Key Differences: The Osprey Daylite vs Daylite Plus Daypacks — Which to Take on Your Adventure


For years we’ve been travelling with and recommending a few key Osprey pieces. And we think it’s important to travel with a daypack; they serve to keep key valuables close at hand while in transit as well as to accompany us on long city or countryside daytime outings.

The Daylite series from Osprey consists of two very similar packs, the Osprey Daylite and the Osprey Daylite Plus. The Plus is obviously larger, but also tacks on a few extra features that can make it worthwhile for some, especially if you’re planning to carry tech gear like a laptop.

These are not the bags that we most recommend for travel. We love Osprey, but instead recommend their wheeled bags/backpack combos that come with their own excellent detachable daypacks. If you think that may interest you, take a gander at our small (carry-on) rolling backpack recommendation and favorite large (checked bag) wheeled backpack.

But if you’ve got a favorite Osprey wheeled piece or backpack, the Daylites are excellent add-ons as they attach to a broad variety of Osprey luggage (see the chart below).

We’ve found Osprey’s own descriptions of the Daylite and Daylite Plus to be a bit vague and jargony, so we’re happy to better explain their features. Here we offer our own quick side-by-side comparison and then dive further into our thoughts below.

Update history of this article

Originally published February 28, 2019.

Quick Comparison Table: Osprey Daylite and Daylite Plus Daypacks

Why These Daypacks are Great — Despite a Few Downsides

Osprey packs are generally at the top of our lists for great luggage — and we use them ourselves as we wander the world while writing for this site. Packs like the Daylite series straddle the line well between classy urban and rugged adventure in both style and features.

In terms of cost, the Daylite and Daylite Plus are both at midpoints for the daypack market. They’re not the most expensive bags out there, nor are they the cheapest.

They have quite a lot in common; here are the pros and cons of both of them.

Pros of the Osprey Daylite and Daylite Plus

  • Lightweight at just under (Daylite) and just over (Daylite Plus) a pound; you’re not carrying around a lot of extra weight for the packs themselves.
  • Thoughtful pockets with good day-to-day features, without extra unnecessary pockets
  • Quality, durable materials and construction; the 210D nylon and 400HD nylon have held up well over years in reports from customers and long-term reviewers, as have the zippers, stitching and buckles. This is generally true of other Osprey packs too.
  • Backed by Osprey’s excellent lifetime warranty and reputation for follow-up with customers who do have eventual complaints
  • Both are quite comfortable to carry. The shoulder straps are padded and ventilated, as is the back panel, walking the line between offering generous padding and letting as much air-flow as possible.

Cons of the Osprey Daylite and Daylite Plus

There are a few downsides to be aware of.

  • These both have a very thin hip strap but it’s not padded and not useful if you really needed to support weight on your hips. Such is unlikely in any case with small daypacks. Rock climbers or those in other very energetic activities may have a use for this strap to keep the pack in place, but otherwise you’ll likely just take it off — it’s removable, fortunately.
  • They both can clip onto a variety of Osprey packs as listed in the table above, but they do not fully zip into packs the way that integrated packs do, for example the Osprey Meridian 75L with its daypack.
  • The Daylite is not suitable for carrying a laptop as its interior slot is small and not padded; if you’ll be carrying a laptop go instead for the Daylite Plus.
  • The quick-access pocket is easy for villains to get into as well. Don’t stash valuables there when in crowded city environments; use the inside sleeve instead or a nifty money belt like this one.

Best for Super-Light Daytime Adventures: The Osprey Daylite

The obvious advantage of the Osprey Daylite Daypack is its slightly smaller size and lighter weight. But we emphasize slightly here, as both bags are the same height and the Daylite plus just goes a bit wider and deeper, and weighs a few ounces more.

The bag, as we noted above, is quite well built and other reviewers found that it held up well too, even after a lot of abuse. Osprey bags are quite practically designed and comfortable to carry and this is no exception.

Having less space to pack can also itself be an advantage, as I’ve discovered in my years roaming the globe with just a carry-on. Give yourself just the 13L space of the Daylite, and you’re less likely to take more than you need for day on the town or out hiking. It’s more than enough space for most practical day trips.

The Daylite also runs a bit cheaper than the Daylite Plus, though do check at the various merchants listed above as some of them have deals on either one from time to time, especially Moosejaw at the time of this writing.

The slick video review below goes methodically through the Daylite’s features with good close-ups of each.

Best Overall, and Especially if You Carry a Laptop/Tablet: The Daylite Plus

The Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack is like the Daylite but just a bit wider and especially deeper. Because Osprey uses such lightweight 210D nylon this really doesn’t make much difference on the final weight of the bag itself.

The Daylite Plus also has a few extra features that we think are key. While both have inner sleeves, the Daylite Plus’ sleeve is padded and can fit any normal mid-sized (15-inch) laptop. Due to the padding we’re also more apt to trust it with other electronics like tablets.

Another feature is the “shove it pocket” on the back, a surprisingly useful place to stash a neck gaiter, small umbrella, or bread roll. There is also a zippered pocket built into this pocket.

While we’re obviously minimalists around here and stress travelling as light as possible, we don’t think it’s a crime to move up to the space allowed with the 20L daypack for your daylong travel adventures. Sometimes you pick more things up during the day, and that extra space can come in handy.

We’d opt for the extra space of the 20L Daylite Plus in particular if you’re in environments with changing temperatures and might want to have an extra sweatshirt or light jacket on hand.

The reviewer below opens the bag up and does a nice job of showing its guts; skip to the middle of the video for that.

Roundup: Which Osprey Daylite Backpack Is Best for You?

They’re both great; we’d go for the Daylite Plus ourselves, in order to be ready for anything.

Osprey Daylite Daypack
A feature-rich but very light and durable daypack; the inner sleeve is smaller and not padded
Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack
The same but with 35% more interior space, a padded laptop sleeve, and an extra outer open pocket and zip pocket on the back

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