Top Picks: The Best Daypack For Travel For The Avid Explorer

The backpack for your travel adventure must be more than just a bag to hold your stuff. It will be your closest and sometimes only companion. It will hold the valuables you take along and the treasures you find. Also, it is typically small enough to carry on.

As I have discovered from my years exploring Europe, there are certain criteria a daypack must fit in order to deserve a spot on the ‘best daypack for travel’ list – no matter where you are headed. It should be sturdy, made of quality materials, have multiple compartments, and be very comfortable to carry.

Based on these features, here are my picks for the top five daypacks to accompany you on your next journey.

1. SwissGear ScanSmart 1900

SwissGear ScanSmart Backpack 1900

The SwissGear is big enough to carry all you could want to take with you (within reason of course). Plus, it has a large well supported laptop compartment you can use to pack items that need a little extra protection (laptop or otherwise).

It’s made of strong polyester fabric and features a breathable padded back so carrying it around in the sun won’t leave you overheated.

This rugged pack has oversized zippers and more than sufficient compartments, specifically designed to securely hold all your gadgets and keep you organized on your trip. The reflective material added to the shoulder straps is a nice touch to keep you safe if you happen to be on the go after nightfall, especially if you are on a bike.

2. High Sierra Access

High Sierra Access Backpack

The High Sierra Access is one of the best daypacks for international travel, especially if you are a tech junky and like to bring all your gadgets with you.

It has more compartments than many of the packs you will come across and is really built to keep everything in place, secure, and easy to access.

The material that comprises this pack is incredibly strong and will really hold up to a beating, at least if you treat your travel packs like I do.

One drawback is that this bag is not waterproof, but it does come with a rain cover you can get to quickly if a shower catches you off guard.

3. Outlander Packable Travel Backpack

Outlander Packable Lightweight Travel Backpack

This Outlander’s 35-liter capacity lets you take that little bit extra with you, which is great if you are an avid over packer like myself. It comes in smaller sizes (20 and 33 liters) but I prefer having that extra room just to make sure everything fits.

It’s lightweight at just about 11 ounces, made from water-resistant material, and has several convenient compartments to keep you organized. Basic black is the traditional favorite (mine as well) but Outlander gives you 9 other color options for the more fashion savvy of you (one of the reasons this pack also highly favored as a travel pack for women). I have to admit the brilliant orange makes it hard to lose sight of your bag.

It’s honestly one of the best travel daypacks around, since its reinforced nylon fabric has bar tacking (basically really strong stitching), allowing it to take some roughing up without ripping.

4. Hikpro Ultra Lightweight Daypack

Hikpro Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack

This is a truly lightweight bag and if that’s your thing look no further. At under half a pound (6.5 ounces), the Hikpro won’t be adding any extra weight to your load. It’s still durable with tear-resistant nylon and bar tacking to ensure it lasts you for quite a while.

The Hikpro only has a 20-liter capacity but travelers who like to go light will find it more than adequate. It makes up for the smaller size with a total of 5 compartments so you can keep things separate and within easy reach.

Its shoulder straps are adjustable, padded, and breathable so you don’t have to worry too much about them making you sweaty if you’re trekking in the summer heat.

5. TETON Sports Oasis

Teton Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Backpack

The 18-liter Oasis is for those who really want to travel light but also want a strong and dependable pack that’s going to last for a long time.

Its back is padded and breathable as are its adjustable straps. The chest strap gives added comfort and includes a built-in shock absorber.

Its low-profile, athletic cut means it’s not going to look or feel bulky on your back.

Another noteworthy characteristic of this pack are the many compartments inside and out made to hold small items firmly in place so they don’t end up lost among the rest of the stuff in main compartment of the bag.

On the downside, it is two pounds unloaded, much heavier than any of the other bags featured here. At such a low price though, it’s upside definitely outweighs it’s only downside.


The daypack you choose to take along with you can’t be a mere “bag”. Instead, you need one that is large enough for your stuff, small enough to handle (and possibly stash in a larger bag), and comfortable enough to have on your back for long periods. In short, you will need the best travel daypack.

To find that ideal pack do some research and narrow down your options given what you really want out of a daypack. I’ve selected my top five best daypacks for travel based on my personal criteria and went through a few disappointing packs along the way. I sincerely hope I helped you along the way to finding your ideal daypack.

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Charlie studied Computer Science at Berkeley and thought he had the rest of his life planned out: work for a few tech startups, meet the girl of his dreams, and settle into the valley. That is until he studied abroad in Norway during his junior year. He now dedicates his life to backpacking the world and finding that amazing place in some obscure part of the world which hasn't yet been discovered - and telling you all about it.

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