Top Daypack Reviews
For hikes lasting a few hours to that quick overnight, a daypack is a must-have piece of gear. They need to be large enough to carry water, food, extra clothing and the rest of the 10 Essentials. Look for products that have at least 25 liters (1600 cu. in.) capacity, padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap for stability, waist belt, and a hydration sleeve for carrying a water bladder. All of the packs below incorporate these features and more:
Dakine Pro II – Designed primarily as a winter use product, the 26 liter Dakine Pro II proved to be versatile and easily adaptable to multi-season endeavors. The pack’s ski-carrying features adapted nicely to holding hiking poles and other items. And the hydration hose hidden in a shoulder strap helped keep our water cool in the heat. See full review.
Kelty Impact 30 – The Kelty Impact 30 is part of the company’s new Agile line of products. These packs use a rigid aluminum stay to support the load and transfer it directly to your hips. The feature worked very well in our tests, as did the lightweight mesh suspension that aids in ventilation. See full review.
Ortovox Haute Route 35 – Another product designed for cold-weather activities, the Ortovox proved versatile but its back panel design lacked ventilation for warmer weather pursuits. However, we liked its very rugged construction and the company’s use of icons to identify key features. See full review.
REI Lookout 40 – With the largest carrying capacity of the bunch, the REI Lookout boasts a myriad of pockets and lash points. The hard plastic/aluminum internal frame and waffle back panel helps balance the load and provides adequate ventilation on hot days. See full review.
A couple of notes on pack fitting. Most of the products above come in both men’s and women’s versions to accommodate a variety of torso lengths. Try these packs on in your local retailer or order from an online merchant that has a liberal return policy. When test-fitting the pack, load it with the type and amount of gear you plan to carry. Adjust it to your liking and judge the comfort with the loaded pack. Once you make your selection, get out there and enjoy the summer.