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Among the many different types and styles of hiking gear, daypacks are easily the most versatile. Used primarily for single-day hikes, daypacks are designed to be compact and lightweight, with the capacity to carry supplies for a single day; a typical day hiking pack has a capacity around 2,000 cubic inches or between 30 and 50 liters. Due to its versatility, daypacks can be as the following:
School & Work Daypacks Intended for carrying school and work supplies, these general use backpacks feature large internal pockets and a soft backed or a frameless design. Particularly well-liked by students and professionals on the go, school & work daypacks accommodate this active lifestyle.
Hiking Daypacks Designed for shorter trips, hiking daypacks are intended to carry lighter gear using a soft-backed or frameless design. Hikers will find that these packs will include features that make their excursions much more pleasurable like:
Padded Waist Belt Focuses Weight Onto the Hips for Greater Comfort
Padded Back Panels To Prevent Cargo from Poking Through the Material
Contoured Shoulder Straps Prevent Dig-In for Increased Comfort
Hydrations Compatible Packs Specifically created for carrying water, this type of day hiking pack is for those that want to carry minimal gear on their back. Perfect for short day hikes or carrying around town, hydration compatible daypacks provide the end user with the option to carry a water reservoir along with some additional supplies.
Buying Considerations for Daypacks
As with most types of outdoor gear, the most important factors in selecting a good one often depends on how you plan on using it and your personal preference. A good way to evaluate the features of each daypack is to focus on three areas:
Activity - Daypacks are useful for a variety of activities including hiking, biking and commuting, each of which has its own set of preferred features. Identify the activity that you plan on pursuing most often and then determine the features that may mean the most to you. Some include:
Padded Hip Belt
Size For many Bigger is Better but this is not the case for daypacks. Generally speaking you should focus on a size that will have the capacity to fit your needs.
Shape The shape and profile of a day hiking pack can have a big impact on how it performs, so you should evaluate each pack based on how it matches your preferred activity. For example, a bicyclist needs a small, unobtrusive daypack that will allow freedom of motion, while a bulkier daypack for a hiker would be acceptable.
Tips in Daypack Selection
Selecting daypacks is fairly subjective and somewhat challenging, however consider some of these tips to help you climb the learning curve faster:
Fit Daypacks should rest between the base of your neck and the small of your back
Padding Look for extra padding when carrying excess weight
Hydration Pick a pack that allows for easy access to water