Day Pack Review

REI Flash 18 Pack

These day packs are great for short duration hikes, carrying your gym clothes, or for an extra pack that will collapse into a small ball and won't take up much space at all in your larger luggage for those weekend trips. I tested these two products against a normal backpack to see which I would prefer in my day-to-day routine.

Eagle Creek - Synch Pack RFID ($50)


Things I loved: Ultra-light, grab-and-go, RFID blocker pocket for ID protection, bottom wet clothes cinch, reflective accents and sturdier arm straps than the other.

Things I wish it had: a zipper pocket and place for a water bladder.

For me, the price on this pack was steep for a day pack. It may be because of the RFID blocker which is great for traveling at home and especially abroad. I've always like that about Eagle Creek products. 

REI Flash 18 Pack ($40)


Things I loved: Water bladder compartment, side pocket zipper on the outside (last year's model had it on the inside and would always catch on things when putting into bag), zipper loops for carabiners, safety whistle, back padding.

Things I wish it had: sturdier shoulder straps, water bladder compartment could be used for wet clothes if no bladder is in there.

The price is better on this one and has some features that make this No. 1. It's larger capacity helps when I had to put a second pair of shoes in the pack (sandals, etc.). There are hip support straps on this bag which can be taken off. I don't think you really need them anyway. REI branded apparel is thoughtfully engineered and I certainly approve.

Poler - The Rabmler Pack ($30)


Things I loved: durable seatbelt-type material, two simple compartments, also foldable to a small sized ball.

Things I wish it had: better zippers - they're a nightmare to close and open, some kind of back padding.

I wanted to compare a simple backpack to these day packs just to get an old school comparison to the new school materials. While I would never take this hiking, I would use it for gym activities. It's compact and simple, perfect for those who want a classic backpack. If you're looking at saving money and don't really need a water bladder compartment, this is the pack for you. Simple.


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