Best Day Packs for Travel - day pack review (SOUTHEAST ASIA PREP #1)

Last updated: March 31st, 2018

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I'm in the fun stage of planning my trip to Southeast Asia.  You know, the part where I don't have to purchase any tickets, cut locations, and mostly just google "pretty places in Southeast Asia."

What a time to be alive.

Soon enough I will be spending thousands of dollars and fighting a fierce battle over what shoes to pack. But that day is not today! 

Click to read: Your guide to packing makeup while backpacking

 bags are needed for the imporatnt things - like bringing food on this hike.  Gimmelwald, Switzerland - m.quigley

bags are needed for the imporatnt things - like bringing food on this hike. 
Gimmelwald, Switzerland - m.quigley

THE BEST DAYPACKS FOR BACKPACKING: 

What is a day pack?   A day pack is a bag, smaller than your backpack, to hold the things you need during the day.  Yeah, I know. Not that groundbreaking.

WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR: 

a backpack that is....

  • slashpoof, or the straps are
  • the zippers can lock together
  • clips in the front
  • big enough to fit a laptop
  • has a front pocket with zippers that also lock together
  • is flimsy enough to compress into my bag without taking up much room 

With the exception of the "big enough to hold a laptop", the other qualities are pretty standard. 

BAGS I AM CONSIDERING: 

PATAGONIA ATOM

This is the Patagonia Atom Sling . I used this day pack while bakcpacking through Europe. It was fine for the time.

PROS: 
-Surprisingly holds a lot for its size.  I once stuffed a liter of water and a loaf of bread into it while hiking.
-Can easily be flipped around to the front for security.
-While it wasn't "fashionable," I got asked for directions twice while wearing it.

CONS:
-In theory swinging it around to get what you need should be easy, but I found it to be super annoying.
-The pocket on the strap is not big enough to hold an iPhone. 

Conclusion: I hate sling bags and will not be using one again. 

PACSAFE POUCHSAFE

  IMG LINK.  via ebags.com

IMG LINK. via ebags.com

This is the Pacsafe Pouchsafe.

PROS:
-Very lightweight and can be folded up easily.
- Colors are not flashy. 

CONS:
- No structure or rigidity... I never feel like my belongings are protected from being bumped around when in a bag like this.  
- Entire bag is not slash-proof - only the small, detachable pouch that comes with it. 

PACSAFE CITYSAFE

  IMG LINK.  via. ebags.com

IMG LINK. via. ebags.com

This is the Pacsafe Citysafe.

PROS:
-
Slash-proof. 
-Padded with built in laptop sleeve - will keep belongings very protected.
-Straps are slash-proof and have locking hooks so you can secure the bag around a chair or table.
-RFID blocking front zipper pocket.
-Zippers lock and can be hidden

CONS:
-The bag does not compress easily and will take up a lot of room. 

PACSAFE METROSAFE

  IMG LINK . via ebags.com 

IMG LINK. via ebags.com 

This is the Pacsafe Metrosafe.

PROS/CONS:
- same as above.

The difference between the two bags? The metrosafe is bigger... so it will take up even more room (but also hold more stuff). This one also seems to be harder to find online. 

JANSPORT SUPERBREAK

PROS: 
-
Can be compressed to not take up much space in bag, but still has structure to it.
-Low-key design
- More fashionable than pacsafe bags. 

CONS:
- No specific security features. 

FJALL RAVEN KANKEN LAPTOP 13 INCH

PROS: 
Padded laptop sleeve with access from the back.
- Zippers can be locked together with extra locks).  
- More fashionable than other backpacks.
- Has side pockets for water bottles.  

NOTE:

If you are going to Hanoi, Vietnam, they sell these backpacks for much cheaper literally everywhere. Do yourself a favor and get it there.  I met so many people who regretted buying this bag before their trip. 

CONS:
- No specific security features
- Not supportive or comfortable.

UPDATE AFTER THE TRIP:

Now that I have actually backpacked through Southeast Asia, I can provide some more information on the list above^.

I like where my head was at in July, but I am not sure all of these security features were necessary.

This is what is really necessary for a Southeast Asia backpacking daypack:
- 2-3 pockets
- zippers that can be locked
- big enough to fit a laptop  

If you are paranoid, sure, get one of the slashproof bags above.  However, if you have any common senseyou should be fine.

I loved the bag I went with in the end....

Osprey Daylite Daypack

PROS:
- Fit my laptop
-Water sleeve pocket (separate area that fits a h20 pouch) in the back was perfect for keeping my rain jacket in case of emergencies, or storing wet clothing if I went swimming.
-Big enough to fit my laptop, but small enough that it never got too heavy
-Comfortable
- While it wasn't super incognito, a backpack is never going to be incognito on a white person in Asia.

CONS:
Things fell out of side pockets all the time.
- So many straps. They got caught on everything. I ended up cutting most of them off
- Side pockets did not fit big water bottles
- Only two pockets - things sometimes got disorganized
- Big pocket has an odd divider - sometimes made it hard to fit my laptop
- I just wanted one more pocket.... perhaps the Osprey Daylight Plus would be better for that

TIPS FOR PICKING A BAG FOR SOUTHEAST ASIA

-Not too big
-Good pockets for organization (at least 2-3)
-Side pockets that can fit a water bottle
-Zippers that have the possibility to lock (carry locks separately)
-An h20 pocket for storing wet clothing when the needed

Also, you are totally going to have to wear it on your front when you travel, just deal. Everyone does it. 

Click to read: Your guide to packing makeup while backpacking

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