Outdoor gear is notoriously expensive, and it can be tricky to find a solid hiking daypack that doesn’t deplete your wallet. That said, there are packs out there that offer decent quality at reasonable prices — you just need to know where to look. When shopping for the best affordable daypacks for hiking, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, consider size. How long will you be hiking and how much stuff do you want to bring? Most daypacks range between 20 and 40 liters. If you're taking quick, half-day treks, smaller daypacks should suffice, whereas all-day hikes will typically require a carrying capacity on the higher end of the scale.
Another factor to keep in mind is weight. You don’t want your daypack to be too heavy or bulky. Some have features that let you compress them down or even pack them into pockets and stuff sacks, so aim for something that’s portable and easy to carry. Comfort is important, too — things like padding around the waist and shoulder straps will be appreciated as you start your second hour of a steep uphill climb.
A final consideration is moisture management. If you plan to do any hiking in the rain or wet climates, you’ll want something that can handle the elements. Plus, you’ll be sweating a lot, so breathable fabric will help — especially in the straps. There’s a wide range of waterproofing degrees, from lightly water-resistant to fully submersible, so think about your specific needs before making a decision. Below, I’ve put together a list of the best hiking daypacks to suit all types of outdoor lovers on a budget.