The Best Daypacks for Women

A good daypack can make or break your hike (and your back). You need to make sure it’s big enough to hold your gear, not too big that you will struggle carrying it around, and supportive enough to not put too much strain on your back.

Just like choosing hiking boots, choosing the best daypack can seem overwhelming. Don’t worry, we will give you all the information you need on the best daypacks for women.


besy womens daypack

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What is a Daypack?

Isn’t a daypack the same as a backpack? To be fair anything with shoulder straps can be considered a backpack. A daypack is just a type of backpack.

Daypacks are smaller versions (most of the time) of a backpack. With enough room for your hiking gear, water, and a few other items you may need when hiking for the day. Hence the name DAYpack.


How to Choose the Best Daypacks for Women

While really any backpack can be used as a daypack you want to make sure you pick the right one for you. Consider these questions before looking for Daypacks.


What type of hiking will you be doing?

What is your style?

How much storage do you need?

What is your body shape?


What type of hiking will you be doing?

You should be asking yourself this question when choosing any type of hiking gear. This is a great way to narrow down your search. Daypacks are built for different activities and each category has different features.


Trail Running

When trail running you want something lightweight and secure so it’s not bouncing and hitting your back. A few options are waist packs, water-bottle packs, a small daypack, and running vests.

The pockets are positioned for easy access to snacks and most of the vests and packs are compatible with hydration reservoirs.


Shop Trail Running Packs


trail daypacks for women



Almost all hiking daypacks are compatible with a hydration reservoir and have additional water bottle pockets on the sides. I always use my reservoir when hiking so I don’t have to constantly take my water bottles in and out.

There are tons of different size options so you can easily find one that fits your body.


Shop Hiking Daypacks


hiking day pack 



Climbing daypacks have a narrow profile that allows you to move easily while climbing. They include special features for your climbing gear like an axe loop and crampon patches.

They are reinforced with heavier fabric to minimize wear and tear and most include a padded back for comfort. They usually have a frame that helps center the weight onto your hips.


Shop Climbing Daypacks


climbing daypack


Mountain Biking Daypacks

Most are compatible with hydration reservoirs so you can drink while riding. They offer low-profile waist belts that don’t interfere with your riding and are often slightly larger to accommodate extra clothes and gear.


Shop Mountain Biking Daypacks


best biking daypack for women


What is your Style?

Now that you’ve decided what type of hiking you will be using the daypack for, consider your style. Do you need something with tons of pockets for your camera gear? What about side pockets to access your dog’s treats or leash? Writing a list can help you visualize the type of bag you will need.


How much storage do you need?

The capacity of your daypack will vary depending on the type of hiking you are doing, if you’re going alone, bringing your children, or bringing your dog.

It absolutely has to be big enough to fit the 10 Essentials. Read more about the 10 essentials here.


If you are bringing your dog with you be sure to check out these articles:

13 Dog Hiking Essentials

How to Create a Dog Hiking First Aid Kit


Tips on choosing a daypack capacity:


10 liters or less

These packs are very small and are usually built for very short hikes, running, or road biking. They only offer enough room for a handful of essentials.


11-20 liters

Compact and built for hiking day trips, travel, or running. They often feature extra pockets to stay organized. They offer enough room for the essentials and a few extra items.


21-35 liters

These make great hiking and travel daypacks. While they are a little bit bigger, they offer plenty of room for all the essentials, extra food, and camera gear.


36-50 liters

Ok, these packs are giant. They are perfect for climbing trips. If you plan on using it for backpacking make sure you get ultralight and compact gear. These bags are also great for parents with smaller children who need extra clothing and gear.


best daypack for women


What is your body shape?

It may sound strange but your torso length and hip size are big factors when choosing a daypack. Getting the right pack will give you more support while hiking.

It’s best to try on the daypacks in the store but you can also measure your torso and hip size at home. Here is a great article talking about how to measure and choose the right size daypack.


Why choose a daypack specifically for women?


Torso Length

The torso dimensions are generally shorter on these daypacks. Women’s daypacks are designed to fit properly on a 15in-20in torso.

If you are a shorter woman, Osprey packs are great. They have a few different torso length options to choose from.

If you are a taller women you could opt for a unisex pack that would fit more comfortably.


Waist Belt

Usually, women are naturally curvier than men. Waist belts on women’s daypacks are designed specifically with a women’s waist in mind. They offer a little extra padding as well to give you more support and comfort while hiking.


Shoulder Straps

The shoulder straps are contoured to fit a women’s chest without being too tight.



Additional Features to Consider


Frame Type

There are two different frame types for daypacks.


Internal Frame

Internal frames help support the weight you are carrying. Some packs have plastic frame sheets while others have aluminum rods. The stronger the frame, the more weight you can carry.



Frameless daypacks are normally lightweight and compact. You can easily throw them into your suitcase if you are traveling with it, but it doesn’t support weight as well as a daypack with an internal frame.

These packs are better for shorter day hikes.


Pack Access

There are two types of pack access, top load, and panel load.


Top Load

The majority of daypacks are top load designed. This means when you pack, all the items you don’t need until the end of the day go on the bottom.

This style is great if you plan to camp for the night. All the camping gear can go on the bottom because you won’t need it until the end of the day.


Panel Load

These daypacks have the U shaped zipper that goes over the top making it easier to rummage through your bag.

Some daypacks have a few other features like bottom and side access. They are usually in addition to the front or top loading style. They just offer more ways to access all of your gear.


Hydration Reservoir

Almost all daypacks are hydration reservoir compatible. Sometimes they are sold separately from the daypack though so make sure you look carefully for the “Hydration Pack” label.

Having a reservoir makes it much easier to fit your gear into your bag without the added bulkiness of multiple water bottles. I have a 2-liter hydration pack on my daypack and it’s plenty of water for me. I do carry some extra water bottles with me because I am usually hiking with Maddox.


hiking daypack 


Back Ventilation System

Some daypacks have a mesh back panel that allows air to flow between your bag and back. It’s a great option if you get super sweaty while hiking.


Rain Cover

If you plan on backpacking or hiking during a rainstorm you may want to consider a pack that comes with or is compatible with a rain cover.


hiking daypacks


The 5 Best Daypacks for Women



1. Ozark Trail Riverdale 23L Hydration Backpack – $24.96

This is the hiking backpack that I use. I love it. It’s big enough for all the essentials, Maddox’s hiking gear, my camera, and a few extras. I use it for shorter day hikes that are about 2-6 hours long. If I was going on a longer hike, I would probably bring a bigger daypack.

Ozark trail daypack



2. MIRACOL Hydration Backpack with 2L Water Bladder-$34.99

This is the daypack that morgan carries. It’s slightly smaller than my bag but holds about the same amount. The great thing about this bag is that it has small pockets on the waistband so we can easily access dog treats or snacks while hiking.



3. Gregory Sula 28 Pack– $64.73

The Gregory Sula 28 Daypack has an internal frame to hold more weight and easily accessible side waistband pockets. This bag is reservoir compatible but does not come with one.



4. CamelBak Sequoia 18 15L Hydration Pack – $96.73

CamelBak Bags are great. This specific one has a shorter back panel and adjustable sternum straps to fit different body types. It also features hiking pole straps.



5. Osprey Tempest 20 Pack – $120.00

 This Osprey daypack was specifically designed with a women’s body type in mind. You can choose different sizes based on your torso and hip measurements. There are tons of accessible pockets and is hydration reservoir compatible, but it is sold separately.



I hope you were able to narrow down your choices for the best women’s daypacks! Let me know in the comments if you have a daypack you love.



Best daypacks for women pin

Daypacks for women

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