Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Small backpacks for Bella's job

Belladonna wants to pick your brains.

She needs a daypack. She intends to carry lunch, one-liter water bottle, change-of-shoes, medical doo-dads, 3" three-ring binder.

Is 1800 cubic inches large enough or should she go bigger? The only complication is that Bella will be sharing a half-locker with a coworker and space is at a premium.

Also, please advise regarding other features like straps/webbing to take strain off the zipper.




  1. An 1800 in3 daypack should work nicely. Depending on the model, she may want to go with two 500ml bottles instead of a 1l bottle. It depends on the width, figuring that 3" of width is spoken for with that binder. I used a 1200 in3 daypack for years with textbooks, gym clothes/shoes, water and food, so something bigger shouldn't be a problem.
    You can get something with a hip belt, but I don't see this being used on long treks. A sternum strap may have more utility, but I honestly never bothered unless I was bicycling.

  2. I use/have used an LL Bean bookbag (https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/514244?originalProduct=121112&productId=1693826&attrValue_0=Navy&pla1=0&qs=3151329&msclkid=e5d38be697f217a669bce95d37b3c198&gclid=e5d38be697f217a669bce95d37b3c198&gclsrc=3p.ds&SN=findtest_04&SS=A&SN2=floatsbtest_03&SS2=B) for decades, both as an RN and as a midlevel. Plenty of space, just this side of indestructible. No payole, I've bought 2? 3? 4?) with my own money, because they work that well for me. Not the most svelte, but that slogan at my work is, "If McAfee doesn't have it, you do not need it!"

  3. how much do you want to spend and do you want it to last forever?...

    awesome little pack... https://hillpeoplegear.com/Products/CategoryID/3/ProductID/8

    another awesome little pack...


    i own both...built to last...can't really overload them because they aren't big enough to overload...

  4. Hill People and Kifaru make excellent packs that will last three lifetimes but are definitely for the well-heeled enthusiast, they also project a rather martial image. I've had inexpensive (~$100ish) packs from North Face and Marmot that served me well and didn't alarm any soy people.

    Her packing list sounds reasonable and manageable so to my mind smaller is better, provided there's some extra room should the need to carry more arise, which it will.

    In this size-and-intended-use range, a pair of compressible side buckles or two is both necessary and sufficient, IMO. She won't need load lifters, a waist belt, or straps for a sleep system.

    1. the kifaru is 14 liters w/compression straps and molle if you want to add a pocket here or there... and the hill people bag is 16 liters with water bottle pockets on both sides and has compression straps...and their harness is top notch comfy...the hill people bag comes in "normal" colors so it won't look outback/prepperish...they make a good day bag or car bag for sure...

  5. I’ve carried a weeks worth of gear (snivel and ammo), and food, in an equivalent (30 litre Berghaus MMPS) pack, so the volume is more than adequate. The issue is both the size (depth especially) of binder and shoes, and small footprint in the locker.

    Most day-packs have the volume to allow a 3” 3 ring binder to fit in easily, but add shoes, and especially considering the size even when empty …

    I’ve, in similar circumstances, defaulted to my Helikon bushcraft satchel. It easily accommodates binders and (my size 13) shoes (plus CC hardware, seperately) but when emptied in situ folds to almost nothing. (plus ‘defensively, it is both secure when worn cross-shoulder and can be ‘swung’ round when sitting unlike a pack, but equally can be dropped/detached if grabbed/fight/flight is a requirement).

    That and satchel/messenger bags are both broadly available and
    in color options, comfortable and tough, and (crucially) relatively cheap. (fitting a waist belt allows for greater flexibility and loads).

    Just my twopenn'orth.

  6. I'm sure the nicer bags have them. I always try to make sure luggage or packs have a chinch down strap or sipper so you can make them as small as possible - or open them up for maximum cargo capacity.

  7. Great suggestions for Kifaru and Hill People gear. I'd suggest that she also look at the Osprey Aphelia. Very lightweight (1.5 lbs) and designed for exactly the purpose that she intends. Around $100. Built well. But not as bulletproof as the afore named brands. The gal I hike with uses an Osprey - at first I wasn't impressed, but a couple years of use has changed my opinion of their gear.

  8. I've had a Dickies Mini Backpack for at least 6 years (if not longer), and use it for foraging, walking to the grocery and back up the mountain, what it was useful for. Don't know if they still make them as solid as mine, but it was one of the best $20's I've ever spent.

    Per their website, it looks like the Mini no longer has the water bottle pocket (handy), and less pockets than mine, so I'd say look at the "Cotton Backpack" instead.


  9. I second the LL Bean book bag. I've watched them go through HS and college with very little wear.

  10. Joe writes: Thank-you for all the comments. Bella was informed and she said she will read them.

  11. You want the sternum strap. Synthetic straps on a synthetic shirt or jacket means the straps slide off at the least movement. The sternum strap stops that. As for brands, I can heartily recommend the Swiss Gear line. Most IT folks who travel have them it seems, and you can't kill them.


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