It can be tricky to find the best day hiking backpack because of the hundreds of different models and options. But no worries, we've got you covered. This expert buying guide is designed to help you get the perfect backpack and still save a lot of money. We've researched and tested a variety of packs to find a cheap and very similar alternative to the excellent North Face Recon backpack. The winner is called Mountaintop Daypack. It's the best daypack for hiking if you're looking to buy a quality product at a low price. Let's talk details!
The North Face Recon is an all-around excellent daypack for hiking. The company is a leader in the outdoor industry but their products come at a relatively high price. We'd recommend the North Face Recon backpack for people looking for an exactly 31-liter capacity (relatively small). For all others, we'd recommend the Mountaintop alternative which offers essentially the same features and comes at a very affordable price.
The Mountaintop Daypack might not feature a well-known brand name but it offers a lot of high-quality specs at a great price. We highly recommend to anybody looking for the best day hiking backpack. You get modern backpack technology at an ultra-low price, so there's a lot to like here. The backpack performed very well in all of our tests and was easy to use and very comfortable. It's a great budget daypack for hiking, camping, and any other adventure.
The North Face Recon has a 31-liter capacity. It's a good size for a day hiking backpack, allowing you to take enough supplies for a weekend (about 1-3 nights).
The Mountaintop Daypack offers a 40-liter capacity. It's the perfect size for a day hiking backpack, in our opinion, since it leaves plenty of room for all your gear while being compact.
The North Face backpack features a full mesh backpanel. This offers comfortable support for your back and adds ventilation to prevent you from uncomfortable sweating.
The Mountaintop backpack features a full mesh backpanel, too. The material is very soft and felt extremely cool and comfortable. The mesh works great at preventing sweaty backs.
The North Face features water resistant materials that will stand up to rain and moist environments. It makes the backpack perfect for weekend trips and camping, keeping your gear dry.
The Mountaintop Daypack also offers nylon fabrics with a water resistant coating. The pack stayed dry in rain and moist environments. Water resistance is a tie between the packs.
The North Face backpack offers two compression strap which let you minimize the backpack's volume for a more stable experience on your back. Four straps would be better but two will do the trick.
Mountaintop offers four compression straps. They're perfect for tying down everything you put in the backpack for a stable feel. You can also use them for hanging gear like sleeping bags.
Any good hiking backpack should be able to fit a hydration sleeve. The North Face backpack does just this. You can run the nozzle through the backpack and it will come out of the top.
The Mountaintop day backpack also offers an excellent compartment for a separate hydration sleeve. The sleeve's nozzle comes out on the side at the top for easy access.
The North Face Recon has a hipbelt which felt comfortable and supportive. Hipbelts are great, especially for heavier loads and longer trips because they help to distribute weight.
Th Mountaintop's hipbelt is very high-quality and felt subjectively more comfortable and soft than the North Face's belt. It also offers hipbelt pockets for quick access to small items.