GoLite Rush 20
$120, 1 lb. 3 oz. (S-M)
Unisex sizes S-M and M-L
For a long dayhike, mountain bike ride, or adventure race, I like a daypack that’s light, well-organized so that I can quickly get what I want from it, doesn’t make my back all clammy, and is almost unnoticeable when I’m carrying it. The Rush 20 is all of those things. On back-to-back dayhikes of 27 miles and 22 miles in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, and a shorter dayhike with my family in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, I hauled as much as 15 pounds for up to 12 hours, and never once thought about my load.
It kept my back cool thanks to mesh padding with a vertical center strip of wide-spaced mesh for enhanced ventilation. The pockets in the removable hipbelt are spacious enough for two or three bars each. The mesh side pockets each hold a bottle within reach while wearing the pack, and you can cram a light jacket into the front stuff-it pocket, which also has an exterior, zippered pocket for small items. The main compartment has more than enough space for all the clothing and food you could need on a dayhike, without making the pack overly cumbersome. The S-M fit my 18-inch torso well, wrapping cleanly around my shoulders. The 3L Hydrapack reservoir that comes with the Rush 20 is easy to open and seal, but the mouthpiece tends to drip when not locked. Only real caveat: This pack doesn’t have any framesheet or stay for support, just foam back padding, so it starts to sag and pull against your shoulders with more than about 15 pounds in it. The shoulder straps are somewhat narrow, so you don’t want to overload it.
NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.