This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.
A packable daypack has become an essential part of our packing list. It fits easily in our luggage and we can use it for sightseeing and shopping at our destination.
We’ve tried many backpacks and below you’ll find reviews of the best packable daypacks in 2023 from ultralight to fully featured with something for every budget.
- What is a Packable Daypack?
- Why Travel with a Packable Backpack?
- Our Top Picks
- Comparison Chart: The Best Packable Daypack 2023
- How to Choose the Best Packable Backpack
- The Best Mid-Sized Packable Daypacks
- The Best Ultralight Daypacks
- The Best Full Featured Foldable Backpacks
- Which Packable Daypack is Best for You?
What is a Packable Daypack?
A packable daypack is an ultralight backpack that can fit in your luggage (or even your pocket). They usually compress into a small pouch.
They come in a range of sizes, some tiny and ultralight with one compartment, others bulkier with many of the pockets and features you’d expect in a regular backpack.
They are also sometimes called a foldable backpack or collapsible backpack.
Why Travel with a Packable Backpack?
Our luggage is too large for days out so we need something smaller for sightseeing. A light, foldable backpack is ideal as it fits inside our main bags on travel days.
It also allows you to travel with just one carry-on bag (which is all some strict airlines allow) but still have a small bag for exploring.
A collapsible daypack is also useful when you don’t need a bag for the whole day. You could pack a folding backpack inside your handbag or pocket to use when needed—for shopping or if you want to remove your sweater or jacket later.
Our Top Picks
After trying out many daypacks, the Matador Freefly16 is our top pick for the best packable daypack.
It’s lightweight yet extremely durable, weatherproof, and more comfortable than most packable bags. See our review below for more details
If you want an ultralight daypack that packs down to a tiny size, we recommend the Osprey Stuff Pack.
The Matador Beast18 is the most comfortable backpack for hiking, but it’s bulkier and heavier than the rest.
Note: Our previous favourite was the Tortuga Setout Packable Daypack but this is no longer available.
Comparison Chart: The Best Packable Daypack 2023
|Daypack||Image||Capacity||Weight||Folds into Pocket?||Price||Best For|
|Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack||20L||72g (2.5oz)||Yes||$$||Ultralight|
|Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack||18L||90g (3.2oz)||Yes||$$||Ultralight (Our Pick)|
|Naturehike Packable Daypack||18L||120g (4.2oz)||Yes||$||Ultralight Budget|
|Eagle Creek Packable Backpack||20L||170g (6oz)||Yes||$$||Lightweight|
|Gonex Packable Backpack||20L||185g (6.5oz)||Yes||$||Budget Pick|
|Matador Freefly16 Packable Backpack||16L||190g (6.7oz)||Yes||$$$||Top Pick|
|New Outlander Packable Daypack||20L||198g (7oz)||Yes||$||Budget|
|REI Co-op Flash 18 Pack||18L||255g (9oz)||No||$$||Hiking|
|Matador Freerain22 Waterproof Backpack||22L||300g (10.6oz)||Yes||$$$||Waterproof|
|Tortuga Outbreaker Daypack||21L||499g (1 lb 2oz)||No||$$$||Laptop|
|Matador Beast18 Technical Backpack||18L||595g (1lb 5oz)||Yes||$$$||Hiking (Our Pick)|
How to Choose the Best Packable Backpack
The main consideration when choosing a packable daypack is whether you will prioritise weight and packability or features and comfort.
The lightest daypacks only have one main compartment and flimsier shoulder straps, whereas most full-featured and comfortable packs weigh considerably more.
We opt for the middle ground. We like backpacks with at least one external zipped pocket and comfortable shoulder straps, but otherwise prioritise weight and packability over features.
Here are the features to consider when choosing a packable travel backpack:
- Capacity – We find 16 to 20 litres is plenty of space for a fleece, water bottle, snacks, and Kindle. We can even usually fit in both our laptops (16 and 13 inches) in neoprene cases (although we don’t recommend doing this too often in unpadded bags).
- Weight – The lighter, the better. We prefer under 250g (8.5oz). If you want ultralight, there are packs under 100g (3.5oz).
- Size When Packed – Most pack into the inside pocket to create a compact pouch that doesn’t take up much space in your main luggage.
- Pockets – We like to have at least one zipped pocket for small items.
- Water bottle holders – These are on the outside of the pack and can be useful for easy access to water.
- Hip belt – Most small lightweight backpacks don’t have one. It’s only necessary if you’ll be carrying a heavy load as it transfers the bag’s weight from your shoulders to your hips. The Matador Beast18 is the only daypack on this list with a comfortable padded hip belt.
- Sternum strap – A chest strap for extra support and to keep the bag from moving around. They aren’t common on packable daypacks, but they have become a must-have for us as they make a big difference to comfort. The Matador Freefly16 is the lightest daypack on this list with a sternum strap. All the bags in the Full Featured section also have them.
- Back and shoulder strap padding – Most don’t have back padding and only light shoulder padding. For heavier loads you might need more.
- Laptop compartment – This will add significantly to the weight, but it’s a good idea if you’ll be carrying around a laptop often as most don’t offer any protection. The Tortuga Outbreaker is best for laptops.
- Hydration port – If you prefer drinking from a water bladder, look for this. They aren’t common in ultralight bags but the REI Flash Pack and Matador Beast18 do have them.
- Weather resistance – Most daypacks aren’t waterproof but look for ones that are water resistant. The Matador Freerain22 is a fully waterproof daypack. The Freefly16, Tortuga Outbreaker, and Beast18 are also highly weather resistant.
- Durability – Look for quality fabric and zips.
All the backpacks reviewed below are unisex.
The Best Mid-Sized Packable Daypacks
These packable backpacks offer a good balance between packability/weight and comfort/features. All the bags in this category pack down to a similar size.
Matador Freefly16 Packable Backpack
Weight: 190g (6.7oz)
Colours: Black only
Matador makes high-performance, packable travel gear from quality materials. I’ve been so impressed by their range of packable backpacks that I’ve added three to this list.
Their lightest bag—the Matador Freefly16—is our new favourite packable backpack. It’s the ideal balance between packability, comfort, and style.
The backpack is small and light, but it has a number of features you don’t usually find on a packable bag.
The adjustable sternum strap makes the backpack more comfortable than most as it keeps the shoulder straps in place.
It’s set up for outdoor activities with gear loops, shock cord captures, and buckle compression straps, so you can attach hiking poles and tools to the outside of the bag.
There are also two mesh water bottle pockets on the sides and one large zipped front pocket. This is almost the entire length of the bag, so I would prefer a smaller pocket within it.
The main compartment is large enough to fit Simon’s MacBook Pro 16-inch laptop in a case (there’s no padding in the bag for protection).
The mesh shoulder straps didn’t look like they’d have enough padding, but they are weight distributing and surprisingly comfortable. They are also breathable, don’t absorb sweat, and dry quickly.
The two biggest downsides of the Freefly16 are the price ($79.99) and that it doesn’t pack into its own pocket.
Instead, it packs into a separate mesh bag with a drawstring which you can squeeze into a small ball. I don’t love that it’s an extra thing to carry that could be lost, but overall it’s not a big deal.
For us the cost is worth it for the quality of the materials including Robic nylon and YKK zippers. The bottom of the bag (where holes are most likely to form in these ultralight bags) is reinforced with an even stronger fabric.
I expect the backpack to be very durable, which is reflected in the 3-year warranty.
The Freefly16 is also much more weatherproof than most backpacks with UTS coating, sealed seams, and sealing zippers.
It should stand up to most rain showers, but if you need a fully waterproof backpack, check out the Freerain 22 below.
Check out the Matador Freefly16 here.
Another great option: If you’ll be using the daypack for trips to cafes more than hiking, consider Matador’s On-Grid Packable Daypack.
It’s a similar size to the Freefly16, but it has more pockets (including a laptop sleeve), packs into its own pocket, and sells at a lower price. It lacks a sternum strap, though, and isn’t as water resistant.
Gonex Ultralight Packable Daypack
Weight: 185g (6.5oz)
Colours: 2 available
We travelled with the budget Gonex daypack a few years ago. It worked well at the time, but we’ve since outgrown it and now prefer higher quality bags with more style, durability, and comfort. It is very affordable, though.
The Gonex is not the best looking backpack, but it has a simple black design (other colours are available).
There’s a good amount of storage with a zipped front pocket, two mesh water bottle pockets on the sides, and a zipped inside pocket that doubles as the storage pouch it folds into.
It’s lightweight and packs in our luggage easily, but it fits a surprising amount of stuff—we can fit Simon’s 16-inch MacBook Pro in it along with my 13-inch laptop and 12-inch iPad Pro (all in cases).
There’s no padding, so it’s not the best option for electronics, but we have used it for them occasionally.
It’s the cheapest backpack on this list but is made from water and tear resistant nylon and is surprisingly durable.
Don’t expect it to last forever, but we travelled with it for over a year to eight countries and used it regularly for hikes, day trips, and shopping.
We did replace our Gonex after a year as it was looking a little worn and the inside lining was beginning to shed.
The Gonex is fairly comfortable to carry despite the minimal padding on the shoulder straps, although for long hikes it’s not ideal.
The Gonex is a great daypack for travel if you are on a budget.
Click here to see the latest prices of the Gonex daypack.
New Outlander Packable Travel Daypack
Capacity: 20L (33L version also available)
Weight: 198g (7oz)
Colours: 10 available
The New Outlander backpack is very similar to the Gonex, but it has two zipped pockets on the front as well as a zipped pocket inside and two mesh water bottle holders on the sides.
A carabiner clip is included so you can attach items to the backpack.
It has excellent reviews on Amazon, but for a budget bag we prefer the Gonex because it’s slightly lighter and cheaper, and the fabric looks less wrinkled.
If you’ll use the extra external pocket and are on a budget, this could be the best packable backpack for you.
Click here to see the latest prices of the New Outlander daypack.
Eagle Creek Packable Backpack
Weight: 170g (6oz)
Colours: 4 available
Note: This review refers to the older version of the Eagle Creek daypack. The newer version is slightly larger and heavier and the front pocket has moved to the side.
The Eagle Creek Packable Daypack was hard to categorise on this list. It’s smaller and lighter than other mid-sized daypacks, but it’s not as light as the ultralight backpacks.
It’s a good option if you want a lightweight bag with a more stylish design than the ultralight daypacks.
It’s one of the nicest looking bags we reviewed with an attractive matte grey fabric (although it’s described as black) that’s ideal for city travel.
It’s the smallest bag on the list but still fits the basics for a day out. It packs down small into its outside pocket and has a clip for attaching it to your luggage (or use it for keys when it’s inside the pocket).
The main compartment is lockable which is a rare feature on these small daypacks.
There’s one mesh water bottle holder but no inside pocket or sternum strap. The back has no padding and the shoulder straps have the typical minimal mesh padding.
We’re a big fan of Eagle Creek packing cubes and trust the quality of their products—this daypack comes with a lifetime warranty.
For higher quality materials, a lighter weight, and a more stylish design, it could be worth paying more than the other budget picks.
See the latest price of the Eagle Creek Packable Daypack on Amazon.
The Best Ultralight Daypacks
The priority with these daypacks is to be as lightweight and packable as possible.
The downside is they are less comfortable and have fewer pockets than the backpacks above.
All of these pack down to roughly half the size of the daypacks above, with the Sea to Summit even smaller.
These packs are a good choice if you only want a bag for occasional use and won’t be carrying anything very heavy.
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack
Weight: 72g (2.5oz)
Colours: 4 available
I really wanted to like the Sea to Summit daypack as it’s the lightest model available—just 72g/2.5oz—and folds down into a tiny pouch despite its 20-litre capacity.
Unfortunately, we didn’t like how this small day pack looked. It’s made from a wrinkly fabric that rustles and feels flimsy, although it’s actually very strong.
It has no pockets or any shape or structure, so when it’s not full it sags and looks unattractive.
It was the least comfortable of the backpacks we tried.
Sea to Summit has recently updated the daypack and it does look better than the version we tried. They have added web loops to the front for a bike light, and it comes with a carabiner to clip the packed up bag to things.
The Sea to Summit is a great lightweight daypack if weight and size are an absolute priority or you’ll only be using it occasionally. It’s the smallest and most compact bag (when packed down) on this list.
Find the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack on Amazon.
Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack
Weight: 90g (3.2oz)
Colours: 5 available
The Osprey daypack is the best lightweight backpack. It’s not much heavier than the Sea to Summit, although it’s a bit bigger when packed away.
It has the advantage of a little more padding, more pockets, and less wrinkly fabric.
The Osprey has one water bottle pocket on the side in a stretchy fine mesh that looks better than those on the budget backpacks.
There’s also one external zipped pocket, but it’s at the very top of the backpack behind the main zips. This makes it more secure but less accessible.
The fabric is quite crinkly and we didn’t find it very comfortable to carry, although the straps are better than others in this category. The bag is so light and flimsy that the shoulder straps moved around too much.
Osprey has a great reputation—I travelled with the Osprey Farpoint 40 for years—so I would expect the daypack to be durable.
If you are looking for an ultralight backpack that packs down small, the Osprey is ideal.
Click to see the latest prices of the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack.
Naturehike Ultralight Foldable Daypack
Weight: 120g (4.2oz)
Colours: 3 available
If you are looking for an ultralight daypack for under $20, consider the Naturehike.
While it’s heavier than the others in this category, it’s noticeably lighter and more compact than the mid-sized picks.
There’s one mesh water bottle holder and a front zipped pocket that’s narrow and deep.
There’s no internal pocket (despite what the listing says) except for the small drawstring pouch it folds into, which you could use for small items like keys.
At 18 litres it’s smaller than most of the other daypacks and as the zip doesn’t open as far, the opening is narrower.
We found the straps too narrow and flimsy, so as with the other ultralight backpacks, we’d only recommend it for occasional use or lighter loads.
Click to see the latest prices of the Naturehike Foldable Backpack.
The Best Full Featured Foldable Backpacks
These backpacks are similar to regular daypacks with more features and comfort than the packs above.
They do fit inside your luggage, but they are heavier and bulkier and don’t all pack down into a pouch.
These backpacks are ideal if you will only pack away your daypack occasionally (such as on the journey to your destination) and will use it regularly, especially for hiking or other activities where you might need to carry more.
In this section, you’ll find packable hiking backpacks with hydration reservoir compartments, waterproof packable backpacks, and even a packable laptop bag.
Matador Freerain22 Waterproof Packable Backpack
Weight: 300g (10.6oz)
Colours: Black only
The Matador Freerain22 is the most waterproof packable backpack we’ve found.
It has UTS coating, sealed seams, and a zipped rolltop closure to keep water out. Even when we put it under the shower, it came out totally dry inside.
This is an excellent option if you want a backpack for outdoor sports like hiking and kayaking.
It’s similar to the Freefly16 (see above) but is fully waterproof, more spacious, and has a few extra features like load lifters on the shoulder straps and a thin (removable) hip belt.
It has two water bottle pockets, a large front pocket with a vertical zip, and a very spacious main compartment. There are also gear loops and shockcord captures to add hiking poles and other tools.
To close the bag, you zip the top, roll it three times and clip it to the side of the backpack. It’s less convenient than just a zip but means it is fully waterproof.
The Freerain22 is more comfortable to carry than most packable backpacks with a sternum strap and hip belt.
We didn’t find the thin hip belt made a huge difference to comfort over the Freefly16, but it could be useful if you’ll be wearing it for running to keep it in place.
The Freerain22 is the most compact and packable of the fully featured bags. It packs inside a separate mesh sack into a fairly compact ball (see photo in the Freefly16 section above).
Like the Freefly16, it’s on the higher price range ($99.99) but is made from very durable materials and comes with a 3-year warranty.
Here’s what one reviewer says:
“I’ve raved about Matador bags online (I own 2). I’ve had people doubt the performance, because I guess seam-sealing is not a simple process. But let me tell you, I take my Freerain on canoe trips and have dunked the whole bag into the water. The contents are always bone dry. The bag is super light, durable, and well thought out. I’m a big fan that wants to buy Matador far into the future, so I want everyone thinking about a purchase to know this gear is SERIOUS!”
The Matador Freerain22 is the best packable backpack if waterproofing is important to you.
Check out the Matador Freerain22 here.
Need more space? The Freerain also comes in a larger 28 litre version.
REI Co-op Flash 18 Pack
Weight: 269g (9.5oz)
Colours: 6 colours available
If you are looking for a small hiking backpack, the REI Co-op Flash 18 Pack could be right for you.
It’s not hugely heavier than the budget daypacks above, but it has many more features.
It’s more comfortable to carry due to the thin hip belt and sternum strap (both detachable) and lightly padded back panel and shoulder straps.
The Flash 18 is ideal if you hike with a hydration bladder as there’s a hose exit port and internal sleeve for a reservoir.
There is also an exterior zipped pocket and daisy chain with ice-axe loop.
The biggest downsides are the drawcord opening (I prefer a zip) and that it doesn’t pack into a pocket. This foldable backpack does fold down fairly small to fit inside your luggage, though.
Friends of ours travelled with the REI Flash Pack for years and highly recommend it.
Click here to check the latest price of the REI Flash Pack.
Tortuga Outbreaker Daypack
Weight: 499g (1 lb 2oz)
Colours: Black only
If you will use your daypack every day, especially to carry a laptop, then the Tortuga Outbreaker Daypack could be the best backpack for you.
It’s much heavier than the daypacks above and doesn’t pack away into a pocket, but it does lie flat to fit in your luggage.
It’s designed to fit inside the excellent Outbreaker Travel Backpack which Simon used to travel with as his main luggage.
At $125, it’s one of the more expensive daypacks on this list.
You do get a lot for the extra weight and money. I think it’s the best looking of the packable daypacks we’ve reviewed with a simple and sleek black design that’s perfect for urban travel.
The Tortuga Daypack is very high quality as it’s made from waterproof sailcloth, uses quality YKK zippers, has padded shoulder straps made from sweat-wicking Ariaprene foam, and features a sternum strap.
There’s a 15-inch laptop sleeve, 9.7-inch tablet sleeve, a front zipped pocket and key clip, and two side water bottle pockets.
If you’ll be carrying electronics regularly and using the bag more than packing it away, the Tortuga waterproof daypack is the best foldable daypack.
Click here for more details about the Tortuga Daypack.
Matador Beast18 Ultralight Technical Backpack
Weight: 595g (1lb 5oz)
Colours: Black only
The Matador Beast18 Ultralight Technical Backpack is the most fully-featured packable daypack on this list.
It’s designed for outdoor activities like hiking and climbing. Unlike the other daypacks, it has a flexible frame suspension system that moves with your body and provides plenty of support.
It’s certainly the most comfortable packable daypack for hiking that we tried.
It has a decent amount of breathable back and shoulder strap padding, an adjustable sternum strap, and a wide, lightly padded hip belt (removable if not needed).
There’s plenty of storage too. The main compartment is a decent size and includes a hydration sleeve, which can accommodate most 1–3 litre water bladders, and a hose exit port.
The main compartment also features a small zipped pocket with a key loop—ideal for valuable items.
The front compartment is smaller but still spacious (it extends to the bottom of the pack)—I store my Kindle and granola bars here. There’s a zipped pocket within it for smaller items.
The two stretchy water bottle pockets on the outside of the pack are a good size (they easily fit our 1-litre bottle), and there are several daisy chains and loops on the front for attaching accessories.
On a three-hour hike, I had space for my Sony A7III camera with large lens, fleece, lunch, snacks, and 2-litre water bladder. It was almost as comfortable as my much bulkier hiking backpack, even with a fairly heavy load.
It has also worked well for bike rides.
The Matador Beast18 is a waterproof packable backpack made from durable Robic nylon with a UTS coating. It has stood up well to walks in the rain and even to hiking through a river (The Narrows in Zion National Park).
The downside of all these features is that it’s much heavier and bulkier than the other packable daypacks.
Impressively, it does pack down into a separate compression sack, though. You twist the pack in the middle, fold it in half, and pack it in the mesh bag.
I find it awkward to do, and even when packed down, it’s still double the size of the mid-size packable bags.
It’s best if you will only be packing it away occasionally, but we can manage to fit it into our carry-on suitcases when needed.
It’s also much more expensive than the other backpacks. I do think the Beast18 is worth the price, though, if you are looking for a quality, waterproof daypack for outdoor activities that’s comfortable and packable.
Click here to check out the Matador Beast18 Backpack.
Need more space? The Matador Beast also comes in a 28-litre version (and it’s only 3oz/85g heavier).
Which Packable Daypack is Best for You?
If you want the lightest possible backpack that packs into a tiny pouch and don’t care what it looks like, go for the Sea to Summit.
Or we think the Osprey daypack is the best ultralight backpack as it’s only slightly bigger but has pockets and looks better.
If you need something more fully featured for frequent use, consider the REI Co-op Flash 18 Pack, which has a thin hip belt and space for a hydration reservoir or the Tortuga Outbreaker Daypack, which has padded straps and a laptop sleeve.
The waterproof Matador Freerain22 is best for water sports as well as hiking.
The most comfortable packable daypack for hiking is the Matador Beast18. It has plenty of features but doesn’t pack down as small as the others.
Overall, the Matador Freefly16 is the perfect compromise between weight and comfort for everyday use. It’s light, durable, comfortable, and weather resistant.
Which packable daypack do you use?
If you enjoyed this post, pin it!
Thank you, very much for posting this!! Super helpful!
Do you have a view on how the Osprey UL Dry Stuff Pack 20 compares with the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack?
I’m also keen to find out the dimensions of the pouch into which the daypacks fit (I’d like to know if it’s realistic that they could be pocket size), but so far have yet to find the dimensions for either Osprey bag. I don’t suppose you have any information on this?
I love this post amazingly helpful for all sorts of circumstances. I am impressed with the REI Flash, Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil, and the Osprey Ultra Light Stuff Pack. You helped me narrow my search as there is so many packs to choose from.
At a quick look I didn’t find one that suited me because of the colour. No not to have something pretty but safe. I would like a backpack I can fit in a pocket. One to fit a packable jacket in. When cycling temperature can with time of day etc layers can become too much or too little. A dull colour may be fine for carrying around lights etc but when actually cycling they cover much of my high viz clothes. Where is any high viz pocket backpack? I certainly haven’t found one
The Gonex and Osprey come in a bright green colour that might work for you? Or the Outlander has a bright orange. Or here’s an option in bright yellow but I haven’t tried it myself yet: https://amzn.to/3tfIYAm
Good luck finding one that works for you.
I’ve been offered an Earth-Pak Day Backpack….Do you have any feedback on that particular product? Thanks very much for any
information you can send me on the Earth-Pak Day Backpack.
I haven’t heard of it, I’m afraid.
Didn’t notice a review on the matador Free-rain 24L. Will you be trying that one?
It is on my list to try, but it’s difficult to get hold of gear at the moment (as we’re “stuck” in New Zealand) so it’ll be a while.
I bought a 20L one from Amazon and haven’t been let down at all. I have to go ultralight due to a spinal condition and this fits the bill perfectly. They do a 25L as well and I may get one.
The only thing I found, here in the England, is that they are single stitched inside, don’t know about other countries. I turned my inside out and added another row of stitching all round for extra strength.
There are other manufacturers one on the market but overall, the Gonex came out tops for reviews. I used mine in a downpour and everything stayed dry, [lus the straps are more comfortable. I could travel RTW with either the 20L or 25L, when packed right I have room for extras left as well.
Thanks for the feedback Ted!
LOVED your packable daypack report,
I’m off across Indonesia in November , and needed a replacement for my eagle creek daypack, as the zip got salt water on it, and refused to open anymore, to the point where I applied so much force to free it off (I used WD40 but no luck) I tore the stitching, and it went in the bin, leaving me without a daypack on a visit to Gran Canaria….
My only criticism (if that’s really the word) is that, you have not mentioned anywhere, what the size of the pack is, once its folded and packed….have I missed this somewhere ?
I’ve had a couple of day packs over the years, I always make sure, they fit in the big side pocket of my cargo pants, whether they are long-legged, or shorts….
It might be nice, to see this information included in your consumers report.
Great report, and thankyou….Dee….
That’s a good point, Dee. When I next update this post I’ll add the size as well.
I’m curious why you left out two other decent contenders on your list:
1. The North Face Flyweight pack- updated for 2019. I have the older version of this and it’s pretty good.
2. REI Stuff Travel Pack.
They both look good, thanks. I’ll add them to my list to review for the next update.
This is very helpful.
While I travel, I sometimes need a small and light bag for a short overnight trip (e.g. while I stay with my family in Japan I often go on a two-day outing, or while I’m in transit between flights somewhere in the world, I might decide to have an overnight lay over to at least get out of the airport, etc.)
I was considering Naturehike 18L since it is inexpensive yet looks to be of good quality (e.g. YKK zippers), but I see your point of the shoulder straps too narrow and flimsy. The Tortuga seems a little overkill but I understand it pays to get a real good quality, durable product that lasts a long time. I do have a Tortuga Setout that I purchased after putting a lot of thoughts and research, and I do understand their good quality. I walked around in hilly Lisbon with my fully packed Setout and it wasn’t too painful.
Anyway, I am still torn.. ;-)
I’ve had the Camelback ARETE™ 22 HYDRATION PACK for a few years. I’ve beat it up. it’s pretty awesome if you remove the foam from the back. Anyway… shopping for something new but would like your feedback on it.
It’s unclear how packable it is and it’s heavier than almost all the packs on this list, but if you need a hydration pack it seems like a good option.
L L Bean has a stow away packable pack that compares very well. 14 oz. Padded shoulder strap and back. Also a sternum strap and a ….waist strap.
Not water proof. Great colors.
A bit expensive at $49.95.
Folds to 8×7.
I’ll be using it as personal bag on my way to New Zealand and hiking there.
Thanks for your article. I was surprised to end up back where I started!
The LL Bean does look like a great bag. It’s heavier and more expensive than we’d like, but as you’ll be using it on the plane that won’t matter too much to you, and the padding/sternum strap/waist belt will be handy for hiking. Enjoy New Zealand!
If it’s for hikes – and you have folding lightweight poles – check they will fit in the pack. I found 25L ample for most.
Im suprised you like the farpoint! I used to use that years ago!
I do like setout daypack and am thinking of getting it for my travel pack 2 by aer.
thanks for the lost
Hi Guys! Great detailed write up! I actually have the Setout as well and have been looking at daypacks. I have a question about the outbreaker daypack. How flat does it actually lay? I know there is really much depth to the laptop section in the Setout backpack and I was wondering if it laid flat enough to to slide into that section vs laying on top or bottom of the main compartment.
Thanks in advance!
We don’t have the Outbreaker daypack so I can’t say for sure. I recommend contacting Tortuga to ask as they are very responsive and helpful.
We’ve been testing out the Tortuga Setout and found it to be very comfortable. It doesn’t pack down as small as I would like, but since it packs flat into a square shape, it can often be compressed flat underneath items (whereas some other packable daypacks compress down to small cylinder shapes).
I’m glad you like it too David. That’s a good point that while it’s a big bigger than some packable daypacks it is quite a good shape for squeezing into corners.
Good reviews, thank you for taking the time. Just a heads-up re an ultralight option: look up the “Snowhale Ultra Lightweight Packable Day Pack.” It sells for $9.99 and it is the *exact same* pack as the original version of the Sea to Summit UL pack, i.e., same one you reviewed here, except that it also has mesh water bottle pockets on its sides. Structurally and materially the Snowhale is no better than the Sea to Summit–I have both–and it only comes in black, but the side pockets are useful. And all for less than 1/3 the price of the S2S version. FYI.
Thanks for the info. One of the Amazon reviews says the Snowhale doesn’t fold down quite as small as the Sea to Summit though.
Bought the Gonex when you originally recommended it and we’ve been traving with it for 6 months now, it’s been great.
I’m glad the Gonex is working out for you Ian!
I noticed the Matador Daylite16 is missing from the list, so allow me to recommend it. At 16L, it has a smaller capacity that the ones on the list, but we’ve found it to be plenty roomy for our needs. It packs down very small—only slightly larger than the Sea to Summit UltraSil day pack—and weighs 4.1 ounces. The Daylite16 has two zippered compartments, two water bottle pockets, padded straps, and a water resistant design. In fact, the design seems to be very similar to the Naturehike 18L. My only gripe would be that the water bottle pockets don’t have tightening elastic around the top, so bottles may slip out when the backpack is held at precarious angles. Oh, and it’s expensive.
I had heard of that one but it’s hard to get hold of in the UK. I’ll look into it next time we’re in the US as it does sounds like a good option.
Actually now that I look at it, the straps are vented but not padded.
Yes, padded straps aren’t very common in packable daypacks.
I’ve been using Eagle Creeks packable daypack for a few years. Large compartment with an outside pocket, which it folds into. Comfortable straps and water resistant nylon. But it’s getting older, so maybe time to upgrade to the Gonex. Thanks for doing the research and reviews!
The Eagle Creek looks like a good one too, although we’d miss the interior pocket.
Normally i would just pick a backpack because of my liking, now i know! thanks..
I’ve never heard of this before but sounds interesting. I actually really need a new day bag. Thanks for sharin :-)
Another vote for the Osprey stuff sack. It has a good internal pockets too, and a key fob. But yeah…only one water bottle holder. I do use it to carry my laptop (in a padded case) but agree these lightweight packs don’t offer a lot of protection so caution is needed. Defo check it out if you’re in the market again.
Thanks Melanie, we’ll look into it next time.
My Boyfriend and I were on the hunt for the perfect packable day pack recently and I think we found one that works out quite well! It’s the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack It’s a little bit pricey, but very good quality! It’s comfortable and (AND!) it’s water resistant! and when you aren’t using it, it’s stuffs down into a little ball! :) It comes in both bright colors and you can get it in a dark shade. The only thing about this is that for some reason they only put one outer water bottle pocket. (Osprey usually falters on their choices with water bottle pockets across the board, we’ve found.) But you can off-set it by putting the bottle inside or balancing it out with strap tightness. I would suggest looking into this one if you’re ever in the market (again!) ! :)
“Osprey usually falters on their choices with water bottle pockets across the board, we’ve found”…ain’t that the truth!! Pretty much my only complaint about my Farpoint 40! As a side note to Erin, I ordered a 20L Gonex off of your Amazon link this morning, after reading your post for a 2nd time :)
Thanks for ordering the Gonex through our link and I hope it works out for you!
I’m not sure how we missed this one as we’re Osprey fans—we’ll definitely look into it next time. The only potential issue for us is the lack of external pocket other than the water bottle holder. We use ours a lot for easy access to pens, tissue etc.
There is one!! It’s just at the top of the bag! It holds quite a bit too! And has a key fob!
Ooh, will definitely look into this next time we have an address to send it to!
I have used a Deuter Wizard (now out of production, I believe) when I’ve needed a super-light daypack to go along with me on a trip and I’ve found that it works well. I completely agree with you that having a functional, yet very lightweight daypack is super handy to have on my travels!
They are so useful. We’re heading off on a 5-day motorbike trip around Bali and will take just the daypack. It’s so much lighter than my regular backpack that hopefully it’ll be more comfortable to carry on my back (as a passenger on the bike).
Tom Binh has a packing cube/backpack that is also an optionn, especially for infrequent use. I have an older version without the bottom compartment, and its nice knowing i have the option of the backpack when travelling, and it takes up now extra space since I’d be using a packing cube anyway! They also have a version which can be a backpack or be broken down into a smaller bag as well. Not cheap, but definitely good products! https://www.tombihn.com/products/packing-cube-backpack?variant=16455290247
Anything with a dual purpose is always a bonus for carry-on travellers! It’s a little heavier than we wanted but that’s partly offset by the weight saved on a packing cube. I can see how this would be great for someone who doesn’t need a daypack too often.