Looking for a Day Pack

I’m looking for a good day pack. Ideally, it should be able to hold a camping weekend’s worth of clothes (e.g. t-shirts, shorts, underwear, socks) and have multiple compartments (a larger internal area for clothes and such, and at least one smaller, externally accessible area closed by a clasp or zipper.

It needs to have enough pockets (internal and external) so that I can easily assign jobs to the pockets (e.g. one picket for pocket knife, compass, another pocket for pens, notebooks, and a kindle, another for sunscreen and bug spray).

It needs a good internal place to store my keys for the weekend (good being 1) accessible and 2) doesn’t dig into my back. It also needs storage for water bottles (or a CamelBack-like internal water bag).

The primary use case for the pack is weekend camping trips with the scouts, during which it’ll have three primary roles:

  • Transporting necessary gear (e.g. clothes, books, etc.) to the camp site
  • Working as a trail pack (e.g. holding snacks, water, maps, etc. for day hikes in the woods)
  • Working as a utility pack (e.g. carrying similar supplies while traveling in the city)

A secondary use case for the pack is game conventions, where I need it to be able to hold role-playing game books, dice, pens, etc.

My last backpack, which I used primarily for carrying my laptop on my walking commute to work, was from L.L. Bean. The bottom of the pack went threadbare and eventually developed a hole. I replaced it with a Timbuk2 Commute Messenger bag for work, with L.L. Bean’s lifetime guarantee I could trade it in for a new pack (which would certainly be the most cost effective thing to do).

Have a day pack you like? Tell me about it in the comments.

Featured Image Meta

A close-up view of my old red L.L. Bean backpack, with the NASA patch I added to it after buying it. Credit: Ken Newquist

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