Sometimes it’s the little things that count. A day hike doesn’t require bulky camping supplies or liters of water. However, your pack should still deliver by providing optimal support and stability. For travel and adventure, a small hiking bag will free you up for movement and fun while keeping your essentials safe and secure.

Weight

Lightweight is the name of the game. Small hiking packs can weigh less than a pound or get surprisingly hefty depending on their style. If you are on the go, look for lighter materials. If you want a more durable pack that endure a lot of activity, heavier materials and reinforced seams can help your pack last.

Comfort

Regular hiking bags have several sets of straps to help redistribute weight and make adjustments easy. You can find similar set-ups with smaller hiking bags, including hip belts and load lifters. This will offer unparalleled support and security. However, if you want a more casual look for travel or if your gear is light, then there are alternatives that function more like regular backpacks or bags with a single strap that runs diagonally across the chest. These bags won’t place the weight on your hips, which can make them easier to take on and off but will feel less comfortable as the day rolls on.

Any quality hiking bag for extended hiking and backpacking trips will have padded hip-stabilizing straps on the hip belt to help ensure proper fit. For example, the Osprey features a trademark customizable molded hip belt for men and women on their Xenith/Xena and Aether/Ariel series packs, as well as different sizes to accommodate extra-narrow or wider hips. Also, keep in mind that if you are carrying heavier loads in a relatively small hiking bag, you might appreciate some additional padding on the hip belt.

Materials

A water-resistant (if not waterproof) fabric will be a lifesaver in unexpected rains. Optimally, the fabric should also dry quickly to prevent mildew and help wick away sweat. Mesh straps or panels can also help with ventilation to prevent overheating. In general, travel packs will have fabrics that are a little tougher than a traditional hiking pack to keep your items secured and remain durable.

Look

Some small packs are designed with travel in mind. They are discrete and often include features that make them easier to store or contain laptop compartments. However, these bags will not give you the stability or support of a more traditional hiking pack.

Smaller hiking bags are a wonderful investment for your hiking adventures. They make day-trips and travel easier while still keeping you safe and secure. Just consider the activities you will be doing on your trips so that you can pick the best kind of bag. For more info on any hiking or outdoor adventures, visit your local Sun & Ski Sports.