One of the things I’ve found with the amount of travel I do is that if you’re going to have a Hobby, it better be light.
Now, I’ve got a lot of hobbies. A lot. But the one that packs down best and can go with me anywhere is hiking. You can wear boots or trail runners on the plane. You get to either stretch your legs early in the morning or clear your head after a days work. Better still, weekdays most trails are really peaceful.
As I like to do 5-10 miles when I go out (2-4hrs) it means I usually also pack a few essentials with me, JUST in case. These don’t take up a lot of room in my main commuter backpack.
The problem then, was the backpack. A 40L bag is perfect for a weeks travel for work. Its big for a 3-4hr hike.
Enter the summit bag. I own a few of these.
The term summit bag comes from mountaineering. It’s a light bag you can take from your basecamp to the summit, allowing you to leave the bulky gear like your tent, food and other camp gear behind along with your big heavy backpack. Typically they are frameless. I take them for backpacking as well as it allows me to do much the same, exploring the area around where I’ve set camp without needing to haul my 60L Osprey Aether with me.
The two I have are a waterproof Outdoor Research 25L bag and an REI Flash 18 travel pack.
The Outdoor Reasearch bag is great but airtight, large and has no hydration sleeve as it is designed to be waterproof with a roll top.
The Flash pack is a small 18L bag with a built in whistle, single stuff sack style opening and a small mesh organizer on the inside. It can be reversed to double as a stuff sack.
Both of these are great bags. The Flash 18 is the one which has operated the most with me when I travel as it can simply be a stuff sack inside my REI Vagabond 40.
Today I found this Marmot 18L Kompressor on sale at REI.
While it is the same pack volume as the Flash 18… it were the features which sold me on it.
– The bag completely inverts into a pouch that is the top lid of the bag.
– It has a top lid to keep out rain, etc.
– It has a closed foam pad which collapses in quarters and gives the back of the bag some structure, AND keeps your water bladder from sitting against your back.
– It has both external and internal organization pockets for your quick to reach essentials on the trail.
– It has side compressions straps to keep it from sagging, ice axe loops at the bottom, and does away with the useless waist strap a lot of these travel packs try to have.
– The reservoir pouch is separate from the main stuff sack top loading interior.
So basically, it will stow away in my REI Vagabond just as easily as the Flash 18 did, but is all around a more functional bag. I’m going to give it a run tomorrow (sans bladder, as I just packed my Platy soft bottle this trip) and see what I think.
It was on sale for $34.99 at REI this week, so I don’t know if it will be in production much longer. That being said, if you’re looking for a bag to act as a Daypack for Backpacking, Traveling or any other time you need to stash a smaller bag then this could be a winner for you.