Heading for a day in the great outdoors or exploring a new city? Make sure you know where you’re going to stash all your kit first. A daypack, as the name implies, is a backpack large enough to fit all the essentials you’ll need for a day of rambling in the hills or an afternoon of exploring when travelling. My guide to buying the perfect daypack backpack in association with Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven will help you find the perfect backpack companion – check out the rucksacks of all shapes and sizes they offer and you’re bound to find the perfect one to suit you.
How to choose the right backpack for day-long adventures
KEY FEATURES TO LOOK FOR: A daypack is best kept for daily use, and should be lightweight, easy to wear and compact, but with enough space to take your essentials – if you need something for an overnight adventure or a camping trip, you should look for a larger pack.
You’re obviously planning to take your new backpack outside, so it’s a good idea to pick one that is relatively weatherproof. Most rucksacks aren’t fully waterproof, and are usually labelled showerproof or water resistant instead. This means that their outer shell will stand up to a shower, but in more extreme weather you’ll need a rain cover.
Rucksacks are measured by the capacity they hold in litres, and backpacks ideal for day-long adventures usually range in size from 15 litres to 35 litres. If you’re buying just one good daypack for different uses, such as travelling and commuting, it’s worth picking a versatile model that will work in different situations. Bags that can carry a hydration system (a water pouch with drinking tube) are useful – failing that, consider a bag with a water bottle pocket.
Bags can be top-loading (which is more watertight) or front loading (making it easier to access gear), and larger bags sometimes also sport compression straps which cinch them down to a smaller size. Plenty of pockets are a useful addition, especially if there are zipped ones for phones, keys and passports near the top of the bag. Some brands, including Fjällräven, focus on using recycled and eco-friendly materials when designing their bags, making them a more planet-friendly choice.
GET THE RIGHT FIT: It’s a good idea to try on a new bag in person, so that you can check it fits your back properly. Padded, breathable mesh straps for your shoulders, hips and chest are a must if you’ll be travelling over long distances, and compression straps are also useful for cinching down your load to make it more compact. A breathable mesh material on the back of a rucksack is ideal for summer hikes and trips where you may be working up a sweat.
Pick the perfect Fjällräven daypack
Vardag 16 litre backpack, £75 : Want to keep things simple with a go-anywhere daypack? The sleek Vardag rucksack is lightweight and extremely comfortable, with padded shoulder straps that make it ideal for longer day hikes. The tough recycled outer material is made with Fjallraven’s G1000 technology and will last for years, and is weatherproof enough to put up with a light shower. An internal sleeve fits a laptop, making this a great choice for the commute as well as for more relaxed day hikes where you don’t want to be weighed down. The Vardag also packs down small, making it perfect for popping in your suitcase.
Ulvo 23 litre backpack, £120: This handsome rucksack takes a surprising amount of kit – I’ve packed for a weekend away using it without any issues, and there are plentiful pockets (plus a laptop sleeve) to hold all your essentials. The external material is partially recycled, and is waterproof enough to deal with sudden storms – a great choice for adventuring outdoors. Padded shoulder straps and a chest strap make the Ulvo comfortable to wear on long walks, and two stretchy water bottle pockets mean you can stay hydrated. A very versatile choice.
Keb Hike 20 litre, £180: Serious hikers, climbers and ski tourers can look no further – Fjallraven’s excellent Keb Hike is a tough, technical backpack in dinky daypack form. This durable pack has plenty of room and pockets for all your outdoor kit and is water bladder compatible – and there are even attachments for carrying for skis or ice axes. Weather is no challenge either, as the Keb Hike’s outer Bergshell material is fully waterproof. A beautifully made choice that can deal with tough adventures as well as more casual use.