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Recommendations for your favorite daypack?

I'm looking for a daypack that can hold a layer, water, valuables, book, snack-but not be too big. I'd prefer chest and hip straps, and a light frame. I'd prefer the size to be around 16-20L. Water-resistant would be helpful also. I've been looking at Osprey's Flapjill and Deuter's Airlite but can't decide. Any thoughts on this? What do you use for a day around town but with the possibility of doing a hike in the woods?

Posted by
1494 posts

I think you are over thinking it:). That Flapjill is cute and looks great, but wow! That's a lot for a daypack! I love Osprey. We have 2 different Osprey packs that both have attachable daypacks. Do you have an REI nearby where you could go check them out? I will say - I agree that I like a daypack with a bit of structure to it and the chest and waist straps are very nice, especially if you will be doing some hiking. One of our osprey daypacks has a hydration sleeve which is a very nice feature. If we weren't taking our Ozone with the attachable daypack I would most likely take one of the camelback's we already own.

Have you checked out the Eddiebauer collection of daypacks. They also have some very nice ones which probably aren't quite as expensive the two you are looking at.

Posted by
23431 posts

Unless you are putting a lot of weight in the bag chest and hip straps are over kill and add there own weight to the bag. We have always used a standard book bag that looks cheap and used. I carry it mostly on one shoulder that allows quick removal on trains and buses when I drop the bag to my feet and stand on one strap. I would never "wear" a bag in crowded situations. I would never have anything of value in the bag. Even with the best intentions a bag can get away from you. I think both bags are overkill for urban usage.

Posted by
1194 posts

I’ve have the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Tote. I got mine at a Memorial Day Sale for $50 or so. The bag is advertised as 22 liters. It is actually 16 liters in size.

I’ve actually used it as my only luggage for week long trips. I have also hiked miles with it and used it as a day bag. Oh, and I’ve hauled groceries in it. It is stronger than it looks.

It’s fairly versatile and is comfortable to around 15 pounds of load.

The bag converts from backpack to tote, making it acceptable in places a regular backpack would be shunned. The backpack straps all tuck away, including the hip straps.

I modified mine slightly. I sewed a small ring at the end of the zipper. Then I used a locking S-binder to secure the zipper to the ring. This secured the bag.

Posted by
4171 posts

What town? What woods?

With that size, weight and especially with that much structure, I can't imagine those as daypacks for much of any place in Europe.

For the first time in several years, I decided I might use a daypack so that I can walk around hands-free.

First I got a HikPro packable daypack similar to this one. I thought the dimensions, size and weight (8 oz) were perfect for my minimal daily needs which are almost the same as yours. Mine is an older model and is 25L. There's a slight chance I might use it as my main pack instead of the 23L Appenzell I got for that purpose if I find I don't need the great pockets the Appenzell has.

Then someone on this forum mentioned this Sea to Summit. Similar size, but much lighter at 2.5 oz. I was able to try this on locally and it is perfect, so it's the daypack I'm taking. It packs into a stuff sack about the size of my first.

P.S. I'd never put my valuables in a backpack of any kind. That's what money belts (mine, worn under my clothes, not like the picture) and small cross-body purses (also mine) are for.

Posted by
74 posts

All good suggestions, thanks! And yes, I'm definitely overthinking it, but hey, it's fun to explore all the options out there! Keep 'em coming-they help me think through what I want.

My favorite so far is the Merrell Rouge. This bag is disappearing. It can still be bought on For women around 5'5" or shorter - this is a good choice. Too small for my 6 ft. tall husband. I have used this pack quite a bit. It has good features - only a couple of minor con.s. The main compartment with the rain flap withstood a torrential downpour and still kept the contents dry. The main compartment can be locked with a small luggage lock. I'm tempted to buy another before they go extinct. Shoulder straps are comfortable, durable, sternum strap can be adjusted above the bust which is a key factor for me. Good option for smaller adults. About 15 - 17 liters. Enough packing space and a few useful pockets.

Cindy H,
I bought the Patagonia bag a while back based on your recommendation - also on sale at I like your tip about securing the zipper. I may add a ring to the key- clip base to secure the small interior pocket. Thanks for your tip.

Posted by
11 posts

Check out the packs at I have owned several and they are high quality.

Posted by
1194 posts

Make sure you load the Sea to Summit before you buy it. I found that it could only take lighter loads before the straps started cutting in to my shoulders. Otherwise it’s a nice light bag.

Posted by
55 posts

My favorite daypack is my Tom Bihn Daylight Backpack in their Halcyon fabric. It's super packable--I lay it flat in the bottom of my bag before packing other stuff on top, and it basically disappears--as well as sturdy. The three zips can be clipped together with a small double carabiner for some added security. I also like that it has a very thin profile and doesn't look too "outdoorsy." It may not have enough structure for some folks, but if you're considering one of the Sea to Summit packable daypacks, it will definitely have more structure than those!

I've used it on some nice day hikes along woodland trails (like from Sassnitz to the King's Seat on Rugen and climbing to the Visegrad castle and back), as well as in cities and towns. I even use it on work trips for my laptop, but that's not in your question ;-)

Posted by
420 posts

Whatever you get you can always purchase a chest strap on Amazon.

The Flapjill is really cute but both these bags seem like a lot of bag for sightseeing around town. Also you don’t want to carry your valuables in a backpack unless it’s an anti-theft bag.

Posted by
7400 posts

Like Claudia, I also really like the LL Bean Stowaway Pack. Mine is the turquoise color. But, to be honest, I mainly use it as my handy bag at my feet on the plane & trains unless we're going to be hiking in Austria or Switzerland. Otherwise, in towns I just carry my Baggalini purse:

or this bag if we're going to the beach for the day:

Posted by
28 posts

I have a Day Pack made by Jandd Mountaineering that I have had for wellover 22 years and it still looks good. It has been to Europe with me six times as my carryon. It is the Mogen Daypack and not cheap at $118 but it will last!! It had a hip strap and sternum strap. (Mine is an older model that didn’t come with the sternum strap at that time!). It is 17x14x7, 29 ounces and I like the way it unzips to access the inside. It has compression straps on the back which add a bit of security! I also use it for day hiking. Jandd uses high quality materials. It may be over kill for you but check it out!

Posted by
104 posts

My favorite backpack is one by Swiss Gear

Swiss Gear Backpack

You carry as much as you'd like or as little as you'd like. All the compartments will accept small TSA combo locks. It's got a lot of compartments. Actually this may be better if backpacking through Europe.

Posted by
1221 posts

I will join in the Tom Bihn love. I've got a Brain Bag I use on outdoor activities when I need that much space and also as a weekender or plane carry-on. Their bags are good quality, very durable, and there are a number of different size options, all of which are designed to hold more than what their stated capacity suggests they should. Not cheap, but will last a very long time.

Posted by
3241 posts

What do you use for a day around town but with the possibility of
doing a hike in the woods?

I'll take a slightly less casual (?) tone on the backpack. This is the one I'm using now: 12 x 16 x 6. It is also my personal item on the plane. It fits what you list, plus my DSLR (which is really why I bought it). I find it a good day bag, but practically speaking I just use it for my camera stuff when out and about. I like this bag for the security features, and because it is BA's PI size, but also because it looks dressier than an average backpack as I tend to frequent cities or villages. If I were on a serious hiking trip, this is not the bag I'd bring, but for general travel with a day hike thrown in, I found it fine and will stick with it. In transit, I did have my backup financial information in it, buried down toward the bottom and attached to the bag. I felt comfortable with that arrangement. Sometimes my jacket was in it for parts of the day, and sometimes it was just attached to it--my jacket fits in its own pocket.

PS, although some of the Tom Bihn bags are cute, but wish they didn't have that huge label on the back.