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The Portland Hiking Meetup Group Message Board Gear Talk › Need a bigger day pack!

Need a bigger day pack!

A former member
Post #: 24
I've got a day pack but it's always packed to the brim. Especially with all this talk of what people bring on day hikes, it might be a good idea for me to have a pack with more capacity. Any suggestions on a good pack with good capacity? Maybe what I'm really looking for is a three-day pack even for day hikes?

As far as place to buy it there's always REI but there are several other outdoor stores around town, including U.S. Outdoor, OMC, etc. It would be interesting to hear opinions on the best places to buy gear, too.

A wise person once said that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." I will now invent a new corollary: "The amount of gear you bring expands to fill available backpack capacity."

Since it's good to be prepared out there, this is a good thing!


Neil A
user 4250936
Beaverton, OR
Post #: 71
Hey Neil,

Ah decisions, decisions... always a good thing when it comes to gear. Although it ends up being more expensive, I will definitely recommend two packs. One for backpacking and one for day hiking. For backpacking the choice is not so difficult. You just need volume on something that fits you comfortably and will transfer the load the way it should be. For that I have an Osprey Aether 70 which I love. That pack can hold, for me, more that 6 days worth of stuff (next week I will be testing it with 10 days worth of stuff). I did have a Gregory Baltoro before and found it to be very comfortable but too heavy. I believe REI has different packs that you can rent. The best would be to try a couple over a weekend outing and find what works for you.

For day hiking, depending on how adventurous, how much gear or how flexible you are, what pack will be best for you. A lot of people just go with a Camelbak hydration system. Those work good but will not hold a lot of gear and can get heavy on the shoulders. This in the end are hydration systems. Backpack manufacturers do have smaller packs that are hydration system compatible that will do better. Depending on how much gear and comfort you want, you can go for higher volume but not all the way to backpacking volume. One thing to look for that makes a huge difference though is an internal frame. That transfers the load to your hips like a backpacking pack does. Not only the pack will fit lighter on your shoulders but it will be far more comfortable allowing you to go faster and/or farther. For that I have an Osprey Stratos 40 (which sadly they don't make anymore). The size is a bit big but I could do an overnighter with this pack. The do have new models in the Stratos family in 36 and 34 as well as newer models that might work equally well. If you go with an internal frame daypack, make certain to try it on with weight and have it adjusted at the store, it makes a world of a difference.
A former member
Post #: 18
You may want to check Next Adventure as well. They should give a club discount.

I like the older Vaude & Eureka Crescent packs; fairly lightweight, extremely durable (I don't care for the easy-to-wear/fray/chew-through mesh stuff.. too many gnawing varmints) and a good value for the dollars.

Good hunting!
user 9676491
Portland, OR
Post #: 4
I use a Dana pack (the sphinx) that's no longer made for most my winter day hiking/light three season backpacking. I also have an Arcteryx bora I use sometimes when I feel I should pack a real winter bivy kit on a day hike. The Dana is around 40 lt or so it has a pretty serious extension collar, the bora a 60lt. The bora is really my weekend load hauler, I dont use it much for winter day hikes.

I've looked at the Osprey Atomos and Kestrel series for packs for this sort of use. A modern rucksack is good choice- Lowe still makes one, the alpine attack. What you really want to do is figure out how much more you might want to carry beyond what you do now and from there you should know what size pack you need. Features that allow the pack to readily stow crampons, snowshoes, skis and an ice axe can be desirable.

The Dana pack can strip down- the beavertail, belt padding, lid, packstay, frame sheet, back padding can all be removed. It's a good feature to look for.

If you want to use the pack for backpacking you want to make sure your sleeping bag will fit the bottom of the pack, not all packs in this range will be shaped conveniently for a bag.

You can also review what you bring and trim it down to fit your current pack. If you bring the bivy you will use the bivy…….

A former member
Post #: 26
I got lost in the Olympics for about 24-hours when I was in my mid-twenties. It's an experience I'd prefer not to repeat but the truth is things can go wrong out there. This is okay if you are prepared. It's not okay if you are not prepared. I learned this the easy way: When things went very wrong, I was very ready.

With this in mind, should I have three packs: warm season day pack, cold season day pack, and backpack? If so, optimal capacity on each? If just one day pack, what would be the optimal 4 season day pack capacity?

I'm now in the process of going through my gear and figuring out where I can make improvements.

Thank you very much for the answers so far. I really appreciate it!

Neil A
A former member
Post #: 28
I got an Osprey Talon 44. It is Osprey's lightest multi-day, though I'll probably use it for day hikes. U.S. Outdoor actually calls this a daypack.

Any thoughts on whether this was a good choice for a daypack? U.S. Outdoor allows returns within 30-days.

It seems the perfect compromise between too much capacity for a daypack and not quite enough...
user 9676491
Portland, OR
Post #: 5
That likely would have been a top choice for me if I was shopping today

If it will fit your day gear and it's comfortable it should be good to go. Load it with your gear see how it feels on your back, then load it with an overnight/weekend kit see how it feels.
A former member
Post #: 33
That likely would have been a top choice for me if I was shopping today

If it will fit your day gear and it's comfortable it should be good to go. Load it with your gear see how it feels on your back, then load it with an overnight/weekend kit see how it feels.

Used it on hike on Monday, and my upper-back really hurt the whole drive home. I feel fortunate that my back feels okay this morning.

I don't think the pack itself caused the back pain but more likely that I didn't do a very good job of distributing the weight and adjusting the pack. Need to study both things to avoid future pain.
user 6564426
Portland, OR
Post #: 111
I think most brands are well made, so the deciding factors should be fit, features and size. So get out there and try on various options.

I own two Kelty day packs of varying sizes that I love. The largest is 3100 cubic inches, which is plenty for a day hike unless I'm carrying a lot of camera gear. For backpacking I use a monster-sized Arc'teryx. It has a wonderful waist belt design that transfers most of the weight to my hips.

I generally don't mix day and backpacking packs because I'm not a big fan of the flap-over-a-big-hole design of most backpacks. It works for backpacking, but not so much for day hiking. For day hiking, I want a lighter design with more pockets.

I personally don't like Camelbaks because they are a pain to clean and fill. And twice I've had the tube come undone at the bottom of the bladder.
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