Ensure that you take out the metal frame of your backpack, if any. You can take out the removable straps attached to the bag if you want to hand wash it separately.
  • 3
    The most important thing is to make certain that the backpack can fit inside the machine and has got enough space to move around while spinning.
  • 4
    If you are having a big laundry bag which fits your backpack, then try using it. This will help to stop the zips and the straps of the bag getting caught, thus preventing the damaging of both the machine as well as the bag.
  • 5
    Now run the machine and then rinse it well to get rid of all the detergent residues.
  • 6
    You can use mild detergents which is suitable for the rucksacks. However make sure that you don’t use the normal ones as this may damage the fabric of your backpack.
  • 7
    Wash the bag on a gentle cycle in normal water.
  • 8
    Take out the bag from the machine and allow it to dry naturally.
  • 9
    Make sure that you keep away from direct heat sources. Do not tumble dry.
  • 10
    Store it back once it is 100 percent dry.

Review of some of the Best Day Hiking Backpacks

Our Recommendation

REI Co-op Special Edition Flash 18 Pack

If you are in search for a lightweight day hiking backpack and you are on a budget, then don’t search any more. The REI Co-op Special Edition Flash 18 Pack will fit for your short hikes.

The Flash 18 backpack can be transformed into a stuff sack if you turn it inside out. The back panel of the pack can be slipped out to use as a sit pad.

REI Co-op Special Edition Flash 18 day hiking backPack
Major Features:
  • The lightly padded stretch-mesh shoulder straps are really comfortable and are breathable as well
  • Backpanels are lightly padded
  • Detachable hip belt and sternum straps
  • Sternum-strap buckle doubles as a security whistle
  • Hydration-compatible design comes with a hose exit port and an internal sleeve
  • Draw cord closure helps cover the top opening when it is cinched tight
  • The backpack exterior has got zippered pockets along with a daisy chain which has ice axe loops


  • angle-double-right
    Reasonably priced
  • angle-double-right
  • angle-double-right
    Minimalist design
  • angle-double-right
    Super packable


  • angle-double-right
    Thin waist belt as well as shoulder straps
  • angle-double-right
    Not Enough Pockets
  • angle-double-right
    Material Feels Too Delicate

CamelBak Helena 20 Hydration Pack - Women's - 2.5 Liters

The Camelbak Rim Runner 22 hydration pack comes with a 2.5L reservoir and has got lots of compartments for storing your gear.

It has a load-bearing hip belt with attached cargo pockets and this will help to take out your snacks while on the go. The clean and technical aesthetic specifications will help you keep your things organized along with keeping you hydrated throughout the journey.

The antidote reservoir consists of a quick link system, center baffling, lightweight fill port, easy open/close cap, low-profile design and dryer arms.

The major highlights are: it comes with hike essentials organizer pocket, tool attachment, side pockets and four point compression. The backpack is specially designed to hold all the essentials such as sunglasses, extra layers, trekking poles, trail maps, media, head lamp and food.

CamelBak Women's Helena 20 Hydration day hiking backPack
Major Features:
  • The Crux reservoir provides 20 percent more water per sip
  • Major compartments plus separate essentials pockets
  • Stretch overflow exterior pockets
  • Breathable air-mesh back panel which points to a lightweight and comfortable fit
  • Load-bearing hip belt with attached zip pockets
  • External daisy chain attachment points

Foot Note!!!

Regardless of the type and the model of backpack you are choosing for your day hiking needs, ensure that it goes well with your personal requirements without compromising for the style factor.

Finally, the backpack is not just useful and offers comfort, but they are used for long term over time. For the same reason, we always recommend you to pick the one which is made out of high quality fabrics that comes with high reputation in the hiking marketplace.

image credit: amazon.com, amazon.in, rei.com, decathlon.in

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