If you plan on going on hikes that last a day or less, then you won't need a large camping backpack like the ones that overnight backpackers use. However, you will need a smaller day pack to carry items like extra water and food, a first aid kit, and an extra layer of clothing. Not just any pack will do, either. Here are a few features to look for in a good hiking day pack.
You love nature, so it only makes sense that you would buy products made with materials that harm nature as little as possible. Instead of buying a backpack made from synthetic materials, look for one made from earth-friendly materials like wool, hemp, or bamboo. All three of these materials wick moisture, are really durable, and are produced via processes that do little harm to the planet.
Make sure the straps that go over your shoulders have some degree of padding. This will protect you from rubs and blisters on those longer hikes. It will also allow you to more easily wear the backpack with a tank top, which is nice on hot days.
Check that the backpack you buy has a strap that goes around your waist, connecting the two shoulder straps. Waist straps of this type help keep the pack balanced on your shoulders so your back does not get so sore. Some packs also have a second wraparound strap at chest level, which is even nicer.
Water bottle pouch
You won't want to have to stop and open your backpack every time you need a drink of water. A good pack should have a water bottle holder on one side so you can reach back and grab your drink without even removing the pack.
Durable metal zippers
Having a zipper break while you're out on the trail can be a major nuisance. Keeping everything in an open pack is really tough! Make sure the zippers are therefore made from thick, durable metal, not from plastic. If they seem to bend easily, or if they do not zip freely, this is not the pack for you.
Take your time looking at plenty of backpacks before you choose the perfect day pack. There are a lot of different features out there, and a lot of it comes down to personal preference. As long as a pack has the features above, it should serve your basic needs well. Look into products like eco-friendly black backpacks if you need somewhere to start.
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