A day sack is an essential piece of equipment for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, camping or even just a day out exploring. I recently had the opportunity to review the new Valorous day sack from Kathmandu, and I must say I was impressed with its many features and overall performance.
The first thing that stood out as soon as the backpack arrived was the standout yellow colourway, or Bellbird as Kathmandu like to call it. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but I think it looks great! However, if the Yellow is not your thing, then it’s also available in the more conservative Steel Blue and Gum Tree. For the purposes of this review, I’m putting the 28 litre pack through its paces, but the series also includes other size options such as the 20, 38, 48 and 58 litre packs.
The backpack is constructed from recycled Nylon Ripstop which makes for a tough, durable day sack that boasts an impressive strength to weight ratio. The fabric is also water-resistant, so while it’s not 100 per cent waterproof, it should have no problem keeping your gear dry if you get caught in an unexpected shower.
It feels like it’s been built to last! All the zips are YYK and you can tell that each and every feature has been carefully considered. The zip pullers make opening and closing all the compartments effortless and I love the fact that there is so much hidden storage.
The U-Shaped opening design makes the bag easy to pack (and unpack) and the compartment at the top of the day sack is perfect for storing items which you want easy access too, such as your buff, beany, head torch or snacks. There is a mesh lined compartment on the inside ideal for storing your wallet and keys and on the strap there is a cleverly designed mesh pocket, which is where I kept my iPhone so it was close at hand.
The stretch side pockets are big enough to securely hold two 750ml water bottles and I used the mesh pocket at the front for my map, although you might want to rethink that if your map isn’t waterproof. I don’t own a hydration pack myself, but this bag also has a bladder sleeve with a clip and single exit port if you wanted to incorporate that.
To give you an idea of capacity, I was able to pack alternate footwear, a heavier down jacket, running pants, fleece, a spare tee-shirt and my lunch in the main sack and there was room to spare. I also had my packable cap, beany hat, buff, compression socks, head-torch, wallet, keys, map, water bottles (x2), cup, phone, snacks, plus my Mac in a Sac jacket and overtrousers in various other compartments. So there was no issue with space when packing for your usual day trip.
Regarding comfort, the ventilated shoulder straps, and mesh back panel provided good airflow and adequate cushioning, so the breathability was good and the pack felt secure and easily carried. The adjustable sternum sliders and straps allow you to customise the fit to your body type and, after drafting my wife in to test this, I found that this worked well for both of us. There are also multiple multipurpose compression straps to help cinch down the load and stabilise everything. After nine miles over a selection of different terrain I was impressed with how this day sack performed. After a few miles, when you got used to the extra weight, you forgot it was there. So, you can’t ask much more from it than that.
Overall, this is a day sack that I would recommend if you’re looking to spend a day in the hills or a short overnight trip.
Its design has been very well considered and you can comfortably carry everything required for a great day outdoors. I struggled to find areas of critique but, if I was being fussy, I would like to see the addition of some belt loops to stop all the straps hanging down the front when you’re all tightened up.
The bag also lacks reflective strips or branding, and I also prefer a key clip that is detachable, but these are small issues that take very little away from what is a great day sack. If you are looking for a durable, comfortable and functional backpack for outdoor activities then I would have no problem recommending this one.