Having a good daypack packed and ready to go can save a lot of time and frustration. Rather than grabbing a backpack and cramming gear in it in an impromptu manner, I like to have a daypack with exactly the type of gear I usually need on a day hike. Knowing what to bring in a daypack comes from experience. Sure we could look up some youtube videos, but what someone brings on their hikes may not be well suited for your situation. For example, someone in a desert may bring a lot of water, while someone who hikes around creeks and streams may need more mosquito repellent than other locations.
In this article we are going to cover my current daypack setup and how it has changed over the years.
The backpack itself is a military surplus patrol pack bought off Ebay. This backpack has MOLLE webbing, a large main compartment and a smaller outer pouch. Heavy and bulky gear go in the main compartment to move weight closer to your body, while lighter gear goes in the outer pouch.
- Glock 19 – for snakes and other pests.
- Bianchi UM84 holster for compact handguns such as the Glock 19.
- Rain poncho.
- 13 gallon trash bag, for a wet weather bag.
- 1 gallon ziplock bag for another wet weather bag, which can also hold water.
- TOPO maps.
- Map compass.
- Old school Etrex GPS with spare batteries.
- MSR water filter.
- Repel with 40% Deet.
- Repel tick defense.
- Toilet paper.
- Pocket compass on zipper pull.
Over the years I have preached carrying canteens on a daypack, but over the past year or so I have questioned that train of thought. There have been a number of times where I have not needed two canteens, and I almost never use the canteen cup that is stored in one of the canteen pouches. If something like the canteen cup is almost never used, then why carry it? So I took the canteen pouches off the daypack and now just carry a one liter bottle of water in the pack. The only issue is when I forget to toss a bottle of water in the daypack before heading out.
The daypack usually has a pill bottle with matches in it, but for some reason the daypack at this time does not have a fire starting method in it. After this article is posted I will probably get a lighter, see if I can find a pill bottle the lighter will bit in, put some matches in a pill bottle, then toss both in the daypack.
I use to keep a flashlight in all of my backpacks but have moved away from that model.
The current daypack setup has served me well over the past year, so I do not see making any changes in the near future. The one change to the daypack I am considering is adding a one liter water bottle with a carry pouch instead of a canteen. Why a one liter bottle instead of canteens? To save weight and to keep the pack from getting too wide. When moving through dense brush a narrow pack is easier to maneuver than a wide pack.