From Osprey and Patagonia to Eurohike and Lowe Alpine, take a look at our top picks of the very best hiking daypacks for walking in the UK.
5 best hiking daypacks for UK walking
Your choice of daypack can make or break your hike. Choose correctly, and you’re all set for a comfortable walk with minimal fuss. Choose incorrectly, however, and you’re likely to be left with a sweaty and uncomfortable back, achy shoulders, and a day full of inconveniences.
Ideally, your hiking backpack should have multiple features to make your adventure just that little bit easier. Good packs are fully adjustable to fit your frame, offer easy access to your most valuable items, and make use of sweat-wicking materials and back panelling.
There’s plenty more to it, however, which we’ll walk you through in this article. Here’s our guide to the very best hiking daypacks available in 2022.
What to look for in a great hiking daypack
Everyone has different needs and wants for a walking daypack – the perfect pack for a one-hour stroll is never going to be the same as the perfect pack for a 12-hour hiking challenge. It’s important to consider the usual length of your walks, the terrain, and the weather you’re usually hiking in before making a decision.
There are so many hiking daypacks on the market that it can become overwhelming to look for the perfect one for you. Use the guide below to assess your needs and wants for a good pack to fit your hiking adventures.
Protect your back by choosing a hiking daypack with a good harness. This should adjust to fit the length of your torso, and the sternum/hip straps should be able to fit comfortably with room for movement.
A good number of packs are available by gender to ensure a comfortable fit, while others are available to buy in multiple sizes. Make sure to purchase the correct pack based on your gender and height for the very best fit. Alternatively, if you’re wanting to share the pack with others, it’s worth looking into those with adjustable harnesses. These are usually held on with extra-strong velcro, allowing you to change the fit of the pack while still supporting its weight.
The weight of a hiking backpack should be largely held by your hips, which is why a high-quality, well-fitting hip belt is important. Ensure your hip belt sits comfortably when wearing, or look to see if the belt can be swapped out for another.
There’s very little that’s worst than a sweaty back when hiking – especially when you hit the cold summit of a mountain. The back panelling of your hiking daysack can make or break your walk – if it’s flat to your back and offers very little padding, you may be off to a bad start.
Look for back panelling that supports ventilation, such as a suspended mesh back or ‘channels’ that allow air to flow freely. The Heimplanet Motion Eclipse is a good example of high-tech back panelling – this daysack has a geometric back created from EVA foam which works to reduce the contact area between the wearer and the pack.
Padding on the straps and back of a rucksack always helps to increase comfort on walks – though this isn’t a must-have. Packs around the 25L weight are unlikely to cause too much discomfort when full, even with a little less padding to support your back.
Do you plan to carry crampons, ice axes, or even a small tent in your hiking daypack? Are you likely to need a rain cover for your bag, and will an emergency whistle help you to feel safer when walking? Purchasing a pack with features to suit your walking style and needs is really important. Popular backpack features include:
- Tent/sleeping bag straps: Many daypacks have compression straps that allow the wearer to attach a tent or sleeping bag to the bottom of their pack. If you’re planning on camping (or want to carry emergency shelter as a precaution) this is a particularly handy feature for you to consider.
- Tool loops: The majority of hiking packs come with these as standard, but it’s always a good idea to check for tool loops before purchasing your rucksack. Gear loops are great for your trekking poles, ice axe, or even simple stuff like hand sanitiser for easy access on the exterior of your pack.
- Secret pocket: If you regularly hike with cash, forms of ID, or expensive tech, a secret pocket could be a great solution to keeping your most valuable belongings safe. These pocks are often found on the back panelling of bags so they’re hidden as you explore. While you might not come across thieves on your hikes, these pockets do a great job of separating your belongings to ensure you never lose your wallet when fishing around for your sandwiches.
How many times have you asked a friend to grab your water bottle so you don’t have to remove your pack? Simple, easy-to-access pockets are a must in a hiking backpack, especially if you’re a fan of solo walking.
The very best hiking daypacks often make use of large, elasticized pockets so it’s easy to access water bottles and walking snacks. We’ve also found that hip belt pockets are a great option for solo walkers, meaning you can get hold of your phone or other essentials quickly.
If you prefer to walk with a hydration reservoir over a water bottle, this is also something you need to consider when purchasing your hiking daypack. Choose a backpack with a large internal sleeve to store your water – elastic hooks along the straps of the pack can also help to keep your drinking straw in place.
The size of your daypack is largely tied to the length and usual structure of your hikes. Walkers who climb peaks will need a larger pack than those who take leisurely strolls around the park, for example.
It’s also important to consider your usual walking company. If it’s normal for you to walk with friends or family, it’s easier to split all the necessary gear between a few smaller packs. A larger daypack is usually required if you prefer to walk by yourself or with a furry companion.
We’d recommend a 25-30L daypack for most hikes. This allows for enough room to pack water, food, extra pairs of socks, and first aid/emergency equipment while also having space to store additional layers of clothing.
Best hiking daypacks for UK walking by category
Heading out and want the best backpack now? Here’s a quick breakdown of the best packs for hiking available to shop.
- Best daypack for solo hikers – Talon 22 (men’s) // Tempest 20 (women’s)
- Most sustainable hiking backpack – Patagonia Altvia
- Top daypack for long hikes – Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail 25
- Best budget daypack for hiking – Eurohike Nova 25
- Top trekking daypack – Osprey Farpoint (men’s) // Osprey Fairview Trek (women’s)
1. Best daypack for solo hikers – Talon 22/Tempest 20
We’ve always loved the Talon 22 here at Adventure Pending, which is why you’ll find it at the top of numerous lists across the site. Regardless of whether you’re hiking, climbing or even cycling – this pack is ready to tick every box. It’s lightweight (just 0.9KG, to be exact) and has a super breathable back panel and harness that will move with you.
Osprey makes both a men’s and women’s version of this pack, so you know it’s going to fit like a glove. Plus, with a handy stretch pocket on the harness for your mobile and a twin zippered hip belt pocket, it’s super easy for solo hikers to access their valuables. There’s even a trekking pole attachment on the front of the harness so you can access your walking poles quickly.
We’re big fans of the 22L Talon, but there’s also a 33L variation if you’re in need of the extra space.
- Individual male/female packs for the best fit
- Breathable back panelling
- Twin hip belt pockets
- Trekking pole attachment
- Raincover available separately
- Capacity: 20-22L
- Weight: 0.9KG
2. Most sustainable hiking daypack – Patagonia Altvia
This midsize hiking backpack from Patagonia is great for the conscious consumer. The brand has been making a huge push towards sustainability over the last few years, which is why we love that this pack is made from 100% recycled Nylon.
The Altvia comes with its own hydration sleeve, but this doubles up as a second gear store if you prefer to carry bottled water. A rain cover is also included in the price of this bag and the pack itself is covered in a water repellent coating – a huge perk if you’re looking for a hiking backpack for all weathers. If weight plays a big part in your decision, then it’s important to recognise that the Altvia is even lighter than the Talon 22 at just under 0.7KG.
Similar to many of the Osprey packs we review at Adventure Pending, Altvia also comes in a variety of sizes – 14, 22, and 28 litres. We’d recommend the 22 for most daytime hikes.
3. Best daypack for long hikes – Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail 25
The AirZone Trail is a great hiking backpack option for those who like to head off on longer walks. With simple, clean compartments, you’ll find the Airzone Trail very easy to pack and make your way around as you stop for water breaks, lunch, and even to camp overnight.
The AirZone back system allows air to flow with ease, and reduces your contact with the harness. This top-loading backpack can be opened with just a single buckle for easy access and comes with its own rain cover for those surprise showers.
Use the unique tip grippers to hook your walking poles onto your pack, and slot a hydration pack into the bag with ease. This Airzone Trail backpack also has zipped hip pockets so you can access your essentials at all times.
4. Best budget daypack for hiking – Eurohike Nova 25
The Eurohike Nova is an incredibly priced hiking backpack. Purchasing hiking kit for the first time can be expensive, which is why we’d recommend starting out cheap and cheerful then upgrading your gear as you go along. This way, you’ll be able to figure out the best items for you and your walking style.
This bag may be a budget hiking backpack, but it definitely does the job. The Nova uses a Tri-Flow back system to allow consistent airflow, combined with a mesh back panel for overall comfort. This system will also help you to manage your temperature better as you walk.
The Nova is made up of two simple compartments that are designed for everyday adventures. You’ll also find exterior mesh pockets on the bag, which are perfect for storing worn socks, shoes, and other items you’d prefer to keep away from the interior of your pack!
5. Best daypack for trekking – Osprey Farpoint Trek 55 /Fairview Trek 50
The 70L version of the Fairview Trek was one of our first-ever backpacking companions, so we can vouch for just how good the Farpoint/Fairview Osprey series really is. First, it’s important to note that both these packs offer the same great features – but the Farpoint is made to fit the male frame while the Fairview was created for females.
These packs open up like a suitcase, meaning you can pack and unpack them with ease. And though they’re largely targeted at backpackers, they double up as great hiking rucksacks thanks to their strong and durable back systems which allow the wearer to carry up to 55 litres of gear with little to no issues.
This Osprey series is fantastic for wild campers or hikers taking on multi-day challenges, as you’ll have no problems finding room for all your gear. There are also plenty of added bonus features on these hiking backpacks, such as scratchless sunglasses pockets and emergency whistles.
- Combines both hiking and travel
- U-zip suitcase opening
- Integrated rain cover
- Internal compression
- U-zip opening could be tricky when hiking
- Capacity: 55, 50L
- Weight: 1.99KG
FAQ: The best hiking daypacks for UK walking
Have a question about hiking daypacks that you’ve found yourself searching for the answer to? Check out the FAQ below and we’ll (hopefully) be able to get an answer for you.
Daypacks should be packed as organised as possible with the accessories that you use more regularly easiest to get to.
It’s a good idea to pack the bulk of the weight as close as possible to the lower back of the pack for the best weight distribution.
The size of the daypack that you need depends on what you are planning on using the pack for.
For the majority of single-day hikes in the UK, we would recommend somewhere around the 20L mark. Do bear in mind that different brands vary on just how much 20L of storage actually. 20L +/- 5L is usually perfect.
If you’re still looking for gear advice, don’t hesitate to reach out and throw your question out to us. We’ll get back you to as soon as we can with our personal recommendations for you!