My wife and I have an outing planned this summer to an amusement park where we’ll be joined by our kids. Because of their young ages, we will still need to carry some kind of bag to support their needs. Rather than bring the conventional over-the-shoulder bag or encourage my wife to inflate the size of her already big-enough purse, I wanted to go with a lightweight, small volume backpack.
The pack I was looking for needed to be durable and space-age fabrics weren’t a requirement. It also needed to be affordable. Several came to mind.
- · Gossamer Gear Big Bag ($39.00 / 2.9 oz / 1100 cu/in)
- · REI Flash ($34.50 / 11 oz / 1100 cu/in)
- · REI Stuff Travel Pack ($29.50 / 10 oz / 1340 cu/in)
I ended up going with the REI Stuff Travel Pack because it was the largest volume, least expensive and the second lightest. It couldn’t compete with the 2.9 oz Gossamer Gear Big Bag, but at 10 oz weight wasn’t going to be even a slight issue.
Made of ripstop nylon with a top zippered pocket, a drawcord for access to the main body and two side pouches for water bottles, it proved to be the right choice. It also packs down into itself in the form of a small pocket.
The size of the pack really hammered home the point that size matters when it comes to conventional backpacks. All too often I see people pushing their "lightweight" limit by trying to use an 1800-2000 cu/in pack. Personally, I can’t imagine it. Maybe it’s because my stuff takes up more room being that it is oversized to fit me, but very small volume packs work only in the most specific and definable circumstances. Consequently, I think this may serve as a good first backpack for my son, but it could likely only handle his sleeping bag and that’s about it which is why I have a hard time imagining an adult using something even close in volume.
BUT…it will sure enough work for our needs at the amusement park and the price was right.