The Best EDC Backpack for hiking

Choose A Hiking-Ready Everyday Carry Backpack From an Outdoor Brand

What makes the best EDC backpack is largely dependent on what your everyday needs involve. But if hiking is your lifestyle, then a suitable everyday carry backpack should be ready to hit the trail at a moment’s notice, while traveling or departing from home. Furthermore, it should do so without making any sacrifices to comfort, style, and functionality in urban environments.

We prioritize commuter and travel daypacks, optimized with hiking features. Mind you, these are still everyday carry backpacks, not trail-specifics designs. They are versatile in all use cases, but specialists in none. However, all are made by our favorite outdoor gear brands, and all are superior to the average EDC backpack when it comes to on-trail performance.

What follows are our top picks for the best EDC backpack. Our recommendations are based on a mixture of hands on experience, meta-study, stat/feature comparison, user-review analysis, brand familiarly, and personal preference. Jump ahead to read buyer advice and feature commentary. And while you’re, why not check out our guides to hiking daypacks, backpacking packs, fastpacking packs, running packs, expedition backpacks, and waist packs.

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Quick Picks For the Best EDC Backpack From Hiking Brands

Best Everyday Carry Backpack Comparison Table

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Price ($) Total Volume (L) Weight (oz) Material Exterior Pockets
Laptop Sleeve Fit (in)
HMG Daybreak 17 229 23 20.9 Dyneema 3 13
ULA ULTRA Dragonfly 250 30 30.0 ULTRA 4 15
Gossamer Gear Vagabond Jet 124 23 24.7 Robic Nylon 4 16
Zpacks Bagger Ultra 25 249 25 11.9 ULTRA 3 none
Osprey Daylite Plus 75 20 21.0 Ripstop Polyester 5 15
REI Co-op Rucksack 28 129 28 28.0 Ripstop Nylon 3 15
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak the best EDC backpack

Best EDC Backpack Reviews

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak 17 is the best EDC backpack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak 17

Choose the HMG Daybreak 17 for a strikingly elegant, highly functional EDC backpack. Made with Dyneema Composite Fabric, the Daybreak is lightweight, highly durable, nearly waterproof, and costs a pretty penny. You also get a full sweet of exterior pockets, including two sides and a large front with additional shock cord for strapping.

Thanks to the sewn-in hip belt, this pack skews more trail than urban; doubly so because of the smaller-than-average unpadded laptop sleeve. That said, the hip belt can be stashed away, and the overall aesthetic is eye catching and sure to draw compliments wherever you take it, whether trail or travel.

  • Price: $229
  • Total Volume: 23L
  • Weight: 20.9 oz
  • Material: Dyneema
  • Exterior Pockets: 3
  • Laptop Sleeve Fits: 13″
  • Pros: Lightweight. Durable. Visually striking. Waterproof fabric. Best-in-class materials. Functional hip belt stashes away. Very highly rated by customers. Good external storage.
  • Cons: Expensive. Laptop sleeve not padded inside. Only fits small laptops.
ULA Equipment ULTRA Dragonfly everyday carry

ULA Equipment ULTRA Dragonfly

The ULA Equipment ULTRA Dragonfly is an EDC backpack to behold. First off, it’s made with Challenge ULTRA fabric, which is waterproof and 15x stronger than steel by weight. ULA also makes the Dragonfly in other fabrics, but this is our preferred option. Unlike the rest of the crop, this everyday carry backpack is a front loader, meaning the entire front panel can be unzipped for ease of packing. This is particularly helpful for laying out items and loading it up for travel.

Did we mention the exceptional suite of external storage? Dragonfly features two side water bottles, a zipper access front stretch pocket, a top zipper pocket for valuables, and an exterior access laptop sleeve that fits up to a 16″ MacBook Pro. No wonder this pack is always sold out!

  • Price: $250
  • Total Volume: 30L
  • Weight: 30 oz
  • Material: Challenge ULTRA
  • Exterior Pockets: 4
  • Laptop Sleeve Fits: 15″
  • Pros: Front loading for easy travel packing. Best-in-class materials. Durable. Highly water resistant. Excellent external storage. Padded back panel. Fits most laptops. Lots of internal pockets. Great shoulder straps. Made in USA.
  • Cons: Expensive. Nearly always sold out. Heavier than average on this list, though still reasonably lightweight.
Gossamer Gear Vagabond Jet EDC Backpack

Gossamer Gear Vagabond Jet

Choose the Gossamer Gear Vagabond Jet for a sleek, sustainable, urban EDC backpack with a feature set inspired by ultralight backpacking designs. It’s a perfect pack to use for commuting to the office, as a carry-on while flying, and as your all-purpose daily driver without sacrificing hike-ability. This recycled, Robic nylon design features both a padded laptop sleeve, and padded tablet sleeve for easy tech storage, in addition to an interior zipper pocket for office accoutrement.

Its top handle setup makes carrying it suitcase-style as easy as wearing it. The only downside being that this configuration creates a place where water can collect in the top, so we don’t view this as a great pack for rainy environments.

The padded, ridged back panel is comfy and blocks lumps. The wide shoulder straps even have mesh pockets, albeit a bit small. Another small downside is that we found the built-in sternum strap connector piece to be pokey during the on/off process as it’s one end is connected directly to the shoulder strap itself, rather than attached to webbing. Nonetheless, Vagabond Jet looks great, carries tech items exceptionally well, and is a killer value. Read more in our full-length Vagabond Jet Review.

  • Price: $124
  • Total Volume: 23L
  • Weight: 24.7 oz
  • Material: Recycled Robic Nylon
  • Exterior Pockets: 4
  • Laptop Sleeve Fits: 16″
  • Pros: Phenomenal looking. Lightweight. Good value. Large exterior mesh pocket. Top carry handles. Sustainable. Great for tech storage. Zippered valuables pocket. Shoulder strap pockets. Comfy. Easy to carry.
  • Cons: Not good in rain. Annoying sternum strap component. Shoulder strap pockets are a bit small.
Zpacks Bagger 25

Zpacks Bagger ULTRA 25

For a minimalist, ultralight approach to an EDC backpack, we recommend the Zpacks Bagger Ultra 25. The simple design is made with best-in-class Challenge ULTRA fabric, which is waterproof, lightweight, 15x stronger than steel, and a bit of structure for flop reduction. They even seam taped it! It comes with four exterior pockets, including two large side pockets, a large front zipper pocket, a top zipper valuables pocket.

The reason we recommend this model for travel is that the frameless design can be rolled up to the size of a one gallon Ziploc, making it the perfect everyday carry backpack to stow inside a larger full-size carry-on pack or checked duffel. However, the frameless composition also makes it a bit floppy while empty. The removable sit pad back panel corrects for this somewhat, and is very useful on the trail. But it does not altogether resolve the floppy nature of frameless packs.

  • Price: $249
  • Total Volume: 25L
  • Weight: 11.9 oz
  • Material: Challenge ULTRA
  • Exterior Pockets: 4
  • Laptop Sleeve Fits: No sleeve
  • Pros: Ultralight. Minimalist. Durable. Waterproof fabric, seam taped. Packs down small. Travel-friendly. Sit pad frame is useful on trail. Wide shoulder straps. Wide shoulder straps. Made in USA.
  • Cons: No laptop sleeve. Frameless and floppy when empty. Expensive. Not great for commuting.
Osprey Daylite Plus everyday carry Backpack

Osprey Daylite Plus

For a totally classic, budget-friendly, hike-friendly EDC backpack, we recommend the Osprey Daylite Plus, the larger and more functional version of the original Daylite. Constructed with recycled ripstop polyester, this pack is as easy on the planet as it is easy on your back. The foam-plus-spacer-mesh back panel is comfy to wear and blocks lumps. We love the external storage suite, including five pockets – more than any other in our guide. Though the drop in main front pocket doesn’t offer a very secure hold. Daylite Plus also includes a padded internal laptop sleeve that fits models up to 15″.

While most people find this pack to be very comfy, some have found that the hybrid handle-top-shoulder-strap can rub against the back of their neck. This is likely due to wearing it too tightly. Cinching down the shoulder straps moves the entire pack higher up your back. Avoid doing this and you should be fine.

  • Price: $75
  • Total Volume: 20L
  • Weight: 21 oz
  • Material: Recycled Ripstop Polyester
  • Exterior Pockets: 5
  • Laptop Sleeve Fits: 15″
  • Pros: Great price. Lightweight. Versatile. Lots of external pockets. Padded laptop sleeve. Removable webbing hip belt.
  • Cons: Front shove-it pocket is inferior to stretch mesh designs. Small potential for shoulder strap neck chafing.
REI Ruckpack 28

REI Co-op Ruckpack 28

The REI Ruckpack 28 is our top pick for a Co-op label EDC backpack. This one is made with recycled ripstop nylon, which is both durable and sustainable. And boy howdy does it have all of the features. Starting with exterior storage, you get two side bottle pockets, and two side access zippers, one for access to the bottom half of the main compartment, and the other that’s its own compartment and host to the complimentary rain cover. A zippered top compartment closes out the suite. The only storage its missing – and this is a major whiff – is a front facing mesh pocket.

Unzip up the main compartment of this top loader, and you may experience the lid flopping open. That’s because of the aforementioned top pocket, which adds weight and bulk to an unstructured system. Once inside, you have access to an unpadded laptop/hydration sleeve. The padded back panel and shoulder straps are comfy, the webbing waist belts keeps things from bouncing around, and can be removed if you so choose.

  • Price: $129
  • Total Volume: 28L
  • Weight: 28 oz
  • Material: Ripstop Nylon
  • Exterior Pockets: 3
  • Laptop Sleeve Fits: 15″
  • Pros: High volume. Fair price. Good looking. Recycled materials. Durable. Comes with rain cover. Side access pocket. Removable waist strap.
  • Cons: Laptop sleeve is unpadded on inside. No front exterior pocket. Top compartment flops open when top pocket is loaded.

Choosing The Best Everyday Carry Backpack For Your Needs

The best everyday carry backpack size

Based on our personal experience and meta study research, the sweet spot for an EDC Backpack size is 25L including external storage, plus/minus 5L. This leaves enough room for storing tech, snacks, water bottles, and spare jackets, with plenty leftover for whatever specifics are needed that day. Any smaller than 20 will leave you cramming for space or coming up short, and more than 30 will create too much excess from an everyday needs perspective.

Why we prefer an everyday backpack optimized for hiking

Hiking isn’t just a sport, it’s also a lifestyle. So when choosing an everyday carry backpack, we prefer models that are optimized for hiking. Hiking brands know a thing or two about making technical packs, and that means lighter weight, sportier fit, weather resistance, cutting edge fabrics, and good external storage. And we want all of that without compromising on aesthetics or functionality for use while commuting or traveling. For our purposes, everyday implies hiking, in addition to commuting, travel and other uses.

Best EDC Backpack Hiking Optimizations

  • Lots of external storage pockets (critical)
  • Dual side water bottle holders (critical)
  • Lightweight (critical)
  • Durable (important)
  • Highly water resistance (important)
  • Hip belt (nice to have)
  • Padded/aerated back panel (nice to have)

Best EDC Backpack Commuting Optimizations

  • Laptop storage (critical)
  • Water bottle/thermos holder (critical)
  • Frame (important)
  • Interior laptop sleeve padding (important)
  • Aesthetically pleasing (nice to have)
  • Separate tablet sleeve (nice to have)
  • Lots of external storage (nice to have)
  • Water resistance (nice to have)

Best EDC Backpack Travel Optimizations

  • Small enough to go under an airplane seat (critical)
  • Durable (critical)
  • Laptop or tablet storage (ranges from critical to unimportant)
  • Can be packed down and stowed in another pack (important)
  • Water bottle holders (important)
  • Water resistance (nice to have)
  • Aesthetically pleasing (nice to have)
Laptop and tablet storage sleeves for everyday carry

Best EDC Backpack Conclusion

Thank you for reading our guide to the best EDC backpack, where we hope you found your new favorite everyday carry. We’re hikers to our core, and thus our EDC preferences reflect trail centric features on packs made by outdoor gear brands. If you value the same, we know you’ll be stoked with any of these packs. Happy hiking!

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