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looking for a minimalist day pack

Posted: November 12th, 2018, 7:22 pm
by Chip Down
My trusty ol' daypack is getting really tired. Not a lot of trips left in it.

As often happens, I can't find a replacement because it's considered obsolete. I understand pack technology has advanced in leaps and bounds through the intervening years, and so now I'm supposed to buy a heavy expensive complicated pack replete with bells/whistles. I saw one that was so complicated, I had to struggle to figure out how to open it!

I tried googling certain phrases, like "minimalist day pack", but all I got was travel packs, urban packs, crag packs for carrying gear to the bottom of a wall.

I like a narrow profile (thus inevitably higher), slightly larger than most day packs (room for rope, crampons, beer).


Re: looking for a minimalist day pack

Posted: November 12th, 2018, 10:49 pm
by Water
hyperlite mountain gear?
does ultralight$ = minimalist? ehh...

just throwing a name out there of a place to look at some nifty stuff since you know you'll make good use of it.

-a has-been gear geek

Re: looking for a minimalist day pack

Posted: November 12th, 2018, 11:20 pm
by Bosterson
heavy expensive complicated pack
Maybe you're looking in the wrong place... Gear is now light to the point of being too fragile to take outdoors.

You didn't mention quite a lot of important considerations: size? Frame or no? Top or panel loading (if it matters)? Features tailored more for mountaineering or hiking (eg, ice tool attachment options)? Side pockets or bladder sleeve?

I have a Patagonia Ascensionist 45L alpine pack that has minimal features, a clean profile, and an ingenious top cinch design. Tool attachments were redesigned in the new version, which is less neat, but I think they made the fabric burlier and added hydration bladder compatibility. The new one comes in 30L and 40L versions I think. No top lid.

Granite Gear might make something in a daypack size, though I don't know specific models. I have a roll top 60L backpacking pack (2 lbs, plastic frame sheet only for suspension) that I like, and they seem both simpler and less techy in their designs.

My go to daypack for off trail activities and mountaineering is a 15 year old 35L Arc'teryx Bora that I will use until it literally disintegrates. I'm really not sure they make gear this burly anymore, but I've read good things about their current FL 30 ultra minimalist alpine pack, which depending on your needs and budget might be the way to go if you really don't want pockets or straps or anything.

Re: looking for a minimalist day pack

Posted: November 13th, 2018, 1:14 am
by Webfoot
What does minimalist mean to you in this context?

The Deuter Guide 35+ is tall and narrow and you can remove the hip belt padding, or the entire hip belt, to make it lighter. It is, or at least was some years ago, made from high durability fabrics that should withstand your off-trail use better than most.

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Re: looking for a minimalist day pack

Posted: November 13th, 2018, 9:34 am
by bghiker
I have a Gregory Z30 that I use as my day pack...a little on the heavy side but built like a tank..

Re: looking for a minimalist day pack

Posted: November 14th, 2018, 11:54 am
by SCtoPDX
I just ordered a Superior Wilderness Designs 35L frameless pack for this very reason. Big enough for a couple of nights out, yet small enough for a day hike. Fair warning; their packs aren't cheap and there is a 8-12 lead time as they are custom made. I'll post a review when it comes.

Re: looking for a minimalist day pack

Posted: November 14th, 2018, 4:01 pm
by Crusak
I've been using an Osprey Kestrel 38 pack in the large size as my primary day pack since 2011. It still looks like new, except for the dirt here and there. All seams, stitching and material is still in like-new condition, and I've done over 100 hikes with it.

In fact, I'm wearing that pack in my forum profile picture. :D ... REL38.html

I'm a big fan of Osprey.

Re: looking for a minimalist day pack

Posted: August 4th, 2019, 12:15 pm
by Chip Down
Couldn't put it off any longer. Been carrying a just-in-case mini roll of duct tape.

Three possibilities:

I've always like Lowe Alpine pack designs, and currently I like what I see at Next Adventure, but their selection is very limited. It looks to me like Lowe isn't really distributed in the states like they used to be.

Osprey Mutant series comes very close to what I want. Just a few minor reservations.

Decided on Arc'teryx Brize 25 (considered the 32). No bells, no whistles.

A bit small, but maybe that will force me to make smarter decisions. Only one axe loop, but it's become extremely rare for me to carry two. Because it has daisy chains (discreet) I can string some shock cord across the front for a jacket, maybe for wet stuff, maybe for a small external pouch (but I like the fact that I can easily remove whatever accessories I add to the daisy chains). Seems really sturdy, not as flimsy as some in this class. Well proportioned, slim profile, sleek. I hate bulbous packs. Back panel has a thin sheet of plastic to maintain shape and prevent stuff from poking my back, and then a molded mesh panel that provides a wee bit of cushioning/ventilation. That's all I need. The side pockets are paradoxically sleek/roomy, which made for a pleasant surprise: I can stuff the messy heel end of my crampons in the pocket, leaving just the clean simple toe end pointing up (and all point outside the pocket and facing away). A couple compression straps over the top, and voila, a nice tidy package, no swaying and clanking, so sagging and drooping.

Zippered opening is a disappointment (compared to a buckled lid). Hate the hip belt, plain webbing, maybe 20mm. Works better than I thought it would though. And it's completely removable, so there's maybe a possibility that someday I can find some way of improving on it. People say a 25L pack will never be heavy enough to require a padded hip belt. Tell me that after you've hauled two ice axes, crampons, rope, watermelon, six pack of beer in a cooler of ice, inflatable pink flamingos and the pump to inflate them. (Okay, I admit I've never carried all those items on a single trip.)

Re: looking for a minimalist day pack

Posted: August 4th, 2019, 1:16 pm
by Webfoot
Given your complaints about the zippered lid and plain hip belt I don't see why you chose the Arc'teryx over e.g. the Guide Lite 32; what features of the latter annoy you?


Re: looking for a minimalist day pack

Posted: August 4th, 2019, 5:15 pm
by Bosterson
Surprised you went with the Brize, which looks a little more city ("travel") oriented, but surely it will get the job done. Panel loading is nice as long as you don't need to overstuff the pack - easy to open a zipper, and no lid flopping around. That webbing hip belt looks a little narrow ("lighter"), but webbing belts take a little weight off your shoulders but mostly affix the pack to your body in one place to add stability, while the shoulder straps realistically take most of the weight in packs that size - guess you'll just have to leave the watermelon at home. The outer pack fabric looks burlier than expected and that's probably the best feature since you'll be bashing the pack on rocks and such. If you can rig a shock cord area between the daisies, you can also strap those ridiculously dull looking crampons (was it just the photo??) on the back. One downside to panel loading packs - is there an easy way to strap a rope to the top of it? (Though a 30m 8mm glacier line doesn't take up that much interior space.) I have too many packs but am considering picking up the Osprey Mutant 22 for climbing, but it's so specific and so small, it's really meant to be worn while climbing or on light alpine adventures, not for hauling lots of water and junk and wearing it for hours while hiking.