Hiking Daypacks are an absolute must for anybody who enjoys a day out hiking the countryside trails (but is home in time for tea), but they’re also a really useful piece of kit for those who don’t go hiking or backpacking, in fact, a hiking day pack is essential for anybody who likes doing anything which involves carrying more gear around with you than you can comfortably fit into your pocket or purse.
Hiking, climbing, cycling, a trip to the beach, a day at school or just walking around doing a spot of city sight seeing, a hiking day pack is just right for all of those activities. You see, my little mate to the right is probably using his hiking day pack to carry his mid-morning snack whilst he’s at pre-school. (It’s somewhere to put his cap in when he gets there too, although I bet you he won’t think of that . . . I hope it’s got his name in it).
Types of Different Hiking Daypacks
Hiking day packs are used for so many different reasons, no wonder there are so many varieties and designs to choose from.
(A) Panel-loading daypacks – open along the side with a zipper and do make access easy to the main part of the daypack, when it’s fully opened the opening will be like a big flap along the side of the daypack (and a lot of your hiking or other equipment can fall out). Just an observation! It makes it easy to find stuff that’s disappeared to the bottom of your daypack though, much easier than . . .
(B) Top loading daypacks – generally have a drawstring closure and are often lighter than panel loading packs (no zippers), it’s also easier to stuff more in them than the daypack was originally designed for (get cramming . . . it’s easier than trying to close a zipper on a bulging panel loading daypack).
However, top loading daybacks do have one very steep downside . . . it’s some kind of hikers law that whatever you need is sure to be hiding securely at the bottom of your daypack, making finding it extremely difficult. All of that rummaging around can also play havoc on the careful packing you did earlier in your daypack . . .
Don’t put the water bottle on top of my sandwiches . . . oh no, everything’s squished now, and the suncream has burst all over my banana!
Use of Daypack in Different Occasion
When it comes to choosing your hiking daypack, therefore, you really need to match it carefully with the activity you need it for:
(1) Day hiking – is what they are designed for, but don’t let the word “hiking” put you off, they are also designed for day “walking” or even day “strolling”. If you are going to use this backpack for day hiking then you’re going to need around 30 liters capacity with side pockets (mesh ones are popular) because if you don’t have anything in them they lie nice and flat against your daypack. You’ll also need lots of different compartments (keep your banana separate from your suncream).
(2) Climbing & Scrambling – if you are the type of person who is likely to tackle a bit of climbing on your day hike then choose a pack which is of a narrow design, making it easier for you to use your arms on your climb with minimal restrictions. You should get a bit of a bigger back than the day walker too, because once you get up there the weather is likely to be a little cooler so you’ll need plenty of room to carry an extra layer of hiking clothing or two.
(3) School or College – if you’re going to use your hiking daypack to carry your books and pencil case to and from school or college then look for a pack with separate compartments, that way you won’t have to remove all of your text books to find your pencils or other small bits and pieces which students seem to carry in their daypacks (very often not even knowing that they are there).
I remember “tidying” my sons daypack one summer and finding a whole bunch of Christmas cards from 6 months previously, bent and torn in the bottom of his pack, along with some very questionable sandwiches which he’d forgotten about from who knows when!
Hiking daypacks can also be used as overnight backpacks, for those minimalist types who really do know the meaning of travelling light. If you’ve got a super light tent or bivy sackand really can manage with just the bare essentials on your hike or camping trip, then maybe you can fit all of your hiking gear into a hiking day pack. The smaller and lighter your backpack the easier it is to carry!