Day pack recommendations?

I know this was discussed a few times already, but I still have some doubts :slight_smile:

I finally managed to sell my Deuter Trans Alpine 24, which I found very unsuitable for SOTA (it seemed much smaller than 24L, wasn’t packable with a narrow entrance and had a very loose front pocket, originally meant to carry a helmet). I still like Deuter though; my standard pack for multi-day hikes is an Act Lite 40+10 which I really like.

So, what do you use as a day pack? I am looking for about 30L capacity, with a way to carry a pole in a side pocket, and with bonus points if it has a front-loading feature!

Deuter Futura Pro 40. One big internal space or 2/3 <> 1/3 split space, front pocket, elastic side pockets, lots of attachment points, Deuter build quality.

Bigger than you want and bigger than my Futura Pro 38 which it replaced. But the space is more usable and the extra capacity is better for bulky Down Jackets etc. Just because it’s bigger doesn’t mean you have to fill it up!

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My preferences are as follows:
I would have to have side straps, in order to fix the mast (or antenna if you want to operate mobile) on the outside of the pack.
I would avoid anything with a zip closure as one of these failed on me.
I would not want anything weighing over 1kg.
I would not want to pay over €150.
I’m not a fan of airflow frames that supposedly keep your back dry; I just take a fresh long sleeve shirt for the summit and dry the other one out while I’m on air.
73 de OE6FEG

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I’m enjoying my 2021 Osprey Talon 33L pack. Its features (from Osprey):

  • Top load access to main compartment
  • Fixed top lid with external zippered slash pocket and under lid zippered mesh pocket with key clip
  • Large stretch mesh front panel pocket
  • Tuck-away ice ax attachment with bungee tie-off
  • Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment
  • Dual upper and lower side compression straps
  • Stretch mesh side pockets
  • External hydration reservoir sleeve
  • Easy-access, expandable stretch mesh harness pocket
  • Dual-zippered fabric hipbelt pockets

I really like the trek pole stowing contraption and external hydration sleeve. Side pockets and straps are good for masts. It’s been on 60 summits so far this year and no complaints.

EDIT: The new hip belt pockets are large enough for me to stash multiple energy bars, headlamp, etc.

Jeff KX6I

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I also carry an Osprey Talon 33. Nice pack. The only thing I don’t like is that the hipbelt pockets aren’t quite big enough. They are larger in the current model, reviewed here:


Hi Romain,

I’m very satisfied using a Deuter ACT TRAIL 32 for many years (7 or so). May be, its not produced any more but available by a shop? Now there is a (new) TRAIL “family” by Deuter. My ACT TRAIL 32 seems to be similar to the current TRAIL 30.

In the picture its packed for a 2 m activation, with 2 pipes for a pole and 1 pipe 110 cm long for the yagi boom, the 4 elements inside the pipe. When activating on short wave these 3 pipes are replaced by a 7.5 m telescopic pole, 65 cm for transport (picture 6).

For my pack:

Especially I like the “front door” (“front zip access”). It allows an easy access to the SOTA equipment on the bottom of the pack (picture 7).

The front pocket is wide but compressible by two straps.

The rain cover is large enough to cover the pack with the 65 cm long pole (was important on a 2.5 h hike in heavy rain and some other rainy tours.)

I’m using the pack for full day hikes with weather protection clothings, foot and water and I used it also for a two day SOTA hike with sleepover on a hut with service.

Mostly I carry my 5 watt Station.

For shorter hikes with lower amount of clothes and foot and water its enough room for my 40 W PA and my 6.6 Ah LiFePo accu.

73 Ludwig

I have been using a Deuter Futura 32 for several years. It has done well over 700 activations, and although a bit grubby, it has absolutely no damage. I really like how it sits on my back and I find it has plenty of space for my KX2 and all the ancillaries, my 4 band link dipole, a sit mat, first aid kit, some food and a hot drink in winter and in summer I have a hydration bladder which can hold up to 2 litres of water. I can also fit in a fleece and lightweight insulated waterproof jacket. In the top pouch I keep my wooly hat and gloves and a few bits and pieces. The side pockets carry my fibreglass travel pole and my walking poles…

It certainly isn’t the cheapest pack available, but the build quality is superb, you get what you pay for !

73 Victor GI4ONL / OK8VM / EI7KP

Gregory Zulu 40L. It’s a lot of room but I use it for long range/overnight SOTA summits.

Your last sentence hits the point. I went even more overboard and got an REI Traverse 60. But it is very comfortable. Not only does it have water bottle pockets, it also has pockets for strapping a mast to either side and a front flap where I stash my tarp, as it the first thing I usually need. It can be cinched down when not so loaded and the extra space will come in handy when those colder SOTA days come along, with the associated bulky clothing.

I recommend the Arc’teryx Aerios 30 or the Alpha AR35. I have had both packs and they last, fit well, carry the load well. My Alpha AR 35 lasted over 150 activations and I sold it for almost the same as what I paid for it.


Thank you all for the comments. Looks like 30/35L is the way to go and there are options with Deuter and a few other brands. I will keep you posted!

The North Face Cryptic or Borealis 29L quality, lightweight plenty of space for a pole, laptop, radio, ATU, soundcard, ancillary items and a couple of antennas.

There seems to be a good selection on this site:

There are some pretty light rucksacks there, and the prices are good too.

       73 de OE6FEG
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If I don’t have to climb, I take a 60-liter backpack with two large
side pockets for the pole and a small tripod seat.
If I really have to climb, I take a “small” 38 liter backpack -
unfortunately, both models are no longer available …

73, Peter, HB9RYV

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I suppose I am more on the fast and light side here. I use a REI Flash 22 liter pack. Perhaps for super cold weather I would want something larger to hold a bulky layer for once I stop moving and get on the radio, but it has served me well for all season use in these parts. The pack easily holds a KX2 and accessories (extra battery, wire antenna, paddles, logging materials) in CS60 case, plus food, water and other “ten essentials,” and a sit pad, and a SOTAbeams Tactical Mini mast on the side pocket. The sit pad goes in the interior pocket where a bladder would fit and provides some structure while carrying so that the hip belt can help carry the load. The pack itself is only about 370 g or 13 ounces and I see no need to carry more.

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I agree with @WN3F. The Flash 22 is a great bag. I initially bought it because it was about $10 on some super sale, but I’d buy it again.

I also think that if you have a pack with more volume, you’re more likely to fill that volume with stuff you don’t need. My overnight backpacking pack is only 50L. I’ve found the Flash 22 is big enough for 3-season hiking in the US, as long as I don’t bring super bulky radio stuff. For winter or QRO activations, I have to bring a larger bag.

And if I’m running, I’ll just bring my Black Diamond Distance 8, which I can fit everything in to if I need to :smiley:

Jeff aa6xa

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It’s a shame we don’t have REI in the EU.
73 Matt


I have a Deuter.
Following my generally I recommend
30, better 40L
Must have a raincover
What you must pack always:
Water, Food, emergency whistle, multitool,emergency cover, Torch or Petzl type, rainjacket, fleece, headcover. That is the minimum.

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Hello, I have a Ferrino Finisterre 38L

Totally agree.


…has the decision already been made?

I felt the same as you… I already had 5 backpacks (3 Deuter), but not the right one!

I needed something to put the telescopic mast and the snowshoes outside. My TransAlpin 30 was somehow not the right one and my ACT 50-10 was too big. Something was missing in between.

I also came across the Trail 32 and found it wonderfully suitable. I can take something to drink in the zipped pocket at the left side and the mast is in the holder on the other side. The loops for the hiking poles are still free and the snowshoes are held in place by the central strap in the middle. The interior is still free and everything is still comfortable to carry.
The backpack is always ready packed for SOTA and has already been used for well over 100 times without showing it.

73 Armin