Osprey Daylite Plus Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Seven days a week versatility including hikes on the weekend
Cons: Small for cold or technical day pursuits
Manufacturer: Osprey Packs
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Jediah Porter