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

I am in the fun stage of planning my trip to Southeast Asia.  You know, the part where I don't have to purchase any tickets or cut locations, and mostly just google "MUST VISIT SOUTHEAST ASIA" and click on the first 3 pages of results.

 Ah. 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. 

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

There are many things I still need to buy before I leave. In fact, I overdrew my debit account yesterday, so I am pretty stressed out about the amount of things I need to get (#lolsadness)

Today's focus is on a daypack backpack!

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 was the day pack I used when I was in 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 PX15

IMG LINK. via ebags.com

IMG LINK. via ebags.com

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. 

More information here. 

PACSAFE CITYSAFE LS300

IMG LINK. via. ebags.com

IMG LINK. via. ebags.com

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. 

More information here.

PACSAFE METROSAFE 350

IMG LINK. via ebags.com 

IMG LINK. via ebags.com 

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. 

More information here. 
 

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. 

More information here. 

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.

More information here. 

UPDATE 1/5/17:

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.

Truthfully, 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 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
Mostly I just wanted one more pocket.  Perhaps the Osprey Daylight Plus would be better for that

More information here. 

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. 

Follow me on instagram because you actually won't regret it:

WELL, thank you for taking this journey into the depths of the internet with me.   Need more tips? Check out...

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