Gear Review: Chicobag DayPack15 rePETe

A "green" daypack that fits your daily life.

Sure you’re a backpacker. But you’re also a grocery shopper, tourist, day tripper, gym user, commuter, and sometimes you find yourself wishing for a better way to lug your loot around. And if you’re like me, you also feel guilty every time you checkout at the grocery store and bring home a wad of plastic that, whether you reuse them or not, most likely will end up in a landfill for the next thousand years.

The Chicobag DayPack15 helps you out in all those regards, because it’s super-light, super-packable, and super versatile for every day living. The 15-liter size easily handles gym clothes, a small load of groceries, or enough supplies for a day-long walking tour in the city or in the woods. It has two stretch pockets on the sides that can handle a full quart-size bottle, and are also tall enough to stash a travel umbrella or other item up to 12” long. There’s also a small zippered pocket sized just right for a cell phone, keys, and a small wallet.

The opening and closing mechanism for the DayPack15 is truly ingenious. When you pull on the shoulder straps (to wear the pack or put it on), that closes the opening. To open it, just set it on the ground or a table, and open it up. No zippers or buckles to get in the way when you jam it into your pocket for traveling. It also stays closed whenever you’re wearing it, which adds a bit of security from pickpockets. I lent this bag to my mother-in-law while she was touring the museums in downtown Washington, DC with me, and she loved it for carrying her large dSLR camera, purse, jacket, and water.

This pack stuffs to about baseball size, and comes with a small carabiner for attaching under your bike seat or anywhere you’d like. I liked how compact this pack was, which made it easy to take along. On a recent mountaineering trip I had a down day to walk through Seattle. My big climbing pack would have been overkill, but the DayPack15 was perfect for wandering along the Pike Street Market and carried my water bottle, rain jacket, and souvenirs perfectly.

Bonus points: It’s made of almost entirely recycled materials—100% recycled PET fabric and webbing. Even the carabiner is 97% recycled aluminum. All of it held up just fine over two months of daily use. Chicobag says that the DayPack15 is meant for women, but I didn’t feel any less masculine carrying it, especially with the navy blue color. It’s not a purse, it’s a backpack! But if your male ego is threatened by such things, there’s also the DayPack20, which is just a bit bigger, and I guess that means it’s meant for guys!