Hiking daypacks have a variety of functional differences and perfect for outdoor activities that involved carrying more than the pockets will hold.

When it comes to packing the hiking daypacks it is essential to pack the heaviest items of kit at the very bottom, which is not only needed to help avoid damaging or squashing other items but also helps to stabilize the load.

Hiking Daypacks

A daypack should always be easy to shut so avoid overloading.

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What do you want from a hiking daypack?

  • Load-stabilizing compression straps are a must-have feature for the long hike and help to distribute weight equally for better comfort and balance.
  • Ventilated panels in the rear of the pack help to minimize sweat build-up by improving the circulation of cool air.
  • Multiple compartments and sides for ease in organizing the hiking supplies. Side or top pockets are great for giving quick access to the regularly used items. Plus, extra straps or storage spaces are needed to hold large items like trekking poles.

Top loader vs. Panel loader

Hiking daypacks are designed with a choice of openings: top loader and panel loader.

Paneled daypacks are appreciated for ease in opening and packing with a zip opening. Top loaders are styled with a duffle-like drawstring opening and more difficult to gain access to supplies, but gives more all-round space for the fact it is possible to extend the height.

The wide opening of the panel-loading packs means it is easy to find hiking supplies without difficulty. Plus, this daypack is the easier of the two to properly organize the load.

A positive of the top loader is the slightly lighter design and ability to stretch and over pack the bag when needed.

Plus, the top loader has a better design and profile for stabilizing the load and comes with side compression straps.

But, this hiking daypack isn’t so efficient when it comes to sorting the load and locating equipment that might be at the bottom.

Get the right size daypacks

A preferred size for the hiking daypacks is in the region of 1850 cubic inches or 30 liters. This is certain to give enough space to easily accept the must-have items of equipment to stay safe on the trails.

Daypack size differs with the planned use. A simple pack for the trail-running can be acceptable at 600 cubic inches or 10 liters.

But, if an adult is hauling extra for young members of the party it helps to have more storage space and a capacity of at least 40 liters.

Match the daypack to the activity

  • A hiking daypack is likely to provide the following features:
  • Space to accept enough hiking supplies for the entire duration of the hike – this might vary, but in general a 30 liter pack is more than adequate for most day-hikes.
  • An ability to easily slide in a hydration pack or bladder to make it easy to stay hydrated on the trails.
  • Side pockets for ease in storing the regular used items
  • Multiple compartments for ease in organizing the loose items of gear