Best Hiking Daypacks for Women in 2022

Check out the best hiking daypacks for women in a variety of sizes and get tips for finding the right fit, capacity & technical features.
Check out the best hiking daypacks for women in a variety of sizes and get tips for finding the right fit, capacity & technical features.

Are you an avid hiker looking for the perfect daypack? Or maybe you’re new to hiking and not sure what type of pack is best for you. Either way, we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we share our top picks for the best hiking daypacks for women in 2022.

We also provide a few tips on what to look for when choosing a daypack, so you can make sure you pick the perfect one for your needs. The best women’s daypacks for hiking are specifically designed with a women’s anatomy in mind. They also include features like more slanted hip straps and narrower shoulder straps that will fit better overall. If you’re a female and struggling to find a pack that fits you comfortably, we’ve got your back.

So whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, read on for our list of the best hiking daypacks for women in 2022!

Ready to go? Here are the best hiking daypacks for women and how to choose one that will work for you.


Best Women’s Daypacks for Hiking at a Glance


Women’s Hiking Daypacks Comparison Table

See the comparison table below for a quick summary of each of the best women’s daypacks. You can click on the columns to sort by what’s most important to you.

NameWeightCapacityHydration Reservoir Compatible?PocketsPrice
https://bit.ly/3i5KK2ZOsprey Mira43 oz22LYes (external)8$180
https://bit.ly/3J2Y43SOsprey Tempest29 oz9LYes (external)7$125
https://bit.ly/3I9E1zAGregory Juno H2O31 oz24LYes (external)6$150
https://bit.ly/3J9hEMdHyperlite Daybreak Ultralight20 oz17LNoNot specified$210
https://bit.ly/3lQAUm9Deuter Trail41 oz28LYes5$140
https://bit.ly/3rncvJZCotopaxi Luzon10.6 oz18LYes2$55
https://bit.ly/2NZwWveREI Trail Pack 31 oz25LYes6$80
https://bit.ly/3MKvDu6Deuter AC Liite98 oz22LYes4$110
https://bit.ly/35CKC5WREI Trail Pack 47 oz40LYes7$129
https://bit.ly/32OEOEmMystery Ranch Scree49.6 oz32LYes3$209

Osprey Tempest 9

Best Small Daypack for Hiking

Key Features (M/L size)

  • Gear capacity: 9 L
  • Weight: 1 lb 13 oz
  • Hydration reservoir compatible? Yes (external)
  • Number of pockets: 7 including main compartment
  • MSRP: $125

Check price: REI / Osprey / Backcountry

Purple women's Osprey Tempest 9 Liter day pack for hiking

Great for: Shorter day hikes where you don’t need to carry much gear, Mountain Biking

Pros: Multiple pockets and attachment points for gear, mesh back panel for airflow, made from bluesign®-approved materials, lifetime warranty

Cons: 9 L capacity doesn’t allow for much extra gear, expensive for its size

The Osprey Tempest 9 is the daypack that Linda, Bearfoot Theory’s Director, uses on short day hikes. With only a 9-liter gear carrying capacity, it’s definitely on the small side, but if you don’t need to carry much it’s a perfect companion for the trail. She loves the zipper pockets for storing small essentials like keys and a phone, and the main interior is big enough to fit all the basics including warm layers, a camera, and snacks. There’s even a handy sunglasses holder on one of the shoulder straps and the small hip belt pockets are great for easy-to-access items.

This daypack is small, lightweight, and comfy to wear with a padded, breathable backing and straps that help keep you cool as you hike. The hydration sleeve makes it easy to take your hydration reservoir in and out to refill (sold separately – Linda uses the 2.5L Osprey hydration reservoir with this daypack although you could probably go as big as the 3L size). And finally, this pack comes in two sizes (XS/S and M/L) so you can find the right fit for you. Linda is 5’3″ and wears the XS/S. Overall it’s our favorite small and lightweight women’s daypack for hiking.

Female hiker wearing day pack posing for photo in Sedona, Arizona with beautiful red rock bluffs in the distance
Linda wearing the Osprey Tempest 9L daypack (Jasper Green) while hiking in Sedona

Hyperlite Daybreak Ultralight Daypack

Best Weatherproof Daypack

Key features

  • Gear capacity: 17 L
  • Weight: 1 lb 4 oz
  • Hydration reservoir compatible? No
  • Number of pockets: Not specified
  • MSRP: $210

Check price: Hyperlite Mountain Gear

Black Hyperlight Daybreak hiking pack

Great for: Hiking in rainy or stormy weather, overnight backpacking trips, hikers who want a lightweight and minimal pack

Pros: Made from durable and weather-resistant material, ultralight, external pockets add 6 L of space

Cons: Expensive, no load lifter straps, no place to run hose for a hydration bladder

If weight is a factor when deciding which daypack to choose, the Hyperlite Daybreak Ultralight Daypack is our top choice. Not only is it super lightweight at just 1.2 lbs, but it’s also made from durable Dyneema fabric and features a minimalistic design. While it’s not completely waterproof, it is water-resistant and can withstand rain or even storms.

I have a Hyperlite Mountain gear backpacking pack and it’s so durable and lightweight with a simple yet functional design, and their daypack is no different.

The biggest complaints about this pack is that while there is a sleeve inside where you could technically put a hydration bladder, there is no hole to run a hose through to the outside of the pack. So your best bet when using this daypack is to keep your water in bottles on the outside of the pack. Also, if you’re someone who loves lots of pockets, you might be frustrated with lack of organization in this pack.

Cotopaxi Luzon Del Dia 18L Daypack

Most Packable Daypack

Key Features

  • Gear capacity: 18 L
  • Weight: 10.6 oz
  • Hydration reservoir compatible? Yes (internal)
  • Number of pockets: 2 including main compartment
  • MSRP: $55

Check price: Cotopaxi / Backcountry / REI

Multi-colored Cotopaxi Luzon del Dia 18 L daypack for hiking

Great for: Easy day hikes with light gear, trips that require airplane travel

Pros: Super lightweight, packs down small, easy to travel with, made from 100% repurposed fabrics, each pack is unique

Cons: Frameless design so pack will lie flat on your back without much breathability, not very supportive for long strenuous hikes, few organizational pouches and attachment points

The Cotopaxi Luzon 18L Del Dia Daypack is a frameless hiking daypack, so it’s very lightweight and packs down easily making it great for travel. The main compartment is large enough to cram extra layers into and it has a drawstring closure so there’s no fumbling around with a zipper. Plus, there’s a hydration sleeve and adjustable straps that allow you to customize the fit.

The lack of technical features and support means that this is not the best daypack for serious hikes, but for travel, light day hikes, and other activities, it’s a great option. We also love Cotopaxi’s ethos and their use of recycled fabrics handpicked by their staff.

If you like the look and idea of this pack but need something a bit larger, check out the Luzon 24L version.

Hiker sitting on large rock near water wearing brightly colored Cotopaxi Luzon daypack
I took the Cotopaxi Luzon 18L on my trip to New Zealand and it was the perfect travel pack

Osprey Mira 22 Hydration Pack

Bearfoot Theory Favorite

Key Features:

  • Gear capacity: 22 L
  • Weight: 2 lb 11 oz
  • Hydration reservoir compatible? Yes
  • Number of pockets: 8 including main compartment
  • MSRP: $180

Check price: REI / Osprey / Backcountry

Blue Osprey Mira 22 L daypack for women

Great for: Long and short day hikes, strenuous hikes thanks to the highly breathable mesh back air panel

Pros: 2.5 L hydration reservoir included, internal frame distributes weight evenly, mesh back panel allows for great airflow, exterior webbing and straps to attach hiking poles and extra gear, lifetime warranty

Cons: On the expensive side of daypacks (although hydration reservoir is included), heavy due to robust internal frame

The Osprey Mira 22 Hydration Pack is a Bearfoot Theory favorite because it has a lot of great features that make it versatile and comfortable to hike with. I like that the large zipper on the main compartment provides easy access, especially if you are carrying a camera that you are frequently pulling out of your backpack.

The Mira 22 comes with a 2.5-liter hydration reservoir and it features lots of pockets as well as a comfortable hip belt. I also like to use the outer mesh pouch to stash extra layers. The hip belt hugs nicely around your body, which I like, but may not be as comfortable depending on your body type.

I took a similar Osprey daypack with me to Everest Basecamp and Becky, our behind-the-scenes assistant uses the larger 32 L model for many of her bikepacking adventures.

Kristen standing on rock ledge on hike in Colorado looking out over mountain range wearing blue Osprey backpack and holding hiking poles
Wearing an older version of the Osprey Mira backpack on a hike in Southwest Colorado

Deuter AC Lite 22 SL Pack

Best Daypack for Hot Weather

Key Features:

  • Gear capacity: 22 L
  • Weight: 2 lb 1.6 oz
  • Hydration reservoir compatible? Yes
  • Number of pockets: 4 including main compartment
  • MSRP: $110

Check price: REI

Green Deuter AC Lite 22 L hiking day pack for women

Great for: Day hikes in hot or humid environments, hikers that tend to sweat a lot

Pros: Highly breathable mesh back panel, lightweight

Cons: Not as many pockets as other daypacks of this size, no pockets on the hip belt, no load lifter straps

If you get really sweaty when you hike, then the Deuter AC Lite 22 SL pack is for you. It has a mesh back panel that provides excellent airflow along your back, making it a great choice for hot summer climates. I normally sweat a lot and this pack leaves me feeling dry

It’s also lightweight and sits nice and tight to your body for a streamlined fit. The pack has one big compartment with a drawstring opening that you can stuff your gear into along with a zippered pocket in the lid. There is a water bottle pocket on each side as well and a little zippered slot for your phone.

There isn’t as much organization and pockets as some of the other daypacks on the list, so that may be a dealbreaker for you. I also don’t like that there are no pockets on the hip belt and there are no load lifter straps so the fit isn’t that adjustable. But I love the new color options!

Kristen looking back at camera while on a hike along snowy road in Golden, British Columbia
Wearing the Deuter AC Lite 22 Pack – you can see the great space for airflow along the back

Gregory Juno 24 H2O Hydration Pack

Best Hydration Daypack

Key features

  • Gear capacity: 24 L
  • Weight: 1 lb 15 oz
  • Hydration reservoir compatible? Yes
  • Number of pockets: 6 including main compartment
  • MSRP: $149.95

Check price: REI / Backcountry

Purple and gray Gregory Juno 24 L women's hiking daypack

Great for: Longer hikes using a hydration bladder, people who sweat a lot

Pros: Comes with an included bladder, mesh front pocket to easily stash extra layers

Cons: Hip pockets are very small

Gregory makes some of our favorite backpacking backpacks, so it’s no surprise they deliver great women’s daypacks as well. The Gregory Juno 24 H2O Daypack is specifically designed to keep you hydrated and cool on long hikes. It comes with a 3L reservoir and has a mesh back panel to keep your back nice and cool.

I actually use a Gregory hydration bladder in all of my packs. It’s so easy to fill and I like that the hose can unclip from the bladder. It makes it easy to refill the bladder and put it back in my backpack.

REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack

Best Budget Daypack

Key Features:

  • Gear capacity: 25 L
  • Weight: 1 lb 15 oz
  • Hydration reservoir compatible? Yes
  • Number of pockets: 6 including main compartment
  • MSRP: $79.95

Check Price: REI

Orange REI Co-op 25 L trail pack for women

Great for: Short or medium day hikes, wet weather

Pros: Included rain cover, affordable price, made from recycled materials, compatible with the REI Trail 2 Waistpack for more storage

Cons: Can be top-heavy if not packed well, no front mesh pocket for stashing easy-to-reach layers, back panel isn’t super breathable

The REI Co-op Trail 25 Pack is a very popular choice for day hikers because it’s lightweight, comfortable, and comes at an affordable price. It’s designed with a hydration pocket, padded straps, and side mesh pockets for easy access. We also love that it’s made with recycled materials. An added bonus is an included rain cover in case you’ll be hiking in wet weather.

Deuter Trail 28 SL Pack

Most Supportive Daypack for Heavy Gear

Key features

  • Gear capacity: 28 L
  • Weight: 2 lb 9 oz
  • Hydration reservoir compatible? Yes
  • Number of pockets: 5 including main compartment
  • MSRP: $140

Check price: REI / Backcountry

Green Deuter Trail 28 SL daypack for women

Great for: Climbers, day hikes where you need to carry a lot of gear

Pros: Features specific for climbers, included rain cover, easily compressible, meets most airline carry-on size restrictions

Cons: Only comes in one frame size

If you’re a climber or if you plan on going on all-day hikes and other more extensive outdoor adventures where you need to carry more gear, layers, and food, you may want something a little larger like the Deuter Trail 28 SL.

This pack has a comfortable padded back and straps that are adjustable so you can get the fit just right for you. It also has all the technical features you might need like helmet and carabiner loops, a two-way front zipper for easy interior access, hip belt pockets, a side stretch pocket, and internal pockets for valuables. It even comes with a rain cover and is also hydration-reservoir compatible. This pack makes a great airplane carry-on, too.

Mystery Ranch Scree 32L Backpack

Best Daypack for Organization

Key features

  • Gear capacity: 32 L
  • Weight: 3 lb 1.6 oz
  • Hydration reservoir compatible? Yes
  • Number of pockets: 3 including main compartment
  • MSRP: $209

Check price: Mystery RanchREI / Backcountry

Black Mystery Ranch Scree 32L daypack for hiking

Great for: Keeping gear organized, all-day hikes, 1-2 night backpacking trips

Pros: Double layer bottom for extra durability, meets carry-on size restrictions, can double as a backpacking pack for short overnight trips, excellent reviews

Cons: Heavier than the other packs on this list

The Mystery Ranch Scree 32L Backpack is one of the best women’s daypacks for hiking, especially if you plan on doing all-day hikes and adventures and need to keep your gear organized. The unique 3-zipper design provides easy access to interior items and the zippered stash pockets on the lid and hip belt keep your smaller essentials easily accessible.

The padded mesh backing and straps should keep you comfortable on the trail and the hydration sleeve and side water bottle pockets will help you stay hydrated. This women’s specific pack comes in two different sizes frame sizes, XS/S and M/L, and makes a great airplane carry-on as well.

REI Co-op Trail 40 Pack

Best High-Volume Daypack

Key features (M size)

  • Gear capacity: 40 L
  • Weight: 2 lb 15 oz
  • Hydration reservoir compatible? Yes
  • Number of pockets: 7 including main compartment
  • MSRP: $129

Check price: REI

Yellow 40 L REI Co-op Trail pack for hiking

Great for: Longer day hikes, keeping gear organized, traveling

Pros: Affordably priced, made with recycled materials, U-shaped front panel provides easy access to gear, included rain cover

Cons: Doesn’t come in a L torso length, no front pocket to quickly stuff an extra layer

The REI Co-op Trail 40 Pack is a great option for all-day hikes when you want room to carry everything you need. This higher capacity daypack has awesome organization compartments and a helpful U-shaped zipper in the front that fully opens the main compartment making it super easy to pack and locate items. This makes it a great option for travel

The zippered belt pockets are large enough to hold your cell phone and other must-haves that you want at your hip. It’s also affordable and can double as a backpacking pack for short overnight trips. It comes in two frame sizes to accommodate different torso lengths.


How to Choose a Daypack

Female hiker carrying day pack in Sedona, Arizona looking out at views of red rock cliffs and green trees
A good hiking daypack should be comfortable, lightweight, and large enough to carry all your hiking essentials

The kind of hikes you plan on using your daypack for and how versatile you want your pack to be will be big factors in determining the best daypack for you. We’ll cover that below along with a couple of other key factors to consider. But first, what exactly is the difference between a regular backpack and a backpack for hiking? We’re glad you asked.

The best women’s daypacks for hiking are made to be durable, lightweight, and comfortable while you’re on the trail. With the right size and fit, you should hardly even notice you’re carrying one when you’re hiking. A good hiking daypack should stand up to the wear and tear of the trail – it shouldn’t rip if you snag it on a thorny bush or slide it across rocks.  They also have a number of technical features that come in handy while hiking – things like a place for your water bottle or hydration reservoir, exterior pockets for easy access to snacks, your phone, extra layers, or whatever else is important to you, straps for attaching things like trekking poles, and more.

If you’ve never hiked with a good hiking daypack, you’ll never go back once you get one. And if you’re in the market for a new one, we hope the tips below will help you upgrade to a new daypack that you absolutely love.

What Size Daypack Do You Need?

Going on a serious, all-day hike requires a more technical pack with more support than you would need for a two-hour hike. For a longer hike, you’ll want a slightly bigger pack to fit more snacks, layers, water, and other hiking essentials. You’ll also want something more comfortable with padded backing, padded straps, and a hip belt and chest strap to distribute the weight so it’s not all on your shoulders. And you’ll likely want something with space for a hydration reservoir so you can carry more water for easy drinking compared to packing a water bottle.

A typical daypack is less than 40 liters, however, there are exceptions so if you know you want to be able to carry more, then go ahead and size up. Here’s a brief overview of daypack sizes and the best activities to pair them with:

  • 10 Liters or Less: Short, light day hikes, trail running, road biking
  • 11-20 Liters: Mountain biking, longer day hikes, trail running
  • 21-35 Liters: Long, intense day hikes, all day excursions, travel
  • 36-50 Liters: Any activity that requires more gear like climbing, or photography, etc
Female hiker standing on top of mountain looking out over nearby mountain ranges. She's wearing a blue jacket and blue hiking day pack.
Daypacks range in size from small to large. Choose a size based on the kind of activities you most enjoy doing

Remember that you don’t need too big of a pack if you aren’t planning on carrying additional gear or lots of extra clothing layers. A smaller capacity pack will be more lightweight, compact, and comfortable while you hike. Why carry more than you need?

If you’re looking for a multi-day hiking backpack, check out our favorite backpacking pack recommendations.

Daypack Features to Consider

There are a few common technical features you’ll see on many of the best women’s daypacks for hiking, which you may or may not need. Here’s a rundown of what they are and when they might come in handy.

  • Frames vs Frameless Packs: Some daypacks have an internal frame or lightweight frame sheet that makes the pack a bit sturdier. The frame helps the pack hold its shape and often helps keep it off your back to allow for airflow as well. A frame does make the pack slightly heavier overall, but the best daypack for more serious hiking will be one with a frame. Frameless packs are more simple and lightweight and can often be packed down to a compact size. If you want something you can throw in your travel backpack or carry on for shorter hikes and outings, a frameless pack might be the perfect choice for you.
  • Waistbelt & Sternum Straps: Waistbelt and sternum straps help distribute the weight of your pack so it doesn’t all fall on your back and shoulders. They also help keep the pack in place which is not only important for hiking, but also for other activities you might use your pack for like trail running or biking. We consider them a must for longer hikes because they make hiking with a pack much more comfortable overall.
  • Hydration Compartment & Water Bottle Pockets: Most daypacks have space in between the interior compartment and the frame to store a hydration reservoir. Not familiar with the term? A hydration reservoir is a plastic bladder that can be filled with water; it has a long tube attached so you can drink the water from the hydration pack while it’s in your backpack rather than digging out your water bottle. For those who’d rather stash their water on the outside of your bag for easy access, a water bottle side pocket is a common feature that is on nearly every pack. Some of the smaller, frameless, packable daypacks don’t have these features so consider this when making your purchase.
  • Padding: Most daypacks out there, aside from the frameless, packable ones, have padding on the back and the straps. This provides added comfort and reduces chafing, and in some cases, the shape of the padding helps with airflow too.
  • Mesh Ventilation: When you start to work up a sweat outside, a pack that sits close to your back can trap heat and start to become pretty uncomfortable. Many brands add mesh paneling to the inner back portion of the pack for ventilation. Believe us, you may not appreciate it at the start but on a hot hike, you’ll be glad to have it.
  • External Pockets: Think about the items you normally bring along when you hike and what type of pockets and compartments would come in handy for you. We generally prefer daypacks with multiple pockets so we can pack all our extra layers in one, and smaller items like snacks and sunscreen in another. If you want to easily be able to take a layer on and off, you may want to look for a daypack with an external pocket. If you want snacks and your phone or other small items easily accessible while you hike, look for a daypack with hip belt pockets.
  • Accessory Straps: Many hiking daypacks have straps for things like trekking poles, ice tools, climbing gear, and more. If you think you might want to carry gear like this on the outside of your pack, look for one with accessory straps.
Female hiker and service dog on trail carrying a daypack looking out blue lake surrounded by pine trees.
Daypacks range from simple design to very technical with a lot of features that you may or may not need

How Should a Daypack Fit?

Unlike backpacking packs, a daypack fit isn’t as specific. Although there are children, women’s, and men’s specific fits, many are unisex and offer features like adjustable straps so you can customize the pack to fit your torso. If you’re unsure what size pack you want and how it’ll fit, it’s a good idea to try on a new daypack before you buy to ensure that it feels comfortable and won’t rub and chafe when it’s fully loaded.

When you put the pack on, the top of the waist belt should sit slightly above the center of your hips. Tighten the waist belt so it’s snug but comfortable. Then you want to cinch the shoulder straps down. If there is a gap between your shoulders and the shoulder straps, the torso of the pack is too long. If the shoulder straps feel like they are weighing you down, the torso of the daypack might be too short, meaning you should size up.

Kristen outside hiking in Montana wearing a women's daypack.
For a good fit, check to make sure the top of the waist belt falls just above your hips

Have you found the best daypack for hiking? Which one do you love the most and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Kristen Bor

Hey there! My name is Kristen, and this is my outdoor blog. I discovered the power of the outdoors in my 20s, at the time I needed it most. Now 15 years later, prioritizing that critical connection with nature continues to improve my life. My goal at Bearfoot Theory is to empower you with the tools and advice you need to responsibly get outside.

7 comments on “Best Hiking Daypacks for Women in 2022

  1. I have found my Mystery Ranch Coulee 25 liter pack to be very versatile. The frame sheet doubles as a Velcro separator that allows you to adjust the torso length of the pack. The waist belt is padded but also thin enough to shove behind the lumber pad when not in use. Last but not least, the design of the “Y zip” main zipper system offers you the choice of accessing the contents of your bag either through the top like a top loader, or unzip the whole thing like a panel loader. The materials that the bag is made from is pretty tough too, it’s made from some sort of Cordura. The only downsides to the bag are it’s a little expensive, and a little heavier than other bags I own.

  2. I would highly recommend the arcteryx index 15 as a light day pack, and the Matador beast 28. Bonus: both can be packed away for travel in compact form.
    Thanks for the great tips!

  3. Great post! I love the REI Flash pack for mountain biking or moderate hikes! The back support is annoying if you fill it too much though and I would definitely choose a bigger pack for longer, more strenuous hikes!

  4. Great post! I love my LL Bean Ridge Runner day pack. And using their credit card, I earn points and purchased the bag for free (points). It’s a great pack and has a pouch for a hydration bladder.

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