Best Backpacks With Detachable Daypacks + DIY Solutions For Hiking & Travel

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Article Categories: Gear | Hiking Tips | Travel

Some hiking trips are straightforward: you go out, you camp in one or two locations, you come back. Others are much more meandering. You might make a base camp and then take side trips. Do you really want to haul your bulky, framed pack on a 3-4 hour side hike? You want to have the right gear for the adventure at hand, and it can be really nice to have a smaller option for cargo at your disposal. A detachable daypack built right into your main pack can fit that bill perfectly.

Detachable backpacks are also practically indispensable for long treks. If you’re backpacking across Europe or braving the Appalachian Trail, having a detachable daypack can mean a world of difference for what you have the option to do. Want to take a break and go into town? A daypack is a super convenient way to carry your daily essentials!

But not all detachable daypacks are created equal! Our guide will help you choose the backpack system that’s right for you, and we’ll even show you how to add a detachable daypack to the backpack that you already have!

Choosing A Pack | Best Hiking Bags | Best Travel Bags | DIY Solutions

 

What To Look For

When choosing a backpack with a detachable daypack, there are several things to keep in mind. First, you have to think about what you’ll be using the backpack for and make your decisions from there. We have a great post on how to choose a backpack based on volume and sizing here, and much of this information is just as true when choosing a backpack with a detachable daypack.

 

Weight

An integrated daypack may add weight to your backpack. In some cases, this is negligible. This is especially true for convertible daypacks, which might unzip to form a top cover. But if you have a zip-off pack, it might be more than you want to deal with, and you may have to adjust what you usually carry.

 

Carrying Capacity

Generally speaking, daypacks can only hold essentials for the day and are 30 liters or smaller. You would never take just a daypack on a multi-day trip because of how little they hold. Most daypacks have a carrying capacity of 10-30 liters.

To make things easier, we’ve created this simple chart to help you think about what situations call for what size of a backpack.

Duration of Hike Recommended Backpack Capacity
Half-Day Hike (<4 hours) 20 liters or less
Full-Day Hike (>4 hours) 20-40 liters
1-3 Night Hike 40-50 liters
3-5 Night Hike 50-70 liters
5+ Night Hike 80-110+ liters

 

Size of Daypack

No matter what you plan on using any backpack for, you must size it correctly to avoid irritation or even injury. This is true for your detachable backpack! Even though it’s part of a larger system, you need to make sure that both packs fit well. Every human body has slightly different proportions and carries weight differently, so make sure that your daypack fits just as comfortably as your main pack before you take it out on the trail. Your daypack should fit snugly on your body– not too tight and not too loose.

 

Materials

Most hiking packs and daypacks are made of nylon. The best of these packs are made with ripstop nylon, which is woven specially to be resistant to ripping and tearing. You can also find good hiking packs with detachable daypacks made from polyester or other synthetic fibers. These can be a bit heavier than nylon packs, but they often come with increased water resistance.

 

Cost

Good hiking gear is an investment that can last for years, and it’s also an investment into your safety and wellbeing. Don’t be lured by cheap, untested packs made with flimsy materials. If your pack breaks on you or puts uneven pressure on your back, you can have a miserable experience– maybe even a dangerous one!

But don’t also think that you simply must have the most expensive gear. What you want to look for is solid construction, good materials, and expert craftsmanship. It’s possible to get great backpacks while sticking to a budget.

 

Best Hiking Backpacks With Detachable Daypacks

Our top picks for hiking backpacks with detachable daypacks all have several things in common. They’re all durable, rugged packs made from premium materials and constructed with toughness and trail-readiness in mind. We know that your gear needs to keep up with you!

 

ALPS Mountaineering Red Tail 65

Alps Mountaineering Red Tail 65 BackpackThis internal frame bag from ALPS Mountaineering is a comfortable backpack with a great suspension and an over-the-top compression strap to shape your load for ideal weight distribution. Its detachable top pocket functions as a lumbar pack that is perfect for holding your most important valuables, first aid gear, snacks, or even a couple of water bottles!

Size And Weight

  • Main Pack Capacity: 65 L
  • Daypack Capacity: 5 L
  • Total pack weight: 4.8 lbs

 

Price: $133 – $180

Features

  • Padded foam and mesh back panel for comfort and support
  • Interior double-stay aluminum frame
  • Sleeping back and hydration compartments

Benefits

  • Water-resistant
  • Budget-friendly
  • Adjusts to any torso size

 

Buy On REI | Buy On Amazon

 

REI Co-Op Traverse 60

REI Co-op Traverse 60 PackThe REI Co-OP Traverse 60 was designed for backcountry hiking. With over 305 miles of field testing before this pack was released to the market, its designers thought of everything– including a handy daypack that doubles as the top lid of the pack. This pack has some incredible attention to detail– the designers even went so far as to tilt the water bottle pockets forward for easy access!

Size And Weight

  • Main Pack Capacity: 60 L
  • Daypack Capacity: 13 L
  • Total pack weight: 4.3-4.6 lb (depending on size)

 

Price: $229.00

Features

  • Customizable compression strap system
  • Aluminum frame
  • Padded back panel for even weight distribution and comfort

Benefits

  • Thoughtful pocket design
  • Customizable size configuration
  • Environmentally friendly

 

Buy Men’s Traverse On REI | Buy Women’s Traverse On REI

 

Osprey Aether Plus 70/Ariel Plus 70

Osprey Aether Plus 70Osprey makes several amazing hiking packs with detachable daypacks, but we chose the Aether Plus 70 for men and its sister pack, the Ariel Plus 70 for women as our recommendation for a number of reasons. First, the daypack isn’t a separate backpack that’s zipped on. It’s actually just the top lid of the pack– it’s a convertible! More reasons to love the Aether and Ariel series include the easily adjustable torso and hip belts, the roomy compartments, and the light weight.

Both the Ariel and Aether bags share the same great features. The only differences are the contour and length of the back panel and the contours of the shoulder straps.

Size And Weight

  • Main Pack Capacity: 70 L
  • Daypack Capacity: 16 L
  • Total Pack Weight
    • Aether: 5.6 lb for S/M bags; 6.2 lb for L/XL bags
    • Ariel: 5.5 lb for S/M bags; 5.7 lb for L/XL bags

 

Price: $360

Features:

  • Included rain cover
  • Lower compartment for sleeping bag
  • Adjustable torso harness and hip belt

Benefits

  • Lots of gear storage options
  • Durable
  • Excellent lumbar support

 

Buy Aether On Amazon | Buy Aether On Osprey

Buy Ariel On Amazon | Buy Ariel On Osprey

 

Salkan Backpacker

Salkan Backpacker

Salkan Backpacker

Salkan’s Backpacker wants to be the last backpack you ever buy. The interior capacity is adjustable, the materials are weatherproof, and this bag comes with a lifetime guarantee. The detachable daypack is just as thoughtfully constructed. It hooks on with aluminum G-hooks and can be worn kangaroo-style in front for easy access, or by itself on the back.

Size And Weight

  • Main Pack Capacity: 45 L, adjustable to 55 L
  • Daypack Capacity: 20 L
  • Total pack weight: 7.4 lbs

Price: $348.96

Features:

  • Weatherproofed fabric
  • Integrated laundry bag and rain/travel cover
  • Additional gear strap options

Benefits

  • Durable, with a lifetime guarantee and a 100-day money-back trial period
  • Secure inner pockets for valuables
  • Designed with both hiking and travel in mind

 

Buy On Salkan

 

Gregory Baltoro 65 L

Gregory Baltoro 65 PackGregory is known for making extremely high quality gear. This pack is designed with a super light 10L detachable pack perfect for small day trips. In addition, this pack in itself is an very well designed pack for backpackers with great reviews from the backpacking community.

Size And Weight

  • Main Pack Capacity: 65 L
  • Daypack Capacity: 10 L
  • Total pack weight: 4 lbs. 13.4 oz.

Price: $299.95

Features:

  • Water reservoir compatible
  • Integrated rain cover
  • Breathable back panel

Benefits

  • Designed well for backpacking
  • Sleeping bag compartment
  • Response A3™ suspension

 

Buy On REI | Buy On Amazon

 

Best Travel Backpacks With Detachable Daypack

What makes a travel backpack different from a hiking backpack? While you could take any of these bags on a short hike, travel bags are easier to take on a plane, train, or even a bus than a hiking backpack.

 

Decathlon Forclaz Travel 500

Decathlon Lockable BackpackThe Forclaz Travel 500 is seriously secure. For starters, the main pack comes with a padlock for security during travel. The design is compact enough that it complies with the cabin standards for most airlines, and the bag has a suitcase-style opening for ease of packing and unpacking. There’s even a bottom compartment for your shoes!

Size And Weight

  • Main Pack Capacity: 50 L
  • Daypack Capacity: 10 L
  • Total pack weight: 5 lbs

Price: $129.00

Features:

  • Shoulder bag-style daypack
  • Suitcase-style internal organization
  • Locking main compartment

Benefits

  • Great for travel
  • Budget-friendly
  • 10-year warranty

 

Buy Men’s On Decathlon | Buy Women’s On Decathlon

 

Osprey Farpoint 55

Osprey Farpoint 55Osprey’s concern for physical support is evident even in their lighter bags. Case in point: the Farpoint, designed as a travel bag, has a pared down internal frame that means that this bag– which can be used as a carry-on for most airlines- can hold about 50 pounds of luggage. Lockable sliders protect the main compartment, and both the main pack and daypack feature a reinforced, scratch-proof compartment for your smaller tech devices and glasses.

Size And Weight

  • Main Pack Capacity: 42 L
  • Daypack Capacity: 13 L
  • Total pack weight: 3.75 lbs (S/M)-3.9 lbs (M/L)

Price: $180.00

Features:

  • Light wire frame
  • Attachment points for extra gear
  • Internal compression straps

Benefits

  • Durable
  • Secure
  • Supportive

 

Buy On Amazon | Buy On Osprey

 

Deuter Transit

Deuter Transit 50 Travel Backpack with Removable DaypackThe Deuter Transit was designed specifically for international travel. In addition to dedicated document storage, this bag was designed to be the perfect carry-on. The daypack unzips and stashes under your seat, while the main pack fits nicely in even small overhead compartments. Zippered bottom compartments keep dirty or wet items away from the rest of your belongings, and adjustable strap configurations and padded grab handles mean that this pack can be carried like a duffel bag or suitcase.

Size And Weight

  • Main Pack Capacity: 50 L
  • Daypack Capacity: 12 L
  • Total pack weight: 4.8 lbs

Price: $180.00

Features:

  • Dedicated document pocket for passport, tickets, and other important papers
  • PU coating for water and abrasion resistance
  • Airline-friendly design

Benefits

  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable for varying torso lengths
  • Versatile

 

Buy On Amazon

 

Thule Landmark 60L

Thule Landmark Travel Pack

Thule Landmark Travel Pack

The Thule Landmark series of travel packs comes in three sizes: the 40, the 60, and the 70. We’re recommending the 60 because unlike the 70, the 60 is designed as carry-on luggage. If you don’t mind checking a bag, you might want to size up to the 70– but if you want to spend as little time in the airport as possible, the 60 might be ideal. The Thule Landmark is perfect for travel, with excellent interior organization and a sizable daypack that’s big enough to hold even a large laptop!

Size And Weight

  • Main Pack Capacity: 40 L
  • Daypack Capacity: 20 L
  • Total pack weight: 4 lbs

Price: $199.95

Features:

  • Tuck-away straps
  • Sternum strap whistle… just in case
  • Reinforced SafeZone compartment to protect your phone, sunglasses, and other fragile items

Benefits

  • Compact, but roomy
  • Security features
  • Designed with airline travel in mind

 

Buy Men’s On Amazon | Buy Women’s On Amazon

 

DIY Detachable Daypack Solutions

If you already have a hiking or travel backpack that you just love, but you want to add additional flexibility, there are ways that you can add a daypack to your existing bag. It might not look as integrated as a backpack system with a built-in detachable bag, but looks aren’t everything! Don’t ditch your beloved, trusty, comfortable backpack just because you want a detachable daypack. There are things you can do to add this convenience to gear you already have.

 

Clip Or Strap On Your Daypack

Depending on how you pack your main bag, you might not have room to stash a smaller daypack inside. Fortunately, most hiking bags are made with options to clip, lash, or otherwise attach additional gear. A couple of carabiners on the outer straps of your bag can be a secure, easy way to attach a daypack. You can clip it to the outside back of the pack, or you can clip it to the top of your shoulder straps and bring it down like an extra top lid. This has the advantage of adding an additional layer of protection in any inclement weather, on top of giving you access to a daypack. You might want to consider an ultralight bag like the barely-there Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack for this– an ultralight bag won’t weigh you down and most are light enough that you won’t even feel additional strain.

At Hiking And Fishing, we attach our Dagger 22 to our backpacking pack just strapped on the outside. This 22 size gives us the ability to do long and strenuous day hikes after backpacking into a basin.

 

Sew It Yourself

If you’re really handy, you can actually make your own detachable daypack! Although gear designers like Kelty founder Dick Kelty, Gregory founder Wayne Gregory, and Osprey founder Mike Pfotenhauer all hand-sewed their first homemade backpack designs, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel… or the backpack! There are lots of patterns and awesome DIY communities online. There’s even sites dedicated to teaching you how to make your own bags and hiking gear. It’s important to pick a good pattern and get good materials. You can get your fabric online, at fabric stores… or even IKEA, if you’re really creative (and you love the blue and yellow color scheme)!

 

Go Foldable And Add A Pouch

Many hiking backpack designers know that hiking can be unpredictable and that each hike might require different gear than the one before it. Take a look at the straps and webbing. You might find that even if your backpack doesn’t have the space to add a whole daypack, it might have space for the addition of a smaller pouch… in which you can place a foldable daypack! Some foldable daypacks like the Lucien Hanna 20L Lightweight Backpack come with their own zipper pouches. Others, like the Ozaeo Lightweight Foldable Daypack, come with cinch-style pouches that can hang from any spare loop or strap.

We know there’s a lot to consider when choosing a backpack, and what you’re looking for and what you need for your adventures is unique to you. But detachable daypacks are such an incredibly useful piece of equipment that we feel that many hikers can benefit from them. If you haven’t tried taking a daypack with you, why not give it a shot? You might find that they open up a whole new world of side trips and travel. Happy trails!

Disclaimer: The links within this article are affiliate links, meaning we get a small amount of income when an item is purchased through our links. This helps support our work. This in no way changes our reviews and recommendations, we simply want to create the most helpful content on the web.

Max DesMarais
Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and sharing experiences with others. Max is a published author for various outdoor websites and digital marketing websites. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about