Summer is in full swing, which means it’s time to start planning some adventures. Whether you’re hitting the trail, upgrading your office gear, or want a bag that can do both, a good daypack is the foundation of any set of serious gear. If you’re planning on logging some serious miles this summer that old North Face backpack you’ve still got from your college days isn’t going to cut it. The best daypacks are purpose built for exploring, travel, commuting, and everything in between. We’ve picked a handful of our favorites and done all the testing and legwork for you. Now you just have to load up and find your own wilderness.
Fast and Light: Deuter Airlite 28
Weighing in just over two pounds, the Deuter Airlite 28 is your light weight weapon of choice for any mountain sport. Mesh waist straps and a raised back panel provide extra air flow. It’s got just enough organization – with side and back pouches and a internal valuables pocket – without being over built. If you’re looking for the perfect “do it all” daypack, you just found it.
Urban Style: Oliberte Krabu
The Krabu pack from Oliberte is hand made at their Fair Trade Certified factory in Ethiopia. This simple pull-up leather pack is at home carting office essentials on your daily commute, or carrying a few extras to a weekend music festival. The full grain leather is treated for durability and proper aging, giving you a timeless classic that you’ll pass on to your kids.
Backcountry Hauling: Fjallraven Kaipak 28
The Kaipak line from Fjallraven is made from their super burly G-1000 Eco Canvas. For hauling a full load of hiking gear for an epic day on the trails, it is unparalleled. The classic top loading style is complemented by a simple harness system and removable waist belt. When you want to go far without worrying if your pack will still be comfortable at the end of the day, accept no substitute.
Bike Commuter: Osprey Radial 26
We spent much of May riding eighteen miles to and from the office every day. Every mile was accomplished in comfort with the redesigned Osprey Radial 26. From the harness to the internal organization, this pack is built for serious bike commuters. A padded laptop compartment fits up to a 15 inch laptop, with an additional zippered tablet slot. The main compartment fit a change of clothes (who wants to show up to the office in sweaty spandex?), a sketchbook, and lunch with ease. On the outside the Lidlock helmet clip and water bottle side pockets kept everything within reach when it came time to get back on the road.
Military Style: CTOMS 2nd Line Main Pack
We throw “durable” and even “bombproof” around a lot when talking about outdoor gear. Canadian company CTOMS builds gear for Special Operations forces, so when the question of durability comes up, everything they make is battlefield tested. Their 2nd Line Main Pack lives up to that heritage with ease. Internally it is lined with velcro, allowing your to customize organization from their line of pouches – ranging from laptop and hydration carry to essential medical kits. The pack body is built from 500 denier Mil-Spec nylon that is incredibly abrasion resistant. We’re not saying you need to take this one into a warzone, but if you did, it would probably fare better than you do.
Jetsetting: Arc’Teryx Blade 30
If your summer plans have you crossing a few borders and oceans in search of adventure you’ll need a pack to carry all your gadgets and essentials. Arc’Teryx’s Blade 30 will carry your laptop, Gopro, and a weekend’s worth of clothes so you don’t have to worry about a checked bag getting sent to the wrong place and ruining your adventure. Five internal pockets – including a hidden one for your passport and boarding passes – will keep you organized, and an easy access laptop pouch makes getting through security a breeze.
Trail Running: Gregory Tempo 8
For the ultrarunners and trail junkies, Gregory’s new Tempo 8 is the ideal lightweight solution to keep you running strong all day. Designed around the packing requirements for the famous Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc, it’s got just enough room to carry a warm layer, rain jacket, headlamp, emergency blanket and snacks. Secondary pockets help carry trekking poles for the steep uphills, and allow you to stash gloves and trash while on the move. As running packs go, you won’t find a more idiot-proof way to stay prepared without over packing.
Summit Day: Eddie Bauer Bacon
Designed as a secondary pack for alpine climbers and mountaineers, the Bacon pack is stripped down to the bare essentials to be your summit rocket. An internal nylon webbing system ties into the side compression straps and load stabilizers, allowing this tiny pack to carry deceptively heavy loads with ease. Gear loops accommodate skis, trekking poles, or ice axes. The silicon coated fabric is waterproof, protecting your phone and DSLR when the weather gets rough. The best part? The entire pack folds into a zippered top pouch for travel and storage, giving you an excuse the bring the Bacon everywhere you go.