PROS: Compact, yet has lots of room to hold things. Has both chest and waist straps.
CONS: Since the pack is very narrow, my tiny t-rex arms make it so I can’t reach anything I’m carrying without taking the pack completely off. Camelbak could compensate with a detachable mini-pouch on the front straps.
UNEXPECTED FEATURES: Water flow lock and dryer arms.
WORTH IT? : Yes!!
THE LONG VERSION: Registering at REI for our wedding was one of the best ideas we’ve ever had. We registered not only for backpacking gear but also for gift cards. Our generous friends and relatives were delighted to give us something they knew we would love and actually use. Yesterday I used some of our gift card dough to purchase a new hydration pack. I already have a small one that goes around my waist for running (I’ve dubbed it my “Hydration Holster”,) but I’ve been using a regular old school backpack for my hikes. My backpack isn’t of any specific size fit nor is it that practical, as I bought it 6 years ago primarily because it looked cool. Now that I need to carry around a significant amount of water for longer hikes, as well as some snacks, my wallet, and a camera so I can show you all cool pics of where we’ve been, I needed something a little more comfortable, lighter, and with a better fit. So off to REI we went!
REI has their hydration packs spread out across the store, and the REI in downtown Denver is like the mothership of all REIs so I spent a full hour tracking down and trying on every single pack I could find in the entire store. They were in thebackpack section, the biking section, the winter section, and supposedly in the “running section”, which I never found.
I liked the “Day Star 18 pack because it was the smallest one I could find that still had a waist strap. The waist strap was important to me because sometimes I get bursts of energy when I hike and I like to pick it up to a jog. (Spoiler Alert: Running with a hydration pack doesn’t actually work very well, even with the waist strap.) A good fitting chest strap was important as well cause I don’t love packs that slide around up top. This had both straps so it won.
Because it’s a little bit smaller, I almost got the Camelbak Dart, (pictured here in pink,) but the bag straps fit my chestal area weird and I couldn’t get it to adjust quite right. If you are looking for a lady-specific hydration pack I would recommend at least trying this one on too. It is actually the only hydration pack I found rated for running, as well as hiking and biking.
But back to the Day Star.
I first took the Day Star out on a 4 mile walk through a park. I was easily able to adjust the straps to fit my freakishly tiny torso, and there was more than enough room for all my things. This pack weighs in at 1 lb. 2 oz, and holds 70 oz of water. (That’s roughly about 2 Nalgene bottles.) It was a comfy fit and I have nothing but good things to say about wearing it. Since then I have taken this pack on several full day hikes in both warm and cold weather and the pack stays well fitted and comfortable regardless of number of layers I’m wearing. I’ve also noticed my back doesn’t get sweaty even on hot days, which is ah-MA-zing. Cause back sweat is gross.
I would definitely recommend this pack, and for $80 it’s a solid buy. So far it seems like a great pack to use for anything from short walks to a full day hike. What hydration packs do you use? Which are the best and which are the worst of the worst? Does anyone remember these?
– C. Egli