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When taking on the trails, you need equipment that will be lightweight but sturdy. Take a look at our top picks for the best day hiking backpack to store all your essentials for that next outdoor adventure!
Hiking Day Pack for Women
Written By: Laura Pulling
Table Of Contents
When planning a day hike, you need the right equipment and you also need something to carry it all in! Day backpacks are designed for the stresses and strains of a hike on the trail, ergonomically designed for carrying a load while balancing the pressures on your back. This is important, as when you’re walking for a long time and long distances, having a heavy pack can really slow you down and tire you faster.
It’s also important to note a womans daypack should fit properly on your shoulders, torso, and hips. While there are some unisex or men’s only choices out there, it’s a sound idea to try one on in the store, walk around with it to make sure it fits, or purchase from an online retailer who has a good return policy so you can thoroughly test it out at home.
The last thing to consider is how well a bag organizes and compresses items. The best packable daypack should have well-built compartments and just enough room to keep your essentials without being over bulky. (For all of the info on what to pack for a hike, check out this article!)
Happily, we’ve looked at all options and found the top picks for the best day hike backpack!
Best Day Packs for Hiking
Editor’s Pick: Osprey Women’s Tempest 20
If you’ve been a reader of TFG for a while, you may have noticed I’m incredibly brand loyal. Osprey is a brand that first impressed me on my 9-month round-the-world trip with the Aura 65L, and it’s been my go-to travel and outdoor gear brand ever since!
The Tempest 20 is the latest item in my collection. It’s feather-light, and my first official Osprey daypack as the previous one I had was a part of the 55L Farpoint. At first, I wish I would’ve gotten the size 22 for just a little extra space for multi-day trips. However, the size ended up being just perfect for this trip!
I loved that it felt feather light. Because I’ve had back issues, I prioritize lightweight backpacks, and this is as good as it gets! The air stream increased the comfort level as it felt breathable and light on my back. Osprey’s signature ripstop fabric makes it easy to keep this bag clean despite the insane amount of sand blown at me on the Great Sand Dunes or the dusty Utah red rock.
The features mark all the points on my wishlist: hiking pole inserts, mesh exterior pocket for quick access to my waterproof jacket or phone with mini-tripod, 2 mesh secure water bottle holders, a small upper stash pocket for essentials, and a main compartment with just enough space for some snacks, silk thermals, Columbia waterproof jacket, and Patagonia shell.
Read more about my trip here!
Osprey Hiking Backpack Women’s Mira 22
This Mira 22 Osprey day pack has all of the features you could possibly need for a day trekking through the wilderness. It’s the female equivalent of the popular Osprey Talon 22, which is a good option for a male hiking partner or if you’re a lady with a longer frame.
As well as a comfortable back panel, which is breathable too, this beloved best hiking daypack has great organization, with lots of spaces to stash small objects, lip chapstick, and snacks, and attachments for hiking poles, and easy access to a rain jacket. It has a built-in rain cover too for when the heavens open up. Plus, it has a built-in hydration pouch that stores 2.5 liters of water for drinks on-the-go.
Reviews for these Osprey day packs are ‘Absolutely wonderful’, with one user raving, “If you’re looking for something reliable, that is comfy after hours of hiking, and has a great water system in it with lots of space left over this is the bag for you!”
Read this post to discover the best ultralight backpacks!
Patagonia Women’s Backpack Refugio 26L
The Refugio Patagonia backpacks are ready for action. It has a waterproof DWR (durable water repellent) finish and an easy-to-load wide opening zipper. It has three main compartments and even has room for a 15 inch laptop!
Patagonia is considered one of the best women’s daypack for hiking and a user favorite, with some even being able to use it for overnight and short trips too. One reviewer shares, “it has an absolute ton of space for everything you could possibly need on a day hike and plenty of space to strap on accessories if you’re making it an overnight trip.”
Although some users warn that the straps of this waterproof day pack can be a little uncomfortable, others say that if you take the time to adjust it properly, it fits like a dream once you have it set up for your frame!
REI Flash 22 Pack
The REI flash pack is designed to hold all of the gear you need for a full day on the trails. It has breathable straps with soft padding, waist belt, and sternum straps to secure the pack for a better fit and ergonomic hold. Plus a ton of external loops for adding on extra gear.
Reviews are great for this REI daypack, one user shares, “It’s so lightweight but still strong, quick-drying, and can hold a lot. The side pockets are huge to keep your water bottle and other goodies in there safely without falling out.”
Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable 20L Daypack
For a bargain buy, check out the stowaway Eddie Bauer daypack. Designed to be super lightweight, this stowaway packable daypack can fold into a tiny bundle that can fit into a pocket, making it a great addition for taking on a longer trip and using for shorter hikes once you have set up your base camp.
Despite being small, it still has a ton of features, with padded shoulder straps, a selection of pockets, and lashing loops for attaching extra gear. Users cannot get enough of this best travel daypack, with many also using it for vacations too, one of the backpack reviews shares, “It has all the right pockets, the shoulder straps are comfortable! Great little lightweight daypack for hikes.”
Find out our suggested clothes for camping and supplies list!
The North Face 17L Lightweight Backpack
If you’re looking for the best waterproof daypack that can fold down into your pocket, look no further than the The North Face Flyweight Duffel Bag. This lightweight backpack comes in at 5.6 oz, so you can hardly feel it on your back. Super light yet durable, the Flyweight Pack is also highly compressible stowing back into its own pocket making it a perfect, easily-packable travel companion.
A zippered main compartment holds your day-trip essentials. For additional storage, use the external stretch-mesh pocket with top compression. Two external stretch-mesh water bottle pockets ensure you won’t go thirsty.
Reviews are outstanding for this foldable backpack, one user explains, “Although the TNF backpack is very lightweight, it does feel pretty sturdy. It’s particularly useful when you carry a bigger 50L backpack and you want an extra small and packable backpack to explore the city. I’m also happy with it being water-resistant, as I live in rainy Scotland when I’m not traveling.”
Deuter Speed Lite 20 Hiking Day Packs
The streamlined design of the Deuter ultralight backpacks makes it one of the best day packs for serious hikers or trail runners who want to maximize their energy for the trail. The ergonomic design is comfortable and sturdy and fits well.
As one user explains, “Carried all the gear I needed for a full day outing. Plenty of places where you can latch stuff to this backpack. Trekking poles sit nicely in the side pocket secured with the side compression strap. Very lightweight and well constructed.”
Shop: LL Bean
LLBean Stowaway Day Pack Backpack
The LL Bean stowaway day pack has an impressive array of satisfied users. People have used it as far away as Antarctica and on the dusty savannahs of Africa and rave about how durable and comfortable it is, and also that this packable backpack holds so much too.
Users rate it as one of the best packable daypack options, with one reviewer explaining, “It’s a perfect size, has tons of pockets, plus places for water bottles, and the straps are super comfortable.”
Use our packing list to help make sure you have all you need on your next hike!
Patagonia Black Hole 25L Daypack
The Black Hole Patagonia backpack is designed to combat the elements, with a rugged weather-resistant, DWR coating. Its large inner pocket holds a good amount of gear, with a padded laptop sleeve and internal mesh pockets for additional organization. Plus there are lash points for attaching gear on the outside too. The straps are comfortable, with a molded back panel that allows for more airflow.
Users rave about this Patagonia daypack, sharing it’s the only one they’ll ever need as it’s so durable and well made. One shares, “I’ve had this bag for three years now and don’t foresee a need to replace this for a very long time. Great job Patagonia.”
If you like this Patagonia waterproof backpack, but prefer a larger size, you can also get it in a 32L size.
The North Face Borealis Hiking Daypack Backpack
For a larger capacity, this The North Face option is one of the best day pack hiking options as it holds 28 liters of gear, so it’s plenty big enough for any woodland trek, even in winter when you may wish to take along some extra stuff! The custom-built suspension system means that this bag fits to your back and distributes a load without weighing you down. Inside it has a fleece-lined laptop sleeve and internal organization compartments for smaller bits.
Reviews are great for this day hike backpack—users “love it!”, saying that it fits a lot of stuff inside and they use it for hiking, work, and school. Plus, it comes in so many different colors and patterns!
Venture Pal Ultralight Day Packs
For a more inexpensive option, check out this Venture Pal ultralight daypack. At less than $20 it’s a steal for any novice hiker, and even though this day backpack folds down into a pocket-sized pack, once open it holds a roomy 35 liters of gear. Inside there are separate compartments to keep gear stowed carefully, with external zipped compartments for easy access to smaller accessories.
This pack doesn’t have a space for a water bladder, but unless you’re a serious hiker, that shouldn’t bother you too much. Many users share how much they love these small hiking daypacks, especially for the price, with many also rating them as the best backpack for everyday use even (as they fold down easily) and buy one of each of the rainbow colors available so each member of the family has their own!
Here’s the best hiking gear list for female trekkers!
Best Daypack Backpack Comparison Chart
|BRAND | MODEL||FEATURES | REVIEWS||RATING | PRICE|
|Best Day Packs for Hiking|
|Editor's Pick: Osprey Women’s Tempest 20||The Tempest 20 is the latest item in my collection. It’s feather-light, and my first official Osprey daypack as the previous one I had was a part of the 55L Farpoint. At first, I wish I would’ve gotten the size 22 for just a little extra space for multi-day trips. However, the size ended up being just perfect for this trip!||Check Price|
|Osprey Hiking Backpack Women's Mira 22||“If you’re looking for something reliable, that is comfy after hours of hiking, and has a great water system in it with lots of space left over this is the bag for you!”||Check Price|
|Patagonia Women's Backpack Refugio 26L||“it has an absolute ton of space for everything you could possibly need on a day hike and plenty of space to strap on accessories if you're making it an overnight trip.”||Check Price|
|REI Flash 22 Pack||“It’s so lightweight but still strong, quick drying, and can hold a lot. The side pockets are huge to keep your water bottle and other goodies in there safely without falling out."||Check Price|
|Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable 20L Daypack||“It has all the right pockets, the shoulder straps are comfortable! Great little lightweight daypack for hikes.”||Check Price|
|The North Face 17L Lightweight Backpack||“Although the TNF backpack is very lightweight, it does feel pretty sturdy. It's particularly useful when you carry a bigger 50L backpack and you want an extra small and packable backpack to explore the city. I'm also happy with it being water-resistant, as I live in rainy Scotland when I'm not traveling.”||Check Price|
|Deuter Speed Lite 20 Hiking Day Packs||“Carried all the gear I needed for a full day outing. Plenty of places where you can latch stuff to this backpack. Trekking poles sit nicely in the side pocket secured with the side compression strap. Very light weight and well constructed.”||Check Price|
|LLBean Stowaway Day Pack Backpack||“It's the perfect size, has tons of pockets, plus places for water bottles and the straps are super comfortable.”||Check Price|
|Patagonia Black Hole 25L Daypack||“I’ve had this bag for three years now and don't foresee a need to replace this for a very long time. Great job Patagonia.”||Check Price|
|The North Face Borealis Hiking Daypack Backpack||Reviews are great for this day hike backpack—users “love it!”, saying that it fits a lot of stuff inside and they use it for hiking, work, and school.||Check Price|
|Venture Pal Ultralight Day Packs||There are separate compartments to keep gear stowed carefully, with external zipped compartments for easy access to smaller accessories.||Check Price|
What Size Backpack Will I Need?
Depending on how long you are hiking for—maybe an afternoon, maybe longer—you’ll need different backpack sizes.
Daypacks (another name for small backpacks suitable for a day trip) usually ranges between 20-35 liters. For a short hike of a few hours, the smaller size will usually suffice, but when you account for the extra layers, food, and essentials needed on a full day hike, you might prefer something towards the larger end of the scale. (Don’t forget you need to carry everything—including water!)
If you’re a winter hiker, also think a little on the bigger side too, as you’ll have additional warm layers that will take up extra space. (Top tip—using packing cubes in your small hiking daypack helps to compress bulkier fleeces and mid-layers too!)
Overnight Trip (1-3 Nights)
For anything that involves an overnight stay, you’re going to need a bigger pack. The difference between one night or three nights is negligible, with only really extra food and maybe a top and underwear needed.
You’re now going to need a tent or hammock, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and cooking equipment, so a bigger pack is needed—around a 40L backpack, up to 50 liters depending on how much gear you have.
Multi-day Trip (3-5 Nights)
For extra trekking days, you’re going to need the extra space for even more food, water, and clothing. Chances are if you’re on a trip for this many days, you might need space for some technical gear too, such as climbing equipment.
For a longer trip like this, you’ll probably want 50-70 liters of space in your hiking bag
No matter what, the most important aspect is not to take more than you need—be efficient with your packing list as you need to carry everything you take, and an extra few pounds of equipment can make a huge difference when hiking for many miles.
Many long-term hikers are able to go for a small backpack even on longer hikes because they use more ultralight and compact gear. The above ranges are just guides.
What do you think is the best day trip backpack? Share your faves in the comments!
For more hiking gear and tips, please read:
- Feel Dry and Comfy In the Best Hiking Shirts for Women
- 16 Best Hiking Pants for Women That Are Lightweight and Practical
- Best Hiking Poles to Tackle Any Terrain Near or Far
- Best Hiking Boots for Women Who Love Outdoor Adventures
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