When looking for a quality travel daypack, less really is more. You want approximately 20-25 liters between a main pocket and a smaller organizational top pocket, a hydration bladder, minimal padding and maximum comfort. This is the Camelbak Arete to a T: a 22-liter workhorse that impressed our testers with its compact size and multi-sport usability.
Size-wise, the 22-liter is perfect for an airplane carry-on. We were able to stuff a DSLR camera, an extra lens, a laptop, external hard drive, a puffy, a book, and a spare pair of boxers in the main compartment, with wallet, phone, keys and passport in the top zip pocket. It comes with a 70oz (2-liter) bladder, which is adequate as opposed to overkill. The most impressive aspect of the Arete’s size, however, is not the volume of packable space, but the volume of space it takes up when packed down. With the thin layer of foam removed from the back panel — which offers minimal yet appreciated comfort — the Arete packs down to the size of a grapefruit.
Our testers were amped on this CamelBak backpack, and used it every day, from mountain biking over foggy ridgelines to perusing local markets. Its size and simplicity make it a go-to for adventure travel, as well as a smart summit pack for hiking and backpacking trips. That said, don’t purchase this if you’re looking for a luxurious amount of padding and features — this is a simple, basic daypack and both the price and lack of bells and whistles support that fact.
Tester Comment: “I was able to wear it for hours without too much discomfort. That said, it’s definitely not the most cushy pack out there. The straps aren’t very padded, but they lie flat and are fairly comfortable as long as the load isn’t maxed out. It’s perfect to stuff in your bigger backpack (we had 60-liter packs) and use as a daypack, whether you’re flying to a foreign city or taking off for the weekend from your local trailhead.
- Converts into a reservoir sleeve (for use in larger pack)
- 2-liter (70-ounce) hydration reservoir
- Security pocket with key clip
- Removable waist belt & sternum strap
- Air Mesh shoulder straps
- Removable framesheet
Weight: 1 lb
Materials: 100% ripstop nylon (240D)