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What To Look For: When Buying A Daypack

So the sun is finally shining, it’s time to get out our spring and summer hiking gear and explore the great outdoors. Now that’s normally when you realise that you need to buy new gear and to be honest for us here at Simply Hike it’s normally the daypack that needs to be replaced (unless your name is Shaun and you must have this season's colour). With so many brands out there no wonder people can feel like they are in a minefield of what to choose! How much should I spend? What makes certain brands better than others? Even in our shop we get customers debating for hours on which size they should go for.. Now that sounds like a good starting point doesn’t it!

What Size Pack Should I Get

The most traditional size to go for in a day bag is anywhere between 15 litres to 35 litre. When picking the right size you really need to think hard about the type of hiking you do and how long you go for. If all you do is coastal walking then you probably will get away with a 20 litre day pack, if you are trekking up Ben Nevis or Snowdonia then you will really be looking at a 30 to 35 litre pack, I guess it just depends on what you like to take with you. People are becoming more and more adventurous going on longer hikes and even wild camping along the route, this of course means needing a bigger pack. But rather going into the realms of a 65 litre rucksack on your back, if you are clever you can get it down to between a 35 to 45 litre rucksack (that’s when the handy Exped stuff sacks come into play).

Which Brand is best

which-brandThere are hundreds of daypack brands out there, so we are just going to focus on the brands that we stock here at Simply Hike. So every brand of course would say that theirs is the best which is why it can be so hard to choose a new daypack. To break it down a bit here are the brands that we stock and what makes them stand out:

The North Face

The greatest thing about The North Face packs is that they really do cater for all. What makes their daypacks stand out is the many functions they all have. They don’t look like your standard “hiking” pack! You will find that this pack is great for hiking all over the UK in all elements but also on your daily commute as well. All the daypacks from The North Face are tested and approved by the American Chiropractic Association. Because of that stamp you can rest assured that whether you are hiking or catching the train, The North Face's daypacks will be nice and comfortable.


Gregory are the best underdog brand out there! These guys are all about the fit, seriously that’s why the company started up to give us hikers the perfect fitting rucksack that will just last. With their packs you can strip them back and build it to suit your every need, these guys have thought of everything. They were one of the first companies to use pre-moulded hip and arm straps, rather than just using an adjuster in the back of the daypack Gregory have different shape frames giving you a much better fit. We can proudly say here at Simply Hike that their fit for women is perfect!
Gregory - The Trail Speaks from Gregory Packs on Vimeo.


Mammut rucksacks are the only brand to offer four stream ventilation. This allows air flow not just from side to side but it enables air flow from top to bottom as well. Most of their packs have a slight pre-mould to them ensuring you a great fit from the word go. Mammut packs also use triple Ripstop ensuring you that no matter where you are hiking for the day your pack won’t let you down. Most of their daypacks also feature compression straps that allow you to condense your pack to reduce swaying.


When you think of Berghaus does the Freeflow system pop into your head? Well Berghaus were one of the first brands to play around and develop the air flow system in their daypacks and really helped pave the way for other flow backpack systems. Over the years Berghaus have used their daypacks to develop design (and in some cases re-design) the flow system. But why does this make Berghaus stand out? Well it’s because of their desire to improve the design and structure of their daypacks, this means that they are always ahead of the game when it comes to flow systems.

Black Diamond

New in for us here at Simply Hike we have the daypacks from Black Diamond. Black Diamond are one of those brands that like to push the boundaries, from their climbing equipment to their daypacks. The key points with Black Diamond packs is the fit and getting the pack comfortable on your back from the word go. They are always pushing for perfection it’s no wonder they are one of the leading companies in the hiking world when it comes to design.


So what makes Vango stand out from the daypack crowd? Well one big thing really… they are the main sponsor of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme! In order to get this honour Vango's kit gets rigorously tested! From their tents and sleeping bags to their daypacks! Because of this testing Vango have a strong position to make comfortable and practical daypacks but because they have the DofE at their heart they are also affordable.

Getting The Fit Right

You know what size to get and which brand might offer you the perfect back system, but with any daypack and rucksack you need to make sure that you have the right fit. Now of course our shop here in Faversham can fit you up and get the right pack fit for you, but in case you can't make it down to visit us in the shop we have made a video about it:
  Our video picks out the three core steps you must take when fitting a daypack or rucksack:
  1. Check the back adjustment – this depends on what you are carrying in your pack and will take a few turns to get right. But as long as you do this before you set off on your trail you will have a comfortable hike.
  2. Placement of the hip strap – as our video suggested, a lot of people seem to think that the hip strap actually goes on the hip, but in fact it is designed to go above the hip. This places the weight along your spine.
  3. Placement of the chest strap – make sure that you keep the chest strap nice and loose. If you were to tighten it up then you would get pains on your shoulders and collar bone, keeping it loose will prevent this from happening. Even better if you pack your bag properly you won’t even need to do the chest strap up.
hipandchest backandperfect We would like to thank Katie from our Faversham shop for being our glamorous assistant and letting us get these images! As long as your new pack feels comfortable after these three key steps then you have a great fitting daypack.

Check, Check, Double Check Then Check Again

So you have found the right daypack for you, it’s the ideal size, it’s got the right fit and is the style that you were after, well check, check, double check and then check again. Make sure that it’s got all the right pockets you want, make sure that those pockets are in the right place for you. You need to be 100% sure when it comes to the size, you don’t want a daypack too big or too small. Make sure that the fit is perfect for you, pull all the compression straps and get the day bag fitting nicely around you. Check the style is right and that the design is perfect for you, if you tick all these boxes with a daypack then you're set for life! So in a nut shell:
  • Get the size right, don’t get a daypack that is either too big or too small for you.
  • Look into what the other brands have to offer and see if that suits your needs.
  • Check the fit, make sure that it feels comfortable on your back because you could be having this pack on your back for a long time.
  • And lastly just check the above over and over. What we always suggest here at Simply Hike is to wear different brands and different size packs to get a real feel for the day bags.
  So there we have it our guide to what to look for when buying a new daypack! We have hundreds of daypacks on our website so why not take a look. Also we would love to hear what you guys look for when buying a new daypack so please comment below.