For day hiking, you have two options. One, you can use a fanny pack, like the one pictured on the right. Two, you can use a smaller backpack. For most day hiking, many like to use fanny packs. But, everyone has an opinion on the subject. Here are some of the trade-offs:
Access to the fanny pack is much easier then a backpack. Just loosen the strap, and slide the pack around. With a backpack, you have to remove the backpack.
Backpacks make your back hot and sweaty. Fanny packs don't cause this problem.
Backpacks are usually too big for warmer hikes. Fanny packs are sized better.
Backpacks are sized better for winter day hiking then fanny packs. Winter hiking requires more clothing
Backpacks can house water storage systems where fanny packs usually have water bottle holsters.
Backpacks are more difficult for steep hiking. They have a tendancy to make you fall backwards.
Backpacks are more prone to causing back aches
Good fanny packs are very difficult to find. Very few manufactures make good ones
Before you can make a decison on which type of pack to use, you need to determine what you want to put in the pack. Here is a list of common items that you might use in the warmer months:
Clippers or a knife
Medical white tape for developing blisters
FootGlide for areas where blisters can develop
Bug Spray (summer)
Bear spray (optional)
Extra gloves (fall, winter, and spring)
Extra socks (fall, winter, and spring)
Hat (fall, winter, and spring)
Rain coat or large garbage bag (Spring, Fall, and Summer)
In the Winter, you might bring extra gloves, coat, sweater,etc.
When you look at a Fanny Pack, there are certain features you need to examine:
Belt. It needs to be two inches high. Thinner belts are uncomfortable and do not support the pack properly. Most packs come with one inch belts, and should be disqualified immediately
The belt should support the pack properly, so that it does not fold over.
Water bottle holders. Some packs don't come with water bottle holders, and should be disqualified. Some force you to remove the pack to get to a water bottle. Do NOT accept packs like this.
The pack needs to be water proof, or at least water resistant. Water that gets thru during thunderstorms can ruin your camera, your lunch, and other items. Most are not water resistant.
The back of the pack (the part against your back) should have the ability to wick off sweat and breath.
The water bottle holders do not hold the water bottles in well. Many allow the bottle to fall out, or the elastic breaks shortly after you purchase it.
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