Posts Tagged daypacks
My new favorite bike/hike/outdoor travel backpack! The Salomon Synapse is lightweight, refreshingly simple without compromising on features, and versatile. The 20 L size is perfect for day hikes, bike rides, and even ski days, and flattens down small enough to stash in a suitcase to be utilized mid-trip.
The best feature of the Synapse is something I’ve come to expect from Salomon: stability while you move. The hip belt, shoulder straps, and sternum straps shift with your movement, allowing a full range of motion with out the usual sliding of the pack (and sliding of contents inside). The 20 L pack is bigger than I need for trail runs, but my guess is that it would perform well even with that significant amount of body movement. For a day hike or travel day, it’s ideal.
The pack is panel-loading, and includes four pockets in addition to the main compartment: a top small-item pocket for keys, room card, or sunglasses, a hip belt zippered pocket that can stash a cell phone or small camera, an outside sleeve with a bungee strap system, a zippered outer compartment, and two water bottle pockets. You also get an internal hydration sleeve that holds a 2 L reservoir, with drink tube straps.
The back panel is lightweight and soft, with plenty of padding and ventilation. Poles can be carried on the outside via the bungee straps using rip-and-stick attachment points. The main compartment expands more than you’d think: I easily carried two rain jackets, a DSLR camera, and snacks for two people. The Synapse is going to be my go-to small-sized backpack for a long time. My only complaint: the pack is unisex, but even pulled to the smallest size, the waist belt is too big on me. This is somewhat of a non-issue, since I’d never carry a lot of weight in the Synapse, but with a full water reservoir, I found myself wishing I could cinch it tight.
I’m always happy to take something that can pack away into its own little pouch, but this Ultra-Sil Dry Daypack from Sea to Summit really takes things up a notch. It’s ultralight, strong, and packable, yes, but the thing also keeps everything inside dry when you get caught in the rain!
This daypack is configured like a dry bag you would take out on a boat or kayak, with a top closure that folds or rolls over a few times and then snaps shut. It’s made of siliconized Cordura fabric and is seam sealed, so once you lock down that flap, no water is getting in to mess up your things.
This is no wimpy little toy bag, however. It’s got compression straps on the outside to hold more of your gear and the capacity is 22 liters. I’ve jammed 25 pounds of weight in it from a grocery store trip on foot and could have put in more if my shoulders could handle it. You’ve got a lot of room and it’s very strong.
When you’re ready to pack up and head home, this Sea to Summit Dry Daypack goes into a little pouch that’s unbelievably small, to the point where you could lose it in your larger pack or suitcase pretty easily. Thankfully it’s got a little snap tab so you can hook it onto something to keep track of it.
I’ve taken this out into a few drizzles and have not even gotten a drop in my belongings. Water just beads right off it, even if I stick it under a faucet to simulate a white water rafting ride. My real last whitewater rafting ride, in Veracruz, would not have been a good test though. We hit a wall of water and I went flying overboard. The label on this clearly says, “Do not submerge.”
This is a great little daypack to take along if you need something for around town and you’ve brought another bag with your laptop or tablet in it that’s too hefty. Plus if the weather is iffy, no worries about your contents getting wet.
It’s hiking season, and whether you’re hitting the trail for a long trek or short jaunt, you’ll want one of the four day packs below accompanying you. Of course, day packs aren’t only for hiking: no matter what sort of traveling you have planned, chances are you need a backpack to store your stuff. Whether you need a backpack to put into service as a carry-on, touring pack, or cycling pack, one of the below will likely fit the bill.
MountainSmith Mayhem: Mountainsmith’s Mayhem has the look and feel of a larger backpacking pack with the size capacity of a large day pack. You get all the bells and whistles, including multiple loops for trekking poles or tools and compression straps for attaching extra gear. Like a backpacking pack, the Mayhem comes equipped with a hip belt and chest strap, and lumbar support to the back panel. You get a hydration bladder sleeve, side water bottle pockets, and a removable safety whistle. The fabric is ripstop nylon made with 420d Nigh Tenacity Nylon Duramax, and a zippered top pocket stores car keys and other valuables. Pick up the Mayhem in black and yellow at Mountainsmith for $129, or Amazon or Backcountry for as little as $90.Best for serious day hikes and short-term backpacking.
Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack:
The Patagonia Travel Pack boosts a 35L capacity like the Mayhem, but has a nifty party trick: it packs down into its own internal pocket to become he size of a large fist. Store the Travel Pack in a larger bag or suitcase, and have it on-hand for situations in which you find you need an extra carry-on or additional day pack. In this day and age of luggage fees, it’s great to pack this Patagonia away for travel en route. And it’s no flimsy thing, either: the Travel Pack is made of nylon double ripstop, and while thin and lightweight, it includes a waist belt and padded shoulder straps, a chest strap, and wide top-loading opening drawstring closure and snap-down compression strap. Pick up the Patagonia in Tupelo yellow, Larimar blue, or black at the Patagonia for $79 or at Backcountry or Moosejaw for the same price. Best for travel days and multi-sport outdoor adventure.
The KEEN Aliso pack has a 22 L capacity, and while it performs adequately on the trail for short hikes, it’s a far better commuter pack and travel pack. You get a laptop sleeve compartment inside which can convert to a hydration sleeve, and thickly padded shoulder straps so that heavy laptop doesn’t give you a neck ache. There’s no waist belt, but the construction is rugged, with a wide exterior zippered pocket and several organization slots internally. The Aliso is a nicely sized pack for when you need or want a streamlined look. Pick one up in bright chartreuse or forest night at KEEN for $80 or Amazon on sale for under $50. Best for air travel and work commutes or shorter day hikes.
Kelty Shrike: The women’s Kelty Shrike carries 26-30L in a very roomy main compartment, with a nicely sized zippered top pocket for valuables. With external loops for attaching extra gear and a wide top-loading mouth, the Shrike acts more like a 35L pack. With a shoulder strap system designed especially for women’s frames, the Shrike is the most comfortable day pack I’ve tried. (There is a men’s version too for the guys.) The waist belt is lightly padded and you get a chest strap as well. Inside, a roomy laptop sleeve doubles as a hydration storage compartment. Pick up a Shrike for $99 in light green or black at Kelty or at Altrec for the same price. Best for longer day hikes and serious road trips with outdoor adventure stops.
When you’re biking or hiking and don’t need a huge pack along with you, the choices can get a little less technical. Even if you’re lightening the load, hikers and cyclists still care about hydration and pack structure. The Osprey Raven pack is ideal for women looking for a smaller-scale way to haul things around.
The Raven is offered in three sizes: 6, 10 and 14 liters. I’ve got the 14, mainly because I was worried about getting something smaller and then later realizing that I needed more space. But I still haven’t gone on an outing when I’ve filled the entire thing, so perhaps the 10 would have been, as Goldilocks said, “just right.”
Why is it women’s pack? The torso sizing, waist belt and shoulder straps are all sized specifically for a woman’s frame. Other features include a lower compression strap for better load stabilization, an ErgoPull hipbelt (that is easy to adjust) and direct access hydration sleeve that makes it easy to slide your water supply in and out (Osprey 3-liter reservoir included).
Additionally, the main compartment is wide—useful for getting to everything you’ve packed. Organizational dividers let you keep from having to look frantically for that one thing you need, which always seems to fall to the bottom. Zippered hip belt pockets, stretch mesh side pockets and a slash pocket allow you to pack the most-used items within easy reach while you’re riding or hiking.
The 10- and 14-liter versions include a roll-up tool pouch that stores in a lower zip compartment. On the front of the pack: a blinker light attachment and a way to quickly secure your helmet when it’s not on your head.
I’ve used the Raven pack for quick bike rides to the gym, longer rides in the mountains and day hiking trips. With plenty of outdoor activities planned for the summer, I’m planning to bring it along on a number of my travels, as well.
The 10-liter Osprey Raven Pack lists for $119 at REI and comes in clover green or iris purple. It’s also available on backcountry.com and Amazon for about the same price. The other two sizes of the pack are also available.
Even if you don’t listen to all the scaremongering TV news and your relatives’ warnings about all the dangers “out there” in other countries, some precautions can help you hold onto your belongings. Pacsafe is the leader in making bags that are super-tough to steal things from and this Venturesafe G2 one is a great all-around travel daypack.
This 25-liter pack will hold most of what you’re going to need for the day: camera, jacket, water bottle, notebook—and old-school guidebook and new-school tablet. Heck, it’ll hold a 15-inch Macbook if you want (though there’s not much padding). Plus the chargers of course. The RFID-Safe pocket that Pacsafe is getting into all its new products will shield your passport info and those chip-based credit cards that are finally showing up on U.S. shores.
The magic with any bag from this company though is all the built-in features that keep prying fingers away from that nice camera, phone, or iPad you’re carrying around. This daypack weighs one pound, nine ounces, but it has the eXomesh wire skeleton built in that make the bag nearly impossible to do a slash-and-grab on. Thieves also can’t just slash the strap and run or hop a motorbike with your bag in hand: there’s stainless steel wire going through the straps that will stop a knife dead. And they can’t unhook those straps either without doing a little twist move on the security hooks.
Speaking of security hooks, there are a couple hidden away that you can hook your keys to, plus the zippers can lock in two ways: a TSA lock through the small holes or a little cable lock through the larger ones.
Naturally the fabric itself is tough, water resistant, and will wipe clean. The straps come with a limited waist strap and a sternum strap if your load gets heavy. The pack is hydration equipped, with a flap for the tube to go through at the top.
Last, you get a turtle-shell style padded back that will let some air move between your back and the daypack. I would have liked a few more pouches and pockets on the inside of the small flap, but maybe I’ve just gotten spoiled by the bigger ones I’ve used like the Deuter Giga Office.
Nobody can top Pacsafe when it comes to discouraging theft, however, so this Venturesafe 25L G2 daypack is worth the $130 list if you’re planning on routinely walking around Rome, Barcelona, or Saigon with a grand or more of electronics slung over your shoulder.