Osprey Daylite ReviewJune 22, 2018
- Comfortable back panel
- Easy to use hydration bladder pocket
- Great organization
- Attaches to other Osprey packs
- Rain flap on main zipper can snag
- Less comfortable top handle
The Osprey Daylite’s mesh covered foam back panel with center stiffener and mesh shoulder straps makes for a pretty comfortable pack with loads up to 15 pounds. The materials and cut allows for ample movement while spreading the load across the whole back panel. Ten die cut ventilation holes proved in our testing during 60-degree days to provide enough breathability to prevent any back sweat from soaking our shirts. The Gregory Miwok had slightly better ventilation because of the additional back panel holes. The center stiffener keeps the back panel shape when holding the full 2-liter hydration bladder. The foam did OK in minimizing hard corners of objects from poking testers in the back—without a mostly full hydration bladder. But poor packing of large objects like cameras could be felt through the foam.
Spacer mesh shoulder straps were comfortable over the shoulders with our 15-pound test load on five mile hikes. The bottom of the shoulder strap tapers down for increased ventilation while ¾-inch webbing finishes the bottom of the shoulder strap where the sizing adjustment buckle sits.
Instead of webbing for a top handle it’s built into the shoulder straps. Testers preferred the feel of a smaller webbing handle like on the Osprey Talon series but it didn’t affect the performance of the bag.
The relatively comfortable sternum strap is also made up of ¾-inch webbing. We were wishing for an elastic section to help with shoulder strap movement and to hold the end of the hydration bladder hose.
A removable hip belt of one-inch webbing keeps the bag stable without adding much weight. Testers thought it would be nice to have hip belt pockets on a pack with these features. For that you’ll have to look to the Talon or Tempest packs from Osprey.
The volume of the Daylite is 13 liters, which is on the large end of what we consider a half-day style hydration pack. This makes it a very versatile pack for savvy packers to use it as a full-day hiking pack. We also found it suitable as a commuter pack or as a carry-on for travel.
The main compartment is divided into two. There is a pocket against the users back that will fit a 13-inch laptop or a tablet. This is also a good place to pack items when the pack is not full to prevent them from bouncing around. The zipper on the main compartment has a flap over it to mitigate rain from seeping in but it interferes with the zipper from running smoothly. It doesn’t always snag but requires more pressure to push the flap out of the way when using the zipper.
For small items there is a zippered top pocket with two mesh organizer pockets and a key clip. This pocket has ample space for keys, a wallet and phone or small camera.
Two large side pockets slant forwards and we found it pretty easy to get a 500 ml water bottle out and back in while wearing the pack. These pockets are better used for easy-to-access snacks, a hanky or similarly small and lightweight items. Compression straps above the pockets held our trekking poles and tripods to the side of the pack.
The Daylite is a stable pack to move with. Comfortable shoulder straps with the waist belt and sternum strap kept the pack in place on quick paced hikes and gentle runs. The compression strap and large inner pocket next to the back panel prevented items from bouncing. A second set of compression straps lower on the bag would keep items from bouncing even more when it’s not full.
The Daylite functions well as a day pack for hiking and travelling. Thirteen liters of space inside give plenty of room for packing. The webbing hip belt is removable for extra options while wearing. A whistle on the sternum strap adds a nice touch of safety consciousness.
For travelling or day-tripping on a multi-day hike, the Daylite is designed to attach to other packs from Osprey like the Aether/Arial, Volt/Viva, Sojourn and Porter series bags, to name a few.
Durability and quality of the Daylite is excellent as expected from Osprey. The Body is 210 denier nylon double diamond ripstop. The accent and bottom is 400 denier high density nylon packcloth. During testing on rock, dirt and concrete we saw no signs of abrasion or loose threads.
The hydration system on the Daylite is excellent. The bladder pocket is external to the main pack pocket which makes removing, refilling and replacing easy especially when the bag is packed to the gills. It easily holds a 2-liter bladder and some 2.5-liter bladders depending on their shape. The clip to hold the bladder is well-placed high in the pocket and opens with a buckle. The buckle is very thin and fits through small water bladder handles easily.
Adding and removing the water bladder is easy with the external pocket. There are no tight spaces that catch the water hose when routing to the shoulder straps. Testers would prefer an elastic section to the sternum strap for more comfort and a spot to hold the mouthpiece of the hydration hose.
Versatility is a strong point with the Osprey Daylite. It’s large capacity works well for long day trips packing it full but is also comfortable to wear less-full when just using the secondary pocket and cinching down the compression straps. Large side pockets and compression straps allow items like camera tripods or trekking poles to be strapped to the side regardless of if the pack is full or empty.
Around town, the Daylite can hold a 13-inch laptop or tablet with the inner pocket to keep it reasonably well protected, but that pocket is not cushioned from the main compartment. When there is a full water bladder it can be a little tight to slide in a laptop.
Travelling, the Daylite can pack down very flat and be put into a suitcase or other bag. It can’t be folded or rolled unless the back panel is pulled out which is an option. The panel would then have to be stored flat somewhere else. With the panel out there is still a small metal stay inside the top four inches of the pack preventing that part from folding. With the back panel separate the pack can be folded into thirds to the size of a one liter water bottle. The pack can also be attached to many other Osprey bags as mentioned above.
The pack also works well for riding even though there are no bike-specific features like tool-kit pockets or helmet clips. It is large for a running pack but on a four mile test run the secondary inner pocket and compression straps did a reasonably good job keeping the items from bouncing. An elastic sternum strap would help with activities with more movement.
Ross is an outdoor adventure writer, photographer, and sometimes computer programmer based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He runs, rides, SUPs and skis but often finds himself in CrossFit gyms trying to lift heavy weights.