Lowe Alpine Aeon 27 (Best In Test)
Lowe Alpine describe the Aeon 27 as ‘quite possibly our favourite ever creation’ and it’s easy to see why. This is a very slick daypack – lightweight, comfortable, well ventilated, good looking, and packed with useful features for walking and hiking. You’re basically getting all the things you’d want or expect from a quality daypack.
The capacity is 27 litres, with a roomy main compartment accessed by an easy-access double top zip that runs most of the way round the pack. We love the stretch front pocket, with a heavily elasticated opening that keeps the contents secure. The stretch side pockets are good for everything from poles to water bottles, and the hipbelt pockets are big enough for everything from phones to snacks. We also like that the hydration bladder pocket sits outside the main chamber behind the back panel, so you can access it without rummaging through all your gear.
The AirContour back system is simple and lightweight, with just enough ventilation to keep your back sweat-free without lifting the pack too far away from your body. It’s also easily adjustable, with a large Velcro tab that you unfasten to slide it up and down. See below for the full set of features on the Lowe Alpine Aeon 27 (click for the review), which we think is near-perfect for walking and hiking all year-round.
Large easy-access zip entry saves a lot of hassle, ventilated back panel is excellent, and we like the hydration bladder sitting outside main chamber
Shoulder straps and hip fins are well ventilated but not very padded
27-litre capacity / abrasion-resistant nylon material with TriShield coating / AirContour adjustable back system / stretch front pocket / two stretch side pockets / two valuables pockets / two hipbelt pockets / MultiLock tool attachment system / Flexion shoulder harness system.
Gregory Salvo 24
Despite its relatively small 24-litre capacity, the Gregory 24 Salvo rucksack still manages to feel very roomy with easy access thanks to the large zip that runs around the top of the main compartment. It isn’t particularly light at 1100g, but makes up for that with a very robust feel and an excellent ventilated back system that lifts the pack well clear of your body for increased airflow.
You get the usual hiking daypack pocket collection (large front stretch, two stretch side, two zipped hipbelt, two zipped valuables), plus pole attachments, side compression straps, an internal hydration bladder sleeve, and a separate rain cover.
Our favourite thing about the Gregory 24 Salvo, though, is the Vaporspan back panel. It’s tensioned and flexible with fantastic ventilation that’ll keep you sweat-free, plus a lower-back cushion that makes it one of the most comfortable daypacks we’ve tested. Perfect for walking and hiking all year round.
Superbly designed back panel, extremely comfortable, all of the features and pockets you’d want in a hiking daypack
Weight starting to creep up
24-litre capacity / 210D Cryptorip nylon material / 210D nylon Dobby base / Evo Foam hipbelt / Vaporspan back panel / spring steel frame / front and side stretch pockets / zipped hipbelt and valuables pockets / zipped main opening / internal hydration bladder / separate rain cover / pole attachments.
Deuter Futura 26
Deuter have a well deserved reputation for making great backpacks, and the updated Futura 26 is the latest in a very long list of impressive releases. This pack has every feature you’d expect or need as a walker, plus a heavy-duty and robust build quality that makes it feel indestructible.
All of this comes with a slight drawback in terms of weight. At 1400g the Deuter Futura 26L is a very heavy daypack, but if you can put up with that it’s hard to see how you can find a better equipped hiking rucksack.
Excellent back ventilation system, great build quality, extremely comfortable, comes with every feature a walker or hiker could need
Heaviest pack on test, price starting to creep up
26-litre capacity / Dynajin 210/PES 600 material / round profile frame / raincover / padded hipbelt / hydration sleeve / wet gear storage pocket / pole attachments / front access zip / valuables pocket / side pockets / hipbelt pockets / SOS label.
Fjällräven Kaipak 28
Typically from Fjällräven, the Kaipak 28 is a classy-looking pack that looks as good on the high street as it does in the high mountains. Made from robust G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco fabric, it has instant visual appeal and feels built to last.
The base of the Kaipak 28 rucksack is made from double-layer nylon, meaning you can place it down on damp ground when you stop for a rest without the contents getting soaked. Plus, you can wax the whole pack with Fjällräven’s Greenland Wax to make it more water-resistant and durable. The spacious main compartment is top-loaded with a floating lid big enough to hold a essentials like gloves and hats, with a long external zip down the front of the pack that gives access to a slim compartment that’s perfect for maps and thin layers.
You also get side pockets, a snow lock, side compression straps, pole attachments, and a supplied rain cover; but it does lack some features walkers will like. The detachable hipbelt is very thin and unsupportive so you take most of the weight on your shoulders, plus there are no hipbelt pockets or top tensioning straps. But what it lacks in terms of regular features, it makes up for by oozing class and visual punch.
Classic design, heavy-duty fabric, spacious main compartment, large zipped front pocket, reinforced base
Unsupportive hipbelt, no hipbelt pockets, no top tensioning straps, high price
28-litre capacity / G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco material / double-layer nylon base / clipped lid closure / side pockets / pole attachments / two side pockets / separate rain cover.
Patagonia Nine Trails Pack 28L
The Patagonia Nine Trails Pack 28L is a beautifully designed and comfortable daypack with all the features you’d need for a day of walking or hiking in the hills or mountains. The first thing to catch our eye was the huge U-shaped zip that runs around the lid and almost the whole front of the pack, allowing you to fully open up the main storage compartment for ease of access.
The Nine Trails weighs in at around 1000g but still feels very light, mainly due to its flexible mesh back panel and the use of lightweight and durable CORDURA nylon ripstop material, which is tough and treated with water-repellent finish to help keep your kit dry in showers. We like the double side compression straps, which let you really scrunch the pack down when it isn’t fully loaded to avoid any sagging. Those straps are also useful for lashing things like poles, small tripods and axes to the side of the pack if needed.
In terms of pockets, you get two stretch side pockets, a large stretch external front pocket, two zipped hipbelt pockets, and a small zipped valuables pocket inside. The shoulders and hips are nicely padded, making the whole package extremely comfortable. In short, the Patagonia Nine Trails 28L gets a big thumbs up from us.
Comfortable, lightweight and excellently designed with a great feature set. It looks very cool too.
Mesh back panel sits flush against your body so little room for airflow, no pole attachments
28-litre capacity / Cordura nylon ripstop material / breathable mono-mesh back panel / U-shaped zip entry to main compartment / two stretch side pockets / large stretch front pocket / two hipbelt pockets / internal valuables pocket / hydration bladder sleeve / double side compression straps.
Salewa Mtn Trainer 28L
Salewa is a big Italian brand that’s slowly becoming more recognisable in the UK, and it’s all down to the quality of their mountain gear. Every product feels very well thought-out and exceptional quality, and the Salewa Mtn Trainer 28L rucksack is no exception.
The 28-litre capacity makes it suitable for everything from day hikes to scrambles and very lightweight overnight trips, with a traditional floating lid and drawstring closure design giving instant appeal to purists. The Contact Flow Fit back system keeps you ventilated by using two big pads on the sides that stay in contact with your body, with a large channel down the middle for air to flow freely. It seems to work too!
The thin shoulder straps with large ventilation holes feel a little bit like they’ve sacrificed comfort for a little extra airflow, but otherwise this pack is hard to fault. It’s comfortable and not too heavy, with plenty of pockets to stash your kit and features that are as useful on countryside walks as they are on technical mountain routes.
Main chamber feels huge for a 28-litre pack, back system provides good ventilation without adding too much weight
£135 price feels expensive against some of its competitors, quite a few loose straps
28-litre capacity / 100Dx280D nylon twill material / Contact Flow ventilated back system / separate raincover / internal hydration bladder sleeve / floating lid with drawstring closure / zipped valuables pocket / zipped hipbelt pocket / two stretch side pockets / pole attachments / compression straps.
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