What’s the best daypack for travel? While we’ve already dived into the best carry on backpacks, those are more designed for people looking to pack it all in one bag. One is your main piece of luggage – a suitcase, duffel bag, or a backpack and the other your daypack.
It feels like we always need a daypack when hopping around cities, hiking in the woods, or snowboarding in some glades. Even in a city, an urban daypack is great for carrying a camera, laptop, map, headphones, or your favorite water bottle.
It’s pretty easy to neglect the daypack, but in reality, it’s an item you should take the time to get right. After all, your favorite travel backpack or luggage will only be with you when you change locations, but a daypack can spend the whole day on your back when you’re exploring a new city or deep in the jungle.
20 Best Daypacks For Travel
These are our favorite daypacks for everyday use and navigating the urban streets. These packs won’t make you stand out like a sore thumb. I also find them more comfortable than their outdoor counterparts since they’re designed to be thrown over the shoulder while on the go.
The key detail of these packs is their sleek design and stylish features. The modern-day traveler is looking to conquer pavement and airports, not mountains and hiking trails.
1.) Peak Design Everyday Backpack ($259)
Weight: 3 lbs.
Capacities: 20, 30L
Features: Laptop Sleeve, Adjustable Top, Expandable Side Pockets, 400D Nylon Canvas Shell, Integrated Luggage Carry, Flexfold Dividers, Internal Padding, Side Loading Zips
Pros: Amazing Feature Set, Comfortable Support System, Laptop Sleeve, Organization, High-End Product
Cons: Very Expensive, A Little Heavy
This is an awesome daypack and backpack that works well for travel and everyday life. We love the gear we have from Peak Design and it’s all exceptionally high quality. Their Everyday Backpack provides a level of accessibility, organization, and quality we’ve seen in no other backpack so far.
It starts off with the top access which uses a patented MagLatch technology that pretty nifty in use and makes for quick access. Access is not limited to the top as both sides open for quick access to your bag that can be section via padded interior sleeves similar to a camera bag. The side pocket also comes with a plethora of pockets and storage that makes for easy organization. For travel, the tuckaway straps and integrated luggage carry system to make it easy to slip on top of a roller suitcase.
The addition of a dedicated laptop sleeve for a tablet and documents is just icing on the cake for a great daypack. One big negative of this pack is the price, as the large 30L version is just shy of $300.
2.) Jansport Hatchet Backpack ($60)
Weight: 1 lb. 6 oz.
Features: Laptop Sleeve, Two Water Bottle Holders, Sternum Strap, Two Exterior Pockets
Pros: Affordable, Style, Laptop Sleeve, Dual Water Bottle Pockets, Comfortable, Side Compression Straps, Caribiner Key Clip
Cons: Mixed Quality, No Ventilation in Back, Meh Zippers
I love the design of Jansports Hatchet Backpack. It draws from influences of outdoor gear and managed to make a stylish backpack that looks great in a modern environment.
The pack features one main compartment with a series of sleeves perfect for organizing things such as a travel laptop, notepad, and headphones. On the exterior are a number of pockets perfect to stash your accessories or a pen and notepad.
It’s by no means the best daypack for travel on this list, but it’s affordable and stylish so it gets high marks in that regard.
3.) Pacsafe Venturesafe x30 ($180)
Weight: 2 lbs. 6.4 oz.
Size: 12L, 15L, 18L 24L, 30L, 40L, 45L
Features: Laptop Compartment or Water Reservoir, Lockable Zippers, Cut Resistant Cables, Slash Resistant Material, Rain Cover, eXomesh Slashguard, Wide Range of Sizes
Pros: Feature-Packed, Carry-On Size, Comfortable, Versatile, High-Quality, Outdoor Versatility
Cons: Not Suitable For Everyone
In terms of anti-theft daypacks, most brands cater to world travelers and business-savvy tech lovers. Unfortunately, that can leave a large part of the spectrum under-represented. What about those outdoor enthusiasts that want the same peace of mind while hiking, climbing, or biking?
Don’t worry, Pacsafe has you covered! Their VentureSafe x30 has combined all the comforts of a hiking pack – such as an aluminum supported back frame, padded shoulder, hip, and chest straps, and a built-in rain cover which will keep your contents bone-dry when out in the elements.
Now combine all this with slash-proof materials, lockable zippers, and even RFID protection, and you have a pack that gives you the best of both worlds! All of this in a daypack that is stylish makes for a winning combination. A major bonus is they make the Venturesafe in a wide range of sizes that should suit your needs all the way from lightweight minimalist to full time traveler.
4.) Burton Annex Daypack ($99)
Weight: 2 lbs.
Features: Dedicated Laptop Sleeve,
Pros: Front Straps Can Hold A Yoga Mat, Two Pockets For Water Bottle or Accessories, Good Size
Cons: Lacks Structure In Top,
It’s pretty hard not to love the looks of this daypack. The design and amount of space it the packs means it could even be used by minimalist travelers or those looking for a weekend escape. The roomy design and 28L of space means it can pack just about all you ever need in a daypack or backpack for that matter.
It’s a great daypack with plenty of storage and pockets. We’ve used Burton backpacks for a couple of years now and have been impressed with their quality and durability. More than anything I enjoy the function, style, and price of this daypack.
5.) Patagonia Black Hole 25L ($129)
Weight: 1 lb. 8 oz.
Features: TPU-Film laminate For Waterproof Exterior, Laptop Sleeve, Bucket Style Opening, Small Stash Pocket, Vented Back Panel, Water Bottle Pockets
Pros: Comfortable, Weather Resistant, Feels At Home in Mountains or City, Lightweight,
Cons: No Hip Belt, Could Use More Interior Organization,
First things first, this pack is made by Patagonia which is one of my favorite brands! Patagonia makes great quality gear and garments. Two years on the road and I still have my Patagonia that shows little signs of wear. I continue to buy more of their products. Patagonia’s Black Hole is everything I have come to love about the company. It features a ripstop polyester that is a water-resistant TPU laminate which makes it waterproof and super tough.
The pack has a great look. An inner padded pocket is located on the inside to hold a laptop so it makes for a great bag in the city or out hiking in the woods. Another great feature is the daisy chain loops that allow for the attachment of things such as a skateboard, yoga mat, or climbing gear. This daypack is a slam dunk, but some might not like the laminate materials look. Also, it lacks compartments in the interior for the organization of your gear.
6.) Thule Subterra Backpack 30L ($139)
Weight: 2lbs. 8 oz.
Capacities: 23L, 25L 30L, 34L, 40L
Features: Laptop Sleeve, Weatherproof Nylon Exterior, Vented Back Panels, Sternum Strap, Water Bottle Holders, Side Handle, Luggage Sleeve Attachment,
Pros: Traditional Backpack Style, Vented Backpack Panel, Comfortable Straps, High Quality, Separate Padded Laptop Sleeve,
Another strong contender in the field of durability is the Thule Subterra backpack. Like Osprey, Thule focuses particularly on products for intense adventure and backcountry use. This daypack is designed to travel just as much as you do, and keep your laptop secure and safe for the entire trip.
The padded laptop sleeve includes Thule’s SafeEdge Corner Protection that beefs up the padding around the edges and corners of your device, where damage is most likely to occur. The treated heavy-duty nylon material contributes to its own level of protection by keeping the water at bay, and the additional valuables and tablet pockets also feature added padding.
We are also big fans of the quality of this bag as it stands out against most backpacks. It’s a daypack designed for travel and everyday use that provides easy access to your gear, a handy side zipper, direct access to your laptop when needed, and a nice luggage sleeve to secure on a roller bag. This bag has a lot of features of the Peak Designs Everyday Backpack at a fraction of the price. Also, if you want a more stylish version it comes in a rolltop style.
7.) Topo Designs Rover Pack ($139)
Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz.
Features: Flap Top, Drawstring Cinch Closure, Large Main Compartment, Padded Laptop Sleeve 15″, Large Exterior Pockets
Pros: Style, High Quality, Great Zippers, Internal Laptop Sleeve, Roll Top, Weatherproof Nylon Exterior
Cons: No Sternum Strap
Topo Designs makes some great backpacks including one of our favorite travel backpacks for European travel. The interior features double zipper U-entry, one large compartment, a medium-sized compartment, two small pockets, and two mesh pockets. The interior features a padded laptop sleeve. On the front, is a nice sized compartment with pockets and a roll-top entry for the main compartment.
The exterior is heavy-duty nylon and the bag uses robust zippers that are the best we’ve seen on a daypack, albeit a bit clunky. I really enjoy the style of this bag and the heavy-duty nylon feels great in person and will likely handle travel very well.
8.) United By Blue Rift Pack ($98)
Weight: 1 lb.
Features: Small Front Pocket, Padded Laptop Sleeve, Interior Zippered Pocket
Pros: Style, Great For Everyday Use, Lightweight
Cons: Feels A Little Small For Travel, Support, Durability (Still has Lifetime Guarantee)
This is the backpack that you see at the top of this post. The Rift Pack is more of a cute and stylish backpack for short day hikes than some of these technical packs on this list. Still, it’s made out of quality eco-friendly material and holds all that you could need on a hike out.
It’s surprisingly lightweight, has the ability to hold a 17″ laptop as well as bountiful pockets. In addition, it has Adjustable, padded shoulder straps, a Cross sternum strap, and Water bottle sleeve.
9.) Saddleback Front Pocket Daypack ($550)
Weight: 6 lbs.
Features: Front Pocket, Interior Pockets, Real Leather Clasps With Solid Stainless Steel,
Pros: Solid Leather, Gorgeous Bag, Will Last A Century, Comfortable, Versatile, Super High Quality,
Cons: Practicality, EXPENSIVE
Saddleback Leather makes some of the best quality backpacks – hands down. Their leather backpacks are the best daypacks on the market and we don’t travel anywhere without them. They aren’t cheap by any means, but they are quality. Saddleback Leather ensures its products with a 100-year warranty.
They only use sturdy materials on their bags including full-grain leather, pigskin lining, and marine-grade polyester thread. The lower back section is padded with Neoprene and the shoulder straps are completely adjustable. No, this bag won’t hold all of your luggage but is perfect for an overnight bag or as a carry-on addition to your main luggage. We also choose this bag as our go-to for safari bags!
10.) Herschel Classics Little America Daypack ($99)
Weight: 1 lb. 8 oz.
Features: Padded Laptop Sleeve, Drawstring Opening,
Pros: Value, Style, Padded Laptop Sleeve, Drawstring Top, Vented Back
You’ve definitely seenthis daypack before. When we lived in NYC these bad boys were all over of the streets and Tasha carried a green one. Herschel makes a classic backpack with styles from mountaineering bags back in the day.
They have a classic look and it’s a simple backpack. No this isn’t a heavy-duty travel daypack meant to tackle mountains, but with a great look and affordable price, we’ll take it. I appreciate the features such as the drawstring top while the polyester exterior does a decent job at water repellency and durability.
11.) Nomatic Backpack ($239)
Weight: 3 lbs. 10 oz.
Features: Laptop Compartment, Lockable Zippers, Quick Access Laptop Compartment
Pros: Feature-Packed, Carry-On Size, Comfortable, Versatile, Super High-Quality, Stowaway Straps
Nomatic is fairly new to the anti-theft backpack game, only getting started after raising over 5 million dollars on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. They claim to have created the “most functional travel bag ever!” Based on their design scheme, they just might have.
A roomy 40L bag, individual removable organization panels, headphone and charger cord pass-throughs, magnetic snap-back side pockets, and backpack to briefcase versatility, it really does seem like they have thought of everything.
However, it would be better stated that this is a business/travel backpack with anti-theft features, such as RFID protection and lockable zippers, rather than calling it primarily an anti-theft bag. This isn’t just great as an anti-theft backpack, but a general travel backpack.
12.) Timbuk2 Uptown ($100)
Weight: 2 lbs. 6.4 oz
Features: Laptop Compartment, Lockable Zippers, Quick Access Laptop Compartment, Good Size, Style,
Pros: Feature-Packed, Carry-On Size, Comfortable, Versatile, Super High-Quality, Stowaway Straps, Affordable
Yet another contender for stylish yet functional travel laptop backpacks is the Timbuk2 Uptown. While Timbuk2 has made a name for themselves in allowing almost complete customization of their bags, the off-the-shelf Uptown features a very sleek appearance that is loaded with features that secure its place on our top backpacks list.
The laptop specific sleeve is heavily padded and easily unzips to lay flat and roll right through TSA screenings. The rest of the pack’s pockets have organization and compartmentalization in mind; you’re provided with spots for chargers, phones, glasses, passports, and any other gear you’d like to carry with you. All of this is encased in durable and weather resistant nylon to keep the rain out.
Please note that this particular bag is on the smaller side and only fits 15” laptops and smaller. If you would prefer a larger bag, we firmly believe that the Incase EO may be for you.
All of these packs are lightweight and can be stuffed into your main luggage. Packable daypacks are perfect for only traveling with one suitcase. No need to carry a backpack on the plane as it rides in your suitcase. We used an Eagle Creek packable daypack for the longest time and only ditched because we lost it in Cape Town.
Daypacks in this category are some of the cheapest options and can save you a buck if you’re not looking to commit to a standard travel backpack. These daypacks for travel are purpose-designed. They make a great choice. However, don’t expect anything this light to last for years on end.
1.) Eagle Creek Packable Daypack
Weight: 5 oz.
Features: Packs Down, Multiple Compartments, Water Bottle Holder
Pros: Packs Down In Luggage,
Cons: Not Many Features
Eagle Creek Packable Daypack is made from fairly strong material and should be able to hold your daily essentials. It’s one of the cheapest options in this guide. If you plan on carrying a laptop, camera, or books this probably is not the daypack for you.
The loose design means things sit oddly on your back if they weigh anything. We personally used this pack in conjunction with our other daypack for shopping at the market. However, it’s fantastic for stuffing in luggage or your car for whenever need a daypack
2.) New Outlander Packable Daypack
Weight: 8 oz.
Features: Packs Down, Three Compartments, Two Water Bottle Holders
Pros: Packs Down In Luggage,
Cons: Not Many Features,
This packable daypack has water bottle pockets which are a sweet feature the Eagle Creek does not have and it’s cheaper.
The only problem is we know and trust Eagle Creek’s durable products. It also comes with multiple pockets, a feature lacking in the Eagle Creek version. This could mean it doesn’t pack as well and leaves it more susceptible to travel damage.
If you’re looking for the best daypack then you can’t go wrong with the offerings from outdoor companies. They come with a higher price, but they make up for it with all their extra features. Outdoor packs are function over form, but the best of them still have some looks.
1.) Camelbak Fourteener ($150)
Weight: 2 lbs. 9 oz.
Capacities: 20, 24L
Features: Water Bladder, Ice Axe and Hiking Pole Straps, Fleece Lined Pocket For Sunglasses, Water Resistant, Hip Belt Pockets, Water Bottle Pockets, Front Pocket, Vented Back Panel, Great Value
Pros: Great Feature Set, Best Water Bladder, Size, Hip Belt System,
We love using hydration systems on our hikes as we hate having to grab a water bottle every time we’re climbing a mountain. Camelbak arguably makes the best hydration system and the Fourteener is their top of line backpack. We love the foam panels that move independently no your back for a secure and vented fit.
This pack is tremendous for the outdoor enthusiast who loves day hikes or outdoor sports. It’s super slim so it won’t become a burden on the trails and features a hydration bladder in the price. The included bladder makes the pack a great value and deal.
That’s really what this pack is designed to do hug your back during activities. It has enough space to carry your gear, multiple compartments, and a helmet holder. If you’re big in mountain biking this pack was made for you.
2.) Osprey Daylite ($65)
Features: Two Compartments, Lightweight, Compression Straps
Pros: High Quality, Great Value, Lightweight,
Cons: Not Great Side Pockets, Not Robust
This is one of my favorite daypacks! It’s one of my favorite travel purchases and has held up marvelously. That is to be expected as Osprey backpacks come with a lifetime guarantee.
The pack is sleek, feels great on your back, and can carry a fair amount of stuff. It’s not the biggest pack with only 13L of space. It’s also made by Osprey who make some of the best large travel backpacks on the market.
3.) The North Face Jester Backpack ($70)
Weight: 1 lb. 12.9 oz.
Features: Multiple Compartments, Two Water Bottle Holders, Bungee System, Vented Back Panels, Laptop Sleeve
Pros: Blend Between Hiking and Everyday Life, Bungee System, Vented Back Panel, Multiple Compartments,
Cons: Does Not Excel At Anything
North Face is a well known outdoor brand and they make some great backpacks. The pack is comfortable and durable. The heavy-duty design and vented back make it a clear winner for a travel daypack.
I’m only going to mention one of these because camera packs could warrant their own post. However, for those who are serious about their photography, that means a lot of heavy valuable equipment.
1.) Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW ($239)
Weight: 7 lbs. 5 oz.
Pros: Amazing Feature Set, Super Rugged, Ski/Snowboard Carry System, Support,
Cons: HEAVY, Cumbersome, Hydration System
This is the latest addition to our collection of backpacks and I couldn’t be more stoked on the bag. The camera bag is purpose-built for those who shoot photos and video in the harsh elements, specifically winter conditions such as climb or ski. Since it is designed for tough winter elements the build quality and design are truly impressive.
I love that the bag opens from the backside that allows for you to comfortably throw the bag on the ground and reach for gear without fear of the bag tipping of getting gear wet. It also has side and front straps designed to carry a snowboard, skis, ice axes, or hiking/ski poles (massive win for our snowboard season). I like the pullout rain cover for heavy weather. The suspension system is also the most robust I’ve found in a camera bag so far, which is great when carrying 40lbs of gear up a hill.
My only complaints would be the size of the top compartment which would be great for storing thing like a phone charging cables, or whatever accessories I may need on the mountain. There is a front compartment on the bag, but it’s one large section directly next to the camera gear so it needs to be able to bear weight. I’d also love a water bottle compartment to hold my travel bottle. For such a large bag designed to be outdoors I need some form of hydration.
This bag is the perfect kit addition for any outdoor enthusiast looking to carry some gear high into rough conditions.
2.) Lowepro Flipside 300 ($100)
Weight: 2 lbs. 8 oz.
Pros: Top Compartment, Organization, Front Pocket
Cons: Great Value
These guys have been making camera equipment for decades and know what it takes to protect camera gear. They looked at what they need from a great photography daypack and built it. The pack has padded compartments designed to hold lens and cameras. It comes with a weather resistant rain cover and has a sturdy design that is sure to protect your gear.
This is one of the camera bags we currently carry and it’s been a nice addition to our camera gear. My only complaint with this daypack are the straps on the daypack don’t feel very robust – they strain under heavy load. It doesn’t hold a robust amount of camera gear, but it is great as an all-around bag. With a laptop compartment, large top section, a divided camera section, water bottle/tripod holder, and small pocket the bag is perfect for everyday and travel.
What Makes A Great Daypack?
Like with anything, make sure that the daypack you choose is comfortable on your back. You should be able to hike comfortably for at least two hours. When buying online it’s a good idea to check the return policy in case the backpack does not fit you the way you would like.
There are two basic designs of daypacks. You have the performance or urban backpacks that tend to be sleek with a good design. The other option on offer is the outdoor pack. It serves the traveler well, but it looks goofy when hopping in and out of cabs and walking through the streets of a city.
How the bag stores your items when you travel is important, but it doesn’t mean a plethora of pockets. My favorite backpack has two interior pockets and it’s served me well for several years now.
A good backpack doesn’t necessarily mean a bunch of bells and whistles. Make sure you narrow down if you want a top loading backpack or front loading, and check for any extra straps, harnesses, zippers, and clips you may or may not want and need. There is a whole range of daypacks that are designed to be rolled up and stored in a suitcase until you reach your destination. We love this feature!
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