Whether you’re in the bush or heading to the tops, a good daypack will fit every adventure.
Offering up to 35-litres, daypacks will be zip or cinch-cord opening. External bungy cords or a stretch front pouch allows quick access to jackets and oversize gear.
Padded closed cell foam is common. Shoulder straps are contoured to eliminate excess weight and prevent chafing around the neck and armpits. Sternum straps prevent the straps from sliding down the arms. They can be positioned, via a slider, and often come with a built-in emergency whistle.
Airflow between the pack and back is provided by mesh suspension systems or foam with channels cut into it.
Packs up to 20-litres often have a webbing belt to assist with stability. Larger capacity packs may have a padded belt, but it is likely to be minimal and consist of perforated foam to keep weight down.
Fabric and water resistance
It’s common to see different weight fabrics used with high wear areas using a strong tear- and abrasion-resistant high denier nylons. Look for fabrics between 200D and 450D in these areas. Some brands prefer to use canvas – a durable and weather-resistant material
Side compression straps are standard and help keep the load stable – especially when the pack is only partially full. The straps can also secure walking poles and drink bottles.
Most daypacks provide special attachment points for tools – walking poles and ice axes in particular.
Access could be via zips or top loading via a hood with drawcord closure. Zips allow quick and easy access – opening the pack up nice and wide. Top loaders are generally more weather-resistant.
Now you know what to look for, it’s time to choose a daypack.
Macpac Amp 40 $299.99
Moulded foam back panel, stretch mesh bottle pockets, zig zag compression, blinker light attachment, 360 degree reflectivity, padded removable hip belt with pockets, walking pole carry compatible, lid mesh pockets, stretch mesh front pocket. Fabric Titan Grid, 100D nylon dobby with silicon coating, 210D Cordura nylon Capacity 40l Weight 900g.
The North Face Litus 32 $250
NextVent suspended-mesh back panel, zipper access, vented-foam package, external face pocket, internal security pocket, two tool attachment points, hipbelt pockets, webbing lash points, hydration sleeve, overstuff beaver tail. Fabric 100D nylon, 210D geo weave nylon Capacity 32l Weight 879g.
Tatonka Skill 30 $199
X Vent Zero harness holds pack away from back, reverse-pull waist belt, extra-wide top opening, contoured shoulder straps, quick-access front pocket, zip-out divider, hydration system compatible, air-cooled ventilation, rain cover, two year warranty. Fabric T-Rip Light Capacity 30l Weight 1105g.
Montane Medusa 32 $169
Moisture-wicking moulded Montane Comfort Back Pad, ice axe and walking pole attachment system, Granite Stretch skirt around lid, stretch side pockets for bottles or skis, left hip gear loop, right hip stash pocket, low-abrasion mesh shoulder straps, hydration compatible, storm flap. Fabric Raptor TL, Raptor UTL Capacity 32l Weight 967g.
| Montane Cobra 25 $159
Moisture-wicking moulded Montane Comfort Back Pad, Dual Tool ice axe and walking pole attachment system, double zippered side and top opening, storm flap, front grab handle, body curve hip fins, stretch side pockets, left hip gear loop, right hip stash pocket, hydration compatible. Fabric Raptor TL, Raptor UTL Capacity 32l Weight 873g.
Merrell Myers $149
Lycra side pockets, front zipper pocket, internal organiser panel, padded shoulder straps, adjustable sternum strap with whistle, main compartment with rain guard zipper, padded back panel and top handle, stowable hip belt, hydration compatible, pole/ice axe loops. Fabric 420D polyester ripstop, 420D nylon Capacity 22l Weight 550g.
The North Face The Diad Pro 22 $120
Lid pocket/storage pocket, hydration sleeve, mesh outer pockets, daisy chain, webbing hipbelt, sternum strap, stowable. Fabric 210D HT geodesic ripstop nylon Capacity 22l Weight 397g.