You may have been in a situation where you’ve needed both a larger backpack as well as a smaller daypack on the same trip. There are times when you might go on an overnight hike and then only need a smaller daypack to head out and explore the surrounding areas from camp. This is when a backpack with a detachable daypack is the perfect solution. It means that you can carry all your gear into a campsite but then have the ability to head out on shorter hikes with just a smaller bag to carry a few hiking essentials

This guide will break down all the styles and features that are available with detachable daypacks, as well as, what you need to think about before purchasing one.

What exactly is a backpack with a detachable daypack?

Hiking With Detachable BackpackA backpack with a detachable daypack is in many ways similar to a regular backpack. It enables you to carry everything that you need for a hiking trip. However, the main difference is that it comes with a detachable or integrated daypack. This means that as well as a larger backpack you also have the option of a smaller pack that can be detached and used individually. 

You are effectively getting two backpacks integrated into one, making the pack more versatile and more convenient for a variety of adventures. It’s ideal for long hiking trips and when you might be camping somewhere but plan on taking short hikes and day trips. 

However, the detachable daypack is usually more lightweight and less structured than most regular daypacks. This enables it to be more easily integrated into a larger backpack but means it’s not as sturdy for challenging day trips.

Main features of backpacks with detachable daypacks

Some of the main features of a detachable daypack are similar to those on a regular backpack. Features like straps, pockets and overall comfort and fit are the same on any kind of pack and you should consider these features like you would when choosing any daypack

However, there are additional qualities and things that you need to consider when deciding which backpack and detachable daypack is best for you. Most of these additional features are focused specifically on the detachable daypack part of the design.

Different styles of detachable backpacks

The main feature of these detachable backpacks is that they can come in a range of styles and the way that they integrate into the larger backpack can be different. There are three main styles of detachable backpacks. 

A normal daypack – This is more like a regular daypack that has two shoulder straps but is more lightweight and small enough to integrate into a larger backpack.

A sling pack – This is a bag that is carried diagonally on your back with a single sling strap over your shoulder.

A bum bag – This is a bag that is carried around your waist, similar to a sling pack in design but clips around like a belt. 

When deciding which style of detachable backpack you should go with, it’s important to consider what you will mostly use it for. A normal daypack design is the best option if you plan on doing light hikes and when you need to comfortably carry a number of essential hiking items. Whereas, a sling pack or bum bag might be more appropriate for easy strolls or simple day trips as these options usually have a smaller capacity. 

Different integration options

There are also different options when it comes to how the extra pack is attached and integrated into the larger backpack. There are generally three different ways that the small daypack is joined, and this will depend on your preference:

Attached to the front – This is usually the option when integrating a normal daypack and is usually zipped or attached to the front panel of the larger backpack. This is often the only option if you’re looking for a bigger, more structured daypack. However, it can sometimes make the overall pack more awkwardly shaped when carried together.

Detachable top lid – This option is when the top lid of the larger backpack is detachable and transforms into its own individual bag. This is a very convenient option for backpacking and hiking, because the detachable daypack doesn’t alter the shape of the overall pack and it can easily be removed without having to empty most of your contents.

Internal sleeve – This option is when the larger backpack has a water bladder sleeve that can be pulled out and converted into another bag. The internal sleeve option means that it doesn’t directly offer extra volume space in the larger backpack but it’s a more compact choice if you prefer a smaller backpack. 

Volume and size

Similarly to most daypack, there are many different volumes available. However, the main trend is that the larger backpack is from around 50L and up, while the detachable daypack is usually between 10L to 20L.

This is an important consideration when deciding which one is right for you. If you’re going to be using it for summer hikes and easy side trips, then a smaller size backpack with a 10L daypack will be just fine. However, for more challenging treks where you might want to have a more substantial daypack to carry more essentials, then you should look at the larger options. 

Prices of different detachable daypacks 

The price might influence your decision when purchasing a backpack with a detachable daypack. The price usually varies depending on size and brand name. Brands that are known for their high-quality gear like Osprey are often more expensive than others, but if you’re willing to invest in good gear it will likely last you much longer. Saying that, in general, backpacks with detachable daypacks are pretty expensive purchases, with their large size and complex features making them a higher end gear type. 

Categories of backpacks with detachable daypacks

Best overall detachable daypack

Osprey Aether 70

This is one of the best all-round backpacking options. This 70L Osprey pack is perfect for backcountry trips and challenging multiday treks. The anti-gravity harness and mesh back panel means it’s super comfortable and breathable even after a full day on the trail. The detachable daypack is a removable top lid that transforms into a great little daypack. It has a few pockets and some light padding, which is more than what most detachable daypacks have from other brands.

The only negative aspect to this pack is that it’s quite heavy at over 5 lbs before packing. This might be a bit too much especially for easier hikes or traveling, but the sturdy and heavy-duty frame is perfect for tough adventures. 

Specs:

  • Capacity: 70L
  • Daypack capacity: 10L
  • Daypack style: Backpack
  • Daypack integration: Removable top lid
  • Weight: 5lbs 3.4 oz.
  • Hip belt: Yes
  • Rain cover: No
  • Frame: Internal frame
  • Pack access: Top, bottom and panel
  • Number of pockets: 7

Features:

  • Removable top lid converts to daypack
  • Trekking pole, sleeping pad and ice tool attachments
  • Lightweight mesh back panel
  • Moldable hip belt with zippered pockets
  • Separate zippered sleeping bag compartment

Best detachable daypack for hiking

Gregory Baltoro 65

This is a very great option that is similar to the Osprey Aether. It’s a fantastic hiking and backpacking companion with a very well fitted design and comfortable harness system that also distributes weight evenly. There are plenty of pockets with nine external, making it very easy to organize and separate your gear. 

The detachable daypack comes in the form of a removable hydration sleeve. It’s not quite as good as the option that comes in the Osprey Aether, with only one side pocket and a drawstring opening. Still, this is a great option for your next hiking adventure. 

Specs:

  • Capacity: 65L
  • Daypack capacity: 10L
  • Daypack style: Backpack
  • Daypack integration: Removable hydration sleeve
  • Weight: 4 lbs. 13 oz.
  • Hip belt: Yes
  • Rain cover: Yes
  • Frame: Internal frame
  • Pack access: Top and panel
  • Number of pockets: 9

Features:

  • Removable hydration sleeve converts into a daypack
  • A soft, pre-curved harness and hip belt with foam padding for a perfect fit
  • Breathable back panel 
  • Full body U-shaped zip main opening on front of bag for easy unloading
  • Hipbelt pockets with zippers and sunglasses pocket on shoulder harness 
  • Zippered bottom sleeping compartment

Deuter Aviant Voyager 65

This detachable backpack option from Deuter is perfect for both hiking and travelling adventures. The main backpack is ergonomically designed to fit closely with your body, while still keeping you dry while moving. It has Deuter’s quality internal frame system that keeps the weight distributed even with heavy loads.

The removable daypack on this option is attached on the front of the main pack, inside its own front pouch. This makes it great for having a smaller daypack option for short hikes or even carry-on luggage, but also means that you can leave it at home if you don’t need it. The only downside is that having it attached onto the front can make the pack slightly awkward in shape compared to more integrated options. 

Specs:

  • Capacity: 65L
  • Daypack capacity: 10L
  • Daypack style: Backpack
  • Daypack integration: Attached to the front
  • Weight: 6lbs 3.8 oz.
  • Hip belt: Yes
  • Rain cover: Yes
  • Frame: Internal frame
  • Pack access: Top, front and bottom
  • Number of pockets: 3

Features:

  • Detachable daypack tucked into front of pack
  • Contact back system that allows ventilation and support
  • Lid compartment with zip pockets
  • Front zip access into pack
  • Separate bottom compartment for sleeping bag
  • Padded hipbelt with zippered pockets

Best budget detachable daypack

REI Co-op Traverse 70

REI Detachable Backpack

The REI Traverse backpack is a great sturdy and comfortable option. The pack is well built for hiking adventures with a high-quality compression system to help improve your balance with a heavy load. It’s got plenty of pockets and various access points into the pack, making it great for those who like organizing their gear. The top lid detaches itself and converts into a backpack or sling bag, depending on your needs. This is a very versatile option that not many other detachable backpacks have. It’s also got plenty of pockets and a bit of padding for added comfort. 

It’s still a decent investment for a hiking backpack at over $200 but it’s certainly more affordable than the other options in this guide.

Specs:

  • Capacity: 70L
  • Daypack capacity: 10L
  • Daypack style: Backpack or sling bag
  • Daypack integration: Removable top lid
  • Weight: 4 lbs 14 oz.
  • Hip belt: Yes
  • Rain cover: Yes
  • Frame: Internal frame
  • Pack access: Top, side and bottom
  • Number of pockets: 11

Features:

  • Removable top lid converts into a backpack or sling bag for day trips
  • Hybrid trampoline back panel conforms to your back for a comfortable and breathable fit
  • Interchangeable contoured hipbelt with sculpted foam padding to hug your body
  • Multiple exterior pockets for organizing gear
  • Integrated rain cover to keep your pack dry

Best women-specific detachable daypack

Osprey Ariel 55

This is the ideal backpacking companion for women. It’s specifically designed for shorter torsos and curvier figures, making it a great fit for women’s bodies. It’s perfect for carrying heavy loads with a high-quality anti-gravity suspension system for weight distribution and comfort. Its top lid detaches into a great daypack that you can use on day hikes or excursions around camp. It’s one of the best detachable daypacks available, with pockets and light padding on the straps. 

The only downside with this pack is that it’s quite heavy, at just over 4 lbs before packing. This means that it’s very sturdy and well-built but unfortunately adds to the overall weight of your pack.

Specs:

  • Capacity: 55L
  • Daypack capacity: 10L
  • Daypack style: Backpack
  • Daypack integration: Removable top lid
  • Weight: 4 lbs. 14 oz. 
  • Hip belt: Yes
  • Rain cover: No
  • Frame: Internal frame
  • Pack access: Top, bottom and side
  • Number of pockets: 7

Features:

  • Removable top lid converts to DayLid daypack
  • Pockets on hip belt with zippers
  • Zippered sleeping bag compartment with divider
  • Large stretch mesh pockets on front
  • Trekking pole and ice tool attachments 

Best detachable daypack for traveling

Osprey Farpoint 55

This neat and versatile backpack from Osprey is the perfect one for traveling. The main backpack comes with Osprey’s quality suspension and ventilation on the back panel, making it very comfortable for walking around with a full pack. It has a unique duffel bag-like opening instead of a top-loading style that means you can easily pack your things. The daypack is also a reasonable size at 13L and conveniently attached onto the front, making it the perfect addition to day trips on your travels or as carry-on luggage. 

It’s the best travel backpack but would not be ideal for many hiking trips, with the lack of a sturdier and more fitted frame. It also hasn’t got any external pockets making it inconvenient for stashing small items or a water bottle. 

Specs:

  • Capacity: 55L
  • Daypack capacity: 13L
  • Daypack style: Backpack
  • Daypack integration: Attached to the front
  • Weight: 4lbs
  • Hip belt: Yes
  • Rain cover: No
  • Frame: Internal frame
  • Pack access: Front
  • Number of pockets: 1

Features:

  • Detachable daypack on front with designated laptop compartment and tablet sleeve
  • Large, lockable U-zip duffle-style easy access to main compartment
  • Stow-away back panel, shoulder straps and hip belt with zippered rear flap for protection when checking in at the airport
  • Breathable mesh back panel and padded hip belt

Conclusion

A backpack with a detachable daypack is the ultimate option for all your backpacking adventures. It offers the convenience and versatility of having a larger backpack for overnight trips, with the added bonus of having a detachable daypack for any shorter hikes or side trips. There’s plenty of different designs and integration styles to suit whatever your needs may be.