Choosing a Daypack


From bushwalking, cycling, skiing, climbing, running, fishing, and shopping to carrying textbooks, whatever the pursuit, it's likely a daypack has already been designed to help you enjoy it with greater ease and convenience. Daypacks can be a significant improvement from a basic backpack which generally offers little support or padding. Daypacks are usually designed to have enough space for single-day activities. Simple daypacks will concentrate the weight of a loaded pack on the shoulders. More technical daypacks will come with greater support, in the way of a hip belt and sternum strap, as well as any number of features which directly relate to your activity of choice.  


How do I choose a Daypack?


The key to choosing a daypack is to match the pack to the activities you have in mind. Consider the features you value most, such as a large capacity, pockets, compartments for organising gear, ice axe loops, helmet clip etc.


Stick with a narrow-profile pack, one that includes a padded back or a frame. A hip belt and a sternum strap are a good idea. As you may often be walking in a variety of environments you may need a larger capacity (30 litres plus) pack to accommodate extra clothing such as a rain jacket or warm layer.

Rock climbing

Rock climbing can require a range of packs depending on your aspirations. A close-fitting technical daypack with a lower centre of gravity is best. Compare your standard equipment load (ropes, carabiners, shoes etc.) with the list of specialized features a pack may provide (ground sheet, internal pockets, daisy chain, crampon straps). A sternum strap and a variety of compression straps (which consolidate your load and keep it from shifting) are also important.

Ski touring

Choose a pack with a narrow profile pack with hip and sternum straps to allow for greater balance and increased arm movements. Your capacity requirements will be determined by the length of your trip. Remember that you will need some extra gear and clothing in the snow. Pockets or compression straps on the sides of the pack can be handy when carrying your skis.  

Hydration packs

Hydration packs are available in a range of sizes and styles, from small packs with only room for your water and keys to larger technical packs. Designed for active use, hydration packs are usually close-fitting daypacks that include a removable reservoir (or bladder) with a sipping hose attached. The bite valve of the hose can be clipped to a shoulder strap for easy access, so you can remain active without needing to access your pack to have a drink.

Bush running/ Multi-Sports

Bum bags, hydration packs and vest packs are good options for trail running and adventure racing. Look for a bag that is stable while you run, and well-ventilated so perspiration can escape. If you require more carrying capacity a close-fitting technical daypack may be preferable.

Work, School or University

Daypacks have become handy and practical replacements for briefcases and shoulder bags for many people in recent times. If carrying books and a laptop is your primary requirement, there are many daypacks designed specifically with this in mind, with padded laptop compartments, book bags, slots and sleeves for digital devices, etc. Many manufacturers produce a hybrid-style pack that will cater for your needs on and off the streets.

Bum bags

Bum Bags are a compact unit ideal for day walkers, runners, skiers and even city walkers, who want the benefit of an extra pocket without the hassle of carrying a pack. Some bum bags are available with a hydration option as well, either in the form of a bottle holder or a removable bladder. For longer outdoor walks on hotter days, a bum bag and the full ventilation it affords your back is a great option.


Osprey Daypack for BushwalkingOsprey Daypack for Bushwalking
Daypack for Bushwalking


Daypack styles

Front loading daypacks

Feature a panel-loading style, where the main storage compartment is accessed via a long, U-shaped zipper. Fully opened, one side of the compartment falls away like a flap. This wide opening makes it easy to access items such as clothing or books, which may be more difficult to locate in a top-loading pack. These packs are often used in an urban or travel capacity.

Top-loading or rucksack-style packs

These bags usually do a better job keeping gear from shifting, especially if they offer compression straps. They are well suited to activities where balance is vital (climbing, ski touring, walking, cycling, or trail running).

Daypack Materials


When choosing a daypack it is important to consider the material of it as certain fabrics perform better depending on the activity. Lightweight fabrics such as Siliconized Nylon are great for adventure racing and highly active sports where weight is everything, it is however less durable than heavier fabrics such as Canvas. Although slightly heavier, canvas is more water and abrasion resistant-resistant than nylon. Cordura is another fabric used in day packs which again is more durable than Nylon but generally lighter than canvas. No pack can be considered totally waterproof, so in wet conditions, we recommend using a pack liner or cover.




Buy Daypacks Online | Paddy PallinBuy Daypacks Online | Paddy Pallin
Buy Hydration Packs Online | Paddy PallinBuy Hydration Packs Online | Paddy Pallin

Lifetime Club Membership

Join the Paddy Pallin Club for $10.00 and receive a 10% discount on all future purchases.*


Exclusive Club Member sales, promotions, and events!
*Club Member discount not applicable to gift cards and services such as repairs. Discount may not be used in conjuction with any offer