Osprey Daylite Plus Review

Overall Score:7.0

After 2 years of irregular use, the Osprey Daylite Plus never won us over. While we’re not fond of the pack, it’s a decent budget option for travel or EDC, provided you’re frame isn’t too big for the harness system. And given the tiny price tag, it’s the best >$70 crossover pack available.

Durability: 6.0
Functionality: 7.5
Performance: 6.0
Aesthetics: 6.5
Value: 9.0

Capacity: 20L

Weight: 585 g

Main Material: 300D Polyester

Hardware: YKK

Frame Style: Frameless 

Weather Resistance: DWR (exterior), polyurethane (interior)

Dimensions: 48 x 28 x 24 cm

Manufacturing Country: Vietnam

Warranty: Lifetime

Length of Test: 2 Years

Acquisition: Self Purchased

Countries: Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar, and Thailand

Climate(s): Tropical Savanna, Humid Continental, and Local Steppe

Weather: Hot and Humid (highest temp 34 C), Cold and Dry (lowest temp -4 C), Light and Heavy Rain

The Daylite Plus is designed for:

  • EDC, travel and day hiking.

It’s not designed for:

  • Rugged or technical adventures.
Durablity

Build Quality

Main Material: the pack’s 300D and 600D recycled polyester aren’t quite burly enough to take on backcountry abuse. During the Osprey Daylite Plus’ inaugural hike, the material developed a few abrasion marks while scrambling in Mongolia. Since then, more marks have developed from general travel – to its credit, none have actually torn through. 

As for the construction, we’ve noticed a fair amount of fraying and some loose stitching. Although the structural integrity of the pack is still in solid condition – it won’t spontaneously combust anytime soon… 

Hardware: the main compartment and exterior pockets feature trustworthy YKK Zippers, which you can expect to function for many years of service. The zippers themselves have plastic pull tabs attached, giving them a sturdier one-finger grip. 

As for the pack’s side-release buckles and webbing adjusters, they’re all lightweight plastic and manufactured by ITW and YKK – so, you shouldn’t have any problems here. 

Functionality

Main Feature Set

Back Panel: foregoing an internal frame, Osprey opted to outfit the back panel with a thin layer of closed-cell foam that’s reinforced with a pre-shaped HDPE center column. 

After 1 year of light use, the HDPE column detached from the foam (so we recycled it). In practical terms, we found the back panel to be more comfortable with the center column removed. It conformed to our backs better and allowed for more torsional flex.

For ventilation, the back panel is lined with spacer mesh and the foam is die-cut. Whether or not this helps with airflow is debatable, but we noticed no difference in funky back sweat between this pack and a full-contact one like the Coulee 25

Shoulder Straps: the Osprey Daylite Plus’ contoured shoulder straps are lightly padded with die-cut EVA foam and dual-lined with spacer mesh. As for width and spacing, the straps are definitely on the narrow side. 

There’s no doubt, this pack’s harness system was designed for individuals with a small(ish) frame. If you’re rocking a Hulk neck or boulder shoulders, these straps won’t do you justice.

As for the sternum strap, it’s micro-adjustable via a sliding rail system. The hardware works well and even comes with a built-in whistle – no issues to report.

Admin Pocket: on the exterior, there’s a quick-access pocket that’s a great place to store small items such as: sunglasses, a headlamp, a Buff, a pen, and a wallet.

In terms of built-in organization, it’s minimal – just two mesh pockets and a keyring loop. 

Just know… for travel, this pocket isn’t very secure – so keeping valuables in here would be asking for trouble from pickpockets.

Main Compartment: accessible via a half-zip opening, the contents of the pack are pretty easy to get to. Although gear stored at the bottom requires a minor game of pouch Tetris to reach, as well as unbuckling the side compression straps.

For visibility, the entire compartment is lined with a brightly-colored packcloth – making it easier to spot gear in low light conditions. When it comes to organization, the main compartment is a bit spartan and is best served by BYOP (bring your own pouches).

At the back, there’s a decently padded / suspended sleeve that holds up to a 15″ laptop (or a 16″ MacBook Pro). For extra security, there’s a buckled fastener at the top of sleeve to stop your laptop from jumbling around, when in transit.

Beaver Tail: since the side mesh pockets aren’t useful for storing a wide-mouth HydroFlask, we’d store our water bottle in the beaver tail’s shove-it pocket. Alternatively, this pocket is also a convenient place to store a lightweight rain shell or fleece.

In the beaver tail’s sole zippered pocket, we recommend housing an Osprey raincover which’ll take up the majority of the prescribed space.

Performance

Practical Utility

Carry Comfort: for non-technical day hikes and walking around town with lightweight kit, the Daylite Plus offers decent performance. It’s not uncomfortable to carry, but saying it’s “downright comfortable” would be a stretch. On a scale of 1 – 10, its a solid 6.5 for individuals with a small(ish) frame, and a 5.0 for individuals with a large frame. 

When it comes to heavier loads, the harness system tends to show its limits at ~7 kg. Anything more than that and the narrow straps will start to dig into your shoulders. 

Word of caution… you’ll need to pack this bag monastically. Due to the design of the harness system and back panel, the Osprey Daylite Plus has a tendency to barrel, easily.

Aesthetics

Design Elements

In our humble opinion, this is one fugly pack. It might look good after a drink or two… but damn, it’s no sight for sore eyes. 

All jokes aside, the Daylite Plus’ aesthetic is based around utility rather clean lines – like most of Osprey’s lineup (outside of their minimalist Arcane series). We’re not fans of the look, but hey… your mileage may vary.

At the time of writing, the Osprey Daylite Plus comes in seven colorways: from black to purple.

Value

Primary Alternatives

If you’re not looking to spend much on a crossover pack, then the Osprey Daylite Plus or The North Face Borealis are going to be your top budget-conscious picks.  

However, for a few more pretty pennies… you could pick up an Osprey Arcane or a Black Diamond Creek Transit 22. Both of which are going to be of a better build quality than the Daylite Plus, along with being more comfortable.

And if your wallet allows, we strongly recommend the Gossamer Gear Vagabond Jet. It’s at the high-end of the budget range, but it’s our top value-oriented pick for a crossover pack – plus, it’s more sleek and streamlined for urban environments. 

Daypack Main Fabric Gender Vol. Max Load Weight Frame Hip Belt? Load Style
Daylite + 300D Polyester Unisex 20L 11.4 kg 585 g Frameless Webbing / Detachable Half-Zip
Borealis 400D Nylon Unisex 28L 11.4 kg 1220 g HDPE Webbing / Detachable Half-Zip
Arcane 500D Polyester Unisex 20L 11.4 kg 641 g Frameless Webbing / Detachable Half-Zip
Creek Transit 800D Nylon Unisex 22L 11.4 kg 650 g Frameless Webbing / Detachable Top
Vagabond 210D Nylon w/ Spectra Grid Unisex 23L 11.4 kg 648 g Frameless None Top
7.0/10 Rating

Overall Verdict

The Osprey Daylite Plus is a daypack that’s a bit awkward for us to judge. Why? By all means, we’re not fans of this pack… but due to its price point, we can’t just dismiss it. For the money (especially if you get it on sale), it’s the best <$70 crossover pack available. 

Does that mean you should you get it? Probably not, unless you’re on a super strict budget. If anything, you should consider the Osprey Daylite Plus as your last “budget” option, not your primary choice. 

What We Liked

What Could Use Improvements

  • A more universal harness system – straps are way too narrow.
  • Better thread quality and QC examinations for stitching.
  • A dedicated grab handle that’s not sewed into the shoulder straps.
  • A redesign of the side water bottle pockets, so they are actually capable of holding a water bottle.
Longevity

Usage Timeline

Good

Initial Usage

Not fans of the build quality and shiny material. Overall size is perfect for May’s 5′ 3″ frame.

Good

Fine

2 Years of Usage

Even with minimal use, this pack looks “aged” – its definitely seen better days, but is still functional.

Fine

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