Having a lightweight, packable daypack is a must have for any seasoned traveler. These small daypacks can easily be folded and stowed away in your larger bag, but they will come in handy when you head off on daily travel adventures.

For many travel activities and outdoor activities like hiking, climbing etc. having a quality daypack to carry your daily gear is super valuable.

There are hundreds of different types of daypacks available, but depending on your needs and style of travel one will fit your needs better than another. I’ll explain you what to look for in a daypack and which one suits you the best.

Osprey Daylite Packable Daypack

There are certain features you should look for while buying a packable daypack. I’ve compiled a list of important features and things to look for when shopping for a durable, lightweight foldable daypack.

Capacity

Capacity matters the most. More capacity means you can carry more stuff but it will increase the weight. For normal use, a 25 Liter volume is considered fit to carry most of your stuff. Whereas if you plan to buy a daypack for some specific use, you may have to look for other sizes. For multi-day travelling you may need sizes bigger than 30 L and for light trekking even 20 L would do good.

Fabric

Different types of materials are used in daypacks. A good daypack material must be light and tough. Water resistant daypacks are also available.

Weight

If you’re like me you never want to carry extra weight. Therefore, it is better to buy a daypack which meets your requirements and is the lightest. Too many extra features can add extra weight to your daypack.

Loading Style

Daypacks are usually top loaders or panel loaders. Top loaders have a single compartment, and an access point at the top. While panel loaders can have multiple compartments with a U shaped zipper for opening. Top loaders are suitable for quick stuffing of goods while panel loaders can keep your stuff organized and are more versatile in use.

Extra Compartments

Some side compartments are added to day packs to store additional stuff like phones, maps and dedicated water carrying compartments. These can be very handy.

Additional Straps and Belts

If you carry a lot of weight, then additional straps can evenly divide the weight across your body and give you more comfort.

The Basics – What To Look For In A Daypack

The best packable daypack for you depends largely on what you are going to use it for. However a good travel daypack may have following features:

  • Minimum possible weight.
  • Capacity largely depends on what you want to use it for. 20 to 25 L is considered well enough for general purpose use.
  • Sleek design.
  • Extra compartments, only if needed.
  • Tough & strong.

Some of the best daypacks are provided below. You can consider them while looking to buy one.

5 Best Lightweight Packable Daypacks For Travel

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack

This daypack has a very sleek and simple design. It is very lightweight and compact. The fabric used is tough and strong and “weather resistant”.  However, this falls in simple, lightweight category. There is just one main compartment. Side pockets are not there to carry water bottles. And according to users, the straps are a little thin for heavy duty use.

  • Overall, it’s a good daypack for general light use.
  • Capacity: 20 L
  • Weight: 68 grams (very light)
  • Fabric: Siliconized cordura
  • Compartments: 1
  • Foldable/Packable: Yes
  • But it on sale here

SNOWHALE Ultra Lightweight Day Pack

Another very lightweight daypack. Roomy enough to carry your stuff. Very similar to sea to summit daypack reviewed above. Additionally it has water resistant fabric which keeps your goods dry in rain and side pockets to carry water bottles. However, weight is slightly more than the sea to summit one.

  • Capacity: 20 L
  • Weight: 85 grams
  • Fabric: Nylon (water and tear resistant)
  • Compartments: 1 main compartment plus bottle holder
  • Foldable/Packable: Yes
  • Buy it Here

Leaper Outdoor Nylon Ultra-light 20L Folding Backpack

This daypack is relatively heavier. On the positive side there is a small compartment at the front. The straps are of better quality and are adjustable for more comfort. As compared to the previous two daypacks, this is a relatively heavy duty one, it is tough and strong. Ideal for hiking.

  • Capacity: 20 L
  • Weight: 220 grams
  • Fabric: Nylon (water and tear resistant)
  • Compartments: 1 main compartment, one front pocket plus 2 side pockets
  • Foldable/Packable: Yes
  • Buy it Here

Osprey Daylite Backpack

This one lies in small daypacks category. Ideal for cycling and running. It has many small pockets, there is an interior sleeve for storing a tablet. The straps are comfortable. However, the stitching is not of very high quality. Overall, a good daypack for light daily use.

  • Capacity: 13 L
  • Weight: under 200 g
  • Fabric: Unknown
  • Compartments: 1 main compartment with interior sleeve, 1 small front compartment plus 2 side pockets.
  • Foldable/Packable: No
  • Buy it Here

REI Stuff Travel Daypack

REI Stuff Travel Daypack

The previous 4 daypacks were panel loaders however, this one is a top loader. It is very roomy, can carry a lot of stuff. Ideal for travelling. The material is tough and durable. Side pockets are big enough to carry 1 L bottles. It lies in large category, slightly heavier of the lot but this can compensated by the amount of stuff it can carry.

  • Capacity: 22 L
  • Weight: 283g
  • Fabric: Ripstop Nylon
  • Compartments: 1 main compartment plus 3 small compartments.
  • Foldable/Packable: No
  • Buy it Here

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re just cruising a new city of hiking to the top of a peak in the wilderness, having a packable daypack can be an incredible useful piece of travel gear. I have both and Osprey and a REI pack that I love to bring with my on trips because I never exactly know what adventures I will be getting into.

These lightweight and packable daypacks are just that…packable. They will fit easily into your larger backpack or luggage and barely take up any extra room, but they are there when you need them!