Best Daypacks

Backpacks, purses and messenger bags that do more than carry their weight on the road
Safe and Sound Pacsafe VentureSafe 300 // © 2010 Pacsafe
Safe and Sound Pacsafe VentureSafe 300 // © 2010 Pacsafe

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Moore Than Meets the Eye Kelly Moore B-Hobo Bag // © 2010 Kelly Moore
Moore Than Meets the Eye Kelly Moore B-Hobo Bag // © 2010 Kelly Moore

Room to Maneuver Eagle Creek Quirk // © 2010 Eagle Creek
Room to Maneuver Eagle Creek Quirk // © 2010 Eagle Creek

Working 9 to 9 Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack // © 2010 Patagonia
Working 9 to 9 Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack // © 2010 Patagonia

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Hip Purse Escape

Most savvy travelers would consider fanny packs to be a fashion tragedy. However, a lot has changed, and there is a new breed of hip purses that can offer you the ease of a pack with the look of a clutch. The Escape is a small, faux-patent leather clutch-style bag with a removable and adjustable waist strap and a handy clip that hooks over a belt or your waistband. The purse is small and works best to just carry your money, ID and a lipstick. Unfortunately, my passport did not fit without some folding. I preferred carrying the purse as a clutch most of the time, and clipping it to my belt when I wanted my hands free. While I thought the bag’s concept was good, the construction was poor. Sadly, for a purse that retails $22, it looked more like a purse you could find for half that price at most malls. (www.hippurse.com) — Deborah Dimond, Art Director

Kelly Moore Kelly Boy Bag
As much as I loved the feminine stylings of the Kelly Moore B-Hobo Bag (see above), there were some instances where I didn’t always want to carry a purse. The Kelly Boy Bag, with its unisex messenger-bag style, was much larger than the B-Hobo Bag; in fact, I’m certain I could have placed my small 13.5-inch laptop inside of it, too, along with my SLR camera (the bag also comes with a removable laptop divider). The Boy Bag can even carry a lens up to 10 inches in length. The removable Velcro dividers were ideal for compartmentalizing the bag’s interior capacity, and the padded strap was also much appreciated, especially when my load started to increase. As with the B-Hobo Bag, however, I wish the bag itself were a little lighter; by itself, this bag weighs a hefty 2½ pounds. $199. (www.kellymoorebag.com) — Deanna Ting, Senior Editor 

Pacsafe MetroSafe 250
The MetroSafe 250 shoulder bag, also from Pacsafe, offers all the security features of its sister bag, the VentureSafe 300 but, to me, it seemed to look a little more like a traditional daypack. The front pocket, while smaller and lower, had a much wider zip-around mouth, making it easier to insert odd-size objects and to find my perpetually lost keys and passport. The tradeoff, however, is that the bag’s main opening is narrower so, overall this bag feels like it holds a little less than the other bag. Both are large enough to fit most magazines, an iPad or plenty of other items for a day spent on the road. If you or your clients are looking for a traditional-style bag that will probably hold its shape better over time, the MetroSafe 250 is the better choice. If you want the flexibility of a larger bag with more storage capacity, turn your eyes toward the VentureSafe 300. $69.99. (www.pacsafe.com) — Monica Poling, Online Editor

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Hip Purse Escape // © 2010 Hip Purse                                  
Hip Purse Escape // © 2010 Hip Purse             


Kelly Moore Kelly Boy Bag // © 2010 Kelly Moore
Kelly Moore Kelly Boy Bag // © 2010 Kelly Moore         
  

Metro Safe 250 // © 2010 Metro Safe
Metro Safe 250 // © 2010 Metro Safe

As difficult as it is to find the right luggage, it can be even tougher to find the right daypack to suit all of your daily needs while on the road. Recently, our editors tried out some of the latest styles and put them to the test on our travels around the world. What we found was that, whether you or your clients are interested in photography, security or utility, these bags can carry their weight — and much more.

Safe and Sound
Pacsafe VentureSafe 300
Just one moment of not paying attention while traveling can mean the loss of expensive cameras, laptops, music players and even personal data. In testing the VentureSafe 300, I appreciated those extra security features for which Pacsafe is known. My pack had enough pockets and space for me to carry all my necessary tech gadgets. I felt extra comfortable knowing that its shoulder pad is slash-proof, as are its multiple pockets — covered in a special “exomesh.” Each zipper has an anchoring feature, which means thieves can’t quickly unzip the bag or its pockets and make off with the valuables usually stored in easy-to-reach places. $84.95. (www.pacsafe.com) — Monica Poling, Online Editor

Moore Than Meets the Eye
Kelly Moore B-Hobo Bag
I love taking my larger SLR camera with me wherever I go, but I hate looking like a tourist when towing my bulky camera bag. The B-Hobo Bag was an ideal find: a stylish purse that was thoroughly padded and large enough to store my SLR and everything else. Two interchangeable straps allow you to carry it under your arm or across the body. (Kelly Moore also carries unisex styles for men.) The only caveat to this bag was its weight: by itself, it weighs two pounds. Having carried the bag with me during a recent trip to New York, I can say it more than fit the bill, giving me the ability to travel inconspicuously and fashionably, without ever missing that perfect photo opportunity. $159. (www.kellymoorebag.com) — Deanna Ting, Senior Editor   

Room to Maneuver
Eagle Creek Quirk
This pack was anything but quirky. The easy-to-use pack had ample space for my belongings, including a lockable laptop compartment, capable of carrying a 15-inch computer — an especially convenient feature for airport security checkpoints, as was the back slip panel for stacking on wheeled luggage. My only complaint was its top-loading main compartment: my stuff always migrated to the very bottom and was hard to locate. There is also a drawstring, rather than a zipper. However, on a day trip for which I had to bring extra clothing and shoes, it worked well as a storage compartment. $100. (www.eaglecreek.com) — Janeen Christoff, Managing Editor

Working 9 to 9
Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack
I take my daypacks seriously. Happily, on a recent Alaska trip, the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack performed well. I had no trouble packing it with my gear, and it is also amazingly lightweight and compact (it actually stuffs into its own pocket). My only complaint is that it didn’t perform as well when it wasn’t full — it would become too shapeless to dig through and a bit more uncomfortable to wear. Even so, I’ve suffered through too many biting straps and back aches not to appreciate its comfort and convenience. $89. (www.patagonia.com) — Kenneth Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief

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