Five Top Quality Hiking Day Packs
Kevin Felts 03.02.17
Day packs are something that are used to get out of the house for the day. It must be able to carry enough gear to spend the day away from home, but not overly large or cumbersome. It can be a backpack, sling pack, courier/messenger bag, etc.
Next, let’s define the “essentials.” This is going to vary depending on the trip. Once a year I go to the Renaissance Festival in Plantersville, Texas. I take the same pack there that I take on wilderness day hikes.
My typical day hike gear list:
- Water bottle and/or canteen
- Water filter
- Snacks such as a Mountain House meal or peanut butter sandwich, depending on trip length
- Knife or multi-tool
- Maybe my Coleman Max stove and fuel. This is to boil water for the Mountain House meals.
- Mosquito repellent
- TOPO map, compass and GPS if I am not familiar with the wilderness area
- Rain poncho
Now that we have defined everything, let’s move onto the list of daypacks.
Until recently, I had not heard of TravTac. A representative from the company contacted me through my youtube account and asked if I would like to do a review of the TravTac Onyx. At first, I was not too enthusiastic. It looked like just another sling pack. When the pack arrived and I looked it over, I realized how different this pack was.
Travtac Onyx specs:
- Total estimated capacity of 686 cubic inches.
- 1050D ballistic fabric shell
- TMC and MOLLE attachments
- Completely assembled in USA with double stitched construction
- Lifetime material and workmanship warranty
I have several Maxpedition packs and all of them are built to the highest standard of quality and workmanship. The Noatak is no exception.
Maxpedition Noatak specs:
- Volume: 500 cu.in.
- YKK high strength zippers with paracord pulls
- Triple polyurethane coated for water resistance
- Whistle on the sternum strap
The shoulder strap is fixed and can only be worn on the left shoulder.
Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon II
One of my all time favorite day packs. When I want to grab and go, this is the pack I reach for. The Pygmy Falcon II has two attached mesh water bottle pouches, one on each side. The main compartment is large enough to carry just about all of my essentials. The TOPO map and GPS go in the rear external pouch.
I recently did a full review of Pygmy Falcon II, you can read it here – Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon II Review.
Maxpedition Condor II
If I am going to spend all day on the trail, this is one of the day packs I reach for. This the largest pack we have talked about. It has a large main compartment and two outer pouches.
There is webbing on the sides and back for pouches, water bottles, or canteens.
Maxpedition Condor II specs:
- Volume: 1400 cu.in.
- 4 channels of PALS webbing
- Removable sternum strap made from 1″ webbing
- Removable waist strap made from 1.5″ webbing
Jansport Classic Black Nylon Backpack
One of my first day packs was a Jansport black nylon backpack that cost $25. I bought it sometime in mid-1990s and used it for close to a decade. I use to cram that pack with a hammock, MRE, spare shirt, knife, canteen, rain poncho, poncho liner for warmth while sleeping in the hammock, and other odds and ends.
Twenty years later this is still one of my favorite day packs. After a decade of use, some of the stitching started to come apart. Because of the stitching, the pack was retired to a box in the closet.
This goes to show that you do not need to spend a lot of money on a day pack. Get something that fits your budget, carries your gear, and is comfortable to wear.
Day Packs and the Outdoors
The most important thing is to enjoy the outdoors. Get out there, enjoy the peace and quiet and have a good time.
There is nothing like having lunch next to a peaceful stream far away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.