Gear Review: 6 Favorite Daypacks

October 6, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
Osprey Manta AG 20

Osprey Manta AG 20

By Michael Lanza

What do you need a daypack for? That’s really the critical question to consider when choosing from the dozens of widely varying choices out there today, which range all over the map in terms of volume, weight, carrying capacity, features—and cost. Some are very specialized, others built as all-purpose dayhiking sacks, but still designed with an eye toward making them stand out from a crowded field.

I’ve picked out six favorite daypacks I’ve tested and reviewed at The Big Outside—all different enough from one another to offer you clear choices.

The comparison chart offers a quick look at features that distinguish the packs from one another. Click on the name or photo of any pack in the reviews below the chart to read my complete review of it.

 

DaypackPriceVolumeWeightCarrying CapacityFeatures
Deuter Speed Lite 20$8920L/1,220 c.i.1 lb. 3 oz.10-12 lbs.* Lightweight
* Zipper access to main compartment
* 4 pockets
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak$22017L/1,040 c.i.1 lb. 4 oz.12 lbs.* Lightweight, waterproof, durable
* Zipper access to main compartment
* 4 pockets
Osprey Talon 18 and Tempest 16$9016-18L/976-1,098 c.i. (men's Talon)
14-16L/854-976 c.i. (women's Tempest)
1 lb. 5 oz. (men's S/M)15 lbs.* Lightweight
* Men's and women's models
* Ventilating harness, hipbelt, back pad
* 5 pockets
Gregory Miwok 18/Maya 16$9916-18L/976-1,098 c.i.1 lb. 10 oz.15 lbs.* Lightweight
* Men's and women's models
* Ventilating harness, hipbelt, back panel
* 6 pockets
Gregory Salvo/Sula 28$12928L/1,708 c.i.2 lbs. 7 oz.20+ lbs.* 2 spacious main compartments
* Ventilating harness, hipbelt, back panel
* 5 external pockets
Osprey Manta AG 20/Mira AG 18$15520L/1,220 c.i.2 lbs. 11 oz.25 lbs.* Anti-Gravity suspension
* Ventilating harness, hipbelt, back panel
* 7 external pockets
* Rain cover

 

Deuter Speed Lite 20

Deuter Speed Lite 20

Deuter Speed Lite 20
$89, 20L/1,220 c.i. 1 lb. 3 oz.

On 20-mile, 4,500-foot, mid-September trail run-hike in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, including a 1,400-foot, third-class scramble up 10,651-foot Snowyside Peak, the Speed Lite 20 delivered all I needed for a lightweight adventure. A minimalist bag that carries 10 to 12 pounds comfortably, it has quick access to the main compartment via a deep, U-shaped top zipper, two compression straps on each side, four pockets, and a tapered shape that stays out of the way of swinging arms when hiking or running.

Read my complete review of the Deuter Speed Lite 20.

BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to purchase a Deuter Speed Lite 20 at backcountry.com.

 

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak
$220, 17L/1,040 c.i. 1 lb. 4 oz. (medium)

Lightweight and tough aren’t adjectives I often use together when describing gear, but they both apply to the Daybreak, which I’ve used dayhiking, on multi-pitch rock climbs, and ski touring. The ultralight, waterproof Dyneema fabric (the zipper’s also waterproof) got dragged over rock without suffering damage. With a thin, flexible back pad and no frame, you can roll the Daybreak up and strap it to the outside of a backpack. Carrying 12 pounds comfortably, this minimalist bag has four pockets—including a large, front, bellows pocket—and comes in three sizes, very unusual for a daypack.

Read my complete review of the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak.

BUY IT NOW: You can support my work on this blog by clicking one of these links to purchase a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak at hyperlitemountaingear.com or backcountry.com.

 

Osprey Talon 18

Osprey Talon 18

Osprey Talon 18/Tempest 16
$90, 16L/976 c.i., 1 lb., 5 oz. (men’s S/M)

A feature-rich daypack with the weight of a minimalist bag, the Talon 18 carried all I needed—up to 15 pounds comfortably—on a 27-mile dayhike on Idaho’s Middle Fork Salmon River Trail as well as on dayhikes of more normal distances with my family. A top-loader, it has five pockets, including two roomy ones on the hipbelt, plus a very convenient loop on the left shoulder strap for attaching trekking poles on the fly. The sleeve for a hydration bladder is smartly located behind the back panel, so you don’t have to unload pack contents to refill it.

Read my complete review of the Osprey Talon 18/Tempest 16.

BUY IT NOW: You can support my work on this blog by clicking either of these links to purchase an Osprey Talon 18 at backcountry.com or a Tempest 16 at backcountry.com.

 

Gregory Miwok 18

Gregory Miwok 18

Gregory Miwok 18/Maya 16
$99, 18L/1,098 c.i., 1 lb. 10 oz.

On a 32-mile, 10,000-vertical-foot, nine-peak dayhike in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, the lightweight Miwok 18 carried 15 pounds of clothing, food, water, and camera gear comfortably while hugging my back. It has quick, one-zip access to the main compartment, plus six pockets, including two on the hipbelt and a very useful, expandable, front stuff-it pocket with a bungee closure that holds a bike or climbing helmet. The bladder sleeve sits behind the back pad, and an attachment on the front secures trekking poles or an ice axe.

Read my complete review of the Gregory Miwok 18/Maya 16.

BUY IT NOW: You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to purchase a Gregory Miwok 18 at backcountry.com or a Maya 16 at backcountry.com.

 

Gregory Salvo 28

Gregory Salvo 28

Gregory Salvo/Sula 28
$129, 28L/1,708 c.i., 2 lbs. 7 oz.

The Freespan suspension in the men’s Salvo and women’s Sula delivers more support and comfort than you’ll find in many daypacks, thanks to a steel perimeter frame with an aluminum leaf spring for lumbar support. But unlike many daypacks with a trampoline back panel, the Freespan uniquely ventilates well without its concave shape effectively consuming part of the pack’s interior space; and it keeps the pack bag close to your spine, so it doesn’t feel like it’s tugging you backward. At 28 liters, it has plenty to capacity for all the clothing, water, and food you could possibly need for an all-day hike in any terrain or weather, and five external pockets.

Read my complete review of the Gregory Salvo/Sula 28.

BUY IT NOW: You can support my work on this blog by clicking one of these links to purchase a Gregory Salvo 28 at backcountry.com or a Sula 28 at backcountry.com.

 

Osprey Manta AG 20

Osprey Manta AG 20

Osprey Manta AG 20/Mira AG 18
$155, 20L/1,220 c.i., 2 lbs. 11 oz.

If you routinely carry a lot of stuff dayhiking, it really makes sense to get a pack designed for that kind of payload. With Osprey’s Anti-Gravity suspension—a trampoline-style panel of lightweight, tensioned mesh extending from the top of the back panel to the hipbelt, with a wire perimeter frame that flexes slightly—the Manta AG 20 and women’s Mira AG 18 are built for hauling 15 to 25 pounds all day. They’re nicely featured, too, with quick access to the main compartment via a two-way, clamshell zipper, plus seven external pockets for organization, and tricked out with extras like a trekking poles attachment on the left shoulder strap and an integrated rain cover.

BUY IT NOW: You can support my work on this blog by clicking one of these links to purchase an Osprey Manta AG 20 at backcountry.com or a Mira AG 18 at backcountry.com.

See all of my reviews of daypacks and hiking gear at The Big Outside.

See also my stories “The Simple Equation of Ultralight Backpacking: Less Weight = More Fun,” “Buying Gear? Read This First,” and “10 Tricks For Making Hiking and Backpacking Easier.”

NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.

—Michael Lanza

The Big Outside is proud to partner with these sponsors. Please help support my blog by liking and following my sponsors on Facebook and other social media and telling them you appreciate their support for The Big Outside.

 

 

 

 

Do you like The Big Outside? I’m Michael Lanza, the creator of The Big Outside, recognized as a top outdoors blog by a USA Today Readers Choice poll and others. Subscribe for updates about new stories and free gear giveaways by entering your email address in the box at the bottom of this story, at the top of the left sidebar, or on my About page, and follow my adventures on Facebook and Twitter.

This blog and website is my full-time job and I rely on the support of readers. If you like what you see here, please help me continue producing The Big Outside by making a donation using the Support button at the top of the left sidebar or below. Thank you for your support.









 

Subscribe to the Big Outside

Enter your e-mail address for updates about new stories, reviews, and gear giveaways!



One Response to Gear Review: 6 Favorite Daypacks

  1. John Kelly   |  November 20, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Michael,

    I had an interesting conversation with a friend last night who owns a store in a relatively small chain of outdoor stores in Western Canada (Valhalla Pure Outfitters) after he went to your sit on my recommendation. He understands your running a business with the Big Outdoors but was frustrated by your readers being directed to big retail outlets at the expense of local shops.

    Although I do a lot of online research I will not buy on line unless it is the only option. Firstly, I may be old school, but I like to or need to try clothing or shoes or check out equipment. Secondly or may be firstly, I really value the knowledge and assistance of good owners like my friend. He has given me some amazing support over the years which is any reason I prefer to frequent a good local shop and build a relationship with the key staff.

    I know I am a gear freak but I also know that many times my well being and safety depend on the clothing and equipment I am using. To this end working with someone like my friend will result in getting the best piece of equipment. It would be a shame to lose this type of service.

    Cheers. Keep up your great work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*