Daypacks, you see them everywhere, everyday. They are essential on a daily basis for lots of people. Whether you go to school, work or on a trip, a daypack facilitates you with a convenient way of taking your daily necessities with you. However, choosing the right backpack can be difficult, since there is so much choice. But, don’t worry! I will talk you through the steps necessary to make the best choice possible.

Daypacks on a wooden floor in front of a white wall


Step 1: purpose

The first step on your way to the perfect daypack is deciding for what kind of activities you intend to use it.

I have distinguished 4 different categories for you: school/college, work, sports and trips. They all contain different aspects that are emphasized.


For school or college you will need a stylish daypack in which you can take all your books, and your tablet or laptop.

A great example of this is the Eastpak Padded Pak’r.

Eastpak Padded Pak'r backpack Flock Dash
The Eastpak Padded Pak’r is perfect for taking all of your books and other school necessities.


Daypacks for work are functional backpacks that protect your documents and laptop. They are firm and contain ventilated elements.

The Samsonite Karissa is an example of this type of daypack.

Samsonite Karissa backpack dark navy
An ideal backpack to take to the office due to its practical design.


Sports require compact daypacks with just enough space for your gear and a hydration system. They are provided with breathing elements to minimize transpiration during your efforts.

The Dakine Canyon is a suitable example for this category.

Dakine Canyon 16L backpack Stacked
With its hydration system and compact design, the Canyon backpack of Dakine is ready to be taken on adventure!


Great for taking short trips are comfortable daypacks that offer the right amount of space for food, water, spare clothes and a map.

The Dakine Wonder is a good example for this group of daypacks.

Dakine Wonder 22L backpack Waikiki
The Dakine Wonder is perfect for city trips with its spacious main compartment and external straps to keep a jacket or vest.

Once you have chosen the category with the right purpose for you, it’s time to move on to the next step of finding the ideal daypack.

Step 2: size

The second step in choosing the perfect daypack for you is deciding on size. The average daypack contains around 20-30 liters of space.

Little luggage

Do you want to travel light and take at least as possible? Then you might be interested in going for a daypack with less space than average. Up to 15 liters is the right size for you!

Average luggage

Do you want to be able to pack a lot of books for school, documents for work, or some spare clothes on your trip? Then choosing a backpack with up to 30 liters is better for you.

More luggage

Going hiking, cycling, or any other outdoor adventure? If you want to take enough food, water, clothes and other equipment it’s best that you choose a bigger backpack. For these circumstances a backpack up to 40 liters is appropriate for you.

Now that you know what you need a backpack for, and what the size should be we can move on to the third step.

Step 3: features

The third and final step is to consider which features you need on your daypack. I will discuss the most important ones with you.

Organizational pocket

You can store small items you want easy access to in organizational pockets. Almost every backpack has an organizational pocket, but still you should make sure that it satisfies your needs.

Does it offer you sufficient pocket space to organize your items? Is the pocket easily accessible without too much effort?

Waist belt

A waist belt stabilizes your daypack and improves the comfort of carrying. Choosing a backpack with a waist belt could be a wise choice if you are planning on carrying a lot of weight.

For long hikes, for instance, I recommend buying a backpack with a firm, wide waist belt. For cycling, you would be better off with a smaller waist belt that doesn’t put too much pressure on your stomach when you’re sitting on your bicycle.

So, think about the purpose of the daypack again. What kind of waist belt would be best? Or perhaps you don’t need one at all?

Shoulder straps

Just like organizational pockets, almost every backpack has adjustable shoulder straps. This is very important, as it enables you to adjust the backpack to the length and shape of your back.

Some backpacks are also provided with padded shoulder straps. This really increases the comfort of carrying your backpack in combination with adjustable shoulder straps.

So, make sure that these features are provided on your daypack!

If you buy your daypack at a physical store, try out the bag yourself and adjust the straps to see if it’s comfortable enough for you.

Ventilated elements

Especially for activities that will demand physical efforts, I recommend to look for daypacks with ventilation elements.

For example, a ventilated back panel creates space between your back and the bag, ensuring a less sweaty feeling. Shoulder straps can also be ventilated, which provides the same effect.

The only downside of ventilated elements is that the center of mass is somewhat more to the back, resulting in the weight pulling more to the back.

When you are looking for a daypack to take to work everyday, I also recommend looking for these features. When you arrive at work, the last thing you want is a sweaty back…

Lined pockets

Lined pockets are specifically used to protect your laptop, tablet, or any documents you are taking with you. A daypack with an internal lined pocket allows you to safely take your electronic device to college or work without scratching it.

A great replacement for an external sleeve, so you won’t have to carry your device separately anymore!

Moreover, there also backpacks with lined pockets for (sun)glasses. These pockets are very handy to keep your glasses scratch-free!

Mesh pockets

Another great feature is a mesh pocket. Most of the times these pockets can be found at the sides of your daypack. They are made out of very flexible material, so you can easily store a bottle or some nutrition bars in there.

This a feature that you should be looking for when you want to get a daypack for sports or trips. With these mesh pockets you won’t have to take off your backpack to get to the items that you quickly want to access.

Just reach to the side of your backpack, grab your bottle of water and drink without losing your momentum.

External straps

Some backpacks come with external straps. These straps are perfect for taking some extra luggage with you without having to fill up your main compartment even more.

Some extra clothing, a skateboard, or sometimes even a snowboard can be attached to daypacks which provide you with this feature. This is great for outdoor activities and sports, when you want to take more luggage without having to take a bigger backpack.

Summarizing the steps

Choosing the perfect daypack for you depends on 3 major factors: purpose, size and features.

First, you need to decide on the purpose of the backpack. Only after you know what you want to use the bag for, you should think about the right size, which also partially depends on the first step. Now that you have thought about the purpose and size you can think about the features you want on your daypack.

By following these steps you will find the ideal daypack in no time!

Which daypack is perfect for you? We are curious to know! Tell us by leaving a comment 🙂

Jelmer van Zuijlen
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Jelmer van Zuijlen

Marketing Content Manager at Samdam
Passoniate content writer and online marketer who loves basketball and traveling.
Jelmer van Zuijlen
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