Gregory Miwok 24
$119, 1 lb. 10 oz.
One size 24L/1,464 c.i.
What do I look for in a daypack? I want it to have the capacity for all-day hikes with my family or really long dayhikes when I’m carrying extra food and clothing, be compact and hug my body for short hikes, have easy access without being over-engineered, and function well as a bike-commuting or airport carry-on pack. And I want it to remain lightweight. After carrying the Miwok 24 with up to 15 pounds inside it on a pair of very long dayhikes—a 13.5-hour, mostly off-trail, roughly 18-mile tour through Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, and a 19-mile, several-thousand-foot, seven-summit traverse of the Wildcat-Carter-Moriah Range in New Hampshire’s White Mountains—plus a seven-mile dayhike in Arches National Park and while biking around town and on a cross-country flight, I decided this streamlined daypack could be the only one I need.
Despite having just a thin, highly flexible plastic framesheet and perforated foam back pad for structure, the Miwok 24 hauls up to 15 pounds comfortably, thanks to ergonomic shoulder straps with light, perforated foam padding, and an unpadded but wide hipbelt that wraps snugly and disperses weight to prevent sore spots. The large holes in the back pad and shoulder straps ventilated nicely on a very hot and humid hike in the Whites. Side compression straps pull a smaller load in close so that it didn’t shift when I scrambled steep, loose terrain off-trail in the Sawtooths.
Access is simple but adequately compartmentalized for organization, with a wide-mouthed, clamshell zipper for the roomy main compartment; a top pocket spacious enough for snacks, sunglasses, and other small items, with a mesh valuables pocket inside; and deep side pockets with a little stretch that swallow a liter bottle. The expandable, front stuff-it pocket holds a helmet or similarly bulky cargo and closes up with a small bungee cord. Zippered hipbelt pockets are as big as I’ve seen, each able to fit three or four energy bars. An external hydration sleeve, behind the back pad, lets you refill your bladder without removing pack contents. Lastly, the entire pack is made with durable nylon; there’s no mesh or other vulnerable external parts that could tear easily.
With a simple but versatile design, a daypack can do all that you want it to do and remain lightweight. Gregory nailed it with the Miwok 24. There’s also a smaller version, the Miwok 18 ($99, 18L/1,098 c.i., 1 lb. 6 oz.).
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.