Carrying gear for a long dayhike or bagging a peak requires a Goldilocks approach to packing. Not too much, not too little. When you’re gone for hours it’s easy to start out in the cold, hike through heat, get nearly blown away on a windy summit, and then run for the car as the rain starts to pour. Carrying enough gear, and being able to reach it, is vital.
A 30L pack is a great size for long dayhikes, and the REI Traverse is built for organization and access. Two top pockets store small items, while the large main compartment opens wide for layers and lunch. There are two more vertically-zippered front pockets which are great for your medium sized items like gloves and hat. In all there are five zippered sections, two stretchy water bottle holders, and a hipbelt pocket.
Whew. The foam backpanel is supportive for up to around 20 pounds, and has an egg crate foam covering to help keep your back dry. Our testers loved the ice axe/trekking pole attachments made from stretchy shock cord and a barrel lock. Extra: most of the fabric is made from recycled water bottles. $80; 2 lbs. 13 oz.; rei.com