Last Update: 16.Feb.2020
External hydration sleeve
Ice-tool loop with bungee tie-offs
Side mesh pockets are debatably small
Zippers with finger-pull loops
Reinforced base aids in carrying bulky loads and helps protect your pack
Front pocket is difficult to get into
Zipper extends down the pack for easy access
Light, durable 210-denier Cordura® ripstop nylon
A hiking day pack is an incredibly useful tool, but if you’ve never used one before, we understand if you don’t quite get what’s so great about them. Let’s start with discussing what a daypack actually is.
Put simply, a daypack for hiking is a small backpack that’s designed to carry your extra clothing, food, water, and survival gear for a short trip into the mountains. While not explicitly meant for overnight backpacking, some ultralight enthusiasts enjoy using lightweight hiking daypacks because they are small and don’t put a huge burden on your back.
When compared to a proper backpacking pack, daypacks are much smaller and much lighter. While the average lightweight daypack tips the scales at just around 1-2 pounds, a backpacking pack can be as heavy as 7 pounds. That’s quite a difference.
Plus, the best daypacks are often very breathable and designed for comfort. This means they can help keep you cool, even as you charge uphill during those steep climbs. Ultimately, a daypack is a great option for anyone looking to get outside without feeling weighed down by their gear.
While a daypack is an awesome piece of gear, there are actually many different types of packs out there. So, when looking for the model that’s right for you, it’s important to be well-versed in the lingo surrounding daypacks. Here are some of the most popular options:
A panel-loading hiking day pack is one that looks and operates much like the kind of backpack you’d take to school as a kid. Built with a number of different compartments, each with their own large U-shaped zipper, a panel-loading daypack makes organization a breeze.
However, thanks to all these different sections, it can be tricky to pack a larger object into a panel-loading daypack. Additionally, the additional number of zippers and all that extra fabric means that panel-loading daypacks tend to be the heaviest of the bunch.
The top-loading style is more commonly found on larger backpacking packs but is becoming more and more popular amongst the day hiking crowd. This kind of daypack looks more like a single large tube with a cinch closure at the top.
Sometimes, these packs even have a small floating lid – called a “brain” that provides extra storage space at the top. Often, top-loading packs are some of the best day hike backpacks because their design makes loading gear very simple. But, some people dislike the lack of extra pockets in these packs, preferring the panel-loading designs instead.
While some of the most popular day hiking packs are generalists, a rising number of packs are being designed specifically for particular activities. Some packs are made for climbers in mind, with ice axe loops and helmet straps, while others are for trail runners or bikers.
Our advice? Unless you’re looking to accumulate a quiver of packs, you’ll be better off with a more generalist daypack. Then, over time, you can buy new specialized packs to add to your gear closet as you get involved in a diversity of activities.
Buying a daypack is no easy feat. When you go shopping for a new pack, you need to fully understand all of the features of your gear before you spend your hard-earned money. Here are some things to look out for:
Every daypack is built to a different size, so you’ll need to find the one that’s sufficient for your needs. Generally, the best backpacks for day hikes are between 20 and 40L in carrying capacity.
However, some day hikers can get away with a pack that’s between 10L and 20L, while climbers and mountaineers often need more space in their packs. Thus, you need to take a moment to consider your packing needs before you invest.
No one likes carrying around a brick of a backpack. That’s why some of the best day packs for hiking are made with lightweight materials that help reduce their overall burden on your body. However, it’s important to keep in mind that packs made with lightweight materials tend to be less durable and more expensive than their heavyweight counterparts, so there’s always a tradeoff.
Traditional hiking daypacks have well-padded shoulder straps that help reduce chafing and pressure on your shoulders after miles on the trail. Additionally, these packs also generally come with moderately padded hip belts that help transfer weight off of your shoulder and onto your hips.
However, many new daypacks are being designed without hipbelts to help cut weight. This is more common among backpacks that are designed more for use in urban environments than those that are purpose-built for outdoor adventure. If you’re looking to get out on longer hikes, though, a hipbelt can make a world of difference.
These days, daypacks are most commonly built with internal frames, which means that the structural aspects of the pack are built-into the fabric itself. This makes the packs less bulky and more lightweight, though it does mean that they tend to be less breathable around the back panel area.
Alternatively, you can get an external frame pack that has metal stays built outside the fabric to provide support. These packs are becoming less common over time, though, as they are generally heavier and bulkier than the interior frame alternatives.
No one likes a sweaty back. With a poorly ventilated daypack, however, a sweaty back is nearly inevitable. But, if you get a well-ventilated daypack, you can avoid this dreaded eventuality.
Generally, daypacks with mesh back panels tend to be more breathable than those made solely from nylon. However, these mesh back panels are often less durable than the full nylon options, so they often develop rips and tears with heavy use.
Although very few daypacks are fully waterproof, there are many that are made with water-resistant materials. This can be a huge benefit to anyone that lives in a place with a wet climate as these water-resistant materials can help keep your gear dry, regardless of the weather. You will likely pay a pretty penny for that added convenience, though.
If you’re the type of hiker that enjoys using a hydration system, you’ll want to make sure your daypack is compatible with your system. These days, most daypacks have a small pouch along the interior back panel to hold the hydration reservoir and a hole to put the drinking tube through, but it’s worth checking out before you buy.
For some people having a plethora of pockets and organization options is paramount in a backpack. Others enjoy packing all of their gear into one large tube in a top-loading backpack. Thus, your personal style will dictate whether you want to look for a day pack with extra accessories, pockets, and straps, or if you’d rather just keep things simple with a classic top-loader design.
As we’ve already mentioned, there are two main kinds of daypacks: top-loading and panel-loading. The top-loading pack is the better option for stuffing large amounts of gear into a relatively small bag while the panel-loading option is best for anyone who loves organization.
Additionally, panel-loading daypacks make it easier to access your gear, providing ample opportunity to reach into your bag and pull out that wind jacket that’s tucked into the bottom. Alternatively, top-loading packs make your gear a bit less accessible, in exchange for an easier packing process.
A daypack is an essential part of any outdoor enthusiasts’ gear list. Small enough to help you move quickly through rough terrain while large enough to carry all the gear you need, a good daypack is the perfect tool for all of your adventures. With so many options to choose from, you’ll certainly find the pack that’s right for you if you keep some key features in mind.
In the Toptravelpoint Blog you will always find useful and up-to-date information about hiking and camping. & Bryce
Our experts will always help make your life easier.
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