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Buyers Guide

Matador Beast

The Best Packable Daypacks for Travel 2018

by , January 29, 2018

There are plenty of great luggage options to get your gear from plane, train or bus to your travel accommodation. But once you arrive, hauling all your gear will quickly become a hindrance to your explorations. However, this is where packable daypacks come into their own. Compact and lightweight enough to store in your luggage, these are ideal for carrying essentials so you can stay agile and explore more freely.

So what should you look for in a packable daypack?

First off, it needs to be large enough to fit everything you need it to. Also think about how much organization you’ll need. The bare minimum may be fine for some, while others will do better with plenty of pockets to keep gear tidy and accessible. In addition, while the light weight of packable daypacks means a certain trade-off in durability, you’ll still want a decent degree of durability to ensure it can withstand use in a range of environments. So keep an eye out for fabrics with tear and abrasion resistance, as well as weatherproof or water-resistant materials if you want protection from the elements or will be involved in water-based activities. And finally, while you won’t be hauling a lot of weight, if you plan to use the pack for several hours at a time consider features such as padded and wide shoulder straps, a sternum strap and waist belt to distribute the load and increase carry comfort.

So with the above in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best packable daypacks to suit a range of budgets and travel settings…

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack (from US$ 32)

Best packable daypacks: Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack

Weighing just 2.4 oz. (68 grams), and small enough to attach to a keyring or stash inside luggage, this budget-friendly pack is convenient enough to carry every day so you’re always prepared. The siliconised CORDURA® and reinforced stitching at stress points offer a combination that’s durable enough to withstand day hikes, grocery shopping and urban sightseeing alike. Plus with its two-way zipper accessing your gear is easy too.

Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack (from US$ 35)

Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack

Osprey’s Ultralight Stuff Pack offers a range of handy features such as a Deluxe AirMesh™ harness, dual zippers for easier access, three pockets for organization including a stretch mesh side pocket for a water bottle, and reflective graphics for improved visibility. All in a bag that packs down to the size of an apple and only weighs 90 grams.

L.L.Bean Stowaway Day Pack (US$ 39.95)

L.L.Bean Stowaway Day Pack

The 22L Stowaway is a great option if you want lots of pockets to organize your gear. Side, front and top pockets keep your essential items tidy and within easy reach, while the durable and water-resistant ripstop nylon fabric will happily embrace a range of uses and environments. The pack weighs 14 oz. (around 397 grams) and features padded shoulder straps along with an adjustable sternum strap and waist strap for added comfort.

Cotopaxi Luzon 18L Daypack (US$ 39.95)

Cotopaxi Luzon 18L Daypack

Available in a wide variety of colorways to suit your personal tastes, the Luzon is made with repurposed ripstop nylon and weighs in at 300 grams (0.66 lbs). The pack features a simple drawstring closure, easy-access front pocket, an interior sleeve for a hydration bladder, and a sternum strap and waist belt. And with its versatile design the Luzon can embrace diverse urban and outdoor carry needs.

Arc’teryx Index 15 Backpack (US$ 59)

Arc'teryx Index 15

Taking inspiration from summit packs, the Index 15 is a versatile pack that fares well in the outdoors but can just as easily stash the essentials for city-based sightseeing. The 15L bag weighs 0.22 kg (8 oz.) and includes an interior pocket and a sleeve for a hydration bladder or tablet. The front exterior pocket is handy for quick-access items, while eight exterior loops allow you to attach additional gear as required.

Matador FreeRain24 Waterproof Packable Backpack (US$ 59.99)

Matador FreeRain24 Waterproof Packable Backpack

Looking for protection from the elements? This 24L backpack does the trick, with a waterproof main compartment and a water-resistant zipper on the front vertical pocket. Made from 30D waterproof Cordura®, the bag features a Hypalon rolltop closure and dual side pockets and weighs 157 grams (5.5 oz.).

Mystery Ranch In & Out (US$ 78.95)

Mystery Ranch In & Out

The Mystery Ranch In & Out is made with 100D Cordura Mini Rip fabric for lightweight durability. The contoured shoulder straps and sternum strap provide comfort on the go, while a choice of exterior pockets and tool loops keep frequently used items easily accessible. The 19L In & Out backpack weighs 1 lb (0.4 kg), stuffs into its own front pocket and includes a hydration bladder pocket.

Tom Bihn Daylight Backpack (US$ 100)

Tom Bihn Daylight Backpack

Available in two fabric options to suit different needs and settings, the Daylight Backpack is an adaptable bag that can wander urban streets, meander along day hike trails, or hop between transport modes carrying your travel essentials. The main compartment opens wide for easy access, with two interior elasticized pouch pockets and a front zippered pocket for organization. All backed by a lifetime guarantee.

Matador Beast Packable Backpack (US$ 89.99)

Matador Beast Packable Backpack

Rugged and adaptable, the Beast packable backpack roams equally well in outdoor settings or urban environments. Built with tough PU-coated ripstop nylon, the water-resistant pack offers multiple pockets and attachment points for organizing your gear. It’s also hydration bladder compatible and includes a hip belt and sternum strap for carry comfort on the go. And when you need to store it, it packs down to a compact football-sized package weighing 20 oz. (560 grams).

Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Daypack (US$ 99)

Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Daypack

The Outbreaker’s sleek, clean style looks right at home in urban environments, while the weatherproof X-Pac fabric and water-resistant YKK zippers keep the elements at bay. The pack features laptop and tablet sleeves, along with a front zippered pocket, key clip and side water bottle pockets. The bag packs flat for easy storage in luggage when not in use, and weighs 1.1 lbs (around 500 grams).

Triple Aught Design Azimuth Pack (US$ 120)

Triple Aught Design Azimuth Pack

Lightweight and multifunctional, the Azimuth is a durable 19L pack coming in at 0.8 lbs (around 360 grams). The bag is versatile enough to handle urban and outdoor pursuits and is made in the USA with weather-resistant VX-21 ripstop and VX-07 fabric. A choice of top and side access lets you easily get to your gear, with an internal pocket and attachment points to organize items. Additionally, quick-access exterior pockets keep essentials within easy reach and the pack is also hydration bladder compatible.

Join the conversation. What packable daypack do you sling and why?


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