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Osprey Daylite Plus Review

A dual purpose hiking and laptop backpack
Osprey Daylite Plus
Photo: Osprey
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $65 List | $52.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Seven days a week versatility including hikes on the weekend
Cons:  Small for cold or technical day pursuits
Manufacturer:   Osprey Packs
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 28, 2020
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Weight - 25% 7
  • Versatility - 25% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8
  • Durability - 10% 6
RELATED: Best Daypack

Our Verdict

Every once in a while we get confused when trying to categorize a product. With the Osprey Daylite Plus, we were confused in a good way. It is almost simultaneously a great hiker's pack and a high functioning laptop/travel/daily bag. Few other packs bridge that gap. We liked how easy it was to go from urban pursuits to wilderness pursuits. That said, without a robust suspension and with some cut corners in terms of features, this pack is best for those who really need a great urban/mountain crossover pack, and has earned our Top Pick for its excellent performance around town.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Osprey Daylite Plus
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  
Price $52.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$139 List$189.95 at Backcountry$129.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$139.95 at Amazon
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Pros Seven days a week versatility including hikes on the weekendComfortable, stabilizes heavy loads, thoughtful design, modular, recycled fabricsComfortable, ultralight, versatile, effective featuresTons of features, fully adjustable, comfortable, well ventilated, separate hydration compartmentGreat range of motion, excellent external carry, durable, well-executed side access
Cons Small for cold or technical day pursuitsNon-adjustable frame, only decent ventilationLacks ventilation, lots of cords, steep learning curveRuns small, side mesh pockets are debatably smallNo lower compression straps, not water-resistant
Bottom Line This is a pack that works almost equally well for hiking and for carrying your work suppliesA function-over-form backpack for carrying big loads in any conditionsThis daypack transitions seamlessly from running to scrambling or winter travel, all the while staying comfortable and easy to useTime tested and a top pick for versatility, this pack wins our Editors' Choice awardWith durable fabric and a comfortable carry, this pack is stellar for mountain adventures
Rating Categories Osprey Daylite Plus REI Co-op Traverse 35 Salomon XA 25 Osprey Talon 22 Black Diamond Bolt 24
Comfort (25%)
6
10
10
9
9
Weight (25%)
7
7
9
7
6
Versatility (25%)
7
7
5
9
7
Ease Of Use (15%)
8
8
9
7
8
Durability (10%)
6
9
7
7
8
Specs Osprey Daylite Plus REI Co-op Traverse... Salomon XA 25 Osprey Talon 22 Black Diamond Bolt...
Weight (ounces) 20 53.69 15.25 27.44 33.13
Measured volume (liters) 17 48.34 29.4 22.56 25.8
Back Construction Mesh over vented foam Spring steel Vented EVA foam Vented, contoured OpenAir back panel for airflow
Hydration Externally accessed sleeve, holds up to 3L, bladder not included Internal hydration sleeve Internal hydration sleeve, 2 included 500ml soft flasks Externally accessed sleeve, holds up to 3L, bladder not included External hydration sleeve
Hipbelt 3/4" webbing, removable 3D Contoured hip belt Thin webbing, nonremoveable Broad, padded, with pockets Padded, with pockets
Number of pockets 6 9 10 9 7
Description of Pockets 2 stretchy mesh side, 1 interior padded laptop sleeve, 1 back zippered with internal mesh dividers and key clip, 1 back expandable waterbottle, 1 back zippered. 1 main top loader, 1 outer flap with nylon/stretchy-mesh, 1 outer zippered, 1 top lid zippered, 1 top lid mesh, 2 side stretchy mesh, 2 hip belt 2 front stretch, 2 front flask pockets, 2 front top-of-shoulder stretch, 2 front zippered, 1 main roll-top, 1 large back stretch mesh with clip 1 main compartment zippered, 1 stretchy mesh shoulder strap, 2 waist zippered, 2 side stretchy mesh, 1 back stretchy mesh, 1 top zippered, 1 open hydration reservoir pocket behind back panel 1 top-loader main, 1 zippered lid, 2 side stretchy mesh, 1 raincover pocket (raincover isn't included), 1 hipbelt pocket, 1 outer crampon/stuff pocket
Materials Nylon Recycled 200D ripstop nylon, recycled 400D Oxford packcloth 82% Polyamide, 18% Polyethylene Nylon 210D ripstop
Outside Carry Options Side compression strap Ice axe loop and bungee holder, 12 attachment loops along bottom and sides of pack perimeter double-cinched cord for poles/axes, pole carry on front or back Bungee helmet tab, Blinker light patch, ice axe loop and bungee holder, front-side pole carry bungee loops Trekking pole lash points, ice axe attachments, daisy chains, bike light clip
Whistle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Key Clip Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Other Notable Features Compatible as an attachment to other Osprey packs Uplift compression straps really tighten down the load, included raincover Running-vest style suspension, comes with soft flasks which fit into strap pockets on chest Blinker patch, front-side pole carry loops Swing-arm suspension
Weight : Volume (oz/L) 1.18 1.11 0.52 1.22 1.28
Weight : Volume Ranking Midweight Midweight Ultralight Midweight Midweight

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Daylite Plus from Osprey is a most elegant combination of hiking daypack and everyday or travel laptop bag. This model is for a narrow niche of consumers and one that doesn't require reasonably high performance. However, the Daylite Plus is a bag that performs almost equally well while hiking in the wild as it does in the city carrying your work stuff back and forth.

Performance Comparison


As a product that could very well appear in our review of laptop bags, the Daylite Plus does remarkably well as a day hiking pack. It is an optimized daypack that can carry your laptop and your daily work materials, as well as the 10 essentials for a day of mountain biking or hiking.

Transitioning from an urban commute to a short hike in the foothills...
Transitioning from an urban commute to a short hike in the foothills is exactly where the Daylite excels.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

Comfort


Osprey makes comfortable packs. Even with relatively minimalist suspension, the careful proportions of the Daylite Plus are comfortable. The shoulder straps are thin, but contoured and proportioned well for most users. The removable waist belt is nice, but doesn't carry much load. The simple mesh-over-foam back panel is breathable. A suspended-mesh back panel would be better for ventilation, but packs with stiff back panels rarely work well for in-town or travel use.


The sternum strap is adjustable, and although it has fixed shoulder straps, this pack fit a variety of torso sizes, making it nice to use as a loaner pack. The shoulder straps contour well for most people, and while they aren't quite as good as those with load lifters, we found them to work just fine for most activities.

The simple suspension is fine for light loads, but without load...
The simple suspension is fine for light loads, but without load lifters or an adjustable frame, don't expect this pack to carry heavy loads comfortably.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

Weight to Volume


The Daylite Plus sits a little above the middle of the weight to volume spectrum. At 20 ounces and 1.18 oz/L, it's a little heavy for a small daypack, most of which come in around or under 1 oz/L. However, it has some nice features, like internal divider pockets. It's organization capabilities are a decent tradeoff for it being a bit heavy.


The Daylite Plus uses thicker fabrics and durable, easy to grab buckles and zipper pulls, justifying its slightly higher than average weight. It also provides plenty of outside carrying options, like compression straps and an outer stuff pocket that can hold a small layer. These things add weight but make for a very functional pack.

It's somewhat heavy for its volume, but that is a decent sacrifice...
It's somewhat heavy for its volume, but that is a decent sacrifice for excellent organization and a durable pack.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

Versatility


Versatility largely links to size. A larger pack capacity gives you the option of hiking in colder conditions or tackling semi-technical endeavors with the associated gear. The Osprey is a little below average in size. It makes up for this size with a few minor features that increase the versatility, especially for those that wish to use it in town with their laptop. Specifically, the Daylite Plus is the only hiking daypack we tested that has a dedicated, padded laptop sleeve.


We found this pack great for day hikes, and its flexible back panel makes it decent for mountain biking as well. However, don't expect to be able to carry much technical or cold-weather gear. For travel, this pack is great if you need a small pack to stuff in overhead bins, but also prefer being able to organize documents and chargers.

The Daylite was alright on winter hikes, but we just can't recommend...
The Daylite was alright on winter hikes, but we just can't recommend it for days when things like ice axes, snowshoes, or crampons are needed.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

Ease of Use


Osprey carefully tailors their backpacks. Zippers pull smoothly, buckles operate cleanly, and when a strap crosses a zipper, it does so largely out of the way. The Daylite Plus is no exception. We found all the features useful and found the overall construction and main compartment to be functional.


Organizational pockets and features should be quick and easy to use. The Daylite is compact and relatively simple, even with a lot of organizational pockets. Inner pockets can easily get too complex, and Osprey struck a nice balance with the inner mesh pockets of the Daylite. We also really liked the easy to use key holder - a nice touch found on most Osprey packs.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

In a survey of other online reviews, we found numerous complaints about the size of the side mesh pockets of the Daylite Plus. Sure, they could be bigger, and these days, stretchy mesh is more common on higher-performing packs. These worked alright for most 1L bottles and worked great for carrying muddy trash off the trail. We also liked how easy it was to use the upper compression strap to secure our water bottles.

Even this large hydroflask fit alright in the side pockets, although...
Even this large hydroflask fit alright in the side pockets, although we did feel the need to clip it into the upper compression strap.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

Durability


We had no problems with the construction and durability of the Osprey Daylite Plus. Few have had many issues with any Osprey pack. They make great, well-built gear. They also back it up with a great warranty. The Daylite Plus has tight seams, strong materials, smooth zippers, and thick straps.


Our major concerns in terms of durability for this pack come from the mesh side pockets and shoulder straps, both of which tend to wear out after long years of use.

We didn't worry a bit about scraping these thick fabrics up against...
We didn't worry a bit about scraping these thick fabrics up against pokey brush.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

In the rain, don't expect these exposed zippers to keep gear dry. While a rain cover might work alright for this pack, it doesn't come with one, and it probably isn't a great choice for super wet environments. That said, with a panel-loading design, it would be easy to use a lightweight pack liner drybag in wet conditions.

Value


For the most part, you pay a premium for Osprey's excellent construction and comfort. Given the simple construction of the Daylite Plus, it is on the less expensive end of what they produce in this size range. With the seven-days-a-week versatility and the years-long durability, the Daylite Plus is a great value.

Conclusion


We really try and sort out products into different categories. Notably, what we test as "daypacks" and what we test as "laptop backpacks" are somewhat similar, but have enough defining differences to categorize products into one or the other easily. The Daylite Plus truly bridges the gap in this case. It made its way into this review purely on its hiking performance, but could easily appear in the laptop review. If you're looking for a great bag for having fun outside as well as getting some serious work done during the week, our Top Pick for around-town use is the bag for you.

The Osprey Daylite Plus is a versatile, durable choice that will...
The Osprey Daylite Plus is a versatile, durable choice that will serve most people well.
Photo: Ellen Daugherty

Jediah Porter