I love backpacks.
In fact, I love backpacks so much, I have an entire collection of them.
I have so many backpacks, I have backpacks where I put my other backpacks. It is ridiculous.

When I walk into REI or any of the other outdoor shops around the Seattle area, the first place I walk is to the backpack section, in hopes to find the pack of my dreams. When I dream, I dream of wandering backpack stores, trying them on in an endless attempt at perfect backpacking happiness. In real life, finding the perfect backpack is like finding your soulmate. You fit perfectly together, and even in the worst of storms, you are happy to be in their company. Wearing the right backpack make me happy, safe and quite confident. 

Some people wear fancy underwear to feel sexy; I slide on one of my favorite backpacks and feel like Ryan Gosling when I hit the trails.

Hyperbole aside, I do love backpacks. In my closet, where other people have nice suits, shirts and clothes, I have my backpacks. Some are small, some are huge, and most have seen hundreds of miles of the most beautiful country in America. Yet, unless I am going on a week-long backpacking trip, I tend to grab one of my three favorite packs. Light, useful and roomy, the three packs I tend to use most often get me out on the trails quickly and in style. take a look, read my review and check out the links for information on what I consider to be the three best daypacks.

REI Flash 18 above Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park
REI Flash 18 above Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park

REI Flash 18

I was given this pack for free at the Washington Trail Association’s Hike the State event this year. Typically, I scoff and these lightweight, small daypacks, and was less grateful than I should have been. That is, until I took it out on a few day trips on easy trails. From then on, it became my go-to pack for short or easy day hikes. I can load it up with food, camera gear and extra clothing and be fine in most situations. I wouldn’t trust this pack to carry all my gear for a winter trek, but for short trips where extra gear isn’t needed, it is perfect. In Glacier National Park, this pack was ideal, as it allowed for snacks, clothes and camera gear in a light, easy to carry pack. This pack is perfect for day hiking solo or with others ready to crush some miles or take a short trek. With numerous colors to choose from, you are sure to stand out in your pictures when rocking this pack.

Pro: Light, easy to stuff into another pack and the perfect pack for use out on the town or on a day hike.

Con: No top flap. No holders for water bottles. No extra pockets. The straps could be sewn a bit stronger to be able to facilitate full loads.

Size: 18 Liters
Weight: 12oz
Cost: $35

Osprey Talon 22 on Mount Ellinor in Olympic National Forest
Osprey Talon 22 on Mount Ellinor in Olympic National Forest

Osprey Talon 22

I bought this pack in 2010, and for five years, it has met the majority of my hiking needs. This pack has seen the top of numerous mountains, including Mt St Helens, as well as miles of trails at Glacier, Yellowstone, the Redwoods, the North Cascades, Crater Lake, Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks. Despite the heavy use, this the Osprey Talon 22 has yet to have any serious issues. With multiple pockets both inside and out, it makes for a great bag for long day hikes or trips where a lot of gear is needed. I tend to bring three cameras with me on every trip (GoPro, iPhone and Canon 7D) and I never feel like this bag can’t handle the load. This pack has a sturdy back which helps with severe back sweating and shoulder pain, but could be a little better. The multiple pockets are awesome, making access to cameras, snacks and anything else you desire while hiking a breeze. This is a fantastic backpack, and I have loved the thousands of miles I have had with it. It also comes in numerous color choices, each as bright and awesome as the last.

Pro: Great hip and shoulder strap pockets, as well as numerous clips and places to put water bottles and a camelback. The pack is roomy, and the top section is perfect for easy access of gear.

Con: The camelback section sits between your back and the main pocket, making it a little awkward when it is full. The backpack also unzips occasionally, if you have a full load and the zippers are at the top.

Size: 22 Liters
Weight: 28.8oz
Cost: $100

Gossmer Gear Type II 26 Summit Pack on the Staircase Loop Bridge in Olympic National Park
Gossmer Gear Type II 26 Summit Pack on the Staircase Loop Bridge in Olympic National Park

Gossmer Gear Type II 26 Summit Pack

Gossamer Gear gave us this pack to test out and review. At first, I was skeptical. I mean, I adore my Osprey Talon and was figuring that after a few trip, I’d switch back to my sturdy, orange Talon. Instead, from the minute I loaded up and hit the trail with this pack, I fell in love. The Gossamer Gear Type II is light, easy to pack and has enough pockets to help organize your gear along the hike. It also rides extremely well and doesn’t pinch your shoulders even when loaded fully. I have taken this on short hikes and long hikes, and have yet to find any issues with it. In fact, it has quickly replaced itself as my go to pack for adventures in any weather. This is more than likely going to be my new favorite pack for many years to come. Gossamer Gear deserves your attention, and in all honesty, I would recommend this pack for anyone looking to get out and explore. Fill it to the brim or rock it when it is mostly empty; either way, you have a stylish, multifunctional pack that won’t distract you from the beauty of wilderness.

Pro: This pack has multiple chest straps, great pockets, and hip pockets that are awesome to put snacks, a small camera or your phone. The pack is ridiculously lightweight, and includes water bottle holders and a camelback holder.

Con: Could use a more sturdy back section, but smart packing negates the need and a velcro strap lets you change out the small pad for a thicker one, if desired. The hip straps also hang down quite low when unclipped. No color options.

Size: 26.1 Liters
Weight: 15.65oz
Cost: $99