It’s a lot more important than you think. We spend hours, sometimes days and months, researching the best backpack or suitcase, and we forget about our daypacks. I’ve fallen victim to it, here’s why.
I spent ages researching the best backpack, and then bought a normal, fashion daypack, to use during the day. Didn’t do any research, just bought one that I thought looked nice. Big mistake! Now, the daypack I bought was far from cheap. It cost me around £30, and that was in the sale, so should have been a lot more. It was a Mi Pac, a well reputable brand, so I thought, what could go wrong? Turns out a lot. Within 2 weeks of me travelling around Thailand, the handle at the top had snapped off. It was to the point it was unrepairable, so I ended up having to cut it off, and make do without a handle. A few weeks later, the straps at the back had started to wear thin, to the point they looked like they were going to snap as well. I was ready to chuck it out the bus window by the end of my trip. I refused to chuck it, as I had spent a decent amount, and I did actually really like it. As well as falling to pieces, I was soon to find out it wasn’t actually that big, or practical. By the time I had my waterproof coat in there, my camera, purse, a spare lens and a water bottle, it was full. No room for anything else. This was fine on a day trips, but became a pain when I was moving from place to place. Every time I needed to get my passport or flight tickets out, it became a huge pain digging through everything. I had messed up big time. All for the sake of having a nice looking daypack and not doing any research.
To put it into perspective for you, your backpack you use to and from the airport (unless you’re going hiking or something). You’re not going to use it that much, and most of the time it’s going to be sat in a locker in your hostel, or on the hostel floor. Don’t get me wrong, you still need to research and don’t go for a cheap option. But when you think you’re going to be using your daypack 6/7 hours a day, and constantly going to be in and out of it, you need to do just as much research, if not a little more! Here are some things to consider:
I thought I wouldn’t need a huge daypack, after all, I only use a small handbag back home everyday. Wrong. At home, I’m not carrying my camera around, a spare lens, a waterproof coat etc. When travelling from place to place, I usually always stick my shoes in my hand luggage, something I wasn’t able to do with my daypack when travelling. Therefore I had to cram stuff into my backpack. You need a decent sized daypack, don’t underestimate your space and always go for a little bigger than you think you need. Then if you do need to add anything to your hand luggage, you’re not having to cram everything in. 20l is a good daypack size from talking to other bloggers and people on the road. Bare in mind, don’t go too big and bulky, as it becomes hard to navigate through busy crowds.
It’s always handy to have a sleeve for your laptop, if you’re taking one. My Mi Pac had one, and it’s one of the very few things I loved about it. It slides down so it’s flat on your back. It gives it a bit more protection, when going from place to place. Look for a daypack that has a small separate zip compartment attached to the front of my daypack. This will be handy for storing maps etc, so you have easy access to them. Also look at the possibility of having a net bottle compartment at the side of your bag. It becomes handy and easy access to grab your water bottle when out and about. Saves you having to open your daypack every time, and risk something dropping out. It also reduces the risk of it leaking all over your camera, laptop, and more importantly, leaking onto your passport. If your passport becomes damaged, a lot of countries can refuse you entry.
You need something lightweight, for the obvious reason, you’re going to be carrying it round most of the day. Once you have all your gear inside, it soon starts to weigh up. Anything too heavy will just leave you with bad back pain, which is the last thing you want to be suffering from when away from home.
This is an important one. It needs to be comfortable to wear. No straps digging in etc. Comfort over style. Most daypacks come with padded straps, so make sure you pick one that does.
Pickpockets will be about. If you give them easy access, they will take it. Make sure you buy a daypack that can be zipped up. It also reduces the risk of things dropping out. Having a daypack with zips means that if someone does try to get inside your bag, you’re more likely to feel it. Zips can also have the little padlocks put on, should you need to leave your daypack anywhere.
Make sure it has a rain cover, or the material is fairly waterproof. Nothing worse than when it’s chucking it down, and having to worry if everything in your daypack is getting wet and ruined!
Some recommended daypacks:
Osprey Comet: (£65) Slightly expensive, but definitely worth it looking at reviews and having had recommendations. Plenty of space, padded laptop compartment, zipped closure, sturdy and plenty of compartments. BUY HERE
The North Face Borealis: (£80) More expensive than the Comet, but has a little more to offer. This has a laptop compartment, different compartments, mesh for holding bottles, padded shoulders, and more importantly, a padded air-mesh back panel with spine channel and PE sheet for extra back support. BUY HERE
Berghaus Twentyfourseven: (£35) If you’re not wanting to spend a fortune, this is a more reasonable price. Padded shoulders, laptop compartment, bottle holder and a padded back for comfort. Be warned, this isn’t ventilated, so if you’re going somewhere sunny, your back will be very hot and sweaty! BUY HERE