Let's talk Packs!

Whether hiking, backpacking or anything else, what is your go to pack setup? Are you a brand snob or have you branched out to use multiple brands based on the adventure?

As for me, I am Osprey everything. Big pack, day pack, kid carrier, hydration pack, you name it. I will say however that I am excited to try out my new Gregory Citro 25 on my next adventure (Thanks dyrt! I can’t wait to review this product!!).

I use what I have. I have a super lightweight marmot that I’ve used for day packing but it wasnt super convenient. I didn’t have a rain cover and it got super wet. I also have a cotopaxi bag and I really want to try and take it out. It’s only an 18L I believe but I think it would work well for a day hike. I do have a backpack but I can’t remember its name. It’s a brand that I’m not as familiar with but I got it used and it’s in great shape! I hope to get it out on the trail this summer. I wanted to try a gregory but couldn’t afford one so I found something I could afford that fit well. I can’t wait to take my boys backpacking.

When I’m hiking, it’s because I’m heading to a photographic destination for landscape photos. I have an F-stop Gear pack, which is also hydration pack compatible. I just got it for Christmas, and have only used it a couple of times since we’re sheltering in place right now. I expect to use it more often once restrictions are lifted.


Owned a plethora of packs over the past 4 decades of backpacking (most of which I still possess)…Jansport frame packs, Mountainsmith, TNF, Deuter, 5.11, Osprey, Granite Gear, Kelty, and Gregory. I like certain things about each pack and would love to combine all the positives (for me) into an “Uber” pack. They range from 15L to 85L so I actually do still use them all for different projects, trips and excursions.

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So i’m totally a bagpack nerd. I have an entire closet filled with backpacks of all brands and sizes that I got from years of working as a guide. My husband said I can’t buy anymore for myself so I bought him one for xmas last year. haha

Here is a breakdown of my 4 (out of 12) main packs I use the most:

Backpacking: Osprey Xena 70L is the best backpacking pack! Osprey has the BEST warranty. The brain straps on my favorite bag from 2012 broke and I sent it in for them to repair and they couldn’t so I got to choose what bag I could get to replace it for FREE! This pack is awesome! It has the heat belt so it is fitted to me perfectly and sits like a dream. My husband has an Osprey pack too for backpacking.

Day pack: Kelty Capture. This is a great 22 liter bag that I use for all my day trips. It has a hidden pocket for my wallet or camera for easy grab and it is super durable. It even withstood the crazy Utah slot canyon tossing that has happened repeatedly. (you can see it in almost every picture on my Instagram @haytravellers)

All terrain day pack: Kavu sling bag. I love this bag. It is the perfect bag for farmer’s markets, simple hikes, or travel. It fits a lot more than it looks like and it is water resistant. I don’t like wearing it when riding a bike though. It slides down around my waist too much.

Travel pack: Cotopaxi del Dia 18L. I got this bag doing the Questival last year and it is awesome. It packs into itself down to the size of your hand so it is a great bag to take while traveling if you want to just store it in a suitcase to use if needed.

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I’m not a backpack nerd but I’ve definitely put my gear through the ringer

Day Pack: https://www.rei.com/product/168486/rei-co-op-trail-25-pack-womens

Backpacking Pack: https://www.gossamergear.com/products/gorilla-ultralight-backpack-all-bundle

I have a Granite Gear pack that served me well. I have an Alps Mountaineering pack that I use for day trips (although I will admit to using a fannie pack style pack to carry water on short hikes with my dog). With my shoulder issues I have found that a good waist strap is critical to my adventures. I mostly keep the pack light and try to put more weight on the waist. My dog uses a Mountain Standard pack.

In the 20 years of doing outdoor stuff I have used many different packs. My first two packs were external Fram packs and they served their purpose well, but I am certainly a fan of internal frame packs. I have quite the collection of different sizes. Most are very versatile but I have dedicated a few to specific tasks. I am a big fan of Osprey packs and feel that the higher price is worth the quality and warranty that they offer, I still have my Kelty Redcloud as my biggest trekking pack although I would not be opposed to updating the 18yr old pack. I use my REI Trail 40 mostly as a travel bag, as I feel it is a bit more convenient then a duffel more often than not. My Osprey 36 is my go to for longer day hikes and when I want to bring my real camera with me. The Osprey 48 that I have is great for long-weekend backpacking but requires a bit of skill to load efficiently. My LaFuma Hunza 60 is my least favorite pack and as such has become dedicated to my climbing gear since those tend be my shortest hikes with load.

I do tend to spend a bit on all my outdoor gear and then take care of it, but as a result get a long lifespan. When I offload gear it is usually so I can update, but I also like that I can help a newcomer get started. As a PE Teacher, I do lessons on outdoor adventure type activities for my students. I love getting to try out entry level gear so that I can make good recommendations to my students on how to get started on a limited budget.