Osprey Daylite vs. Daylite Plus – Which Is The Best Daypack?

This article will be the battle royale of the Osprey Daylite vs Daylite Plus.

Osprey backpacks are hands down some of the best backpacks on the market right now.

The main reason is their space. I don’t know how to do it, but these bags work like black holes. They might seem small, but open them up, and you’ll be able to fit anything inside.

Their most popular line of bags is the Daylite. These lightweight bags were engineered for short trips.

The Daylite bags are stellar, but there’s one problem – how do you choose which one to pick?

There are two standout bags:

  1. Daylite and
  2. Daylite Plus.

Their designs are almost indistinguishable, but there are a few differences. The Daylite Plus is more substantial and has a few extra perks.

I’ll walk you through every nook and cranny of this bag to help decide which one is best for you.

What Do They Have In Common?

To start, let’s review what they have in common.

Looking at these bags, you can see that they’re very similar. As the name suggests, the Daylite line was made with lightweight day trips in mind.

These are not backpacking rigs that carry you for months at a time. By contrast, these bags were made for day hikes, commuting to work, or family visits to Disney.

With that in mind, let’s take a tour of the Daylite line and highlight some of their commonalities.

The Outside

Starting on the outside, you can see that these two bags are almost identical twins.

They’re no-frills backpacks that were made with space and comfort in mind. The bag’s rectangular design optimizes for maximal storage with minimal effort on your part.

That is confirmed by the bag’s upper and lower straps. The chest and hip straps keep the bag close to your body while distributing weight off your shoulders. Both models have this, which is extremely useful for any trip.

Both models also have a strap across the bag to tighten your load. That’ll help your gear from sagging, making trekking that much easier.

Other than that, there aren’t many bells and whistles…besides a whistle. Both bags have a slick whistle on the chest strap that allows you to bring attention to yourself in emergency situations.

The outside materials are excellent at wicking sweat, so keep this bag on your packing list if you’re headed to the water park.

The two packs are also available in a ton of different colors. This is useful for helping yourself stand out in crowds. Your kids will have an easy time finding you if you’re wearing the bright yellow version.

One negative about these bags is the water bottle holster. There is a little side pocket for water bottles, but it’s not very large. I guess this was done to minimize weight, so keep this in mind.

The Inside

Now we’ll go under the surface. Both bags were made with storage in mind. The interiors have a ton of space for such a small bag, and the tightening strap mentioned earlier is flawlessly placed to keep your pack tight.

For their weight, these bags provide a ton of storage volume. This is the #1 reason to get an Osprey bag, in my mind. These guys are mad scientists when it comes to maximizing space.

They both have sleeves for hydration packs. This comes in handy for bringing sufficient water with you on your travels.

On top of that, they both offer internal laptop pockets and an external mini-pocket. These pockets allow you to keep your stuff organized, so you can keep your wallet and keys separate from clothes, snacks, or souvenirs.

The Whole Package

Beyond the construction, these backpacks offer capabilities that’ll help you get more miles out of it.

The first is that it can be added to other osprey backpacks. Their straps were designed so that you can effortlessly hook the daypacks onto the back of Osprey’s larger packs. This includes the Aether/Ariel, Volt/Viva, Ace, Shuttle, Sojourn, Farpoint, and Porter lines of bags.

This added functionality will give your daypack use beyond day-trips, as an added carry-on for extended trips.

Speaking of extensive use, Osprey offers an “All Mighty Guarantee” on all their gear. From their website:

“Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge – whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday. If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it. We proudly stand behind this guarantee, so much so that it bears the signature of company founder and head designer, Mike Pfotenhauer.”

This lifetime warranty really puts Osprey bags over the top, in my opinion.

Last but not least, both of these bags are seriously affordable. Whether you go with the standard or the plus, the price will not break the bank whatsoever. When you consider how many years you’ll get out of these bags, the low price makes these quite the steal.

What Are The Differences?

Now you know what to expect from the Daylite line, let’s review where the two bags differ. This will help you choose which bag is best for you.

Size

The #1 differentiator between these two bags is their size. The Daylite Plus (as you can guess) is bigger.

Here are the stats:

As you can see, there are a few differences between the two bags.

The Daylite Plus is one inch wider. This added width (combined with larger design) adds a whopping 7 liters of space to the bag. That’s 54% extra room.

The cost, of course, is mass. The Daylite Plus weighs 3.8 oz (24%) more than the Daylite.

However, I think that increased weight is well worth it. The added space goes a long way, and the weight difference of 3.8oz is barely noticeable. That’s less than a can of beer.

Pockets

Besides size and volume, the two bags differ in their pocket design. They both have a nice go-pocket inside of the bag for your keys, but the other pockets are different.

For one, the Daylite Plus features a “shove-it” pocket on the front. This zippered compartment allows you to throw your keys, wallet, transportation pass, or other small items right in the front. No more digging through your bag for your valuables with this bag.

Next, their laptop pockets are different. The Daylite has a laptop sleeve, but it’s made of cloth and does not have a clip to keep your laptop in place. The Daylite plus has a similar envelope, but it’s padded and comes with a clip to keep your computer safe.

I find this added feature well worth it. If you plan to use this bag as a hybrid hiking-commuting bag, the laptop clip makes organizing a breeze. Laptops are not cheap, and protecting my precious MacBook is a priority.

For An Even Lighter Bag


At this point, you might be a big fan of Osprey bags. I know I am. They have a robust reputation for long-lasting bags that fit a ton of stuff.

But, maybe you want something even lighter.

In that case, I suggest the Osprey Daylite Shoulder Sling model. This bag won’t fit a laptop, but it will store a water bottle and all of your personal items. It’s easy to throw on and take off. I prefer this bag for vacationing with the kids when all I really need is some extra pockets.

Instead of stuffing a pair of cargo shorts with all of our stuff, I use this bag. It’s a stellar choice as well for solo day hikes when you don’t need to bring a bunch of food or gear.

And The Winner Is…?

The moment you’ve been waiting for…who wins between the Osprey Daylite vs Daylite Plus?

In my professional opinion, Daylite Plus is the clear champion.

Yes, it’s slightly more expensive (by a measly few dollars), but the added space is well worth it. There’s nothing worse than cramming all of your gear into your bag and having it explode when you open it up.

Yes, it’s slightly more cumbersome, but I’m a big dude. 3.8 oz is not that much. I would prefer to bite the bullet and lift some more weight so that I can have the freedom to pack as much as I want. Plus, you get a little more cardio with this.

But, I can definitely understand why some people would go with the Daylite bag. It’s a sleek model that’ll last you for a long time. For its small size, it offers superb packing options and will hold enough stuff to get you through your excursions.

Either way, these bags are both excellent choices that I’m sure you’ll enjoy for years to come.