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Hiking Backpacks - group of 4 hikers

Daypacks and Backpack Buying Guide

Daypacks and backpacks are the most common type of bags used by many, and for a good reason. They are hands free, and the weight of your luggage is distributed properly, unlike messenger bags that hang on one side and weighs down your shoulder. Compared to a trolley bag, they have a bigger advantage when used for travelling. They can be carried with your person, and doesn’t take as much space. Many backpacks are suitable for different uses, and they come with stylish designs as well. You’ll see a lot of athletes, hikers, and travelers prefer these type of bags.

But what’s the difference between a daypack and backpack? They are somewhat the same in the sense that you carry them on your back, but their size, material, and specialty varies depending on what you need them for.

BrandSizeFeaturesMore Information 
Outlander
Outlander 20L:33L- Most Durable Packable Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack
20 / 33 ltr* Lightweight (0.5lbs)
* Folds into compact pocket
* Water resistant nylon fabric
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Venture Pal
Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack
35 ltr* Lightweight (0.7lbs)
* Breathable mesh shoulder straps
* Chest strap with whistle buckle
* Heavy duty SBS zippers
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The North Face
The North Face Unisex Borealis Daypack Backpack
28 ltr* Comfortable shoulder straps and airmesh back panel
* Hipbelt
* Safety whistle
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Coleman
Coleman C003 Soft Backpack Cooler Daypack
21 ltr* Padded back and straps
* Heat-welded main compartment
* Adjustable shoulder and waist straps
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Teton Sports
TETON Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack
55 ltr* Multi-position Torso Adjustments
* Molded Channels Provide Maximum Comfort and Airflow
* Limited Lifetime Warranty
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Mountaintop
Mountaintop 70L+10L Internal Frame Backpack
70 ltr + 10 ltr* Compression straps
* Zippered front access
* Separate bottom compartment
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High Sierra
High Sierra Titan 55 Frame Backpack
55 ltr* ERGO-FIT shoulder strap harness with load-lifters
* High-density foam padded back panel
* Contoured internal frame structure
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Osprey
Osprey Men's Atmos 65 AG Frame Backpack
65 ltr* Side and Internal Compression Straps
* Five exterior zippered pockets and three slip pockets
* Dual Zippered Front Panel Pockets
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Deuter
Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Hiking Backpack
65 ltr + 10 ltr* Advanced ergonomics for comfort and performance
* AirContact ventilation back system
* Aluminium X-frame to transfer weight to the hips
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ALPS OutdoorZ
ALPS OutdoorZ Commander External Frame Backpack
86 ltr* External frame backpack with detachable pack bag
* Durable fabric with lower access
* Large Main Compartment, Front Pocket, Spotting Scope Pocket
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Daypacks and Backpack Buying Guide

A daypack is enough to carry the essentials such as shoes, extra clothes, water and food. This type of bag is more suited to starting hikers who just wants to get a lay of the land, experienced hikers who only need the basics, people going on day trips or those who need to walk a lot, travelers who like to pack light, and students who typically carry a lot of books.

A backpack is an essential for people who need to carry more stuff, due its size and the amount of pockets and compartments. This bag is the best bud of serious hikers who brings a lot of hiking equipment, travelers who will cover a good amount of distance and days as well as people who are okay with bringing a lot of stuff.

Mountaintop 70L+10L Internal Frame Backpack - on back High Sierra Titan 55 Frame Backpack - on back comfortable Osprey Men's Atmos 65 AG Frame Backpack - on back comfortable

Choose a Bag Based on What You Need

Depending on your what you need them for and what style appeals to you most, these bags sometimes come with the following:

  • Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Hiking Backpack - back panel and adjustable strapsNo frame, internal frame, external frame – daypacks often don’t have a back panel frame, most backpacks have internal frames and the extreme outdoor backpacks could have an external frame. A frame will transfer the weight of the backpack and load more to your hips, which will be more comfortable on longer hikes
  • Organization pockets – This appeals mostly to travelers and students who like to keep things on a specific place. These pockets can range from small enough to hold your passport to big enough to house your laptop. Some have detachable pockets that you can stack up inside the bag
  • Special pocket for electronics – These pockets are made to protect your gadgets from getting scratched, soaked, or broken
  • Bottle pockets – These can usually be found outside of the bag, but some bags also have a pocket inside to hold your favorite beverage. Outside bottle holders usually have a strap that keeps them in place to avoid spilling or being stolen
  • Laundry pocket – Lined with waterproof material, you can stash your dirty or wet clothes. Perfect for athletes and hikers who go on for days
  • Waterproof bag – Lifesavers for people travelling on dreary days or hikers who need to cross rivers
  • Material – Most commonly used materials are polyester and nylon, and each have their pros and con. Nylon is more durable than polyester, but is also heavier and expensive

High Sierra Titan 55 Frame Backpack - large compartmentMaterial and Construction

Depending on the material, the strength of the fabric used varies. Currently, backpacks can be made from different materials.

Nylon is frequently used fabric for bags. Rip-Stop nylon, which has a diamond-shaped patterns, has replaced the standard nylon due to its ability to stop the tearing once a rip has been created. Polyestern are tough and rigid; they are second to nylon when it comes to strength. They are also cheaper, dries quickly, and doesn’t fade fast.

Cordura is the brand name of fabric used in different products such as luggage and military uniforms. They are known for their durability but compared to nylon, they are not as resistant to tearing. Cotton canvas is not much used today due to its tendency to wear down easily and that it doesn’t survive poor weather conditions unless waterproofed properly.

They are categorized with their weight and denier. For example, a typical military bag can be made from 1680D nylon.

Mountaintop 70L+10L Internal Frame Backpack - features frontDenier is used to measure the fiber fineness of the material, which equals to one gram per 9,000 meters of yarn. The higher the denier, the stronger, heavier, and more expensive the fabric is. Still, the type of fabric is important to consider. 600D Polyester is not as strong as a 420D Nylon. Compared to polyester, canvas is weaker due to the fabric not being specialized.

The tenacity of fabric should also be considered; that is, how much tearing can it withstand. Nylon is also preferable in this department. Makes sure to clean the fabric after each hike to keep the backpack in the best shape.

When it comes to zippers, choose one that doesn’t have metal tooth zippers. They rust and break easily when exposed to water or sea air, and repairing them can get costly.

Stitching plays another vital role. Most bags are sewn at 6-10 stitches per inch, and you should consider one that is in between of these two numbers. Anything higher than 10 can impact the strength of the fabric, and anything lower than 6 might fray and loosen under heavy weight.

These factors might not be readily tested until you’ve purchased the bag, but the product page and testimonials can be used as a good reference.

Osprey Men's Atmos 65 AG Frame Backpack - adjustable strapsPrice and Quality

Yes, and no. This varies greatly on how you will use the backpack. Generally, expensive backpacks are made from the best materials, but they’re manufactured with different and usually specific purposes in mind.

You might be able to afford one that costs over a hundred dollars, but if it doesn’t suit your purposes, you may find yourself regretting and even disliking the bag. Most backpacks now aren’t expensive, and they can stay with you for several years.

If you’re travelling more often for several days or weeks in the outdoors, a super strong and spacious bag is a good deal.

Testing Your Bag

Venture Pal Lightweight Packable Durable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack - featuresPersonal preferences and popular styles aside, the most important aspect of picking a bag is how it fits you. If it’s uncomfortable, makes you strain your back and shoulder, or restrict your breathing, choose a better alternative. If it makes you hunch forward, consider a longer one.

If you are buying online, read the reviews and ask for testimonials of people who have the same body build as you. Since bags only come with one size, it’s impossible to always get a bag tailored to fit you. However, you can easily estimate the fit by measuring your torso length.

Have a friend help you and do the following:

  • Tilt your head forward and feel for the bony bump sticking at the base of your neck. This is the C7 vertebra, and it’s the top of your torso length
  • Now measure straight down to the top of your hipbones. Wrap a string or another tape measure around the top of your hips. The middle of your back where the string or tape measure rests is the bottom of the torso length

Compare the length of your torso with the length of the backpack. If it’s around that size, chances are it is a good fit. If you can’t find one that fits you, there are also now daypacks that has adjustable harness that accommodates different torso lengths.

Don’t compromise your comfort for a cheaper price. Your bag will be your buddy once you step out and start your journey.

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