Hands-on Gear Review
Compare travel backpack ratings side-by-side >
Street Price: $30 | Compare prices at 1 resellers
Pros: Packable, lightweight, durable fabric, affordable
Cons: Uncomfortable shoulder straps, no hip/sternum straps
Best Uses: Extra day pack while traveling, light hiking, around town
Unlike most of the other packs in this review, the REI Stuff Travel Daypack is designed to be an addition to your existing luggage. A super convenient rucksack-style pack, the durable REI Stuff Travel Daypack easily holds all the necessities for a hike, a day at the beach, or an afternoon sightseeing. Plus, it collapses down into its own lid, making it the perfect piece to toss into your main travel pack or suitcase before heading out on your next trip. Although this pack is unstructured (no frame), it isn't as floppy as the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack 26 and carries surprisingly well; however, we noticed that it began to dig into our shoulders uncomfortably at about 15 pounds. At only $30, this pack is less than half of the price of the similar Patagonia pack, so it's also a great deal. Overall, the REI Stuff Travel Daypack makes adventuring fun and easy, whether you're halfway across the country or exploring the far reaches of the globe. Thanks to its functionality, convenience, and value, our testers agreed that it deserved our Top Pick Award for this review.
Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
While this pack is fairly comfortable with lighter loads, it lost some comfort points as we loaded it down with more gear. Since the REI Stuff Travel Daypack doesn't come with chest or sternum straps, all the weight falls directly onto the shoulders and because of the way the shoulder straps are designed (they create a "horseshoe" at the top) the strap system also digs into the back of the neck if you opt to where the pack more snugly. However, when just carrying "day necessities" like a guidebook, liter of water, wallet, camera, and spare jacket (which comes to about 6 pounds), this pack performed really well. Additionally, the REI daypack doesn't have the uncomfortable floppy effect that we experienced with the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack. Although the REI pack is unstructured (like the Patagonia pack), it is a little smaller and easier to keep from flopping around. Ultimately, if you're going to be carrying around less than 15 pounds, this pack is comfortable and easy to move with.
Functionality and Features
A super packable little daypack, the REI Stuff Travel Pack folds up into its own zippered pouch, compressing down to about 8x7x2 inches. When it's compressed into its own lid, the REI pack also has a gear loop for easy clipping. Collapsing down to about the same size as that one extra t-shirt you thought about bringing, this pack is way more useful. Ultimately, adding this quick-drying pack to your existing luggage is an easy way to make sure you don't miss out on any cool outdoor adventures on your travels. It's also a simple way to lug around your daily travel essentials instead of carrying a purse or messenger bag; however, it doesn't have any pockets that will really keep your valuables safe from pick pocketers. Although it's a minimalist piece, we found that this pack met most of our daypack needs and was very functional as an extra toss-in-the-luggage addition.
Ease of Packing and Unpacking
Constructed as a simple rucksack with a drawstring closure, the REI Stuff Travel Daypack isn't as easy to pack and unpack as the Osprey Farpoint 55 or Eagle Creek Rincon 65 daypacks. Plus, since it's a little smaller than the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack, the REI pack doesn't have as much space to dig around in and we had to be a little neater when we packed it. Despite being four liters smaller than its Patagonia counterpart, the REI pack fit everything we needed for a day around-town or a day doing light outdoor activities. This pack has two outer mesh pockets perfect for Nalgene- and Klean Kanteen-style water bottles and other essentials, but only one zippered pocket, which can be accessed from outside the pack. When considering how this pack would perform in a busy, urban environment, we wished that the REI daypack had an internal zippered pocket to protect valuables from pick pocketers and backpack slashers; however, it can always be worn on front for increased security. Other than its mesh pockets, the REI pack doesn't have any external utility loops for extra gear, but we didn't miss them too much. Additionally, it is not designed specifically as a hydration compatible pack.
Comprised of 210D ripstop nylon, the REI Stuff Travel Daypack is significantly heavier duty than the Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack, but is lighter than the Osprey Farpoint daypack. We took this pack bouldering, biking, hiking, and to the gym and didn't notice any wear or tear. When comparing the two packable daypacks, this was a deciding factor in helping us choose the Top Pick: not only is the Patagonia pack more than double the price than the REI pack, but it started showing wear after just a few months.
This convenient little pack weighs 9.5 ounces, which is just a bit less than the Patagonia travel pack. The REI Stuff Travel Daypack saves on weight by cutting out any sort of back structure (no foam, frame, etc.). Finally, it minimizes weight by leaving out features like an extra internal pocket, outer gear loops, and sternum/hip straps.
If this pack hadn't won our Top Pick, it would have won our Best Buy Award. Priced at $30, it will hardly put a dent in your wallet, especially when compared to the $80 Patagonia travel pack. Finally, don't forget that if you're an REI member, you'll see a percentage of your $30 purchase back on your dividend at the end of the year!
— Amanda Fenn
Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: April 20, 2013
Where's the Best Price?
*Help support OutdoorGearLab. If you click on one of the seller links and make a purchase, a portion of the sale helps support this site
Related Best-in-Class Review
Helpful Buying Tips
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Related Gear Reviews
Other Gear by REI
Recent Best-in-Class Reviews