Buying Guide: Best Travel Daypacks (2017)

daypack at venice beach boardwalk

If you are looking to do some traveling, getting yourself a quality daypack is extremely important. Daypacks are a great way to carry all the things you need when you’re out exploring a new city or other locale.

See Our #1 Travel Daypack Pick on Amazon

In order to help you to realize your needs and to show you some of the many features available we have created a daypack buyer’s guide that will break down the most important aspects of a bag for you to consider so that you can make a better, more informed purchasing decision.

Our Travel Daypack Ratings At-A-Glance

Top 10 Best Daypacks for Travel Rated (2017)

our rating is based on value and quality
MODELOUR RATING
Osprey Packs Nebula Daypack
Osprey Packs Nebula Daypack
(9.7 / 10)
JanSport Superbreak Backpack
JanSport Superbreak Backpack
(9.1 / 10)
Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Daypack
Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Daypack
(9.6 / 10)
High Sierra Loop Backpack
High Sierra Loop Backpack
(9.1 / 10)
Versatile Canvas Sling Bag / Travel Backpack
NeatPack Versatile Canvas Sling Bag / Travel Backpack
(9.5 / 10)
Herschel Supply Co. Heritage Backpack
Herschel Supply Co. Heritage Backpack
(9.3 / 10)
Osprey Packs Daylite Daypack
Osprey Packs Daylite Daypack
(9.3 / 10)
Kipling Seoul Backpack
Kipling Seoul Backpack
(9.5 / 10)
HEXIN Rated 20L/33L Lightweight Waterproof Foldable Backpack
HEXIN Rated 20L/33L Lightweight Waterproof Foldable Daypack
(9 / 10)
Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 Anti-Theft 15L Backpack
Pacsafe Metrosafe LS350 Anti-Theft 15L Backpack
(9.4 / 10)

What To Consider Before Buying

The first and most important thing that you are going to want to decide is just how long of a trip you plan on going for. If you are going for a longer trip then you are certainly going to want to have a larger bag in order to be able to hold all of the equipment that you need to. The next thing that you are going to have to think about is what sort of equipment you are going to bring with you on your trips. If you are packing a bunch of camera equipment for example, you may want a larger bag than someone who is just looking to carry some snacks along with them. Keep reading to learn what else to consider.

Purpose:

One of the best ways to help you narrow down your options is to determine what all you are going to be using the backpack for, so that you can decide both how large of a unit you need, as well as the type of design that you want. If you are going to be using something out on the water you should make sure that you are looking at waterproof designs or at least a bag that has a water tight pocket so that you can store your valuables inside. It is important to consider how long of trips you plan on taking as well as the amount of materials that you want to bring with you. If you like to do things like rock climbing it is a good idea to look for a bag with a lot of exterior clips built into its design so that you have easy access to all of your gear. Another consideration is the weather in your local area, if you want to be able to take things like dry clothes with you or multiple sets of clothes be sure to buy a larger pack as these can take up a lot of room and they can weigh a lot as well. Extra weight puts stress on your bag and adds to the wear and tear factor of your bag. Always remember that certain fabrics and materials are meant to be used under certain conditions. If you are going to be traveling in extreme cold or heat it is extremely important to make sure that the fabric of your bag is capable of withstanding the elements that you will be going into.

Design:

In order to make sure that you get something of a high quality, the first thing that you should look at is the overall shape and look of the bag as well as the normal exterior features. You should be looking for things like extra carrying straps, pockets on the exterior of the bag, and things like a water bottle holder. There are lots of cool thing that you will find incorporated into some of the bags that you look at, but it is important to make sure that these features are worth the extra cost of the bag that is associated with them. You will find lots of bags that are capable of folding down into a very small size so that consumers can pack them into bags and transport them around easily, this is an ideal feature to have if you like to do a lot of travelling. Other types of bags will have a built in shell inside of them so that they are capable of holding up more weight, but it does prevent them from being able to hold a lot of weight without risking a potential tear in the bag. It is always a good idea to take a look at the manufacturer that you are buying from and see what sorts of products they make; if they have good reviews for the other products that they make then it is likely that you have found yourself a high quality bag. It is always a good idea to make sure that you look at the finer details of a bag in order to make sure that it is actually of the quality that you are looking for. Here is a small list of some of the things that manufacturers like to cheap out on, that you should check out on your bag:

  • Using plastic zippers instead of metal (prone to catching and snapping easier than that of a metal zipper)
  • Using thin material on the exterior fabric of the bag (makes it easy to tear)
  • Incorporating a lot of mesh pockets and storage into the design
  • Top handle on the bag is non-existent or not padded
  • Few organizational pockets or storage areas on the bag, many manufacturers will just make a few large pockets
  • Poor quality, thin plastic adjustment buckles
  • Limited stitching attaching the straps or the adjustment buckles to the bag itself
  • Thin material separating the interior pockets inside of the bag (prone to ripping)

Support:

In a quality bag, comfort is key. When you are looking to find something that is comfortable to wear you should try to look for bags that have a lot of adjustability as there is no one size fits all bag. It is important to make sure that you can tighten the straps on your bag so that your bag is supported properly as you walk and run around. Beyond just having adjustable straps, if you are planning on carrying heavier things, then you may want to look for a bag that has something like a chest belt or a waist belt or a combination of these. These items help to reduce the strain on your back by spreading out the weight to various areas of your body, rather than just to your shoulders. On top of adjustability and having straps and support in the right places another thing that you should look for, is a bag that has padding in both the straps as well as the back portion of the bag. A bag that doesn’t have padding on the back side of it and that is carrying equipment on the inside of the bag, can be rather uncomfortable. Padded shoulder straps are almost essential if you are going to be going for long walks and will keep the straps from digging into your shoulders and causing you pain. They are especially important if you are going to be carrying a lot of weight around with you and they should have a large influence on your overall purchasing decision.

Storage:

One of the most important aspects of a daypack for a lot of people is the amount of storage that a bag has, as well as how that storage is implemented into the design of a bag. It is nice to have some convenient storage pockets located on the exterior of the bag and it is also nice to have a few different larger, less accessible pockets on the bag so that you can separate and organize some of your bigger items. Especially if you are carrying around anything that is of substantial value, you may want to look and see how each of the compartments of the bag close. You wouldn’t want to be walking along with something like a laptop with a bag that just has a flap close design only to have the laptop fall out of the bag and smash on the ground. When you are looking through daypacks, it is a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for things like maximum weight capacity. Going over the weight limit of a bag can not only void the warranty of the bag if it were to break on you, but it could also make the bag harder to pack and more awkward to carry than it should be. If you are unsure how many things you are going to want to store in your bag it never hurts to buy a bit of a larger size because at least you will be able to fit everything inside of the bag that you want to.

Durability:

If you are looking to get something that is going to last you for a long period of time there are certain things that you can look for in order to help improve your odds. First of all, look for things in the product description that say reinforced or tear resistant. Often times a company that is attempting to make a durable bag will do something like put extra stitching into certain areas of the bag, or reinforce certain areas with thicker fabric which is something to be on the lookout for. Another great way to tell just how durable the design of the bag is, is to check out the company warranty. The longer the warranty is on the bag, the more trust the manufacturer has in the product that it won’t break down on the consumer in that length of time. If a manufacturer is willing to put money behind the longevity of a product that they created, it is likely that they put the product through some tests in order to check to make sure that it was a durable design and that it would hold up through regular consumer use for the length of time stated on the warranty.

Features:

Depending on the amount of money that you spend on a bag, one thing that you will notice is that the amount of features incorporated into the design will differ. There are some pretty cool features in some of today’s backpacks that you may want to be on the lookout for. Expect to see things like hydration pouches, backpacks that have clip on various locations for things like your personal items and hiking gear, and things like an aluminum frame built into the design of the bag so that it is capable of carrying around heavier items. Other things that are handy or good for safety include: a built in emergency whistle, bright design that makes you easily visible, internal organization areas, as well as things like rain covers built into the design of the bag. If you like to go out on day trips and you like to store your food and drinks in a location with an appropriate temperature, another thing you may want to be on the lookout for is a bag that has a built in cooler or an insulated pocket so that you can keep your items at the proper temperature. As technology advances we are seeing more and more advancements in bags in terms of features as well as overall performance and comfort and you can expect to see some features that we didn’t cover, maybe even during your search for your own bag.

Hopefully after reading this article you now feel like you have a better grasp as to what sort of a bag you might be interested in purchasing. There are a ton of options on the market and it is always important to make sure that you check out the company warranty on the unit that you are looking at as well as the return policy on the unit so that you can be sure that you will be able to return the unit if you run into problems with it. It is always a good idea to think about how much you are going to use your backpack before you purchase it, so that you can be sure that you are spending your money wisely on something that you are actually going to use. Best of luck in your search for the best daypack bag and hope that you enjoy your traveling experience, no matter how far you go.

top image via Pixabay

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