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Recommendation request for best packable (day)pack

Dear people!

My name is Lian and I am currently planning a trip to New Zealand.

I have a backpack of 55L that I will bring with me but I am now looking into a proper backpack that I can store in my main backpack during hte longer travels and then when I go on 1 or up to couple of day hikes take the smaller backpack instead. 

Love to hear about your opinions as so far I have quite the list of which the following are on the top:

  • Ultimate direction 20L pack (It looks comfortable to wear)
  • Matador Beast28 (is packable into a tiny package, large to pack more for day trips but looks les comfortable)
    • Couple of others my eys caught were: 
      • Rei co-op 22pack
      • Patagonia several versions
      • Alps Canyon 20 pack

My main needs are: 

  • Needs an hydration pocket for my waterbladder 
  • Needs to be packed into my larger backpack

THANK YOU ALL for your input and time to help me so I can focus on other important steps. 

Safe travels!

4 Replies

Recommend you get to a store and try various models on.  Walk around a bit with a reasonable load.  Proper fit is everything in a pack.


Could you use your 55L as a daypack?.  It is a bit on the large side, but that is better than too small

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Hi Lian,

I am not an REI employee, but wanted to share my thoughts and observations.  What you are looking for is going to be a compromise.  The more feature-rich, and comfortable-carry a pack is, the more space and weight it will take up in your 55L pack. You don't want to have to choose not carrying a true necessity on the trip, just to make room for a more cushioned hip belt.  I use an Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack which stuffs down to fist-sized in its own pocket.  Sea-to-Summit makes a similar pack that REI carries.  These are great in that they take up no space in my pack, but these are little more than bags with shoulder straps.  No bells, no whistles.  They work well for short day-hikes away from camp or a jaunt through town, but aren't what I'd want to use for an all-day, or multi-day hike.

Are you checking your 55L, or using it as carry-on?  Can you use the day-pack as your "personal item" instead of packing it in your 55L?  Instead of a separate day-pack, can you use the compression straps on the 55L to cinch down the contents and not be so bulky on the 1 or 2 day trips?

Of the items you listed, the Matador 28 appears to match your requirements most closely, but I have no previous experience with it, or the brand.

This sounds like an amazing trip!  Seems as though you are doing all the right things in your planning, just make sure that you don't get too bogged down in overthinking the features you want with those that are suitable (and acceptable) for your intended purpose.  Whatever you end up selecting, this will be a trip to remember!  Enjoy!

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@lianvdweel sounds like a fun adventure! One of our most popular packable day packs is the REI Flash 18 - it's a very simple pack that does have a hydration pocket, is very lightweight and packs down super small! For all of these reasons, I take this pack on nearly every trip b/c it's so easy to travel with!

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I do not work for REI and I 100% agree with the recommendation made by @REI-JenK. I have the Flash 22 (very similar to the Flash 18), and I recently used it as a clothing "stuff sack" in my larger backpack on a mutliday trip. I removed the foamy back pad and it worked perfectly. It's super lightweight, comfortable, has good internal storage options (including a bladder compartment/hook), and is big enough for 5-15 mile day trips from basecamp. And, if all that weren't enough, it's pretty cheap! 

Have fun in NZ!