How big a pack do you need for dayhiking?
Advice from 30,000 Miles on the Trail
When dayhiking, people we pass sometimes ask us, “Where are you camping tonight?” They assume we’re backpacking, because our daypacks are large. What they don’t know is that their daypacks are too small.
Most hikers give more thought to going light than they do to all the circumstances they might encounter when hiking in the wilderness.
Being prepared means carrying enough gear to comfortably adapt to an abrupt change in the weather, to competently handle an injury, or to survive an unexpected night in the wilds due to a navigational error.
It’s not possible to go ultralight, carrying only a tiny daypack, and still take full responsibility for yourself in the backcountry. That’s true even in the desert, where the need to carry water more than offsets the additional clothing layers you can sometimes leave behind.
Your pack doesn’t have to be heavy, but it needs to be big enough to accommodate much more than a water bottle, lunch, and a fleece.
Don’t think ultralight. Think real light. It means going as light as possible—realistically.