Five of our finalists have been sent into the wilderness, and the Osprey Talon 22 climbed the summit to be named our readers’ favorite day pack for hiking. It was followed closely by another Osprey pack, the Stratos 24, which is a great choice if you need a bit more space.
Osprey isn’t the cheapest but I like the lifetime guarantee and they have excellent customer service (I use the Kestrel 48 for backbacking too). It has a great water system, tons of handy pockets, pouches, and clip hooks, and there’s a smaller version if you want to go even lighter. - thejimmyb
I use a Osprey pack I bought 20 years ago that’s been on hundreds of hikes and dozens of overnight trips, and it’s still in great shape. I don’t remember the model, but Osprey makes some sturdy gear. - Monkey See, Monkey Dance
For longer hikes, I like the Osprey Stratos 24.
It seems to have gone up in price a lot since I bought it, but is a great pack. It has webbing to keep the weight and awkwardness of a full pack off your back. Very comfortable- almost floating back there. It does add some heft- 2.5 lbs. Its pockets, zippers, and straps are all designed for user friendliness. - erg
+1 for the Stratos. It’s been my go-to day hiker for a while now. Great balance & comfort. I usually fill my hydration bladder (3 liters, fits nicely into the pack), so I can’t say I notice the weight of the pack itself. - Gladys Knight and the Wally Pipps
For a day hike? Just get something cheap & mostly waterproof that can hold your keys, wallet, water, trail food, book, and a rain jacket. You don’t need to spend $70 & it doesn’t need to be a fashion statement.
This one has been great for me. It’s 20l which is slightly too big (it encourages me to bring more than I need) but it packs small and goes with me whenever/wherever I travel. - Orange Courier
I’m in the same boat, but every person on here is going to recommend an Osprey or REI pack because if they spent $60-$100 on a daypack, then by Jove, it must have been a good decision. - usernamestillnotwitty