Gear Guy

Any ideas for a backpack with attached daypack?

I'm about to embark on a long, multi-city trip through the western U.S. and need a backpack both for trekking and city-hopping. Can you recommend one with an attached daypack? I've been looking at Osprey's Aether 60 plus Daylite daypack. I eventually want to use the pack for wilderness trips, but on this trip I'll be using it mostly for heavy, heavy books. I'm bewildered by all the options! Josh Cbridge, Massachusetts

A: Excellent, grasshopper, you're on the path to gear enlightenment; with no guidance from me whatsoever, you've hit on a pretty good combination. Osprey's Aether 60 ($199; is a well-above-average small backpack (3,700-cubic-inch capacity). Meanwhile, Osprey has done something brilliant and designed a series of daypacks, such as their Daylite ($90), that hitch perfectly to the back of other Osprey packs. Even better, they're far superior to the usual tote-with-straps you get in most travel pack combos. So you won't go wrong at all with the Osprey family of packs.


Still, I wouldn't get too fixated on the notion that your daypack MUST attach to the main pack in some fashion. That's not the case. Any ol' daypack will do, from any maker—in almost all cases, you can easily stash one inside the main pack, or roll it up and lash it on the outside.

I don't doubt you'd be happy with an Osprey pack, but if you think outside the box you could get into something a little more rugged, such as the Gregory Lassen ($299; This is a well-designed pack with a nice slim profile and 4,500 cubic inches of load-eating capacity, plus great suspension. To go along with it, get an Eagle Creek Packable Daypack ($30;, which holds all you need for a jaunt around town and will stuff into any old corner of the Lassen. The same goes for any pack/daypack combo. But, as you're drowning with all the options, stick with the Osprey/Osprey combo. A nice pack and mini-pack at a good price.

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