These small-capacity packs are designed to carry everything you need for a day in the bush or on the tops.
Offering up to 35l, daypacks will be zip or buckle opening. External bungee cords or a stretch front pouch allow quick access to jackets and oversize gear.
Padded shoulder straps are contoured to eliminate excess weight and prevent chafing around the neck and armpits. Sternum straps provide stability and prevent the shoulder straps from sliding down the arms. They often come with a built-in emergency whistle.
Fabric and water resistance
It’s common to see different weight fabrics used. Lighter fabrics are used on the upper parts of the pack, with heavier and more durable fabrics (from 200 up to 1000 denier) used in places that receive a lot of wear and tear – like the pack’s base. Nylon is common because it is light and hardwearing. Some brands use canvas, which is incredibly dur-able and more weather-resistant.
Side compression straps are standard and help keep the load stable – especially when the pack is only partially full.
Most packs will have stretch side pockets which can accommodate drink bottles. Some of the larger packs will be ‘hydration compatible’, which means they have an internal hydration reservoir sleeve with a port allowing the hose to exit the pack.
Most daypacks provide attachment points for tools such as walking poles and ice axes.
Smaller capacity packs will have a webbing belt to assist with stability. Larger capacity models will have a padded belt, but because the weight being carried is not great, it is likely to have minimal padding and consist of perforated foam.
To reduce sweaty backs, airflow between the pack and back is provided by mesh suspension systems or a foam panel with channels cut into it.
Zips allow quick and easy access, while hood and drawcord-closure top loaders tend to be more weather-resistant.
Lowe Alpine Aeon 35, $279.95
Top and side opening, large stretch front and hip belt pockets, side compression straps, walking pole and tool attachment points. Fabric Trishield 100D, 210D Taslan Dobby Capacity 35l Weight 940g. www.outfitters.net.nz
Macpac Rapaki Vented 30l, $199.99
Airstream harness with suspended mesh panel, adjustable hip belt, sternum strap, zipped compartments with internal organisation, padded electronics pockets, expansion gusset, self-draining side pockets, front stash pocket, top grab handle, rain cover. Fabric 420D nylon, 840D nylon base Capacity 25+5l Weight 1150g. www.macpac.co.nz
Macpac Boulder 28l, $159.99
Padded harness with mesh panelling, dual zipped compartments, top zip pocket, front and side mesh stretch pockets, walking pole attachment, cycle light loop with reflective detailing, hip belt pockets, hydration compatible. Fabric 420D Oxford Nylon, 630D Cordura nylon base Capacity 28l Weight 900g. www.macpac.co.nz
Lowe Alpine AirZone Trail 35, $279.95
Top-loading, breathable AirZone back system, forward pull hip belt with pockets, hydration compatible, ice axe loop, rain cover, internal lid pocket, TipGripper walking pole attachments, sternum strap with whistle, stretch side pockets. Fabric Nylon Mini Ripstop Capacity 35l Weight 1007g. www.outfitters.net.nz
Lowe Alpine Aeon 27, $259.95
Top-loading, zip entry, lid pocket, front stretch stash pocket, side stretch pockets, hydration compatible, TipGripper walking pole attachments, ice axe loops, double side compression. Fabric Trishield 100D, 210D Taslan Dobby Capacity 27l Weight 854g. www.outfitters.net.nz
Cactus Outdoor Henry from $229
Tapered design, top-loading, single buckle closure, side pockets with one-handed closure, mesh back panel pocket, hydration compatible, shock cord compression. Fabric Oxford polyester or canvas Capacity 29l Weight 630g or 715g. www.cactusoutdoor.co.nz
Montane Trailblazer 30, $189
Customisable Covalent harness, adjustable ZephyrAD back system, two off-centre Click and Go chest harness straps, harness pockets, wrap-around wand pockets with security zips, bivi opening with Cord Lord quick release, stretch pocket, daisy chain, front and underarm pole carry system. Fabric 70D nylon, 210D nylon base Capacity 30l Weight 800g. www.furtherfaster.co.nz
The North Face Borealis, $200
FlexVent suspension system, injection-moulded shoulder straps, padded mesh back panel, laptop compartment, two mesh water bottle pockets, fleece-lined sunglasses pocket, elastic bungee, reflective detailing. Fabric 600D recycled polyester Capacity 28l Weight 1220g (m), 1160g (w).
Macpac Kahuna 1.1 18l, $109.99
T-Bone harness with AirMesh, zippered compartment, expandable laptop sleeve, front zip pocket, top grab handle, cycle light loop, adjustable sliding rail sternum strap and internal zip pocket with key clip. Fabric 420D Cordura Oxford nylon Capacity 18l Weight 500g. www.macpac.co.nz
Aarn Little Llama 20, $165
Body-moulding ventilating back panel, U-Flow harness, balance pockets in shoulder straps, hip belt, twin chest straps, zip top pocket, stretch front and side pockets, tuck-away pole attachments, reflective highlights. Fabric 210D Dynatec and ripstop nylon Capacity 20l Weight 635g. www.aarnpacks.com