A Daypack and Sleeping Pad for the Cost-Conscious Hiker

Sierra Designs Garnet 20 Daypack

SD Garnet 20The Sierra Designs Garnet 20 Daypack is a 19-liter panel-loader that is easy to like. Our tester got to know the pack on a series of hikes on the island of Maui’i and she sang its praises. The Garnet 20 has a molded HDPE frame sheet, a balance between load-carrying comfort and relatively light weight. HDPE is a thermoplastic known for its high strength to weight ratio and also offers a reasonable combination between rigidity and flexibility. According to our tester, the padded frame sheet was comfortable – even with a heavy load – and provided excellent ventilation between her back and the pack. She loved the removable padded hip belt (unlike many daypack hip belts, the Garnet 20 is well-padded and fully adjustable) and lauded the two small zippered pockets on it (great place to stick an energy bar, sunscreen, chapstick, etc.).

Speaking of pockets, there is certainly no shortage of these. An outside “quick stash” pocket is ideal for stuffing wet rain gear. Numerous internal and external compartments provide a plethora of organizational opportunities with multiple access points. Stretch side pockets hold Nalgene or other water bottles – the pack is also hydration ready, with an internal pouch ready for your hydration bag.

More info: www.sierradesigns.com


Kelty Backpacker Sleeping Pad

Kelty Backpacker PadWe’ve all gotten so particular about our sleeping pads. In the old days, we sprawled out on the roots of trees and called it good. We were young. And crazy.  Sleeping well in the backcountry is a truly fine  thing. A good night’s sleep leaves us well rested and energized for a day of adventuring. The Kelty Backpacker is a self-inflating pad (in my experience, you’ll end up blowing self-inflating pads up, no matter what they say) and weighs one pound, eight ounces, which certainly isn’t heavy compared to similar pads on the market. It’s sarcophagus-shaped and this might pose a problem if you’re a far-flung sleeper, but otherwise expect the Z’s to be plentiful and unrestrained. It comes with a stuff sack and repair kit, nice touches. At a suggested retail of $74.95 the Backpacker’s price point makes it attractive to the cost-conscious backpacker. At the end of the day it isn’t fancy. It isn’t ultra-light. It doesn’t pack ultra-small. But, boy will you sleep well on it.

More info: www.kelty.com

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