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Our pick of the best hiking backpacks or 'daypacks', essential for everything from hiking up mountains or walking over rolling countryside to commuting and everyday use. 

Best hiking backpacks

Backpack buyers guide

Most hikes of any length at all will benefit from a backpack to carry essentials, whether sandwiches and a warming brew or a waterproof jacket and GPS. Any day-hiker knows that an astonishing range of stuff can easily accompany you on even a short jaunt, including maps, car keys, wallets, etc - the hiking backpack is the answer! 

Before you head out and buy your next hiking backpack, read our buyers guide to help you find one that's right for you.


Backpack capacity

The sweet spot for day hikes is around 20-30 litres, such as shorter walks in the summer months, where a pack as small as 12 litres may be enough for the job. For scrambling and climbing you may need to carry more kit so increase the capacity to around 40 litres. This should give you enough space for the 10 Essentials, climbing gear, some food and drink, and a few extras.


Backpack fit

Backpacks either come in one size or a range of size options, from small to XL. Some of the more feature rich daypacks will have an adjustable torso length, ensuring you can tweak the backpack to your size. Refer to the manufacturer’s website for specifics on how to measure and choose the right backpack size for you. 

When you're trying on a backpack make sure you do up the sternum strap and hipbelt and check that the shape feels right on your body. It helps if there's a bit of weight in the pack to get a better feel for real world use.


Essential features

A good daypack will come with a hip belt and sternum strap as a minimum. This ensures that the pack stays stable on your back when you're walking. A well designed back system will transfer most of the load away from your shoulders to the stronger core of your body via the hipbelt.

Check the back panel for ventilation as this will be important on hot, sweaty hikes. Most packs will have some kind of foam with channels cut out for air to move. Some more technical backpacks have a suspended trampoline back panel. This keeps the pack completely clear of your back, allowing for excellent ventilation.

Side compression straps help to snug everything in place inside the backpack so it doesn’t swing around as you walk, and load lifters will help you to correctly balance the weight on your back.

Consider a hydration sleeve to be a minimum requirement, although for short and simple walks a simple water bottle is often the easiest option, so make sure you have side pockets that can hold a bottle and are easy to access.

Internally it’s handy to have multiple storage options, split into pockets and compartments so you can organise your gear.


Carry system

Some of the more comfortable and stable backpacks have a bit of structure to them, whether aluminium stays or a semi rigid back panel. Trampoline mesh back panels are brilliant for temperature regulation, allowing air to flow freely around the back and can also be very comfortable to wear, but on a daypack they take up vital space inside and make the pack an awkward shape internally. They also add weight to the pack, which can easily add up when you've filled it, so keep an eye on weights with this in mind. 

Padding on the shoulder straps is vital but can also be very welcome on the hipbelt, although it’s a fine balance between having lots of padding and the bag becoming too heavy and cumbersome.

Now you've got the lowdown on finding the best backpack for your needs check out our list below to find some great options at every price point.

Osprey Talon 22, £130

Osprey Talon 22

Osprey's Talon 22 backpack is pretty much the perfect daypack for anyone that values comfort, practicality, and durability for days out hiking. The capacity is perfect for a daypack, easily storing waterproofs, extra layers, food, and drink supplies. This is further enhanced by the excellent gear organisation, with a range of very useful and easy-to-access pockets. These include a front stretch pocket, two stretch side pockets, a top pocket, and an internal mesh pocket. It's worth pointing out separately that the Talon 22 has two hipbelt pockets, something that you don't always see on this capacity of daypack. Additionally, there's a LidLock system so you can easily attach your bike or climbing helmet to the bag. The carrying system is excellent, with a comfortable foam and mesh Airscape back panel channelling warm air away from your back. The shoulder straps are comfortbale and the hipbelt is of particular note for being wide and ergonomically shaped, helping you carry heavy loads in the Talon 22 in comfort.

Overall, we rate the Talon 22 as one of the best daypacks you can buy.

Buy Osprey Talon 22 Backpack: From £84.49 at Amazon <<Best Deal>>

Buy Osprey Talon 22 Backpack: £129.95 at Alpinetrek

Berghaus Remote Hike 25 backpack, £75

Berghaus Remote Hike 25 backpack

With an appealing design and clean looks you could be forgiven for thinking the Remote Hike 25 was a backpack for light walking duties. Look beneath the surface though and you’ll discover a backpack with all the features to take you way up into the hills.

The Remote Hike 25 has a wide, anatomically shaped hipbelt that contours into the back panel. This design is similar to larger capacity backpacks in that it allows weight to be transferred down to the hips for a more comfortable carrying experience. Not only this, but the shoulder straps are well padded, and the sternum strap adds an element of stability.

With a relatively flat back panel, the main compartment is free from obstruction and has a cavernous amount of storage space. In addition, we love the front kangaroo pocket which is stretchy but secure and the two mesh hipbelt pockets give you quick access to snacks and gels.

Overall this is a fantastic technical daypack perfect for hiking. It's comfortable even with a heavy load and swallows all the gear you might need. 

READ NEXT: Berghaus Remote Hike 25 Full Review

Buy Berghaus Remote Hike 25 backpack: £75 at Cotswold Outdoor

Deuter AC Lite 23 backpack, £80

Deuter AC Lite 23

Deuter's Aircomfort carry system is a standout feature of the AC Lite 23. It features a trampoline mesh design that's just as comfortable as Osprey's offering and gives you an alternative to the behemoth brand.

The adjustable sternum strap, hip belt, and shoulder straps allow for an excellent carrying experience that is both comfortable and stable. The elasticated walking pole strap is quick and easy to use and, if you need to carry a helmet, the dedicated docking loops on the front of the backpack allow you to easily add a stretch mesh helmet holder.

One of my favourite features of the Deuter AC Lite 23 is the long zip opening at the front, which provides excellent access to kit. Plus, the stretch side pockets easily swallow large water bottles, allowing for easy access on the go. 

This backpack comes with a rain cover, which isn't an accessory you always see included with daypacks, but it's a handy addition given the fickle UK weather.

Overall, the Deuter AC Lite 23 backpack is an excellent pack if you like trampoline mesh back systems. It's fantastic in hot weather, is well-built, and is comfortable to wear all day long.

Montane Azote 25 backpack,£95

Montane Azote 25

The Azote 25 is a 25-litre daypack that’s described by Montane as their most functional, go-anywhere, do-anything daypack.

We would say that’s true, but it’s ideally suited to hiking. First up, the back system is one of the most comfortable on test. It features a proper hipbelt that wraps around the waist and, unusually for a daypack has a handy zipped pocket on each side. The wings of the hipbelt are wide and well-cushioned with little cut-outs to relieve pressure.

The back panel features mesh covered high density foam with deep cut outs for optimal ventilation making it airy and comfortable on long walks. The mesh covered shoulder straps are wide and have ample cushioning, with all this protection you can really load the Azote 25 up and still have a comfortable carrying experience.

On trail the Azote 25 is stable thanks to a mix of excellent adjusters and anatomical shaping. The sternum strap clips on one handed and is elasticated to account for natural movement in the chest. The back panel is adjustable, which is perfect for someone like me who has a particularly long back. There are no instructions on how to make the adjustment, and the fact that it adjusts at all could easily be missed, but with a bit of investigation it’s easy to work and successfully adjusts the length of the back from short through to long.

A hydration bladder can be conveniently placed in-between the back panel and lining of the bag, which doesn’t take too much space away from the main compartment or adversely affect comfort.

The main compartment opens with a u-shaped zip which extends right down the bag, allowing easy access to kit at the bottom. We would have expected to see a small, zipped pocket here but it’s just one big compartment.

There is, however, a zipped pocket on the top of the bag for small items and the two stretch side pockets are big enough for a Nalgene bottle. The front kangaroo pocket is stretchy enough to hold a waterproof jacket and has an extra layer of security to hold the jacket in place by means of a simple clip.

Overall, this is one of the best backpacks for walking. It’s comfortable, practical, and durable and has a few added benefits over other backpacks that make it a particularly compelling buy.

Buy Montane Azote 25 backpack: £90 at Cotswold Outdoor

Fjallraven Abisko Hike 35 backpack, £150

Fjallraven Abisko Hike 35

This backpack could equally go into our list of best backpacking packs. Its sturdy build means it can take some weight and act as a solid daypack or light overnighter. Fjallraven’s tough G1000 outer fabric lends the bag durability as well as a unique aesthetic, and the aluminium stays and reinforced back panel allow the Abisko to be loaded up with lightweight camping kit while still feeling stable on the back. The hipbelt feels perfectly anatomical, hugging the waist without any discomfort. Like the shoulder straps it doesn’t feature any pockets, making the whole front of the pack as you wear it bereft of quick access storage for things like energy gels.

Storage elsewhere is just right though, there is a single side pocket for a drinks bottle and pockets both sides of the floating lid. One additional front pocket rounds off the gear organisation potential, which for a bag of this size is plenty, and reduces endless hunting through unnecessarily numerous pockets.

Access to the main compartment is through a top drawstring, best used for packing and the side zip which runs the length of the bag is the preferred option when you’re on the trail.

The sum of all these parts is a somewhat perfectly formed daypack which can be utilised as a lightweight overnight pack too.

Buy Fjallraven Abisko Hike 35 backpack: £140 at

Osprey Talon Pro 20 backpack, £175

Osprey Talon Pro 20 web.jpg

The Talon Pro 20 is possibly all the backpack you will ever need for fast and furious day hiking and cycling, and it better be with such an eye watering price tag. If you’re just gently rambling with a sandwich and thermos in your bag then forget the Talon Pro 20, this is optimised for serious day hiking where you want to be able to engage legs and go up hill and down dale mile after fast paced mile without any issues.

About as fully featured as day packs get the Talon Pro 20 features a fantastic array of pockets and attachment points, which are all very useful. These include two hipbelt pockets, two stretch shoulder strap pockets and the usual stretch side and front pockets. The internal compartment isn’t bent out of shape by a trampoline mesh back panel leaving plenty of space to store gear, and the main access zip, although panel loading gives you plenty of opening angle to easily get at gear in the depths. Your hydration bladder is externally positioned so as not to get in the way of, or leak all over kit in the main compartment.

The Airscape back panel looks high tech and works incredibly well. It’s airy, comfortable and stable and combines with the fantastic hipbelt and comfortable shoulder straps to create an overall excellent carry system.

To put the icing on the cake the Talon Pro 20 is made of seriously durable but lightweight materials, so despite being one of the most fully featured daypacks it is possible to buy, it tips the scales at only 900g.

A seriously excellent backpack for serious hiking.

Buy Osprey Talon Pro 20 backpack: £148.75 at Cotswold Outdoor <Best Deal>

Lowe Alpine Airzone Active 22 backpack, £75

Lowe Alpine Airzone Active 22

As daypacks go, Lowe Alpines Airzone Active 22 has everything you need but manages to maintain relative simplicity.

The combination of Airzone back panel and aluminium stays is tried and tested and allows you to carry a full load in comfort, with the weight easily transferred down to the hipbelt if that’s how you like to set your backpack up.

We found the hipbelt to be a strange affair though, with its stubby wings that don’t wrap around your waist, leading into standard webbing straps for the most part. This feels uncomfortable at first with the space for your back to nestle in between the hipbelt wings particularly narrow.

Aside from that though storage is great – it’s simple but intuitive. The main compartment contains a zipped mesh pocket inside for small items, there is a top zipped pocket, a large front stretch pocket and two side stretch pockets. We like hipbelt pockets, even on daypacks and the Airzone Active does not have any, which is the only omission in an otherwise fully featured storage setup.

Neat touches include an integrated raincover and rubberised walking pole attachments, the Airzone Active can also take a 3l hydration bladder in a dedicated sleeve inside the main compartment.

This is a proper hiking backpack for long days of walking in comfort, you get used to the strange hipbelt set up, but we wish it was just slightly better.

 Buy Lowe Alpine Airzone Active backpack: £70 at Cotswold Outdoor

Berghaus Remote 20 backpack, £55


The Remote 20 has a headline grabbing price tag a lot lower than most of its closest competitors, like the Salomon Out Day at £90 RRP.

For this paltry sum you get a reasonable pack for day hiking if your aspirations aren't too high. There are a decent range of storage options in the pack itself, including the usual stretch side water bottle pockets, a main compartment complete with hydration sleeve and map compatible front and sunglasses compatible top pockets.

These are all pretty unremarkable holes for gear but do the job you would expect them to, the trekking pole loops are a very handy addition too.

Comfort in the shoulder straps is okay and it’s the same story on the back panel. The Remote 20 doesn’t transfer weight down to the hips particularly well but with the low loads expected to be carried, that’s no big deal.


Vaude Brenta 30 backpack, £140

Vaude Brenta 30.jpg

An update to the original Brenta brings with it a fresh new look and improved gear access. The Brenta 30 is one of the most accomplished daypacks going, perfect for hiking needs. Yes, it’s more expensive than others but this is a daypack with features normally found on multi-day packs.

The trampoline mesh back system is both incredibly comfortable and breathable thanks to a big gap between the back panel and your back for airflow. You can adjust the back to get a more precise fit for your particular back length too which is a real bonus for regular day hikes. The shoulder and hipbelt straps are anatomically correct so wrap neatly around the contours of the body, providing a perfect carry system even with a heavy load. Cushioning on both is sufficient for daypack loads and there’s a hipbelt pocket to help with gear organisation.

Storage and access to kit is excellent, with a top loading main entrance and zipped u-shape opening giving access to kit in the depths of the bag. There are also three big stretch mesh pockets, one on either side and one at the front for rain gear as well as the usual pockets on the lid and of course the big main compartment, altogether making for an absolutely ideal backpack for a day walking on the hills.

Buy Vaude Brenta 30 backpack: £96.76 at

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 15L, £179

Peak Designs Everyday Backpack 15L

This cool looking bag from Peak Design hides a bevy of clever features to help keep your camera equipment safe. A clamshell top opening reveals removable dividers, so you could use the Everyday Backpack for your non camera kit, and a selection of camera accessory shaped pockets. For a 15L bag you can fit a surprising amount of stuff in. There's room for a decent sized camera/lens combo, and a dedicated 15" laptop sleeve as well as side pockets for a tripod or drink. The 400D weatherproof shell is super tough and there are minimal dangly straps to get in your way.

Buy Peak Designs Everyday Backpack 15L backpack: £179.95 at


All our reviews are independent and unbiased. We may earn a commission when you buy from links to Amazon and other affiliates on this page.