Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Daypack

One of the best ways to tote all you need for an all-day adventure is with a daypack.

Guy wearing yellow backpack on a hike
Daypacks are lightweight, durable, and a great solution for carrying gear and snacks off grid.Teton Sports

Daypacks are perfect for carrying everything you need to explore the backcountry or slog your way to work. But with so many different packs on the market, deciding what you need can be a bit daunting. Keeping these considerations in mind when shopping will assure you get the right bag for you.

Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack

Suspension

More than anything else, make sure whatever daypack you’re considering is comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.Osprey

Probably nothing dictates how comfortable a pack will be more than the suspension system. You likely know to look for shoulder straps with padding, but look at the cut of the straps themselves—especially if you are a woman. Choosing straps that will follow the contours of your body will go along way toward keeping you comfortable. The back panel should feature some sort of padding, or feature a mesh or fabric bridge to keep items from poking you and the weight evenly distributed. A hip belt helps further distribute weight, and keeps it from shifting as you move.

TETON Sports Oasis 1100 Hydration Pack

Organization

A pack that’s designed to hold a water reservoir will help you stay hydrated all day.Teton Sports

Some packs are little more than stuff sacks with shoulder straps, cutting weight by eliminating pockets. Others are full-featured organizers, with a pocket for everything from your laptop to your keys. Many have a built-in sleeve for a hydration bladder so you can sip on the go. If the primary purpose of your is pack is going fast and light on a backcountry hike, you’re better off with a lightweight model that keeps the ounces down. But if your pack is going to also pull commuter duty, a few pockets that make finding will oft-used accessories are a welcome addition.

The North Face Women's Jester Backpack

Volume

Get a pack that’s large enough to carry everything you plan to carry.The North Face

The size of a pack determines how much stuff you can cram into it, so take a long, hard look at what you plan on toting around with you before you go shopping. If you plan loading up your pack for the occasional overnighter, look for a larger model that can hold everything you need for a couple days in the backcountry. But if you plans include short sojourns into the woods or trips around town, you can get away with smaller. Keep in mind that lash cords and stuff panels let you stash bulky items like jackets on the exterior, so you might not need to eat up interior space with these items.