Never underestimate the power of a good travel day pack on a trip. These versatile day packs are perfect for any active vacation or urban travel if a backpack is more your style. Plus, if you run out of space in your bag on the way home, they make for a great spare carry-on.
Patagonia Lightweight Travel Tote Pack 27L
This hybrid tote and backpack makes it one of the best day packs for travel because of its dual functionality and lightweight material. Not only is it lightweight, it’s also tear- and weather-resistant, too.
The main compartment is zippered, and there are two mesh water bottle side pockets, as well as a large zippered front pocket, so it can hold all of your carry-on essentials. The 27-liter size makes it roomy enough for an overnight stay, but it folds into itself for easy storage.
Gonex Packable Daypack
Gonex makes a great streamlined pack that stuffs into its own small pouch. The material is a lightweight but strong nylon that’s resistant to rain and tears. It has one main compartment as well as a few smaller ones, making it one of the best travel day packs to keep you organized without adding a lot of weight.
Patagonia Black Hole Backpack 25L
This offering from Patagonia is one of the larger travel day packs on the list, but it’s a sturdy option for those looking to do some hiking or other outdoor activities. Even though the bag is made of strong polyester, it’s still lightweight and waterproof. It has a padded sleeve for a 15-inch laptop, stretch-woven side pockets, padded shoulder harness, and a zippered top pocket for essentials.
Matador Freerain24 Backpack
The Matador Freerain is the latest style in Matador’s compact packs range. This ultra-light style is watertight with waterproof rolltop construction, making it super durable for any type of outdoor activity. It has a 24-liter main compartment, dual side pockets, and a front vertical pocket for easy access to essential items.
Osprey Daylite Backpack 13L
Whether you’re taking on an urban city tour or a summit excursion, the Osprey Daylite is the perfect travel day pack. For hikers, it has a slot for a hydration bladder and is designed to be attached/removed from larger Osprey bags. For the urban traveler, it has a large main compartment, front pocket, and side mesh pockets. At 13 liters, it’s on the smaller side, but it still fits everything you would need for a day.
Sherpani Camden Pack
This is a great travel day pack for urban travel due to its zipper locks, RFID-protected pocket, laptop sleeve, and flexible straps: It can be carried as a tote, worn as a backpack, or worn crossbody. There’s also a zippered luggage passthrough sleeve so you can put it over the handle of your carry-on at the airport.
Herschel Supply Co. Nova Mid Volume Backpack
This stylish travel day pack option holds a 13-inch laptop in the padded sleeve compartment and has internal and external pockets to hold your essentials. The main compartment zips shut, and the shoulder straps are padded.
Fjallraven Kanken Classic
I’ve been flying with my Kanken as my personal item for more than a year now and I love its size, durability, and shape. The Classic style makes for the perfect travel day bag as well, with a roomy main compartment and front pocket for your essentials. The simple design is stylish and you can fit a surprising amount of clothing and gear inside.
REI Co-op Flash 18 Pack
REI’s Flash Pack is a travel day pack with dual functionality. Simply turn it inside out and the backpack doubles as a stuff sack for packing. This day pack is super comfortable to wear with a lightly padded back panel—which also slips out to double as a seating pad—as well as padded shoulder straps and a detachable hipbelt and sternum strap. The sternum-strap buckle can also be used as a safety whistle. And at 18 liters, it’s the perfect size for day trips. What can’t this day pack do?
Cotopaxi Luzon 18L Packable Daypack
Cotopaxi makes a great lightweight travel day pack, perfect for hiking. The 18-liter pack has a large main compartment with internal hydration sleeve, mesh shoulder straps, a front zippered pocket, buckled strap support, and top drawstring closure.
More from SmarterTravel:
- How to Pack a Backpack: 5 Essential Tips
- 8 Great Crossbody Bags for Travel
- How to Choose the Perfect Suitcase
Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.