BEST FOR: Mountain-biking or hiking in hot climes. THE TEST: With internal pockets designed especially for bike tools, and attachment points for a light and helmet, the 20-liter Escapist was made for long-distance mountain biking, but it was so comfy and cool—the back panel and shoulder straps are mostly airy mesh—that it became one of our favorite daypacks, too. Plus, whereas the Summit Rocket eschews almost all creature comforts, the Escapist retains several. The hipbelt has a bit more structure, and the shoulder straps and back panel are well padded. These features and others (tuck-away rain cover, tons of pockets) add weight, but the Escapist is still a respectable pound and a half. THE VERDICT: We defy you to find something you can’t use this for. 1.6 lbs
HAULING COMFORT: 3.5
Once the province of multi-day packs, the stow-away rain covers are popping up on more and more daypacks, like the Escapist.