Planning a day trip out in the wilderness? Going on a cycling trip? Don’t bring just any old bag; daypacks are the perfect companion for your active lifestyle.
Highly versatile and usually brightly-colored, daypacks are the lightest backpacks available. When every pound counts, manufacturers tend to opt for fewer features and compartments compared to everyday bags or laptop backpacks. As these bags are meant to be worn for longer periods of time, comfort is also a primary concern.
While their designs tend to be simpler than other types of bags, as you’ll see below, there’s a ton of variety within this category to choose from.
When Should I Use a Daypack?
Although most daypacks are capable of serving multiple roles, most packs have features that allow them to specialize. Some are better for hiking, or rock climbing, or cycling and so on. Don’t feel limited to only using the bag for that activity though; those are merely guidelines.
In general, a daypack is designed to carry at least one day’s worth of supplies and clothing. Daypacks are also ideal when you’re exploring a new city. As a matter of fact, many daypacks are durable enough to double as urban everyday carry (EDC) packs.
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What Features Should a High-Quality Daypack Have?
Excellent Build Quality
No matter what kind of niche daypack you’re after, good build quality is an absolute must. I like to see ballistic nylon that’s at last 400D if not denser. Sure, 680D is about the limit past which you’re sacrificing weight for durability but weight isn’t really an issue with daypacks. Because of that, more robust fabrics are better. In addition, YKK or similar quality zippers are also a strong indicator of a bag’s longevity, as zippers are one of the most common points of failure on a backpack.
One misconception about daypacks is that they don’t have to have good suspension systems because they’re light. That couldn’t be further from the truth. A good frame supported by well padded straps can make all the difference after a long day of hiking. Look for packs which offer more than just basic straps.
Ease of Access
Although daypacks aren’t generally complicated by design, I think that at least one quick access pocket is a must-have. Being able to reach small essential accessories with ease without removing the pack entirely is essential when you’re focused on the physical activity at hand.
Hydration Bladder Compartment
Ever since hydration bladders became a thing, they have become an integral part of numerous daypacks. Ideally, every daypack should have a dedicated compartment for a hydration bladder. Most of the time these compartments will serve as laptop sleeves as well.