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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 pack has a capacity around 2,000 cubic inches or between 30 and 50 liters.
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
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:
Rather than choose the largest model, focus instead on a size that will provide the capacity to fit your needs and length of your hike.
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.
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