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#1 Osprey Men's Talon 22

The Osprey Talon (Osprey Tempest for women) manages to combine great comfort and functionality while providing numerous torso sizes so you’re almost guaranteed to find one that will fit your body like a glove. It’s our favorite in all three of those categories making it an easy decision to award it as Best Overall hiking backpack

The Talon and Tempest are the most comfortable hiking daypack we’ve ever had the pleasure of pulling on our backs. They have soft, padded shoulder straps with back panels, wide, padded waist belts, and a PE frame for maximum support when you're carrying a heavier load. 

The Talon/Tempest packs are organized better than any other pack thanks to multiple exterior pockets, a hydration sleeve and attachment points for trekking poles.

#2 Gregory Citro 24 H20

If you’re the kind of hiker who likes to get their fill of H2O on the go, the Gregory Citro 24 (Juno for the ladies) deserves a place somewhere very near the top of your shortlist.

This pack ticks all the boxes. In addition to its hydration-compatible design, it’s also one of the most comfortable packs in our review, second only to the Osprey Stratos 24 for comfort. 

The Citro and Juno have an alloy steel frame that provides additional load support without adding noticeably to the pack’s weight – ideal for longer hikes with heftier loads. It has a VaporSpan ventilated suspension system, and moisture-wicking Mesh straps to keep you dry in high temps. 

Storage-wise, this pack has a lot going on… In addition to the roomy main compartment, there’s a 3L zippered hydration sleeve with a hanger, a total of 5 pockets, hip packers, a hood pocket, tool attachment loops, and even sunglass straps. It's second only to REI Co-Op Traverse when it comes to organization, but the Citro/Juno weighs 9 oz more. 

#3 Deuter Speed Lite 20

Lightweight backpacks are often light in weight, but they make many compromises to save weight. The Deuter Speed Light Lite 20 is different.

This tiny pack weighs just 1 lb. 1 oz. and yet offers outstanding comfort levels – even with moderately heavy loads and on long days on the trail. Comfort levels are achieved by the plush V-shaped cushioning on the back panel and ergonomically-shaped, padded shoulder straps. Both of these straps use breathable mesh to keep things cool and dry. 

It also has 4 pockets, a hydration well, as well as a large central compartment that can store extra layers, waterproofs, food, and other necessities. 

While there are better options out there for carrying a heavier load or for longer hikes, like the Osprey Stratos or Talon, this one’s perfect for day hikes when you’re keen to travel fast and light. 

The only negatives about this pack are the absence of padding in the hipbelt and inability to adjust the torso length. Other than that, it’s a high scorer across the board.

#4 Osprey Stratos 24 (Sirrus 24)

The main problem with almost all daypacks is their inability provide the comfort of a regular backpacking bag when full. With the Osprey Stratos and Sirrus, this is categorically not the case. 

Weighing in at 2 lb. This pack is the heaviest in our review, weighing 2 lb. However, there are a few very good reasons why the Stratos/Sirrus has been one of Osprey’s top-selling packs for the best part of a decade. 

Let’s start with the pack’s most notable USP – comfort. More than any other daypack we’ve tried, the Stratos/Sirrus makes light work of carrying heavy loads. It has cushy padding in the shoulders, back, and hips, a LightWire internal frame to support the spine, and an adjustable torso length. The pack also features an AirSpeed mesh suspension system that allows for more airflow around its back.

The Stratos/Sirrus is also an organization winner, with five pockets, a water reservoir, hip belt pockets and two external gear loops. There’s also an integrated rain cover and dual-zippered access to the main compartment, which makes it easier to load/unload than any other pack in our review.

While the Osprey Talon 22’s lighter weight, comfort, and impressive feature set won it our vote as top daypack for hiking, this one’s our go-to when hauling a little more heft. 

#5 Osprey Daylite Plus

This simple, cheap, lightweight pack didn’t quite do enough to earn any of our awards but offers such good all-around performance that we couldn’t conscionably leave it off our list. 

The Daylite is 1 lb. 5 oz. 5 oz. It is however much cheaper than similar-sized packs like Osprey Talon or Gregory Citro and is a bit more comfortable for day-long usage than featherweights such as the REI Co-Op Flash 22 and Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano.

The Daylite's comfort improvement over other lightweight packs is due to the use highly breathable, mesh-covered AirScape and EVA foam harnesses. While not as cushy as the padding on the Talon, Stratos, or REI Traverse, these features make the Daylite a highly comfortable carry whenever you’re hauling under 12 lbs. You can find more gear.

The pack also boasts a number of impressive features, including five pockets, a DWR coating, a water-repellent hydration reservoir, removable hip belt, and an open-panel main compartment.

#6 Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil

Weighing a tiny 1 oz., the Ultra Sil Nano is both the lightest daypack in our review by a long shot and the lightest pack we’ve ever tried.

The Nano is made from 15D siliconized nylon fabric, which maximizes strength and minimizes weight. The manufacturers claim that this allows the pack to carry up to a 20kg load, but the lack of padding in the back or shoulders means we’d only recommend this one for carrying soft, light loads on shorter day hikes or side trips when basecamping.

Understandably, this pack doesn’t boast the same kind of feature set, support, cushioning, durability, or compartmentalization as other packs in our review – or any feature set at all, for that matter. This pack is simple and sturdy, yet it weighs less than your average glove.