From family-friendly jaunts to grueling summit pushes, your daypack is your constant companion, so choose it wisely. At 35 liters or less and all under three pounds, these rucksacks have the smart features and robust suspensions you need to adventure as far and as often as you please.
(Photo: Matthew Stacey)
Best Suspension: Osprey Talon 33/Tempest 30
Overall Rating: 4.6
- Price: $165
- Weight: 2 lbs. 6 oz. (m’s M/L)
- Sizes: m’s S/M and L/XL, w’s XS/S and M/L
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Like our favorite backpacking packs but in miniature, the Talon 33 (the Tempest is the women’s version) comes with load-lifters, a beefy hipbelt, and best-in-test adjustability—all of which contribute to an extremely stable carry, even with 25 pounds on board. The superior load-transfer starts with the S-curve backpanel, which contours to your back and eliminates pack sway. Horizontal ridges in the stiff foam allow vertical flex but prevent barrelling. We also appreciated the wide, bell-shape hip fins, which wrap both the hips and lumbar spine to seamlessly transfer weight to the lower body.
The Talon’s multiple sizing options and adjustable shoulder harness make it easy to find the perfect fit. We never experienced chafing, thanks to the spacer mesh and thin layer of die-cut foam padding on the shoulder harness and hipbelt. Shallow horizontal foam strips in the mesh-wrapped backpanel provide modest air flow, but we still soaked our T-shirts on 70°F days in the Colorado high country.
Two zippered hipbelt pockets are smartphone-size, and dual side pockets easily fit a 1-liter Nalgene (though we needed a buddy to reach it while hiking). We appreciated the roomy toplid, which fit a headlamp, extra snacks, and a small first aid kit, as well as the stretch-mesh dorsal sleeve for keeping a rain shell at the ready.
Even after 200 miles of testing over a season in Rocky Mountain National Park, we’ve seen no wear to the 100-denier/210-denier recycled nylon on the main pack body, or the 420-denier nylon on the boot. The PFC-free DWR deflected light rain without issue, but as to be expected we did need to add a pack cover during all-day showers on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula.