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Day Packs?

What would you suggest...I have a Mountainsmith bag that doubles as a messenger bag and waist wrap or just a regular backpack. I love the Mountainsmith but I just want to make sure I am practical.

Posted by
479 posts

Sarah, I am not familiar with the backpack you have. Rick Steves' Civita day pack is absolutely fantastic. It's soft enough to double as a pillow, extremely light, and rolls up into practically nothing in a suitcase when not in use. It's also big enough to easily fit a 3-ring binder plus lots of other goodies for the day.

Posted by
1830 posts

Sarah, your MountainSmith bag will work. My daughter took a similar Kelty bag to Europe a few years ago and loved it.

Just make sure that if you are in crowds that you keep the bag in front of you and one hand on the zipper. Use the shoulder strap always, and across the body, not just hanging from your shoulder to keep the bag secure.

Any bag that you love, is large enough for daily use items, and small enough to not get too heavy is perfect.

Don't go out and spend precious money on a new bag for your trip - use what you have and know and love!

Posted by
1158 posts

I don't like waist belts unless I go hiking. When you walk around a city, it's incovenient to remove your backpack if you buckled your waist belt.
A few years ago I bought an Eddie Bauer laptop day backpack from Target, just $50. they make them nicer now, the backstrap is more comfortble.What i liek the most about this bag is the fact that it's adjusable.It has to side straps .And it's quiet big.
I also bought a National geographic backack with a removable day backpack. The day backpack is not very big, it's not very wide, but the main bag it's nice.
Take a look at

Posted by
769 posts

I use my NorthFace Borealis or Recon day pack - good ergonomics and very good shoulder straps - not to bulky and very sturdy.

Posted by
683 posts

We somehow managed to go 5 1/2 months in Europe this past year, without resort to a daypack. We did use one in Spain in 2005, which we had bought at a small store in Seville for 8€.

Posted by
20 posts

I don't know if your Mountainsmith is a one-strap, across-the-body style like a Timbuk2. I'll take a Timbuk2, or any other single-strap, bandolier-style bag, over a backpack any day of the week for several reasons: (1) you can easily swing it to the front in crowds, on trains, in lines, etc. Much safer plus more courteous in crowds, when the extra width of a backpack might whack someone. (2) You don't have to take it off on a bus or train--you just swing it around and it'll sit in your lap. (3) You can get stuff out much more easily, just by swinging the bag to the front. (Do you see a trend here?) (4) The big top flap makes finding things much easier than rummaging around in a deep bag, esp if your messenger bag has a light-colored lining. (5) I find that weight carried low (on my hips) is easier than weight carried high (between my shoulder blades).

So stick with your Mountainsmith. And bon voyage!

Posted by
36 posts

When one is spending a long day out and about on foot, carrying a lunch, extra jacket or umbrella, camera, water bottle, and all the odds and ends that a person needs when out for the day, I personally find that the weight is most comfortable when balanced between two shoulders--that is to say, in a day-pack. You can always lock the zippers if you're going to be in crowds. All the comments about the greater convenience of a one-shoulder-bag are totally accurate, however, so you need to weigh (no pun intended)that convenience against the discomfort of carrying an unbalanced load.