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Daysacks and Hydration Packs

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 28 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
Hiking Walking Daypack Hydration Pack

When you’re going on a hike that will just last a day or less, you certainly don’t need to carry around a huge backpack. What you need instead is a daysack, which is much smaller, but still able to hold the things you need.

Although daysacks go up to a capacity of 35 litres, in most instances you’ll be able to get away with something quite a bit smaller, around 20 – 25 litres. This means less bulk and weight on your back, which in turns translates to more comfortable walking.

What Do You Need To Carry?

For a one-day hike, you don’t really need to take a lot with you. There’s water, of course, some lunch, a basic first aid kit, OS map or GPS, and perhaps a rain jacket and a sun hat. Anything beyond that is just a luxury, and you can probably do without it. Those items will all fit quite easily into a small daysack.

Daysacks aren’t just for hiking. If you’re out for some sightseeing, or even just popping to the shops for two or three items, they can also be ideal – and a lot better than hefting a shopping bag.

What To Look For

Most manufacturers, large and small, make daysacks, so there’s a wide range available. First you need to determine the size you need. If you do a lot of solo hiking, then a smaller daysack should be adequate. If you take your kids, or you hike as half of a couple, then you’ll need something a little larger to be able to carry everything, which can mean a 35 litre pack.

A daysack will sit higher on the back than a regular rucksack, and the padded shoulder straps should be adjustable for the best fit. There should also be an adjustable waist strap to ensure the pack stays firm when you’re walking.

Look for a daysack with a waterproof lining and an inner drawstring enclosure. This will make sure your items stay dry and usable in the event you’re caught in a downpour. The pack should also have two outer side pockets for carrying water bottles.

Hydration Packs

A hydration pack is essentially a water bladder with a tube to allow you to drink directly. These days many hydration packs often have enough added space to effectively make them into small daysacks.

For those who are fell running or want to make sure they take in ample water when hiking, they can be very convenient. You need to look for a pack with a three litre bladder to ensure you’re carrying ample water for the day in summer.

Water takes up space and it will put weight on your back, so make sure you don’t take anything more than you need in the hydration pack. With a hydration pack, as well as padded, adjustable shoulder straps, make sure there’s an adjustable waist strap and a sternum strap. That extra strap will keep the weight of the water well distributed. Ideally there will be a screw cap on the water bladder and fittings. The mouth tube should have a bite valve for ease.

Empty the bladder after use, rinse with the kind of sterilising fluid used on baby bottles, than hang so the sides don’t touch each other. These steps will stop mould growing in the bladder, which will render it useless.

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THE INEFFICIENT BACKPACK Your body produces efficient forward motion by performing a horizontal pendulum motion, yet most backpacks and trail running packs restrict your freedom of motion from efficient use of your energy to provide speed, endurance and comfort. The backpack is an ancient storage device to carry your gear. The majority of backpacks sold in the USA, Europe and UK, have a maximum of seven bio-mechanical inefficiencies that reduce your speed, endurance and comfort. The majority of hiking is performed during a day, not multi-day, with a typical hiking distance of 5 to 12 miles and a pack load of 8 to 12 pounds. 1.Water is normally the heaviest item stored in or on a backpack. Roughly 85?of backpacks provide side pockets for water storage which wastes your energy as your body thrusts the weight forward and back. You most frequently have to remove a backpack for a drink as bottles are difficult to access and return. After returning a bottle, what you drank is less than the weight of the bottle on the other side leaving you with an unbalanced load. A hydration bladder is stored in the center of a backpack. They are heavy, provide an undesirable taste, are costly and require hygienic maintenance as compared to a standard water bottle. Wider than a typical water bottle, a good percentage of the weight is a thrust-ed load being partly distant from the center of your body, just as are water bottles stored on the sides of backpacks. Bladders additionally reduce load carrying capacity as they fill-up a good portion of a backpacks space. 2.Packs are long, extending to the hips or lower having capacities normally in excess of day hiking needs and eliminate your natural pace speed. If you raise your pack higher than your hips you will notice how much easier it is to move at a normal pace speed. 3. If you carry a load of roughly twenty or more pounds it is desirable to transfer a portion of the load to your hips with a hip belt. A day pack load normally will not exceed 8 to 12 pounds thus not requiring a hip belt with occasional hip padding and/or additional storage compartments. Eliminating the unnecessary weight if practical improves comfort and allows improved endurance or speed. 4. A hip belt tightened at your waist will restrict your breathing valuable for efficient expenditure of energy for speed and comfort. You can improve speed and comfort If you can place the hip belt a few inches below your navel. 5. Side storage on hip belts are an additional side load thrusting issue that wastes your energy. 6.Unless a pack is designed with shoulder straps placed away from your outer shoulders you will expend energy as your body moves forward.Limited speed, endurance and comfort result as you thrust your backpack load attached to the straps. If your pack includes a sternum strap tighten it down in hopes of reducing or eliminating loss of freedom of motion in your shoulders. 7.Backpacks are deep for ample storage, but will
Stainless - 28-Sep-17 @ 3:43 PM
To be fair, if you're going on a day hike that's less than 12-15 miles you can probably manage with just a water bottle rather a hydration pack, unless you're really aiming for speed. It's less weight to carry and you'll still manage to take in enough water (which is vital and don't ignore it or you can end up with nasty leg cramps). A water bottle is also a good excuse to stop for a minute or two, take off the pack and rest while you drink, rather than having a tube to drink from as you keep going.
Rob - 30-Jun-12 @ 10:06 AM
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