Three of the Best Small Backpacks

   06.29.18

Sometimes we may want a backpack just large enough for the basics such as navigation gear, toilet paper, snacks, bottle of water, and camera.

On a personal note, I like those small backpacks for day hikes, or for a day on the boat fishing the Angelina River. There is no need to bring a 2,000 cubic inch pack for a trip which is going to last for a few hours.

Let’s take a look at three small backpacks that should fit a range of needs for a day long trip.

Maxpedition Noatak

Maxpedition has a reputation for quality, and the Noatak is no exception. This is a sling pack large enough to hold just about everything for a day hike or maybe a nature photography trip.

Maxpedition Noatak

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  • Two compartments
  • 500 cubic inches
  • YKK zippers
  • Water bottle pouch
  • Waist belt has MOLLE webbing

I have been using a Maxpedition Noatak since 2010. During that time. it has turned into my “go to” pack for just about everything expected to last a full day.

Red Rock Outdoor Gear

Red Rock makes a complete line of small backpacks, including sling packs. My personal Red Rock is the Red Rock Outdoor Gear Rambler Sling Pack.

Besides the Rambler, Red Rock also makes the:

  • Rover
  • Sidekick
  • Recon… and a few other packs.

Red Rock sling pack

In 2016, I took the Red Rock Rambler on a hot weather hiking trip. The pack was large enough to carry everything I needed for a day long hike, plus some extra stuff.

MOLLE webbing allows addition of extra pouches, or a canteen. The Rambler has a water bottle pouch on the left side. To balance the pack, a military surplus MOLLE canteen was added to the right hand side.

Jansport Backpacks

Jansport has been making backpacks for a long time. The target audience of Jansport is someone looking for a book bag sized backpack. There is nothing wrong with using a book bag as a daypack. The size is perfect for those lightweight day long trips.

I bought a basic Jansport backpack sometime around 1995 or 1996. For close to a decade, it was my go to backpack for hiking trips, and even hot weather overnight camping trips.

There are too many Jansport backpacks to list here. A search of Amazon for Jasnsport backpacks comes back with over 400 results. It is just a matter of picking the right size

Final Thoughts

Some people associate low cost with cheap quality, and a lot of times that is true. However, there are a lot of good quality small backpacks out there that should fit a wide range of needs.

Take my Jansport backpack for example. I paid $20 for it and have gotten 20 years of service.

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