I’m not ashamed to admit it… I have a thing for daypacks. Right now, I have three in my rotation, and I’m fairly certain I need at least one more. As a hiker, surfer, traveler and freelance writer, my adventures (and my work) require me to carry around a bunch of stuff, from my laptop to a pair of boots to a damp wetsuit—often at the same time. Daypacks have become increasingly technical, and figuring out which one is the best option can be confusing. Here’s a look at the different types of daypacks, and which ones would be perfect for your next Classic Journeys adventure.

No Frills? No Problem – Ultralight Daypacks
Sometimes all you need is a bag with shoulder straps—especially if you’re a frequent air traveler who needs to free up space in your suitcase. Ultralight daypacks have become increasingly popular; these packs weigh just a few ounces and can be compressed easily, allowing them to fit into any suitcase. Typically free of pockets, gear loops, or even padding on the shoulder straps, ultralight daypacks are great for short jaunts around a city or down a well-traveled trail. Like many hikers, I’m a big fan of Marmot’s Precip rain jacket, and the company makes a terrific ultralight daypack. The Kompressor Meteor has the features of a bigger, heavier pack—a waist belt, water bottle pockets and even a removable back pad—but can be folded up and tucked away into an internal pocket, making it very easy to pack into your luggage.
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Cost: $50

Hydration Systems Take The Hassle Out Of Hauling Water
If you’re planning on walking in warm weather (whether it’s a stroll through the red rock spires of Utah or a Costa Rican rainforest), you need to stay hydrated. Carrying around water bottles can be a hassle, and that’s why many hikers and travelers prefer daypacks with hydration systems. Essentially, the pack comes with an internal water bladder and a sipping tube, keeping your hands free. I’ve gotten years of use out of my Camelbak Rim Runner.
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Cost: $100

Gonna Get Wet? Waterproof Daypacks Will Keep Your Stuff Dry
Heading into rain or snow? From Iceland to Ireland, some of the most beautiful places on earth still get a bit wet. But that doesn’t mean your stuff will. Most daypacks are made of water-resistant nylon, but a few go the extra mile, incorporating materials and coatings that’ll keep the contents of your pack nice and dry. Patagonia’s Black Hole line of water-resistant bags and packs is a favorite of travelers. The daypacks come in a few different sizes; the Black Hole Lightweight 26L is a great choice for active travelers.
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Cost: $99

Urban Daypacks – For City Adventures
Walking up the Spanish Steps in Rome isn’t exactly like hiking the Inca Trail. For your city adventures, it’s possible to have a daypack that’s functional AND stylish. Long known for making sturdy backpacks for surfers and snowboarders, Dakine has become a favorite of city dwellers. Dakine’s Factor 22L looks great, comes in a variety of colors, and can hold everything you need for a day in a foreign city.
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Cost: $48

The All-Rounder: One Daypack That Does Everything
Classic Journeys founder, Edward, swears that you can take a Classic Journeys trip with only a carry-on. He’s the expert, and the folks at Cotopaxi would back his claim. If I were going to take a trip with just one pack, I’d go with Cotopaxi’s Allpa 35L Travel Pack. With a ton of features, water-resistant coating, and a huge amount of storage space, the Allpa might very well be the only pack you need. Even so, the Allpa has a storage compartment that holds the company’s smaller Batac daypack. For daypack aficionados like me, that’s a great bonus!
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Cost: $220