Staff Picks: GearJunkie’s Favorite Daypacks

Image credit: Chip Fieberg

From mountain biking daypacks to stylish travel kits, our picks for the best daypacks will make the outdoors a fun adventure.

It’s no secret that we love gear. We spend the whole day testing it, Write about it and think about it. And there’s one thing we can all agree on: Any piece of gear that helps you out is a piece of gear worth having.

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A good daypack falls into the category of essential equipment. Whether you need a cycling hydration pack, a lightweight carry-on bag, or an American made travel bag, we’ve got you covered.

Best day packages for hiking, biking and travel

Finding the right day’s package depends on a variety of factors, including the intended use. So, before you look for the best daypack, take a moment to think about how to use it.

Counting ounces and looking for the lightest daypack? Or maybe you want to travel in style. Or maybe you need a versatile package and do it all. Whatever the case, keep this pack photo in mind as you read on to find the best daypack for your adventures.

Gregory Endo 10L Mountain Biking Backpack ($120)

I’ve been using this pack for the past couple of months for my winter hiking and vacation biking. It’s a great hydration pack with plenty of room for the extras you need: a second layer, snacks, gadgets, and small personal belongings.

It features an adjustable hanging back panel so you can connect comfortably depending on what you’re wearing and packing. And I love that it has a magnetic valve and a ventilated suspension on your back for added comfort. An ultra-versatile and comfortable package for hiking or all-day riding.
Zach Burton, Director of Sales

Matador Best 28L ($90)

This bag is simple, lightweight and packable. It has an inner hydration bladder pocket (or laptop), compression straps, and a set of loops to tie things outside. It lacks some of the features of a true hiking daypack, but it works well as a lightweight alternative. I’ve been using it almost every day for the past 6 months and have been really happy with it.
– Brian Frank, web developer

Cotopaxi Inca 16L ($100)

This quickly became our family’s go-to for day hikes to local rock, cross country errands, and even for little adventures around town. The water casing can double as a laptop sleeve. And the mesh suspension keeps your back cool on all-day summer adventures. In addition to the fun colors, it’s large enough to fit just about anything you need for a full day on the trails. I appreciate that it has well-placed organizational pockets and can hold enough water for the whole family.
– Jason Magnes, Contributor

Millikan Smith Roll 25 Liter Pack ($195)

The Millican Smith Roll 25 Pack has been a favorite travel package for two years now. It’s small enough to qualify as a “personal item” on board, and works great for day trips. It looks great and has some smart features like expandable water bottle pockets, hidden gear rings, and quick access pockets.

I used it during an 11 day road trip through Iceland, and it never let me down. It’s worth noting that the smart and elegant price tag comes with it. At $195, the Millican is about as pricey as daypacks go. But if style, versatility and smart design are important to you, it’s a good investment.
– Jake Ferguson, Ventures and Marketing

BlaqPaks BlaqPak ($250)

“Handmade in Portland and guaranteed for life.” That’s the simple mantra for BlaqPaks, the boutique bag maker that caters to the cycling crowd. The pioneering and namesake BlaqPak backpack has been on my body for over 3 years. I use it for cycling as well as carry it daily around town. They’ve also been around the world, and the nylon bag shows virtually no signs of wear. This is a grenade launcher, produced in the USA at a high price to match, priced at $250. But it is worth the money.

The BlaqPak is utilitarian and has no frills – it’s water-resistant, with a stretchy inner fabric and a rolled Velcro closure. This is a large container: It measures about 17 inches long (a size L), 13.5 inches wide and 7 inches deep. Front zip pocket for storing small items. On the back panel, a horizontal zipper provides a flat storage space for your laptop or magazines and books.

Overall, I am happy with this pack and use it daily. However, its lack of small organizational pouches and pockets is sometimes a problem. Things like a pen or padlock can easily get lost in the large, open pockets. It carries comfortably enough, although it is basically a large frameless backpack. Buy this pack if you want large capacity and minimalist design. They’ll last for years and carry plentiful goods—two bags of groceries or enough gear to spend a weekend away—in a black bag stashed away on your back unnoticed.
– Stephen Reginold, founder of

Nine Day Runs by Patagonia for Women ($129)

When you want to get out of the house without weighing you down, this is the pack to take. The 18 liter capacity is enough to hold extra layers, a hydration bladder, and snacks without the extra bulk. I love how cool the mesh back panel keeps me going (bye, back sweat!), and the small interior zip pocket makes organizing keys, wands, and small essentials a breeze.

Throw a jacket into the large, stretchy outer pocket, fill the side pockets with snacks, and you’re ready to hit the road. I got stuck in a few showers and I’m happy to report that everything stayed dry. I can even mount my laptop on it, which is great for commuting by bike or traveling. And there is nothing better than multi-purpose gear.
– Mallory Page, Gear Editor

Osprey Stratos 24 Pack ($130)

Designed for day trips, this package shows. Panel compartments open for easy loading, and various pockets keep everything organized. Insert a hydration reservoir into the sleeve for hands-free sipping on the road. Osprey recommends this package for loads of 10 to 25 pounds, which is plenty for a hike or day travel. The inner frame and mesh back do a good job of keeping you cool even when fully loaded. Overall, it’s a great looking package that works really hard.
– Sean McCoy, Editor-in-Chief

Hyperlite Summit Package ($190)

When my husband tells me we’re going on a training mission, I know that’s the code for “Be prepared to get wet, get through the dark, and pack extra food.” For these trips, I always bring my Hyperlite Summit package. It is a simple yet proven design that is unbreakable and suitable for anything. This package has never let me down on countless day trips turned into 24-hour missions.

Because it’s made of Dyneema composite fabrics, it’s not only durable, but it’s also light—13.12 ounces—and water-resistant. This package recently became my first choice for cycling to the grocery store when the weather seems inappropriate. Even if you don’t consider yourself very adventurous, I recommend this pack. It’s simple, lightweight and impressively challenging.
– Chelsea Magnus, Contributor

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Mallory Beige

by Mallory Paige
Gear editor Mallory Page credits her childhood exploring the Rocky Mountains for her love of the outdoors. She recently spent a memorable year motorcycling across North America (with her dog!) and now she enjoys introducing her child to all kinds of adventures.

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