Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack Review

We take the small but mighty Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack to Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam and Singpore as my main day and citybreak backpack, and here are my findings!

AUTHOR: Gordon McNevin

After 2 weeks traveling with the Osprey Daylite 13L rucksack doing citybreaks, tours and traveling we are really impressed with what we found.

Is the Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack the perfect city break backpack and daypack?

Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack On Reviewer
Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack On Reviewer
Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack Front Body
Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack Phone Pockets
Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack Back Mesh

Features of the Osprey Daylite Backpack

The Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack is one of the smallest backpacks that Osprey make but don't let the size put you off as it's the 'biggest' feature of this rucksack! At 13 liters it's the perfect size for a daily commute or city break and fits snugly on the body while walking around.

In terms of features it has two main pockets. The top/small pocket is small and not very deep which makes it perfect for gadgets, keys, currency, chargers, sun glasses and everything that is required for quick access. The top pocket has key storage and also two inner mesh pockets which are the perfect sizes for large mobile phones and batteries. We tested these using the XL versions of many mobile phones with cases and worked perfectly. The top pocket isn't very deep so you can easily see everything to take things out quickly and this means it's very handy for partners to get what they need while it's on your back.

The main pocket fills up the rest of the volume of the backpack which makes it the place to store warm jackets, cameras, lenses, large water bottles and everything else you can think of. It's just the right size and plenty for 1 person. 2 people could make use of this small backpack at a stretch but very doable.

Inside the main/large compartment there is also a laptop sleeve or document area which is the best place to store up to a 13" laptop (tested with a Dell XPS 13 and a Macbook Pro 13) but doesn't fit a 15" laptop (not even close). Here you would store your more important documents such as travel and day tickets, passports, currency and everything else that requires a little more safe keeping.

Also with the Osprey Daylite backpack there is a section right at the back for a hydration bladder. While we didn't test this with a hydration bladder (we're bottled water people) we where blown away by how handy this section was for quick access to flat items like day tickets, maps, boarding passes and anything else for really fast access. It's a perfect space if you don't want to unzip, find, zip back up all the time we thought.

As with most backpacks there are also two side mesh pockets for storing things like water bottles, umbrellas, shoes etc. We tested these pockets with two 500ml bottles of water and weren't very impressed with our experiences. Because the top of the side mesh pockets are so loose we found that the bottles of water barely stayed secure and found that when placing the bag down at our feet they would very easily fall out. We'd love to see a more secure opening for this in the future. On the flip side of the coin we found it perfect for medium umbrellas which where often required in Hong Kong.

Other features on this backpack include a removable hip strap and a sternum strap. The hip strap was the first to go and we couldn't remove the sternum strap and whistle from fear of break it.

For comfort this backpack has a mesh back panel for ventilation which works well but not 100%, and quite comfortable mesh straps which stayed comfortable if you don't push the bag to hard with too much gear.

What We Love About The Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack

Great Size - While it may be a 'small' backpack, it's perfect for the day and can store everything you would need for walking around a city while traveling, commuting to work, or just grabbing while leaving the house. We loaded this backpack up with a medium sized camera and lens, 1 liter of water, two jackets, mobile phone battery banks, sun glasses and sun cream and it worked perfectly while remaining quite comfortable all day.

Mesh Pockets - While the side mesh pockets aren't great for small water bottles, they're great for everything else like umbrellas, shoes, tissues, sun cream etc.

Small Pocket - The small pocket houses all your mobile phones, chargers, batteries, sun glasses, keys and everything else easily.

Hydration Bladder Section - While we didn't use it with a bladder we found this perfect for quick access to documents and maps while roaming around.

Great Fit - It's easy to get on and off for access to rain gear, cameras and anything in the big pocket.

Can't Go Wrong - Easily guide your partner to your gear while it's on your back as it's either in the small pocket or the big pocket.

Forward Facing - Fits just as good forwarding facing when needed for them 'pick pockets operate here' signs in the tourist hot-spots.

Small Yet Mighty - Fits under and over seats on trains, planes, coaches and boats without a second thought. Great for the personal item (along with your carry on luggage) on planes.

Removable Hipstrap - The hip strap is fully removable and easy to do.

Laptop Sleeve - Great for laptops and documents and fits snugly when on your back.

Breath With Me - Breaths pretty well in hot and humid environments due to the supportive mesh straps and back panel.

Sadly it's not a perfect backpack, here's why!

I found that while it can be a great backpack for 2 people, it does start to struggle when packed with water and a medium sized camera and lens. This shows mainly with the center carry handle, the shoulder straps and the mesh pockets on the side.

How I would improve the Daylite Backpack

The Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack is very close to a perfect small backpack, but there are a few aspects I would like to see improved in the next version.

  • Would love to have the ability to tighten the side mesh pockets as they are quite wide. This would prevent water bottles from falling out.
  • The ability to remove all the webbing easily (sternum strap, hip belt) or put a storage system in place for long term storage. I really like to customize my backpacks and don't like to carry anything I don't need.
  • Adding extra padding to the top carry handle would prevent the hands going numb if the backpack is fully loaded.
  • Adding an internal zipped pocket would be very useful in either the main section of the small pocket just to lock away something a bit better so things don't accidentally fall out when looking for things.


The Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack will be a proud addition to our collection of gear and will come out to play often when needed for them city breaks or just something to take out of the house. While it has a few cons they certainly aren't deal breakers and not leading us to look for a similar backpack of the same size. It's a well designed daypack that's the perfect size and fits in exactly what's needed. While we don't know the price for your country, in the UK it was very affordable and an easy option with such a leading brand behind it.

Thanks for reading this Osprey Daylite 13L Backpack review.

Gordon McNevin

By Gordon McNevin

Gordon LOVES gear, travel, web development and anything that is perfect for the job.