When looking for a day pack many people choose to have more space than necessary for those “just in case items” and many of the bigger daypacks offer better organization with more pockets.
The best packable daypack gives you space to pack everything you need with a little spare room, but it needs to be lightweight too so you only carry the weight you need to.
Packs that have added feature like waterbladder pockets, hip belts, and comfortable padding support are also a bonus.
The Top 3 Best Packable Daypack Reviews
Gregory Stout 35 – $XXX.xx
This is the most expensive pack on the list, and it’s by far the simplest. The toploading design has a lot of space, but it’s also more than double the weight of the Montane without giving a significant amount of extra capacity which is noticeable.
It has a built in suspension system that uses a hip belt to distribute the weight of the pack better and make it easier to carry. It’s got great organization though with a zippered lid pocket, an internal lid pocket, two side pockets, and two pockets on the hip belt as well as a system to add hiking poles and more. This is ideal for someone who isn’t worried about a little more weight as long as they get extra space.
- Lots of space & pockets
- Polyester construction
- Foam back
With option for a selection of colors the Stout 35 is a very versatile bag. It’s designed more as a one size item, so it might be too big for some as a daypack, but it’s got a lot of pockets to make packing and organizing easier (especially if you’re the type to try an pack everything). It fits a full sized 3L bladder in the pocket and there’s a foam layer on the back for comfort.
A minimum of $20 more than the other packs and while you’re paying for the extra space this isn’t necessarily enough to warrant the difference. It’s also made of a polyester blend which means it’s far from durable when it comes to rock abrasions and it’s pretty heavy compared to other packs.
Montane Medusa 32 – $XXX.xx
A 32L pack might be a little large for some people but its nice and lightweight plus a good portion of that space is from the optional expansion hood at the top. The bag is built to withstand rock abrasion and it also has channels sown into it to wick away liquids like rain and sweat.
The shoulder straps are comfortably padded and there’s a double tension waist harness for better weight distribution. It weighs much less than the Stout at only 670g but still has many of the same features like mesh pockets and a zipper on the hip belt. There’s also a hiking pole attachment and room for a water reservoir inside with a tube opening on the outside.
- 500 denier/210 denier nylon construction
- Gear Loop
Lighter than the Stout but with more space the option for packing more in a sturdier pack is certainly appealing. This is a top loading pack that is aimed more at climbers than hikers but with a carabiner or two it’s still fully functional. The back pas Is also nicely padded for comfort and it comes in several eye catching colors. The wide mouth of the bag makes loading it easy and there’s also a quick release tab for better access.
There’s not a lot of bad things to say about this pack other than the pack possibly being oversized for many to consider a “day pack” and if you’ve got a smaller stature this is really going to be an issue.
Berghaus Freeflow 30 – $XXX.xx
The Berhaus is pretty hefty like the Stout, but that means you’ll get a lot of room too. It’s still comfortable and has a Biofit system for adjusting all the harnesses so it fits perfectly to your shape and gives you better load distribution.
This is a very similar construction to the stout and also has the same top loading design with two large side pockets two belt pockets and an interior pocket. The most notable difference is that the Berghaus comes with a rain cover and you won’t have to pay extra, unlike the Osprey line. There’s also an inner space for a hydration pack and it has mesh technology for breathable wear.
- Mesh breathability
- Large capacity
- Pockets for storage
- Biofit Harness
With so much space this easily outdoes the Medusa and it’s not quite as heavy as the Stout. It’s nice and comfortable to wear and even the shoulder straps are vented so there’s plenty of airflow between you and the pack. The rain cover is included and built in so you don’t have to worry about buying an extra or forgetting it and it’s got plenty of storage as well as an attachment for poles and gear.
Really the only downside to this pack is that it is unnecessarily heavy, if it had a dual layer or extra foam the weight might make sense but it’s not that sturdy. It would be nice if it was nylon rather than polyester too to give it added durability but the polyester will work fine as long as you don’t expect to get too rough with it.
This is actually a pretty tough decision because all of these are similar in size and features. The Medusa just has a lot less issues however and it’s the lightest of all without sacrificing space.
It’s got space, pockets, the bladder space, and options to store gear so there’s several things to make it the best packable daypack. It’s probably a good idea to also add a rain cover to the bag if you’re planning on being out since it’s passingly water resistant and doesn’t have a built in one like the Berghaus.