The 15 Best Daypacks for Traveling Abroad in 2020 [Detailed Guide]

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Daypacks are lightweight, easy to carry, and perfectly designed for taking the essentials you need with you for a day out while traveling. From sleek and minimal single backpacks to perfectly primed cabin bags with lots of compartments and zippers, the most successful daypacks are a fantastic example of form and function at their finest.

Our Daypack “Quick Picks”

Why Buy a Daypack for International Travel?

Rucksacks, suitcases, and cabin bags are all excellent vessels for carrying your gear, but when it comes to day trips, excursions, and even urban adventures, you don’t need big heavy baggage weighing you down.

Usually offering somewhere between 10- to 30-liter capacities, daypacks do not usually have an internal frame to support them, making them perfect for slinging in your things and going. Designed to carry lightweight loads, they also often feature a range of zippered compartments to keep your essentials safe.

Different daypacks are designed for different days out and what you buy will depend on your travel style.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you working while you travel and will you need a laptop compartment?
  • Will you be using it for hikes and need a hydration pack, too?
  • Will this be your cabin bag or just something you fold in your main luggage and use on arrival?
  • Are you looking for something budget or a statement piece to compliment your style?

There is a daypack to suit every need. Some are made to cater to the outdoor enthusiast and can be carried on your back while you bike, hike, or climb your way to your destination. At the same time, others are compact and convenient enough to be used for a day trip, an afternoon at the shops, or even just for day to day commuting.

Whatever your own personal preference, be aware that a travel daypack works best when it is completely commutable. Soft, light, and easy to fold away when not in use means you can throw it in your luggage for use on arrival. Weatherproof, wipeable options will stay dry and clean until you get back home.

Things to Consider With Daypacks for Travel

Size and Capacity

The perfect daypack will be big enough to carry everything you need on a day out, but not so big that it gets in the way or holds you back from bigger adventures. It should be able to sit comfortably on your shoulders and not hang down too far or prevent you from sitting.

Daypacks that offer a compact capacity of 10 liters or less are just right for holding the most basic essentials such as keys, money, and snacks, but might be too small for days out while traveling.

Daypacks that offer a more generous capacity of up to 25 liters are better for keeping your extra clothing, food, water bottle, and other essentials close at hand.

Material and Durability

You will want to invest in a daypack that is made of highly durable material, as there is nothing worse than a daypack that falls apart out on the open road. Ripstop nylon is tough but lightweight, as is Ballistic nylon, while CORDURA branded materials are also popular and practical.

The daypack should also feature YKK-grade zippers to keep the contents secure and strong nylon straps to hold your belongings safely on your back without the risk of breaking.

Hot Tip: Always look for a material that offers some protection against the elements and has been coated to offer some water resistance. They will also be easy to clean, too.

Comfort

While wearing your belongings on your back is incredibly practical, it needs to remain a comfortable option, too. In order to prevent pain on your shoulders, neck, and the top of your back, daypack straps should be padded.

EVA foam is often found in the shoulder straps of the modern-day backpack — this high-density foam offers excellent levels of comfort and prevents against chafing, rubbing, and skin damage on many of the most popular and best daypacks on the market today.

Straps and Handles

Enjoy greater flexibility with additional carrying options on your next daypack. Handles on the top and the side will allow you to carry it like a regular tote bag and will make it super easy to use when it is not on your shoulders.

You can also look for a daypack that offers additional straps to be used when you are wearing it. Sternum straps, chest straps, and other fixings keep the pack secure. These types of backpack are perfect for high octane outdoor pursuits, as well as offering an additional level of security in urban settings and on public transport.

Compartments

Most daypacks offer a single large compartment for holding the majority of your gear and a selection of smaller ones for keeping individual items safe and well organized.

When you are traveling, you will want to ensure that you can quickly reach your passport, wallet, cell, and other necessities, so keeping your backpack well organized is essential.

Bottom Line: Laptop pockets should offer additional padding to protect your device, and anti-theft or hidden, theft-proof pockets are useful for keeping your money, passport, and other essentials safe on the go.

Security

If you are keen to keep your gear safe, there are numerous built-in safety features that you can find in a daypack. These could include pockets lined with RFID blocking material to keep your credit cards safe, lockable zips, no front access pockets, and reflective strips to ensure maximum visibility.

You’ll also want to consider an internal compartment for laptops and tablets.

Water Resistance

Some of the very best daypacks are made from materials that offer some degree of water resistance. Made with a DWR coating that allows the water to roll off the daypack, you can be sure that your belongings will remain dry when the weather is damp or wet around you. These types of fabric can also be useful in exceptionally humid conditions.

Hot Tip: Note that water resistance does not mean waterproof. If your daypack is completely submerged in water, it may not be able to protect your belongings. If you’re going to get really wet you might want to consider a waterproof backpack instead. 

Hydration Compatible

Some backpacks come complete with a built-in hydration system. These types of bag will provide you with liquids on the go and are especially well suited to explorers heading off the beaten path or those looking to enjoy some serious outdoor activities, including biking, hiking, and climbing.

Hydration compatible backpacks include a plastic or rubber “bladder” that can be filled with liquid. When the need arises, simply bite down on the valve and the water can be sucked from the pack to your mouth, keeping you cool and hydrated.

The Best Daypacks for International Travel

There is a whole world of daypacks out there for commuters, urban explorers, and outdoor adventurers to enjoy. Here are some of the best daypacks for international travel.

Best for Travelers on a Budget

AmazonBasics Laptop Computer Backpack 

The AmazonBasics range provides good quality luggage at affordable prices, and this laptop backpack is one of their best offerings. Good size dimensions and a multi-compartment interior makes this an excellent choice for travelers on a budget.

The padded sleeve offers protection for laptops measuring up to 17 inches, and it can also be used for keeping tablets safe. There are additional compartments designed to hold pens, keys, and even your cell phone, as well as zippered compartments that will keep your valuable essentials safe on the go.

Mesh water bottle holders can be found at the sides, and there is a quick access space for items you need to reach quickly.

Designed with comfort in mind, this backpack has adjustable, heavily padded shoulder straps to help you find the very best position to carry your gear with you. The material is water-resistant to protect against inclement weather and is also easy to wipe clean when you need to.

Much more than just a daypack, this is a workhorse that can be used as a diaper bag, an overnight bag, a school bag, a commuter bag, and so much more. Good looks, practical design, and a very affordable price tag make this an excellent choice for all kinds of travelers.

Stow and Go With This Foldable Daypack

Outlander Ultra Lightweight Packable Water Resistant Travel Hiking Backpack

This versatile and incredibly durable backpack is surprisingly spacious on the inside while remaining simple and chic on the outside. Made from super-strong nylon fabric, it is also well protected against the elements with a good degree of waterproofing, meaning that your valuables will stay safe and dry no matter what the weather throws at you.

The roomy main compartment offers enough space to keep all of your belongings well-organized en route, and the top-loading zipper makes for easy access. There are also a further 2 front zipper pockets that are perfect for holding small accessories, 1 internal zippered security pocket for valuable items, and 2 side pockets for your water bottles or even your umbrella.

For your peace of mind and added security, the zippered pockets are all lockable.

Incredibly lightweight, even when fully loaded, this brilliant little backpack also folds up when not in use, making it easy to stow in your suitcase when you are not using it. With adjustable, mesh shoulder straps, the Outlander is comfortable to carry all day long, and the stress points are reinforced with bar tacking for increased longevity.

Bottom Line: Available in a wide range of colors, and easy to carry in its very own pocket, this is a delightful little daypack is more than capable of performing just as well as some of the more expensive backpacks from big brand names.

Lightweight Backpack With Added Storage

HIKPRO 20L

Foldable yet formidable, this lightweight and compact daypack offers 20 liters of awesome storage space for urban adventurers and outdoor explorers alike.

Made from superior, water and tear-resistant nylon and with reinforcements in 14 areas across the pack, the HIKPRO has a hidden strength that its compact size belies.

There is a very spacious main pocket that can be used for storing all of your daily essentials. For keeping your most important bits and pieces safe, there is also an inner zippered pocket that works well for storing your travel documents, passport, credit cards, and cash safe and sound. There is also another smaller pocket on the outside.

Weighing in at just 7.5 ounces, and able to fold up to the size as a sandwich, this is an awesome little bag for traveling abroad. You can fold and stow it when not in use, and the water-resistant material is easy to keep clean no matter how active you may be. Strong and durable, this is an affordable and easy to use addition to your lightweight luggage collection.

Best for Bikers, Hikers and Those on the Go

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack

This popular backpack made by a well-established leader in leisure luggage is sure to impress hikers, bikers, and adventurers of all kinds. Offering a very acceptable 18 liters of storage space, the very best feature of this little backpack is the integrated 2-liter water bladder, keeping you hydrated on every adventure.

FDA-compliant and BPA-free, the 2-liter bladder also comes with a kink-free sip tube and an easy to use push-lock cushioned bite valve, making it perfect for adventurous types. There is even a small opening for ice, helping you to stay super cool and nicely hydrated in the great outdoors.

Made from high-quality materials, this backpack offers a fully customizable fit that suits all frames, and the foam stabilizer with mesh coverings will help to keep the backpack comfier for longer.

When it comes to keeping your gear safe and sound, the spacious main compartment has plenty of room for larger items, while the 3 further zipped pockets will keep smaller items protected.

There are also 2 mesh pockets for drinks and snacks, a bungee cord system for your bike helmet, a butterfly opening for jackets, and integrated rain cover to keep your stuff dry. This is a daypack that offers premium features on a budget.

Great Daypack for Tech-Heavy Travelers

KROSER Laptop Backpack

Sleek and full of techie extras, this beautiful backpack is functional, practical, and perfectly formed for day to day use and further travels. The leather and nylon exterior looks super plush, while on the inside, there is plenty of room to hold everything you will need. The material is also water repellent to help keep your valuables safe and dry.

Perfect for those who like to stay connected, this backpack comes with a built-in USB port that will help you to charge your phone conveniently (power bank not included), and the padded foam compartment will keep your laptop well protected.

The main compartment is large enough to carry a laptop measuring up to 17 inches comfortably, and there is plenty of additional space for your camera, headphones, tablet, or other travel essentials.

There is a selection of further pockets for credit cards, wallets, and passports, as well as a zippered front pocket for easy access and 2 side pockets to hold your water bottles. Designed with practicality in mind, this backpack has some other useful features, including a luggage strap that slips over your suitcase handle, a glasses hook on the side handle, and a top handle for carrying when necessary.

The breathable mesh back and padded shoulder straps help keep you sweat-free and fully comfortable while you carry it, and the sleek design is just right for the fashion-conscious traveler.

A Stable, Secure, and Sizable Daypack for Hiking

Osprey Packs Talon 22 Men’s Hiking Backpack

Another of the world’s most popular lightweight backpacks, the Osprey Talon offers tons of exceptional features, including customizable fitting, superior comfort, and incredible versatility. Especially popular with the hiking community, this backpack comes complete with a BioStretch harness and continuous wrap hip belt to create an incredibly stable carry system.

For your ongoing comfort, the AirScape back panel will keep you cool on hot days, and the Stow-On-The-Go trekking pole attachment and LidLock helmet attachment are useful for those who like to get out there by foot or by bike.

The simple design offers a large main compartment as well as 2 zippered hip belt pockets, dual stretch mesh side pockets, and even an ice tool loop with bungee tie-offs, making it great for ski trips and other winter activities.

Hot Tip: There is a women-specific version too. The Tempest 20 offers all the same great style and quality but with a smaller torso size that makes it both practical and comfortable on the go.

Big Brand Quality for an Affordable Price

The North Face Borealis Men’s Backpack

Perfect for the urban hiker as it is for the outdoor adventurer, this compact backpack from one of the biggest brands in the market is a firm favorite with travelers, commuters, and students alike. It makes a great daypack for city travel.

The patented FlexVent suspension system makes it super comfortable to carry on your shoulders, and the back paneling keeps the bag supported at all times.

Be ready for anything with 2 decent sized compartments that can house all of your essentials. The laptop sleeve is well padded and will keep your tech truly safe on the go, and the second, fleece-lined compartment makes light work of looking after your camera, tablet, cell phone, and anything else you can think of.

Because The North Face really knows what you want from a daypack, they have also included a selection of smaller, zippered pockets both inside and outside the main compartments. There is also a bungee strap system for storing easy-to-reach items and clever little drinks holders on each side.

The breathable padding on the back helps keep you sweat-free for longer, and the adjustable shoulder and sternum straps will help you to find the most comfortable position to suit your frame — a brilliant backpack, from one of the biggest and the best.

Quality Daypack Complete With Built-In Hydration

Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Daypack

As you would expect from the luggage giants at Osprey, the Daylite Plus Daypack really is one of the best of the bunch. Made from heavy-duty 210D Nylon Oxford and weighing a tiny 1.2 pounds, this versatile daypack can be used in town, in the air, and just about anywhere else you want to take it.

Designed with everyday adventurers in mind, this backpack comes with a hydration bladder sleeve just behind the back panel, and there is a hip belt for extra stability if you are hiking or biking your way across the country.

With a large panel-loading main compartment, there is plenty of room to take your essentials with you. If you really need to, you could even stash your laptop in there, too. With a further selection of side mesh pockets, a front pocket with a mesh organizer, and a key clip, this bag offers a lot of practical storage space.

Lightweight, durable, and incredibly comfortable to carry, the Daylite Plus is also one of the best looking backpacks in the Osprey range. It can be used on its own or attached to some of the larger Osprey bags, including the Sojourn and Farpoint backpacks, offering even more flexibility for dedicated travelers.

One of the Best for the Fashion-Conscious Traveler

The North Face Jester Backpack 

As popular with city slickers and urban commuters as it is with outdoor explorers, the Jester Backpack is a sleek and sturdy budget-friendly daypack that performs well in any environment.

Made from super-strong polyester and available in a wide range of color, this backpack will shake off some heavy rain, but is not entirely waterproof. Its simple design makes it lightweight to carry, and the adjustable padded shoulder straps and FlexVent support on the back panel keep you feeling fresh.

A large main compartment offers subtle padding and a thin layer of protection to laptops, while the secondary zippered compartment is fleece-lined and handy for holding all your travel essentials close at hand. There is also an external bungee storage system.

Good looking and with a cool name tag, this backpack works well for outdoor adventures, but can also cope admirably with the daily gym workout, after-work hike, or commute. An entry-level North Face backpack, this little beauty offers plenty of simple, usable storage space when you need it most.

A Big Backpack With Additional Safety Features

Thule Crossover 25L Laptop Backpack

A true all-rounder, this chunky but funky laptop bag from Thule bridges the gap between the needs of everyday commuters and weekend explorers. Packed full of Swedish style and practicality, you can be sure to find lots of compartments and storage slots, while padded straps and water-resistant fabric comes as standard.

The larger of the main compartments is designed to hold up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro and a tablet in the integrated, padded laptop compartment. The Crushproof SafeZone will also keep your phone and sunglasses safe from damage. The clever little SafeZone even detaches from the backpack, allowing you to keep your most fragile items safe wherever you go.

Designed with active wearers in mind, the perforated EVA shoulder straps are extremely comfortable to carry, and the mesh covering and padded back panel helps air to breathe around you, keeping you cool no matter how active you get.

The water-resistant fabric and zippers will keep your belongings dry whatever the weather throws at you, and the 2 mesh side pockets are perfect for keeping your drinks close at hand.

There are lots of other useful features, including an organization compartment to keep cords and accessories safely tucked away and elastic catches on each of the zippers to stop your bag from falling open while on your back. This is an excellent example of a backpack that has thought of everything.

Iconic Backpack With Award-Winning Design Features

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 

This legendary backpack has a huge following and a heavy price tag but ticks a lot of boxes for commuters and adventurers alike. The award-winning design comes from a small company that started life making camera bags, and their continued desire to make the ultimate carry bags is what makes this one of the very best backpacks out there.

The MagLatch lid has a magnetic clasp that closes over the top and onto the front of the bag, making it super safe yet easy to access. At the same time, the modular straps can be attached or removed as necessary, meaning you can carry it however you want to.

This backpack offers an incredibly cool organization system that includes Flex Fold dividers that can turn the main compartment into any shape you need to keep your camera kit or other stuff free from movement. There is also a tech pocket in the bag big enough to hold a 15-inch laptop, a selection of side panel pockets, water bottle holders, and even hidden pouches for extra security.

This backpack is as comfortable to carry as it is easy to use, and the padded shoulders straps with pivoting joints move with you to keep your carry position on point.

Made from a 400D nylon-canvas blend with a double DWR coating, this backpack is weatherproof enough to keep your kit dry, and the zippers all feature aqua-guards to ensure the safety of your belongings.

Bottom Line: An investment piece, for sure, this incredible daypack is worth its hefty price tag and is bound to impress anyone who appreciates great design and superior quality.

Light on Both Your Back and Your Wallet

Gonex 30L Lightweight Packable Backpack Handy Small Daypack

Foldable, stowable, and incredibly usable, this lightweight backpack is roomy yet affordable and perfect for lots of different uses. In addition to a good-sized main compartment, there are also nylon mesh pockets on the 2 sides for storing your water bottles, an inner zip pocket for storing small items, and a large front pocket for keeping your most important items close at hand.

Made from good quality, rip- and water-resistant nylon fabric, this backpack feels light as a feather, but is built and designed to last. It also comes with a durable 2-way abrasion resistant SBS metal zipper to keep your items safe and to remain rust-free and smooth running.

Large enough to carry magazines, books, or your iPad, this backpack folds up small enough to be kept in your purse or carry-on for use as and when you need it. Available in a choice of 7 great colors, this is a fun, funky little backpack that can be used for day trips, vacations, hikes, camping, and even a trip to the shops.

Slim, Sophisticated and Great for Digital Nomads

Thule Lithos Backpack

With its slim profile and clever design features, the Lithos is as practical on the subway as it is on a mountain peak. Nice looking, good quality, and gimmick-free, this is a great backpack for everyone.

With a wide, top-loading main compartment, you can easily fit in everything you need for your trip. The padded and suspended tech pocket is perfect for keeping a 15-inch laptop safe and protected, and there is a further 10-inch sleeve for your tablet, too.

There are zippered interior pockets for smaller items and an exterior front organization panel for easy access to your essentials. Side pockets will also keep your drink close by.

For your carrying comfort, there is a padded back panel and straps that can be adjusted to find the perfect fit. There are other useful additions such as an attachment point for a bike light and strap management for excess webbing.

Functional, compact, and lightweight, this is the type of backpack that wouldn’t look out of place in a business meeting, yet be equally at home on the back of a bike. Available in a choice of colors, this is a sleek choice for the fashion-conscious adventurer.

An Anti-Theft Backpack With Impressive All-Round Capabilities

Pacsafe Metrosafe LS450 25 Liter Anti Theft Laptop

Made from strong and durable polyester, this sleek and functional laptop backpack is a great option for commuters and adventurers alike. Full of useful features, this comfortable and practical backpack will keep your gear safe on the go.

The anti-theft design comes complete with lockable zippers, cut-proof materials, and an RFID blocking pocket to keep your credit cards and ID safe.

With impressive internal dimensions, the backpack offers a padded and suspended interior notebook sleeve that fits laptops up to 15 inches, 2 side pockets, 2 zippered interior pockets, and a key and wallet clip. This bag is more than big enough to comfortably carry your laptop, iPad, portable camera, and everything else you need on a day out.

The soft, durable external materials are water-resistant to protect your belongings against the elements, while also being easy to wipe clean. Complete with a 5-year Pacsafe warranty, this is a good mid-range backpack to suit every type of backpack user.

An Expandable Backpack That Will Last

NOMATIC Travel Pack

The zippered laptop sleeve and mesh dividers will help to keep your electronics safe and separate from your other belongings, and the lay-flat design for your laptop is TSA-approved. There is also a charging cable pass running through all of the major pockets in the backpack.

Featuring an innovative strap system, you can add versatility to this backpack by unsnapping the back panel, tucking in the straps, and carrying it like a briefcase. Other upscale features such as a magnetic snap water bottle pocket and the retractable key leash make this a great choice for business travelers.

Made from durable waterproof materials and zippers, this backpack is spacious enough to carry everything you need for a few days away. Add to that the additional exciting features such as the RFID-safe storage, clamshell opening for easy access, and multiple hidden pockets, and you have an excellent alternative to a traditional cabin bag.

Bottom Line: Perfect for the stylish traveler, the Nomatic Travel Pack expands to offer 20 to 30 liters of interior storage space, and sleek, sophisticated design on the outside.

Final Thoughts

Daypacks come in a variety of types and sizes, but by far, the most popular ones are those that remain lightweight and fully portable, no matter how much you squeeze in them. If you are in the market for a good quality everyday backpack, take some time to do your research and chose a specific daypack that suits both your needs and your budget.

From super-slim basic backpacks for bikers and hikers to fully-padded laptop bags or mini carry-ons, if you choose the right daypack, it will quickly become an integral part of your everyday use or next big adventure.

Looking for more travel products? Head over to our one-stop-shop on travel product reviews.


Frequently asked questions

What is a daypack?

A daypack is a type of bag or backpack that you use to carry just enough items to get you through the day. Daypacks have many uses from commuting, hiking, traveling, or general days out.

How big is a daypack?

Daypacks vary depending on what you will be using them for. For the bare essentials and very little features, you can get daypacks as small as liters. Most daypacks will be around the 20 to 30-liter mark.

What is the difference between a daypack and a backpack?

Daypacks are a type of backpack. Backpacks come in all types and sizes and some have 100-liter capacities. Daypacks are simply backpacks that you only use to carry your daily essentials and can be anywhere from 10- to 30-liters.

What's the best daypack for traveling?

Some of our favorite day packs include:

  • The North Face Jester Backpack
  • Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Daypack
  • KROSER Laptop Backback
  • HIKPRO 20L

What is the best size daypack?

Daypacks that offer a compact capacity of 10 liters or less are just right for holding the most basic essentials such as keys, money, and snacks, but might be too small for days out while traveling.

Daypacks that offer a more generous capacity of up to 25 liters are better for keeping your extra clothing, food, water bottle, and other essentials close at hand.

Amar Hussain

About Amar Hussain

Amar was born and raised in England, UK, embarked on an 11 country round the world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second which ended up being a 23 country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then Amar has endeavored to turn his gap year into a ‘gap life’ and has spent the last 10 years traveling the 7 continents.

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