Finding a pack with premium functionality in smaller size can be tough.
When you're going on a hiking or camping trip for more than a day, you're generally going to want something bigger you can fit more clothes in, plus a sleeping bag and a sleeping pad. But if you don't plan on camping overnight, smaller is better. The problem with smaller packs, though, is remaining small and lightweight while also maintaining most of a full-size pack's functionality. You'll see a lot of day packs out there that seem kind of pointless because they're size limits their number of features.
First and foremost, the hydration bladder is top-notch. With a 2-liter capacity, you'll have plenty of water to get you through the day, but the way it works is what's really cool. You have two hoses that come off: one for pressurizing the bladder and one for drinking. The point of this is to eliminate the need for sucking the water out of your pack.
The ability to spray water allows you to clean yourself off, cool yourself down or share with your friends. It features quick-release valves, which make withdrawing water easy when the bladder is pressurized.
Another high point of this bag is the quality of the bladder itself. One thing I particularly liked is how easy it is to fill.
While hydration packs have collectively improved, a few flaws have plagued many of them. With older packs, you'd sometimes try to fill up and spill water everywhere, or you'd have to worry about the bladder opening up while using your pack. This bladder, though, looks tough as soon as you pull it out of the bag, and has a very efficient, reliable slide top that keeps your bladder sealed and secure.
It also features a plethora of different pockets for a smaller bag, which makes storing all the essentials for a one day trip pretty painless. I ended up taking this bag on a two-day hog hunt in Texas, and stored my extra ammunition, phone, GPS, headlamp, scope cover, snacks, an extra flashlight, a knife and a light sweatshirt. And, I was able to fit everything with the hydration bladder being more than half-full.
It's also worth noting bag's 1680D Ballistic Nylon material is as durable as advertised. Not only did it pour rain the whole weekend, but the bag ended up taking a beating from rough terrain and being tossed around from truck to truck. Not only did it survive the elements, but it still looks brand new.
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